Reformed Ethos, Part 7: Pastoral Care


Historically, Presbyterian and Reformed Churches have embodied a distinctive way of being the Christian community. Dr. John H. Leith, professor of theology at Union Theological Seminary in Virginia, identified nine motifs or themes of this ethos.

Seventh, there is an emphasis upon the organized church and pastoral care. "The focus of Calvin's concern with church organization is pastoral care and the 'cure of souls.' . . . Yet pastoral care is not only comfort for the bereaved, forgiveness for the guilty, and help for the sick and needy; it is pre-eminently the renewal of life in the image of Christ. Pastoral care has as its purpose not only the giving of comfort but also the redirection of life" (p. 85).

How can we best embody this in the lives of the churches we serve today?

To read more, see John H. Leith, An Introduction to the Reformed Tradition: A Way of Being the Christian Community, revised edition (Atlanta: John Knox, 1981), Chapter 3, "The Ethos of the Reformed Tradition," pp. 70-88.

For more information, click on this link to Westminster John Knox Press:

An Introduction to the Reformed Tradition.

To learn more about Dr. Leith, click on this link to the Foundation website, including a memorial, a selected bibliography, and a link to audio recordings of thirty-seven of his sermons and lectures:

John Haddon Leith.

Dr. James C. Goodloe IV
Grace and Peace,

Dr. James C. Goodloe IV, Executive Director
Foundation for Reformed Theology
4103 Monument Avenue, Richmond, VA 23230
(804) 678-8352