John Owen is one of the influential and powerful voices of the Puritans from the mid-17th century. One of the things that makes him influential is the source of his wisdom: Everything he writes is thoroughly grounded in Scripture. This is especially true for his book The Duty Of Pastors.
Originally this book was entitled The Duty Of Pastors and People Distinguished. As you might be able to tell from this original title, Owen lays out from Scripture the roles of ministers and pastors. These two titles and roles are distinct, although many people want to lump them together. Owen points out that any one who is a Christian can minister to people (and thus be called a “minister”), but there are special God-appointed roles for those called “pastors.”
Owen writes, “The first and principal duty of a pastor is to feed the flock by diligent preaching of the Word.” Indeed, this is one of the main thing which distinguishes pastors from ministers.
Owen also takes to task those in religious circles who would put artificial (in other words, things not commanded in Scripture) barriers for people to answer God’s call to the pastorate.
This is not a very long book, but given that fact that it is older, it is a bit of a challenging read. But for anyone who is interested in the roles of pastors and ministers, or for anyone who wants to know how to support their pastors, The Duty Of Pastors is well worth your time and effort.