Book Review by
In the updated and expanded edition of “Brothers, We are Not Professionals: A Plea to Pastors for Radical Ministry,” John Piper, theologian and former pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, argues that the pastorate is not a profession, but a supernatural calling in which God seeks to use men to do extraordinary ministry.
“Nothing has happened in the last 10 years to make me think this book is less needed. In fact, instead of going away, the pressure to ‘professionalize’ the pastorate has morphed and strengthened,” writes Piper in the book’s preface.
Through 36 relatively short chapters, six of which are new to the edition, Piper argues that the problem with “professionalism” within the pastorate is that the pastorate is not a profession and professionalism is not supernatural.
“Professionalism carries the connotation of an education, a set of skills,
and a set of guild-defined standards which are possible without faith in Jesus. Professionalism is not supernatural. The heart of ministry is,” writes Piper.
Throughout “Brothers, We are Not Professionals,” Piper’s tone is consistently one of humility and brotherly love. In each chapter, Piper addresses an aspect of pastoral ministry in which he believes pastors must remove their “professional” tendencies in favor of a basic reliance on God for both inspiration and guidance.
At its heart, “Brothers, We are Not Professionals” is a cry to pastors to recognize the pastorate as a calling, rather than a profession.
“The more professional we long to be, the more spiritual death we will leave in our wake. … The world sets the agenda of the professional man; God sets the agenda of the spiritual man. The strong wine of Jesus Christ explodes the wineskins of professionalism,” Piper states.
Caleb Yarbrough is staff writer at the Arkansas Baptist News.