Many pastors today see themselves primarily as counselors, leaders, and motivators. Yet this often comes at the expense of the fundamental reality of the pastorate as a theological office. The most important role is to be a theologian mediating God to the people. The church needs pastors who can contextualize the Word of God to help their congregations think theologically about all aspects of their lives, such as work, end-of-life decisions, political involvement, and entertainment choices.
Drawing on the Bible, key figures from church history, and Christian theology, this book offers a clarion call for pastors to serve as public theologians in their congregations and communities. It is designed to be engaging reading for busy pastors and includes pastoral reflections on the theological task from twelve working pastors, including Kevin DeYoung and Cornelius Plantinga.
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After serving in pastoral ministry for nearly twenty-five years, I can testify that the most discouraging moments occurred when the people of God failed to look favorably on theology. R.C. Sproul rightly laments, "We live in the most anti-intellectual period in all of church history." Frankly, many pastors have the battle scars to prove it. I know I do.
Kevin VanHoozer and Owen Strachan serve up a timely antidote to this troubling, anti-theology age we find ourselves in. The Pastor as Public Theologian presents a fresh vision; a vision for "reclaiming the vocation of the pastor-theologian." But the authors have a larger vision that unfolds throughout the book. Their vision extends to local congregations. They too need to reclaim the vision and vocation of the pastor theologian.
Part one explores biblical theology and historical theology. Part two explores systematic theology and practical theology. Each chapter is drenched in biblical...
The Pastor as Public Theologian is the latest in several recent books calling pastors back to their role as theologians. This one, interestingly, is written by two academians, neither of whom is a pastor: Kevin Vanhoozer, Research Professor of Systematic Theology at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, and Owen Strachan, Professor of Christian Theology and Church History at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and Boyce College. Perhaps for this reason they wisely asked twelve pastors to make contributions to the book, each providing a short essay on a variety of pastoral related subjects.
The burden of the book is that “theology is in exile and, as a result, the knowledge of God is in ecclesial eclipse” (loc. 168). The solution is for pastors, churches and seminaries to reclaim a lost vision for the pastor ministering as theologian (loc. 174-186). The claim that something is lost implies that something once existed. To that end a historical review is...
As a pastor who spends his time doing a variety of things, I picked up this book to spend some time reflecting on what it meant to be a pastor-theologian. Kevin Vanhoozer and Owen Strachan did a great job unpacking the church history and the biblical support for the office of pastor-theologian.
Their primary argument is that "Every pastor is responsible for communicating Christ and for ministering God’s Word, at all times, to everyone, and in many ways. Ministering the Word of God to the people of God is the pastor’s lifeblood.” If it seems pretty simple and straightforward, it kind of is.
I think almost every pastor is going to agree with their primary argument. The rub is going to come when you begin to flesh that out. Vanhoozer and Strachan seemed a little harsh on how pastors have fallen into “American careerism” (a quote they borrowed from Eugene Peterson). There is obviously some truth in those observations, however I...
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