Maturing in the Christian Life: A Pastor’s Guide

by Neill Q. Hamilton

Neill Q. Hamilton graduated from Duke University, Princeton Theological Seminary and the University of Basel, Switzerland (D. Th.) He was Robert S. Dollar Professor of New Testament, San Francisco Theological Seminary and Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley and later was Professor of New Testament at the School of Theology and Graduate School, Drew University, Madison, New Jersey.

This book was published in 1984 by The North Creek Press, copyright Neil Hamilton, used by permission of the author. Prepared for Religion Online by Herbert F. Lowe.


ENTIRE BOOK An excellent guide for the pastor in helping others achieve the goal of Christian maturity.


  • Chapter One: An Integrating Center for the Minister’s Work

    The pastor’s need for a metaphor for ministry which provides a sense of meaning through all the personal crises of passing decades as well as the continual need to balance the demands of the congregation with maintaining the integrity of the “call” can be met by the New Testament based metaphor for ministry as being a “prophetic guide to maturing in the Christian life.

  • Chapter Two: The Discipleship Phase of the Christian Life

    Discipleship is redefined. The hidden role of the female is revealed. Discipleship is characterized as the childhood phase of faith. It is contrasted to “crowd religion.” The Lord’s Prayer is analyzed anew.

  • Chapter Three: The Cross as the End of an Illusion

    Discipleship, as a following of Jesus moving on ahead, no longer fit the circumstances. The Spirit, not Jesus, now points the way, not from up ahead, but by prompting from within.

  • Chapter 4: Maturing in Church and Mission

    While there may be salvation outside the church, there can be no maturing outside the church.. The church is that place on earth where intimacy with the risen Lord continues in a healing bond that equips us for mission in a new key. Christians are destined to be missionaries. Jesus modeled this missionary, fishing for people, from the beginning. The ultimate agenda item for clergy gathered as body of Christ will be finding how to lead the parishioners as individuals and as a congregation to fulfill their mission in the world.

  • Chapter 5: Organizing for Maturing

    What it means role by role for the pastoral leader as prophetic guide: preacher-liturgist, pastor, educator and administrator.

  • Appendix One:Footnote on Tongues

    This note on tongues implies two useful rules for pastoral leaders. One, parishioners who insist that speaking in tongues is necessary to spiritual maturing should be encouraged to join a Pentecostal church. They disqualify themselves for membership in the mainline denominations. A second rule emerges from Paul’s guidelines for the Corinthian congregation. No meetings should be permitted in which people speak in tongues en masse.

  • Appendix Two: Faith History Interview

    The nature of the faith history interview. Concrete suggestions for covering formative figures, personal journey, particulars of faith, and wrap-up.