I just did an interview with Christ the Center, a podcast produced by the Reformed Forum, which is associated with Westminster Theological Seminary. This is a high-powered theological podcast that has hosted such important discussions as the recent debate among Presbyterian theologians over justification and union with Christ (with Michael Horton and Lane Tipton) and the ongoing conversation about the gospel and sanctification (with Rick Phillips and Kevin DeYoung).
Camden Bucey, Jared Oliphint, and Nick Batzig hosted the conversation. The topic was pastor-theologians and the book The Pastor as Scholar, the Scholar as Pastor: Reflections on Life and Ministry (Crossway, 2011), which John Piper and D. A. Carson wrote and David Mathis and I edited.
I had a fun and extensive conversation with the CTC guys, who are great guys with keen theological minds. The topic in question related directly to the Reformed tradition, which has produced so many fantastic pastor-scholars (Calvin) and scholar-pastors (Warfield). J. Gresham Machen is of course one of the five most important Christian figures of the twentieth century and fits nicely into the scholar-pastor mold. He was a brilliant theologian who was nevertheless keenly focused on the church. Much of his writing is deep but directly accessible to the thoughtful layperson.
Head over to the Reformed Forum and give this podcast a listen if you’re so inclined. During the course of this hourlong conversation, we covered all kinds of things: why Piper and Dever might be wary of the term “pastor-scholar,” how pastors can own this role as theologian, and how church history relates to the present discussion.
About 15 minutes in, we cover the idea that being a pastor-theologian isn’t about escaping the hard work of pastoral ministry–counseling, evangelism, discipleship. Instead, it’s about infusing all of that valuable pastoral labor with a 500-horsepower theological engine such that the work of the pastor is transformed and Christ is richly displayed in churchly ministry.
That’s what I’m after. I think that’s what the CTC guys are after. Can’t you hear the roar of that Christocentric engine?