Over the last several weeks I have been relentlessly plugging away at a history paper on Saint Augustine, Bishop of Hippo in North Africa, who lived from 354-430 AD. One of the most frustrating, yet wonderful distractions while researching for this paper has been the actual reading of Augustine’s works. Countless times I have found myself reading Augustine’s works for hours into the night. The problem with researching Augustine is that he was the most prolific and brilliant writer of the early church. Not only did he write more than any other church father, but his material is incredibly important for today’s pastors. Here is an excerpt from the introduction to my paper:
In addition to being a significant theological influence, Augustine was also a major influence on the office of pastor. Many of his works have been referenced for centuries by pastors and denominational leaders… Reflecting back on the life of such an important man in the history of the church helps us to gain perspective and appreciation for the high calling of a pastor. Although there are many other church fathers who we could point to as a major influence on pastoral ministry, Augustine stands out as one of the most brilliant and prolific Christian writers on the pastoral office, arguably second only to Paul.
If you have never read anything by Augustine, I urge you to make your next book purchase The Confessions, which is Augustine’s revealing and encouraging autobiography written for Christians of his time, with the purpose of revealing the human-ness of their holy bishop.
May today’s pastors learn from the life and works of Augustine. For everyone else, consider Augustine’s Confessions when praying for and challenging your pastors to holiness.