Thursday, January 10, 2013

The Pastor as Scholar and The Scholar as Pastor

The Pastor as Scholar and the Scholar as Pastor is a must read for all Pastors and Seminary students. D.A. Carson and John Piper do an excellent job relating their personal experiences into how and why a pastor and a scholar should not have to choose one over the other but rather be both.

Piper begins the trip into the role of the pastor/scholar by telling about his journey from scholar into the role of pastor and explaining how he got there. He explains about the highs and lows of his educational experience and his journey into the classroom. He also tells the reader about God leading him out of the classroom and into the pastorate. Piper goes on to explain how the pastor/scholar role is not a competition between the two roles but should be a beautiful harmony of the roles together. Here are a few things that he said that struck me:

"Truth and Beauty and goodness are not determined by when they exist. Nothing is inferior for being old, and nothing is valuable for being modern."

"Don't try to manipulate people. Don't try to coerce people and make them do things. It has to come from inside, from their hearts. And that means they need knowledge that awakens love. People's affections are changed by what they know. Knowledge itself is, of course, not sufficient, as we have seen (the Devil has plenty). But it is necessary. The Holy Spirit uses it to awaken new desires and new wonders and joys. That is how God is exalted in changed behaviors."

Carson begins the trip into the role of the scholar/pastor by telling about his journey through school pastoring as he went and ultimately landing into the scholar role at Trinity in Deerfield, IL. I think one of the things that burdened me while reading through this book is that both men realize that God has placed them in these positions and that they are going to serve faithfully in them until God moves them. Carson shows how much he cares for and loves the pastorate and loves training them at the seminary level. He truly loves and respects both roles as being a gift from God. Carson also stresses how the pastor and the scholar role should not be at odds but rather should be something that works together to serve either position to the fullest extent. Here are a few things that he said that struck me:

"Unless you are actively involved in pastoral ministry in some sens or other, you will become distant from the frontlines and therefore far less useful than you might be."

"The aim is never become a master of the Word, but to be mastered by it." 

"I dare never forget that students do not learn everything I try to teach them but primarily what I am excited about."

Personally, I think this is a book that all pastors, seminary students, and professors should read. It is a short read (a mere 111 pages) and well worth the time. It is time for these roles to not be at odds but rather to be working together to produce the best pastors and scholars that God would have us.

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