Book Notice: Becoming a Pastor-Theologian

Todd Wilson (Editor), Gerald L. Hiestand (Editor)
Becoming a Pastor Theologian: New Possibilities for Church Leadership
Downers Grove, IL: IVP, 2016.
Available at Amazon.com

By Chris Porter

This volume is a follow up to Wilson and Hiestand’s previous work on Pastor Theologians: The Pastor Theologian: Resurrecting an Ancient Vision. Whereas the previous book–along with the corollary volume from Kevin Vanhoozer and Owen Strachan–set forth to reclaim a vision of pastor theologians, this volume is aimed at shoring up the claims. Stemming from a conference of the Center for Pastor Theologians (CPT), this volume is an edited compilation of papers from a range of contributors to CPT.

The book is divided into three parts, the first looking at the various ‘identities’ of Pastor Theologians, the second at historical examples, and the third at biblical models. Within these three sections there is provided a broad plethora of examples and propositions for aspiring Pastor Theologians. But this breadth is also the weakness of the book. Whereas the initial two works drove at the heart of the pastor theologian’s role, these essays are primarily descriptive in nature and probe at the outer extents of various facets of a role.

Nevertheless, astute readers will recognise the breadth of options under the umbrella of the pastor-theologian role, and will hopefully be able to contextualise the material for their own circumstances. This volume is a helpful follow-up to the initial CPT releases, and will assist aspiring pastor-theologians in defining and shaping their own role within the academy and pastorate. Furthermore, the continued impetus from the CPT should be recognised as legitimating the role within the broader environs of the dual scope role. In these veins it is a valuable addition to the thinking about pastor theologians.

Chris Porter is a PhD student at Ridley College

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