I almost gave this one five stars. A very convicting book for any minister to read. The author walks the reader through five famous books on pastoral theology. He looks at books by Gregory of Nazianzus, John Chrysostom, Gregory the Great, Martin Bucer, and Richard Baxter. While I have read several of these works, Purves does a good job synthesizing the data, putting the authors in context, and then giving some points to take away. He also show the common themes that show up in the different writings despite those writing being separated by centuries.
Two things I took away: the spiritual formation of the pastor is the key to the spiritual growth of a church. Second, all pastoral theology must be explicitly rooted in the Scriptures, not psychology.
A really good introduction of pastoral theology and worthy of reading by any pastor or anyone who wants to be a pastor.
One note: He is mainline so he uses “He/she” when is talking about pastors. This gets annoying, but otherwise the book is conservative.