The Pastor as Public Theologian: Reclaiming a Lost Vision
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The Pastor as Public Theologian: Reclaiming a Lost Vision

Baker Academic / 2014 / Hardcover

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Many pastors today see themselves primarily as counselors, leaders, and motivators. Yet this often comes at the expense of the fundamental reality of the pastorate as a theological office. The most important role is to be a theologian mediating God to the people. The church needs pastors who can contextualize the Word of God to help their congregations think theologically about all aspects of their lives, such as work, end-of-life decisions, political involvement, and entertainment choices.

Drawing on the Bible, key figures from church history, and Christian theology, The Pastor as Public Theologian offers a clarion call for pastors to serve as public theologians in their congregations and communities. It is designed to be engaging reading for busy pastors and includes pastoral reflections on the theological task from twelve working pastors, including Kevin DeYoung and Cornelius Plantinga.

Product Information

Format: Hardcover
Number of Pages: 160
Vendor: Baker Academic
Publication Date: 2014
Dimensions: 8.50 X 5.50 (inches)
ISBN: 0801097711
ISBN-13: 9780801097713

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Author Bio

Kevin J. Vanhoozer (PhD, University of Cambridge) is research professor of systematic theology at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois. He is the author of numerous books, including Is There a Meaning in This Text? and The Drama of Doctrine. Owen Strachan (PhD, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) is associate professor of Christian theology at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Missouri. He is also a Fellow with the Center for Pastor Theologians.

Endorsements

This is a timely, more than timely - urgent - book. Kevin Vanhoozer, one of our leading theologians, protests the 'putting asunder' of theology by American pastors. A 'great chasm' has opened up as pastors, more often than not, abandon their vocations as theologians in their congregations for careers in which the secular culture calls all the shots. It was not always this way. Vanhoozer and Strachan skillfully fashion insight and discernment to bring us back to what the church ordained us to do.
-Eugene H. Peterson,
Professor emeritus of spiritual theology, Regent College, Vancouver; pastor emeritus, Christ Our King Presbyterian (UPCUSA), Bel Air, Maryland

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  1. Maricopa, AZ
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: male
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Needed reminder
    October 1, 2015
    Pastor Jim
    Maricopa, AZ
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: male
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    It was great expectation that I read this book. In recent years I have been concern about if we were really teaching our people the divine perspective about life and the Christian world view. Neither can be done properly without teaching theology. I have observed that many pulpits are sacrificing good theology on the altar of relevance. I agree whole heartedly with the authors that to many Pastors have a wrong perspective on ministrysubstituting their office to that of counselors, leaders, and motivators, instead of teachers, preachers, and theologians. Their proposal is threefold: First, Pastors are and always have been theologians. Second, every theologian is in some sense a public theologian. Third, the purpose of the pastor-theologian being a public intellectual is to serve the people of God by building them up in faith (pages 15-16). Their purpose is to build up people of Christ.

    However, the methodology of the book is interesting and helpful. The authors write a chapter and then they have Pastoral perspectives on what they wrote. I found this especially helpful and practical. After the introduction, the book is divided into two parts: (1) Biblical theology and Historical Theology. This is a overview of history of ministry from the Old Testament to modern times. First, he correlates the ministry of theologian to that of the three-fold office found in the Old Testament: prophet, priest, and king. The author sees the Pastor as priest in being set apart for a set apart people (ministering grace); prophet as proclaiming of truth (ministering truth) ; and king as a personification of divine wisdom (ministering wisdom). In the early church, there was a strong emphasis on the Pastor as teacher and the pastorate as a theological office. That view shifted during the medieval times more from the pew to the scholastic, it took the reformation to revive it back to the local pastor and the pew. The preaching became more expository in nature (which seems to me is the real power behind the pastor as theologian). In modern times the pastor theologian has been compromised by populism, professional, and taming of the Pastorate. Theology has become a specialists discipline, not a generalist (page 89). This book certainly calls us back to be pastor theologians.

    (2) Systematic Theology and Practical Theology. Throughout the book are some 55 theses on the Pastor as Theologian, which are brought together in the conclusion. He sees being a Pastor-Theologian in very practical terms. The purpose is for cultivating life and for coping with death. To communicate this to our people means we understand God, the world, and ourselves in relation to what we are in Christ. The purpose is to confront people with words, thoughts, and actions of God in their life. The purpose is also to proclaim Christ through the word by preaching and teaching.

    The book is filled with wisdom, thoughtful insights, and encouragement. It is a timely book and one needed in todays world. It is reader friendly, clear, and helpful.

    I received this book free from Baker Academic through the Baker Academic Bloggers program. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255
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