The Power to Comprehend with All the Saints: The Formation and Practice of a Pastor-Theologian
Theologian: Why PhD Students co.
The Protestant Reformation
This essay explores these twin problems and suggests that the way forward in bridging the gap between academy and church is to reunite the pastoral vocation with the vocation of the theologian. Toward this end, the essay offers a taxonomy of three contemporary models of the pastor-theologian, examining the strengths and limitations of each. Ultimately, the paper calls for a resurrection of an all but extinct, yet historically rooted model of the pastorate—the pastor as ecclesial theologian, and challenges the emerging generations of theologians to consider the pastorate as a viable context for their future theological scholarship.
Keywords Pastor-theologian, academic theology, Ecclesial theology, social location The sub-title of this essay may sound a Tom Wright regarding his retirement from bit naive. In what sense could the pastor- the See of Durham to take up an appoint- ate ever be a legitimate context for robust ment at the University of Saint Andrews theological scholarship—especially the sort offers us a telling glimpse into the con- of theological scholarship that would justify temporary working relationship between the time and effort needed for acquiring a theological scholarship and the pastoral PhD?
And indeed, incredulity here would not ministry. Announcing his career move, be without warrant. It was presented in a Corresponding author: modified form at the Symposium of the Society for Gerald Hiestand the Advancement of Ecclesial Theology.
The Power to Comprehend with All the Saints Quotes
Email: geraldhiestand calvarymemorial. It longer the norm; he has been replaced by the has been an indescribable privilege to be Bishop professor-theologian. This transition has not of the ancient Diocese of Durham, to work with been without effect on the health of the Church a superb team of colleagues, to take part in the or her theology, notably in two primary ways. I have within the pastoral community—and thus our loved the people, the place, the heritage and the congregations—fell considerably.
The collec- work. But my continuing vocation to be a writer, tive capacity of the pastoral community to think teacher and broadcaster, for the benefit I hope deeply and carefully about the crucial social, of the wider world and church, has been cultural, and theological issues facing the increasingly difficult to combine with the church has waned. A vapid pragmatism has been complex demands and duties of a diocesan the inevitable result. And the cultural moment in bishop.
I am very sad about this, but the choice which we find ourselves—particularly in the has become increasingly clear. The local church—in the main—is no on sexual ethics and anthropology, surely this is longer fertile soil for the sort of robust theologi- it.
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Yet the pastoral community—in the main—is cal engagement pastors once offered the larger largely incapable of providing such leadership. It should not surprise us that the near and counseling.
To be sure, all of these repre- universal removal of our theologians from the sent necessary and historic pastoral responsi- pastorate to the academy has resulted in a deep bilities. But amidst the inevitable pragmatism and chronic theological deficit within our of ecclesial ministry, the church has lost sight churches. With the rise of the university in theologians to be reminded that the pastoral the eleventh and twelfth centuries, Christian office was once capable of robust theological theology began to suffer the loss of a distinctly production. But onstrate the viability—indeed desirability—of evangelicalism, when considered broadly, demonstrates a disturbing lack of theological depth at the congregant uniting ecclesial ministry and robust theologi- level.
David Wells, in his now classic, No Place for cal scholarship. Wright Leaving Durham, its deleterious effects on the theological integrity of Appointed to Chair at St. Wells ]. See his entire work, but especially Hiestand ecclesial voice. Our theologians no longer live modern university, cuts itself off from its great and breathe in an ecclesial environment. The historical matrices and renders itself sterile for academy, not the church, sets the agenda and the Church.
Joseph Ratzinger then Christian colleges and divinity schools; many Cardinal, now Pope , in his The Nature and such professors operate self-consciously as the- Mission of Theology, draws upon the work of ologians and scholars of the church, and their Italian historian G. Alberigo, and observes theological context provides the freedom to insightfully, reflect this commitment.
Yet the methodologi- cal agnosticism of the wider university is not …. There are as is noted spiritual and scientific complexion…. The below a number of distinct strengths of con- orientation of theology toward a scientific status temporary academic theology. For Church on one hand, and the guild of theologians similar sentiments germane to biblical studies, see Craig on the other.
