Pastor's Sketches eBook | Ichabod Spencer
A Pastor’s Sketches: Conversations with Anxious Souls Concerning the Way of Salvation by Ichabod Spencer (1798-1854) is in our opinion one of the finest books ever written on the subject of evangelistic and pastoral ministry. It should rightly take its place on the desk of every pastor, but its usefulness is in no way limited to pastors. Any person wanting to know how to engage lost people better in evangelistic conversations or how to help souls carefully find rest in Christ will be tremendously helped.
The book consists entirely of private conversations had by the author with individuals concerned about their souls. Spencer made it a practice to carefully record his conversations of this nature in order to assist him in his pastoral work. These two volumes (now published together) were selected from those records in order to provide an example for others, and also to deal publicly with a very wide range of objections to the Christian message. The accounts are not dressed up in any way, and Spencer's simplicity and earnestness with others are evident throughout. There are so many things in the Christian life that are easier caught than taught, and being written in this way, you are able to catch some of what Pastor Spencer is doing as he counsels souls.
Some of these accounts are long, about 40 pages, and others are only about three pages. But each account stands on its own, so you can pick up and read only a chapter if you like, or you can skip forward to something that grabs your attention. But regardless of the length, each and every encounter demonstrates utter faithfulness, love, and patience with concerned souls. His methods are extremely faithful to Scripture and his zeal for the glory of Christ is as clear as his dependence on the guidance and help of the Holy Spirit.
If you are truly concerned to faithfully deal with souls, and if you will read this book making notes for yourself, and will revisit those notes, then this book is worth its weight in gold. As one reviewer has said, “Ichabod does not come to people with eloquent speech or powerful rhetoric. No, he comes boldly and humbly to people with the best that he has to offer: the Word of God. What you see when reading these conversations is the Word of God at work and bearing fruit and Ichabod as simply the vessel for it.”
Spencer does write from a Presbyterian perspective, so his views on infant baptism come into play in one or two chapters, as well as his views on Covenant Theology. We disagree with his views as stated, but have no hesitation heartily recommending such an masterful book.
The book has two new appendices. The first contains sketch summaries in which each chapter, or sketch, is given a brief summary along the following three points: (1) a recount of the reservations/hesitations/problems of the person; (2) Spencer's method of treating him/her; (3) the chief point to be learned from the sketch. The second appendix is a subject index of every sketch, based on the summary index. These two appendices makes it much easier to locate sketches which correspond to difficulties and subjects with which you may be dealing at any given time as you counsel with others.
This book ought to be used again and again, so we wanted you to have it in a format that would last a lifetime.
- Ichabod Spencer
- Granted Ministries Press