The Pastor as Public Theologian: Reclaiming a Lost Vision
Vanhoozer, Kevin; Strachan, Owen
“For years I have told students that they were too smart for the academy, that they should stretch themselves with the harder intellectual work of the parish. And here I thought I was being original. Vanhoozer and Strachan show the original and eschatological unity of two things that modernity has tried to pull apart--the vital parish and the learned pastor. Suddenly the job seems harder and more blessed than ever.”See All
Duke Divinity School; senior pastor, Boone United Methodist Church, North Carolina
“There's not much wrong with the practice of pastoral ministry that can't be cured by a good dose of theological refurbishment. This book gives strong impetus for construing the work of the pastor as authorized, energized, and sanctified by the pastor's theological commitments. A spirited, Spirit-filled book.”See All
Duke Divinity School; retired bishop, United Methodist Church
“Preachers today must present biblical truth to people who are more and more resistant to it. The skillful preacher must understand something of the history of ideas and the baseline cultural narratives of our day in order even to be comprehensible to them. Not only that, but preachers in our cities must often speak to people from several diverse world cultures all at once. I've come to the conclusion that ministers need more robust theological education and training than they did when I came into the ministry forty years ago. This book is an important, ringing call for working pastors and preachers to exercise a higher level of theologically informed leadership in our churches.”See All
Redeemer Presbyterian Church, New York City
“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.”See All
Eugene H. Peterson
Regent College, Vancouver; pastor emeritus, Christ Our King Presbyterian, Bel Air, Maryland
The Christian body in America is immersed in a crisis of biblical illiteracy," researcher George Barna has said. Sadly, pastors are often at the forefront of this trend. Many pastors understand themselves to be counselors, leaders, and motivators, which are needed roles. Yet the fundamental reality of the pastorate is that it is a theological office. 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. The very heart of the pastor's work is to be a theologian mediating God to the people.
Drawing on the depiction of pastors in the Bible, key figures from church history, and Christian theology, this book offers a clarion call for pastors to serve as public theologians in their congregations and communities. It is brief and accessible, making it easy for busy pastors to read, and includes a chapter from working pastors who illustrate the ideas presented.