Re-appreciating the significance of historical perspectives and practices on reformed pastoral theology and care today

  • Stéphan van der Watt University of the Free State
Keywords: Pastoral Theology, Reformation, Soul Care, John Calvin, Martin Bucer


This article investigates the issue of Reformed pastoral theology and care, from a historical perspective. Contemporary literature on this topic is not always informed by the actual pastoral care practices of historical church leaders, specifically up until and including the Reformation era. Consequently it can sometimes lack an important dimension needed to foster more theological depth and clarity, which is essential for sound pastoral care. Thus, it is necessary to clearly establish the connections between Reformed theology and practice in historical view, and pastoral care ministries in the church today. Despite huge societal changes that have taken place since the Reformation era, the core focus on the compassionate “care of souls” has remained unchanged. Can leading Reformers’ pastoral theological ethos and practices still be deemed relevant, whilst considering fresh issues in our contemporary pastoral care ministry contexts?
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