Vital Ministry Issues, edited by Roy Zuck, is the first of four in the “Vital Issues” series. The series also contains book about Contemporary issues, Biblical issues, and Theological issues. Zuck’s work has been very useful to those in the ministry. This author has some familiarity with the “Vital Issues” series, and has found them all to be very practical. Zuck, senior professor emeritus of Bible Exposition at Dallas Theological Seminary and editor of Bibliotheca Sacra, went to be with the Lord on the evening of Saturday, March 16, 2013. The world of ministry is much better and more prepared because of his writings.
This particular work of Zuck is relatively short, less than 250 pages. What it lacks in brevity, it makes up for in width. The book is divided into twenty different chapters. Each chapter covers a completely different subject. Subjects range from leadership, to preaching, to church discipline. Almost every chapter brings a different perspective because they each have different authors. Each one of these authors brings their own unique perspective. Based you one’s view, this either brings added value to this work as a whole, or makes it divisive and disjointed. This author felt a common theme that ran through the work as a whole.
Many of the writings contained in the book came from Bibliotheca Sacra. For over 165 years Bibliotheca Sacra’s studies in theology, Bible exposition, ministry, and current issues have provided an invaluable resource for serious Bible students. The simple fact that the journal has existed for so many years gives credence to each author in many minds.
While most every chapter contained practical and interesting information, this author found two sections to be of special interest. One was a chapter devoted to the role of women in ministry. The chapter was basically an exegetical study of 1 Timothy 2:11-15. The chapter spends several pages going through, verse by verse. The depth is profitable, even doing some word studies on the more difficult parts of the passage. This author would also agree with the conclusion of complementarianism instead of egalitarianism.
The other section that this author found interesting had to do with church discipline. Many today have little to no knowledge of the what, why, or how church discipline should work, and these chapters attempt to give instruction there. Three chapters deal extensively with the issue and really provide a lot of valuable information. Many details are looked at closely, one of which being the legal implications of church discipline. This is a very valuable section on a topic that is not always discussed.
The chapter notes at the end of this book are also a very valuable tool. There are many notes on each chapter. These not only show citations, but would allow the reader to investigate further any of the particular issues that they might need to look at.
While the book does not have the time to go exceedingly deep into any particular subject, these pages do serve a great purpose by giving a bit of information on a myriad of various topics. This book would be a great place for a minister to begin research on very practical issues that they might face while working in the ministry.
Billy Crow, Christ follower, husband of Meggin, daddy of Hannah and Eli. Blessed beyond measure in every way by Brett Callaway