Posted On September 22, 2015

The Pastor As Public Theologian Reclaiming a Lost Vision

by | Sep 22, 2015 | Church, Featured

9780801097713Few issues today are as important as understanding what theology is and it’s importance to the local church. This is why I’m excited to see a resurgence in conversation about what pastoral ministry is. Many pastors today see themselves primarily as counselors, leaders, and motivators. Yet this often comes as the expensive that the fundamental reality of the pastorate as a theological office. The pastoral office is a theological office. The most important role is to be a theologian mediating God to the people of God. The church needs pastors who can contextualize the Word of God to help their congregation think theologically about all aspects of their lives, such as work, end-of-life decisions, political involvement, and entertainment choices.

Drawing on the depiction of pastors in the Bible, key figures from church history, and Christian theology, The Pastor As Public Theologian: Reclaiming A Lost Vision offers a clarion call for pastors to serve as public theologians in their congregations and communities. The church needs pastors to read the world in light of Scripture and to direct their congregations in the ways of wisdom, shalom, and human flourishing. This book calls for a paradigm shift in the very idea of what a pastor is and does, setting forth a positive alternative picture. It also includes pastoral reflections on the theological task from twelve working pastors.

This book has four parts. In the introduction, the authors consider what a pastor-theologian is, along with six practical steps towards being a pastor-theologian, and seven ways to theologize as a pastor. In part one, Owen Strachan considers the ministry of the Old Covenant in the Old Testament, participating in Jesus’ ministry of the New Covenant, and the pastorate as a theological office. Pastors Tinker, Wilson, and Samra give pastoral perspective on the pastor as public theologians, a test case on human origins, and a practical theology of technology. Chapter two considers Owen gives a brief history of the pastorate in the early church, the medieval period, reformational thinking, the Puritans, and in modern times. Pastors DeYoung and Wesley G.Pastor consider the theology of saving faith, and a place for true.

In part two, chapter three, Kevin Vanhoozer considers the many moods of theology, theology in the indicative mood, a ministry of understanding, theology in the imperative mood, and what seminaries are for. Pastors Gibson and Kynes considers death and preaching, along with truth, goodness, and beauty—while Cornelius Platinga Jr. writes about reading for preaching. In part four, Dr. Vanhoozer considers the Great Commission through the perspective of making disciples, and building God’s house, along with evangelists, catechists, liturgists, and apologists. Pastoral perspective is offered by Pastors Davies and Hood on the drama of preaching, and the pastor-theologian as pulpit apologists. Dr. Vanhoozer wraps up the book considering fifty-five summary theses on the pastor as a public theologian.

Reading The Pastor As Public Theologian was a true joy for me. While some of the reading was harder to read than other parts, overall this book was an enjoyable read. I especially appreciated the inclusion of active pastors involved in the work of ministry describing their various perspectives on a wide variety of topics. This is an excellent book, one that should be read by Bible college and seminary students preparing for ministry. This book would also be good for new pastors to read to learn more about the work they’ve been entrusted with. I highly recommend this book and believe it will help new and seasoned pastors to learn more about the important conversation that is occurring about pastor ministry and how it is a theological office.

I received this book for free from Baker Academic the opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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