The Pen

The Social Gospel Coalition, Jared Wilson, Publish Bizarre Reading List for Pastors

Jared Wilson, who’s a part of the Social Gospel Coalition, but who I don’t think we’ve ever blogged about before, has posted a bizarre reading list on the TSGC website. He explains:

Liberty Baptist Church recently launched our Pastoral Training Center, an 18-month residency program for men training for ministry. Currently 13 guys are working through the program, most of them students at Midwestern. These guys are getting a variety of degrees — BA, MDiv, MTS, PhD. Because our residency is designed to complement seminary training, not reproduce it, we focus more on ministry discipleship — mentoring, coaching (one-on-one and in group meetings), shadow opportunities with our pastors, and ministry opportunities in the church — than we do academic heavy-lifting. But all residents do read a book each month and write papers. (The few guys who are not students have to read a bit more.)

A few people have asked me here and there if I could share our reading list, and I’m glad to do so below. Keep in mind this is the schedule for our first run-through. It may get tweaked before our next residency session begins in 2019.

Here’s the list from Jared Wilson, who I seemed to think had a decent grasp on theology, even in spite of his clear association with New Calvinism and the Rauschenbuschism of the Social Gospel Coalition.

Required for all:

The Gospel by Ray Ortlund
Gospel Wakefulness by Jared Wilson
The Whole Christ by Sinclair Ferguson

Non-students additional reading:
Getting the Gospel Right by R.C. Sproul
Gospel-Centered Teaching by Trevin Wax
The Explicit Gospel by Matt Chandler

Biblical Theology:

Required for all:
What is Biblical Theology? by James Hamilton
According to Plan by Graeme Goldsworthy

Non-students additional reading:
Biblical Theology in the Life of the Church by Michael Lawrence


Required for all:
The Church: The Gospel Made Visible by Mark Dever
The Church and The Surprising Offense of God’s Love by Jonathan Leeman
The Prodigal Church by Jared Wilson

Non-students additional reading:
Total Church by Tim Chester and Steve Timmis
Life Together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Jonathan Edwards on Revival (3 short books in one)


Required for all:
Preaching by Tim Keller
The Supremacy of God in Preaching by John Piper
Preaching to a Post-Everything World by Zack Eswine

Non-students additional reading:
The Word-Centered Church by Jonathan Leeman
On Preaching by H.B. Charles
Faithful Preaching by Tony Merida


Required for all:
The Imperfect Pastor by Zack Eswine
The Contemplative Pastor by Eugene Peterson
The Art of Pastoring by David Hansen
The Pastor: A Memoir by Eugene Peterson

Non-students additional reading:
Brothers, We Are Not Professionals by John Piper
The Pastor’s Justification by Jared Wilson
The Reformed Pastor by Richard Baxter


Required for all:
Christ-Centered Worship by Bryan Chappell
Worship Matters by Bob Kauflin

Non-students additional reading:
Rhythms of Grace by Mike Cosper

Okay, so some of that makes sense. Sproul is good. Dever is good, although his close associations with racist Social Gospel Warrior, Thabiti Anyabwhile is concerning, as is his association with Russell Moore. Assigning Piper, Keller and Chandler for reading is downright obligatory for anyone who is Young, Restless and ‘Reformed’ (YRR) or a New Calvinist. Richard Baxter’s Reformed Pastor is standard fare for anyone in the pastorate (although his standards are a bit out of reach, his aspirations are noble). Mike Cosper is a worship pastor who is a big fan of animal rights activist, grossly liberal, “abortion is not murder” Karen Swallow Prior – but again – she’s the feminist sidekick of The Social Gospel Coalition, so that’s not too terribly surprising. Wilson’s own books making the list isn’t exactly scandalous considering it’s his list. It makes sense.

But here’s what is odd. Eugene Peterson is on the list…twice. What in the world, Jared? Seriously?

Granted, Russell Moore – who serves on the board at the Social Gospel Coalition – wrote there in July that we shouldn’t be quick to throw out Peterson’s books just because he’s a pro-gay Vinist. The Evangelical Intelligentsia prides itself on its lack of discernment and its admiration for all things nebulous, vague and smart-sounding, despite its gross theological compromise. But even still, what kind of pastors are being produced when they’re subjected to the theological opining of the man who brought us the abomination known as The Message?

Jared Wilson and/or The Social Gospel Coalition thinks it’s a good idea to assign a memoir on the pastorate (Wilson assigned Peterson’s The Pastor: A Memoir), a man who said the following:

I haven’t had a lot of experience with [gay marriage]. But I have been in churches when I was an associate pastor where there were several women who were lesbians. They didn’t make a big deal about it. I’d go and visit them and it never came up for them. They just assumed that they were as Christian as everybody else in the church.

In my own congregation — when I left, we had about 500 people — I don’t think we ever really made a big deal out of it. When I left, the minister of music left. She’d been there ever since I had been there. There we were, looking for a new minister of music. One of the young people that had grown up under my pastorship, he was a high school teacher and a musician. When he found out about the opening, he showed up in church one day and stood up and said, “I’d like to apply for the job of music director here, and I’m gay.” We didn’t have any gay people in the whole congregation. Well, some of them weren’t openly gay. But I was so pleased with the congregation. Nobody made any questions about it. And he was a really good musician.

I wouldn’t have said this 20 years ago, but now I know a lot of people who are gay and lesbian and they seem to have as good a spiritual life as I do. I think that kind of debate about lesbians and gays might be over.

What kind of pastor does Jared Wilson want to produce? Did Peterson’s approval of sodomy-based unions make him more endearing to the New Calvinism crowd somehow? It’s just plain bizarre.

The growing doctrinal compromise and their tolerance for blatantly bad theology is becoming more and more apparent among those associated with New Calvinism. Give me old Calvinism..the kind that sends apostates like Eugene Peterson out to pasture, and doesn’t assign his books to new pastors.