William J. Black
This work examines Richard Baxter's understanding and practice of pastoral ministry from the perspective of his own stated concern for "reformation" and in the broader context of Edwardian, Elizabethan, and early Stuart pastoral ideals and practice. It investigates Baxter's major treatise on pastoral ministry, 'Gildas Salvianus, the Reformed Pastor' (1656), and explores the background of each aspect of his pastoral strategy. Far from being novel, Baxter's practice of pastoral ministry certainly reflects aspects of his puritan predecessors' practice, if not their rhetoric. Black argues, however, that the primary contours of Baxter's ministry look back, not to the puritan pastoral ideals and strategies dominant after the Elizabethan Settlement, but to the Edwardian reformation emphases of the exiled Strasbourg reformer Martin Bucer. The book concludes by considering the impact of Baxter's pastoral legacy, both on the lives of individual pastors and on the subsequent discussion of "puritan" ministry.