Shepherd's Study

Growing up in a Christian household in the 90s, the house stereo frequently produced the soft, inviting voice of Michael Card. His catchy refrains still pop into my head on occasion, sometimes unprompted. Perhaps the most common visitor: “So many books, so little time.” Card’s song is about the 66 books of the Bible specifically, but I can’t help but apply that same refrain to the books that populate my ever-growing, never-shrinking To Be Read list. Books recommended by brother pastors, books in the bibliographies of conference papers, books cited in the Wisconsin Lutheran Quarterly, books that would no doubt benefit me when I carve out the time to spend on them. But if I spent as much time as I could on these books—good books!—there would be nothing left of me to give to anything else. So many books, so little time.

The Shepherd’s Study is written by a collection of WELS pastors who relate to your finitude, both in a human sense and in a ministry sense. We must be judicious, selective with our time and our reading choices. Our book reviews are intended to evaluate a selection of the near-infinite number of resources available to us finite pastors. Sifting through the available resources is perhaps as daunting a task as reading them; we are writing to alleviate some of that up-front stress of sifting and selecting what is worth your time.

The selected resources for review are drawn from a variety of sources and theological backgrounds, not only from our own synodical treasures new and old, but also from other denominations, traditions, and perspectives. We rejoice in the ways that those within our fellowship build us up, and we appreciate the ways that other authors provide insights while also helping us practice our skills of discernment.

Paul encouraged Timothy and all men of God who read his letter, “Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers” (1 Tim 4:16). Persevering in “life and doctrine” is not a short-term exercise. By definition, perseverance will take time. But that time spent, that practical habit of theology, is not without effect. Utilize these reviews to guide your use of time, aid your ministry, and contribute to the proclamation of the saving gospel to your hearers!


Pastor Jared Natsis

with Pastor Philip Moldenhauer

Editors of The Shepherd’s Study