From 1978 to 1998, Pastor A.N. Martin taught Pastoral Theology in the Trinity Ministerial Academy, a church-based ministerial training institution. Every Friday throughout the academic year, all the students would gather for two hours of teaching presented in a four-year cycle. Subsequently various series of the audiotapes were widely circulated.
Many expressed their desire to see these lectures printed. As an intermediate step in responding to that desire, the Trinity Baptist Church eldership decided to encourage Pastor Martin to rework the original lectures and deliver them one ﬁnal time, while professionally recording them. This project was begun in 2007 and completed in 2012 with Pastor Martin teaching his entire Pastoral Theology course “one more time” to 25 to 30 men. The transcriptions of these DVD lectures constituted the basis for the ﬁrst draft of these edited lectures. Within these lectures there are very few issues faced by the ordinary pastor that are not addressed in one way or another. It is the author’s prayer that when all the volumes are nestled on the bookshelf of any pastor, that whatever his concern may be in conjunction with his pastoral labors, that he can expect that most likely, there is something in these volumes that would be of help to him. It is also the author’s prayer that even the most experienced pastor will ﬁnd in these pages much that will provoke him to pursue greater personal godliness, increased preaching effectiveness, and expanded pastoral usefulness.
Albert N. Martin was one of the founding pastors of Trinity Baptist Church in Montville, NJ, where he labored for 46 years. Pastor Martin faithfully expounded the scriptures with a Christ-exalting focus and with passionate, penetrating, and pointed application at Trinity as well as at its annual pastors’ conferences. His ministry was also sought in churches and conferences throughout the States and around the world. In June 2008, he retired from his pastoral labors and relocated to Michigan with his wife, Dorothy, where he now resides while continuing his labors of counseling, writing, and preaching.
“More than anything else, the church of Christ needs pastors. It is, of course, essential to have preachers explaining and applying the Bible to those listening. We thank God for these, praying that they will continue to be provided and used for His glory throughout the world. But a pastor, though never less, is more than a preacher, for, as “pastor” means, he is a “shepherd” of God’s people, caring for them in all their spiritual needs, guiding, upholding, protecting and healing the needy and lovable humans whom the Lord has entrusted to his care. After more than half a century of such service Al Martin is a widely experienced shepherd now providing the first of three volumes of pastoral theology for the profound blessing of Christ’s church. From various angles these chapters come before us enriched. The pastor who has written them, having devoted himself to many years of caring for his people, has also deepened his understanding by drawing widely from an extensive library of books on the subject, feeding his own thinking into the lectures. These have then been given several times to students, on each occasion re-shaped, deepened and clarified.
In listening to Pastor Martin since the late 1960s, I have been blessed by scores of his sermons, yet appreciated particularly his lectures for pastors. Over the last 30 years, as he and I have spent many hours together, it has been fascinating to see him, as it were, thinking aloud and shaping treatments of various pastoral issues. To recommend now this treasure of pastoral theology is for me a real privilege. Many have already been greatly helped through hearing these lectures, but with all my heart I pray and, trusting in the Lord’s activity, believe that many more will now have the opportunity of reading, digesting, and applying these gems of truth for themselves and their people. Glory to God.”
—Edward Donnelly, retired Pastor of Trinity Reformed Presbyterian Church, Newtownabbey, Northern Ireland, and Emeritus Professor of New Testament at the Reformed Theological College, Belfast, Northern Ireland
“The first thing I did on my first day of ministry over twenty years ago was to start listening to Pastor Martin’s pastoral theology lectures on cassette tape (yes, that long ago). These addresses not only set my ministry on a biblical course but actually saved my ministry (and my sanity) more times than I can count. I’ve waited a long time to see this material in print and am so glad that present and future generations of pastors can benefit from it as I did (and still do).”
—Dr. David Murray, Professor of Old Testament and Practical Theology, Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary, Grand Rapids, Michigan
“Dr. Al Martin poured a lifetime of study into lectures on the pastor and preaching. He delivered them annually to his Academy of theological students who met at the meeting place of his congregation in Montville, New Jersey. While he taught them he was engaged week by week in the dynamics of a growing and demanding pulpit and pastoral ministry… There is certainly a cry from a million hearts that today’s preaching should know more of the breath of heaven….May these volumes do much good all over the globe to assist the renewal of awakening ministries.”
—Dr. Geoff Thomas, Pastor (retired), Alfred Place Baptist Church, Aberystwyth, Wales. Visiting Professor of Historical Theology, Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary.
“When I was a young minister, I came across a series of audio recordings by Al Martin that proved to be a gold mine of wisdom. Opening the Holy Scriptures and leaning on the solid teaching of classic writers, these Pastoral Theology lectures both clariﬁed God’s calling and motivated God’s servants to preach God’s Word and shepherd His ﬂock in accord with the whole counsel of God… About a decade later, when called upon to teach several courses in pastoral theology in the newly begun Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan, I listened to most of these lectures again and found them even more proﬁtable the second time through. It is, therefore, a great joy for me that Pastor Martin has reworked this material in his senior years and that now these highly esteemed lectures are ﬁnally appearing in book form.”
—From the Foreword by Dr. Joel R. Beeke, Pastor, Heritage Reformed Congregation, Grand Rapids, Michigan. President & Professor of Systematic Theology & Homiletics, Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary.
“Pastor Martin’s lectures have made a tremendous impact on my life and ministry. But Pastor Martin himself has made a bigger impact. I wrote my doctoral project on his theology of preaching and it started a wonderful friendship. I am so thankful that these lectures are being put in print. They represent the choicest fruits of his labors. All glory be to Christ.”
—Dr. Brian Borgman, Pastor, Grace Community Church, Minden, Nevada. Author of My Heart for Thy Cause: Albert N. Martin’s Theology of Preaching.