There’s a great deal of interest right now in what some have called the pastor-theologian and theologian-pastor movement. John Piper and D. A. Carson are two of the more prominent faces of each of these enhanced ministerial vocations. I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Dustin Neeley of Church Planting for the Rest of Us, a fantastic blog offering tons of free resources for pastors and church planters, and talk about the book I coedited on this subject.
It was great to talk about a conception of the pastor and scholar that has captured my attention. As in the previous video I did with Dustin, he asked good open questions that we could have talked about for hours. If this little video does not sate your thirst, I would encourage you to grab the book–it’s little and cheap. If you want to watch the original messages given by Piper and Carson at the 2009 Henry Center event held at Park Community Church in downtown Chicago, go here. They came on the heels of the Gospel Coalition national conference. Nearly 2000 people showed up.
I’m planning to write more about this topic. For now, here’s a snippet from a piece I wrote for the Gospel Coalition that interacts with one facet of this movement, the need for robust theology for the purpose of church health and personal transformation.
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.
There is a reason we still read the sermons and writings of these men, antiquated as their language may be, strange as we may find their historical contexts. They sounded the depths of the Bible in their preparation and created faithful, doxological, and utterly consequential messages. Few if any modern preachers will match Edwards; every preacher can, however, feed his people a biblical feast each Sunday that will enlarge their understanding of God and set their affections on fire, loosing Christocentric citizens of the kingdom to take dominion of their minds, their practices, their families, their communities, and the earth itself.