Perhaps this book got off on the wrong foot with me. John Piper's criticism of F.F. Bruce and his apparently "dry" commentaries hardly impressed me at all (one who from his younger days has found himself riveted to Bruce's scholarship). Perhaps that coloured the rest of what Piper was trying to say. But again, having read several of Piper's other works (and having been positively affected by them) this one was found wanting. It didn't seem to be too carefully thought through and edited. Much better was the chapter by D.A. Carson, though, again, it wasn't classic Carson. I guess I was hoping for something more engaging from these men I greatly respect.
The Pastor As Scholar and the Scholar as Pastor Reflections on Life and Ministry by John Piper and D.A. Carson edited by Owen Strachan and David Mathis is a brilliant book that combines head and heart and calls for the embodiment of both theological depth and practical focus. This is a good book for every Pastor, teacher, Bible college student or seminarian to read.
In recent days there has been much conversation on the topic of pastor-theologian or pastor-scholar. Drs. Carson and Piper masterfully through their own testimony, experience, as well as Scriptural explanation explain the importance of being ministers that are committed to loving the Lord God with all of one's heart, mind and strength.
Drs. Carson and Piper have deeply impacted my own life, thought and ministry, and as such I cannot think of a better book that demonstrates not only their gifts which the Lord has blessed them with but their pastoral wisdom. As I read this book as a seminary student, I felt I was being pastored by both men.
Dr. Piper calls for two things in this book: first he describes his emergence as one who thinks and feels deeply about the things of God and then speaks and writes about them. Finally he describes how thinking serves the feeling in the ministry of the Word. Dr. Carson calls for scholars to pastor their students not just be writers and teachers of the Word but also doers--walking alongside of their students by praying with them, building relationships with them and ministering to them.
This is an outstanding book that is not only biblical but filled with the testimony of two men who have impacted the lives of scores of Pastors, teachers, Professors and Bible College and seminary students around the world. I encourage you to pick up this book--read it slowly, think deeply and reflect on how the words of Drs. Carson and Piper might impact your own ministry presently and into the future.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Crossway as part of their Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commision's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
This short little book greatly increased my love being scholarly as a pastor. Perhaps it is because I am already bent that way but this book solidified my desire to deeply seek the truth. Piper writes as a pastor with a scholars' heart, having been in the world of academia before entering the pastorate. Carson writes as a scholar with a pastoral heart, and as a reluctant member of academia, having been a pastor first. Both men faithfully show that one does not have to choose between being a pastor or a scholar. You can be both while pursuing either role primarily. This is a move backwards in our faith, and one that is needed. There was a time when local pastors were seen as the greatest theologians in the world. For some reason our current culture has divorced the two, and removed the hard work of theology from the church and placed it in the ivory towers of scholarly achievement. As men like Piper and Carson continue to lead and train new generations to follow in their footsteps we will see this trend start to change and right itself.