Why Being a Pastor-Scholar Is Nearly Impossible

2497 reads

There are 5 Comments

Bert Perry's picture

Worth reading.  My pastor recently apologized....sigh.....for a fully doctrinal sermon.  No, brother, practice follows doctrine....that was as practical as anything I've heard for years.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Joel Tetreau's picture

I'm not sure we need pastor-scholars. Pastor - Theologians are far more important. Typically the problem is those who are very scholarly often struggle with shepherding real people. There no doubt are exceptions who can pull off the Pastor - Scholar thing effectively. I can think of two men who have demonstrated effectiveness as both a pastor and scholar. In the main, because of calling most scholars should probably should stick to their books. Most pastors should probably stick to their sheep. That's not to undermine the importance of a Pastor developing and keeping sharp his theology. Tomorrow we begin our third semester of our church's "Theological Lecture/Discussion Group." It is on the seminary level and we have 15 - 20 students who love these classes. I'll be teaching a combined class on anthropology and hamartiology. I will teach it at the seminary level but I will have an eye towards developing elements of the teaching that are consistent with my relationship to the students as their pastor. This sort of thing is far more important for a pastor than merely writing another theological text book. This is also not to say a pastor should not or could not develop a specialty. In my work with IBL and in my own book-writing I have published a book on decision-making and am working on a book dealing with delegation in ministry. Practical theology is a hobby - I think tht is valuable - I don't think I have time or interest in so devoting myself to that to become a quote in quote...."scholar." Besides in the words of a dear friend who was on my thesis committee - my stuff is good with only two exceptions - I can't write and I can't spell - other than that - I have fine stuff! lol! One final thought - pastor, elder, bishop, teacher.....even intenerate preachers you could probably clearly see their calling (or existence) in the text of the Scriptures. Where would you find a Biblical call for scholarship? I'm not saying scholars have no place.....just curious where in the text we would see them. Other than maybe Persian "wise men?"  

Straight Ahead friends....scholars.......

jt

Dr. Joel Tetreau serves as Senior Pastor, Southeast Valley Bible Church (sevbc.org); Regional Coordinator for IBL West (iblministry.com), Board Member & friend for several different ministries;

jreeseSr's picture

Just remember well meaning  "scholarship" alone brought us Roman Catholicism and Greek orthodoxy...

Jim

Bert Perry's picture

jreeseSr wrote:

Just remember well meaning  "scholarship" alone brought us Roman Catholicism and Greek orthodoxy...

I appreciate the thought, but would phrase it slightly differently; what brought us Rome and Constantinople was not scholarship alone, but rather scholarship without a commitment to the authority of Scripture, no?  From what I've read, it seems that the big error was when Greek philosophy was viewed as of higher authority and prestige than the Scriptures.  Another key point (and certainly not the last) was the exaltation of church headship into forms the Scripture does not provide--bishops, primates, popes, and the like.  

In other words, lording it over your brother in the way Christ tells us not to.  Not that scholarship alone can't run into problems, as much as I love good scholarship, but in this case, there are a few things that were also clearly in play.

 

 

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

jreeseSr's picture

Another key point (and certainly not the last) was the exaltation of church headship into forms the Scripture does not provide--bishops, primates, popes, and the like.           While all your points are on , this one has caused and continues to cause damage and particularly to the fundamentalists( oh yes we do practice Papacy)... The Scripture speaks to the issues of headship quite clearly, but "church scholars" (particularly of the first three centuries have perverted and created positions that the epistles just did not direct.    I will say that I have been encouraged over the years as our God has taken down our popes with a consistency that  proves he hasn't turned us over to our impertinent selves.

Jim