Hess and G. Wenham Grand Rapids, Mich. Alister E. McGrath makes similar to explicit ecclesial concerns. Craig Bartholomew tion. Albert Mohler, Jr. Westminster Theological Journal, vol. There are, of course, ministry. But methodology of the modern research university despite our best efforts to redress the dilemma, does not often lend itself to the sort of theologi- the problem remains.
I am convinced the cal project a pastor would be interested in pur- chronic nature of this problem is connected to suing. These are legitimate concerns, but we the issue of social location. Whatever the limi- leave them aside for an issue that I believe is tations of postmodernity, it has properly more foundational: charting a new vision for reminded us that social location plays a key role the pastor-theologian. If a new generation of in theological formation. It is, I twin concerns raised in this essay. To move for- contend, simply asking too much of academic ward, we must assess the dominant understand- theologians to be sufficiently aware of and ings of the pastor-theologian with a view to driven by the questions of a social location that articulating a fresh vision.
From what I can they do not vocationally inhabit. While I affirm the legiti- academy and the church, it is time to ask the macy indeed necessity of each of these para- emerging generation of theologians to once digms, this essay will argue for the addition of a again consider the pastorate as a viable context third, historic understanding of the pastor- for their future theological scholarship. This theologian: the pastor-theologian as ecclesial single move addresses both issues raised above. More theologians in our pulpits will deepen We begin with an assessment of the contem- the theological integrity of our churches, while porary identities of the pastor-theologian.
In this model, the pastor- be also. Such pastors are small way. Given that doctrine provides theological concerns. In this mance and the Spirit-directed universal perfor- helpful work, Vanhoozer offers us an account of mance. The gospel is to be performed, pel.
How Pastors Die Trying
Pastors who neglect creedal and confes- not merely believed. For Vanhoozer, the pas- The Father is the playwright and the producer of tor-theologian is a local theologian. While gian is in keeping with others who advocate for the Holy Spirit is the primary director who the pastor-theologian model. Mohler devotes a chapter to the nature and identity of the pastor-theologian, in which he argues that 7 Vanhoozer, Drama, The Center for any mention is made of helping pastors develop Theological Inquiry CTI , an ecumenical insti- as writing theologians to the broader commu- tution working primarily within the mainline nity.
Here again, the local theologian model is tradition, concluded a nine-year Pastor- assumed. The Pastor-theologian as theologians, paper presentations, etc. It is clear Popular Theologian as one reads the literature from the CTI gather- Moving beyond the local theologian model, we ings14 that its predominant understanding of the arrive at a second definition of the pastor- pastor-theologian remains largely that of the theologian—the pastor-theologian as popular local theologian.
Allen McSween, a participant theologian. Writing of this sort mention a writing ministry. See also the twin essays by is not primarily an attempt to enter into the the- John Piper and D. Rather Crossway, It is clear throughout both essays it is an effort to help other pastors and non- that Piper and Carson view the identity of the pastor- theologians better understand the importance of theologian almost exclusively within the framework of relevant issues in theology. Commentaries written in 14 See in particular Wallace M. Alston and Cynthia A.
Popular theology also tends to cover Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, , and Michael Welker ground not covered by academic theologians. Alston Jr. Hiestand marriage, finances, church leadership, liturgy, this will not happen if pastors do not self- and the like are not frequently addressed in consciously view themselves as theologians evangelical academic journals.
Without a robust In short, the job of the popular theologian is theological writing ministry, it is very difficult to speak to issues at a popular level that tend to imagine how the pastoral community could to be left unaddressed by academic theologians, ever function as an important body of theologi- as well as to translate academic theology down ans. Contemporary theological discourse will into the common vernacular of the local church.
Further, the sole identification of the pastor- D.
Assessing the Contemporary theologian with the local theologian model Models ironically perpetuates the theological anemia of What follows is not a critique of the local theo- the church. Central to my critique of both ling vision for pulling theologians back into the models is that they lack a theological writing churches. This inevitably pushes many of our ministry as essential to their identity.
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