Book Review: Classical Pastoral Care: Volume 2 (Oden)

Thomas Oden’s book, Classical Pastoral Care, is a book that covers the legacy, history and theology of the pastor and the pastoral office in their service to the body of Christ.
What is impressively unique about Oden’s book is that he chooses many quotes from theologians and pastors who predate the eighteenth century.  His use of many of the Church Fathers is most helpful in establishing a historical basis for the office and work of the pastor.
Due to the majority of Oden’s book being derived from ancient sources and ancient quotes, Oden’s book provides a tremendous amount of assurance to pastors who are constantly being challenged to redefine the role of the pastor in our twenty-first century.  The effects of the church growth movement, corporate America and the workings of the emergent church have put a tremendous amount of pressure on pastors to not minister through the Word and Sacraments but to resort to a CEO managerial disposition. 
Even though Oden acquires quotes from non-Lutheran pastors and theologians, there is a remarkable consistency with these individuals on the topics that Oden addresses.  In other words, I am in much disagreement with the Anabaptists, however, there is something very comforting when I read their thoughts on the office of pastor and they were in complete harmony not only with Luther, but with the Church Fathers.
For myself, I have come out of Evangelicalism and Pietism which has stressed the role of the pastor quite differently than historic Christianity.  As I have been re-learning the role of the pastor, this book comes to me at an opportune time.  To see pastoral care coming through things such as: preaching; prayer; baptism; confession; communion; educating; and care, has been extremely encouraging to me.  In other words, it shows me the historical consistency and the plethora of historical support for a classical view of the pastor and his office.  Knowing the historical consistency of the pastoral office and the tasks of the pastor, it will allow me and others to dismiss some of the role confusions with the office of pastor.