The Pastor as Scholar & the Scholar as Pastor

Posted: April 27, 2011 in books, preaching, theology

Crossway has just published a new book entitled The Pastor as Scholar and the Scholar as Pastor.  The book contains reflections by John Piper and D.A. Carson regarding “robustly theological ministry” in the church and the academy.

Owen Strachan, who edited the book, wrote an interesting article explaining why such a book is important for Evangelicalism today.  Responding to the tendency to downplay the importance of robust theological understanding and precision he writes,

In my systematic theology classes at Boyce College, I do my level best to lay out a theological feast for my students. I gun for their minds, seeking to show them the pleasures of the intellect, handing down to the best of my ability a body of richly biblical doctrine, honed in the fires of history, whittled by the hands of skillful craftsmen, guarded by countless shepherds. At its most high-flown, this doctrine is always, unavoidably, without exception practical. How can it be otherwise? How can the truth that God reigns over creation not produce trust and comfort in the Christian? How can the realization that our justification stems from God’s decree and the imputation of Christ’s righteousness not create gratitude and freedom? How can a careful study of biblical testimony on the eternality of hell not inspire a believer to reach out to lost coworkers, seat-mates, neighbors?

I’m happy to report that many portions of the Christian past knew no such division between theology and life, scholarship and sanctification. Many ministers of God’s church worked as pastor-theologians, laboring in their studies amidst the many duties of ministry to produce sermons and works that would feed their people meat and not milk (Heb. 5:12-13). This is true of countless pastors in varied areas of Christian history: John Chrysostom, Augustine, Luther, Calvin, Sibbes, Owen (not me, the Brit), Edwards, Spurgeon, and Lloyd-Jones, to name a very few.

Piper and Carson both spoke on this issue at Park Community Church in Chicago in 2009, and their messages are definitely worth listening to!  You can check out a question and answer time with them as well.

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