Use of real stories from his own life and of many pastors he has spoken with fills out the reality of Tripp’s writing. Those who haven’t fallen prey to these dangers might otherwise consider Tripp’s diagnoses exaggerated. Similarly, those who see themselves in the chapters can know they aren’t alone, and, rather than burrowing further into a disjointed ‘private’ and ‘ministry’ life, may be enabled to confess secret sins, turning from them back to God and his calling.
Pastor sees himself
This is an uncomfortable book. You may not see yourself in every chapter, but you will in some of them. Thankfully, Tripp prescribes and applies the gospel to every failing of the minister, as we are constantly reminded that we need the same gospel we preach to others. This book is immensely valuable to me as I hope to begin Bible College. It alerts me to potential dangers of ministry life at every step. If you are beginning, or are early on in ministry, read this book prayerfully, asking the Lord to continually deliver you from its dangers. If you are established in ministry, read this book prayerfully, asking the Lord to help you see how you have been shaped by unhelpful aspects of ‘pastoral culture’. If you are a church member, read this book prayerfully, asking the Lord to help you see ways you have isolated your pastor, or set him up for a fall. My friend finished his story by encouraging us that his ‘sorry prayers’ have helped his daughter understand grace more clearly. As the Spirit blesses, this book will help pastors live lives which enable congregations to see more clearly the grace of Jesus in his saving and transforming power.
Richard Baxter, apprentice at Carey Baptist Church, Reading
Neil Powell of Birmingham City Church shares on his blog ‘A Faith To Live By’ that this book is the ‘highlight of [his] summer reading’.