A Call for Pastor Theologians

I want to draw attention to one of Sweeney's theses in particular (see the previous post): #5, namely, that "theology can and should be done primarily in the church, by pastors, for the sake of the people of God" (p. 199). Sweeney writes:

In the early twenty-first century, when many pastors have abdicated their responsibilities as theologians, and many theologians do their work in a way that is lost on the people of God, we need to recover Edwards' model of Christian ministry. Most of the best theologians in the history of the church were parish pastors. Obviously, however, this is not the case today. Is it any wonder, then, that many struggle to think about their daily lives theologically, and often fail to understand the basics of the faith? I want to be realistic here. A certain amount of specialization is inevitable in complex, market-driven economies. And the specialization of roles within God's kingdom can enhance our Christian ministries. But when our pastors spend the bulk of their time on organizational matters, and professors spend the bulk of their time on intramural academics, no one is left to do the crucial work of shaping God's people with the Word. Perhaps our pastors and professors, Christian activists and thinkers, need to collaborate more regularly in ministry. Perhaps the laity need to give their pastors time to think and write--for their local congregations and the larger kingdom of God. [my emphasis]

Can I get an Amen?

hit JT http://theologica.blogspot.com/2009/06/call-for-pastor-theologians.html

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RickyHorton's picture

I agree with you completely. However, I'll take it one step further. It is time for the church members to become theologians as well. There are too many that simply parrot their pastor's belief system, yet they have no idea why they (or he) believe what they believe. A hungry congregation in the pews that digs into Scripture will in turn keep the pastor digging even deeper. The pastor needs to lead in this regard rather than simply being the "go to" guy for all things theological in the local church.


Stephen Schwenke's picture

Pastors today have forgotten that the emphasis of their ministry is the preaching and teaching of the Bible, coupled with prayer. They need to delegate much of the organizational duties away, and restrict the number and size of "ministries" in their church. We simply don't need a lot of what passes for "ministries".

Pastor Steve Schwenke
Liberty Baptist Church
Amarillo, TX

Alex Guggenheim's picture


I have found over the years that effective Pastors slowly introduce define and then repeat basic theological nomenclature during their teaching which includes Sunday morning. As well, they should explain their exegesis using elementary to intermediate concepts. For example, where it says, "be ye filled" it should be explained to the congregation regarding the passive voice and the consequences of its use here and how and when God's Spirit fills us. If people aren't explained this how does any REAL Pastor or teacher expect his disciples to know when and how the Spirit of God fills them. So it is a matter of necessity these elements be introduced and reinforced. The challenge for the Pastor or teacher is not whether they should be features of regular instruction but to what degree and at what pace.

Andrew Comings's picture

I read recently about a pastor (in Australia, I think) who was able to train his rural congregation (farmers, mostly) to read theological works regularly--with the result that his congregation became truely theologically literate. Since reading that I have been trying to think of ways to practially implement a reading program to suplement the theological preaching you refer to.

Missionary in Brazil, author of "The Astonishing Adventures of Missionary Max" Online at: http://www.comingstobrazil.com http://cadernoteologico.wordpress.com