Tuesday, 12 August 2008
Not interested in the unpreachable
Some have recently suggested that academic theologians are not motivated by the gospel on the ground - the local church and church planting. Better, they say, not to attend a theological college / seminary for a few years, but to be trained up in the local church. Now leaving aside the practical questions (Is every minister equipped with time and gifts to train young men to be ministers in every regard? Is the Bible college student really in a bubble unconnected with local churches?), this struck me as having some genuine concerns, but vastly unfair and uncharitable to many academic theologians I know, or of whom I know, who are very much pastorally and evangelistically motivated, and entirely engaged in serving their local church. I have already mentioned one such (Pete Williams), and have just come across a good interview of Derek Thomas, who baptised me when he was a humble minister and now is a humble seminary lecturer and church minister: on The Pastor and the Academy. "Too often, a rift obtains between the work of the church and theological study. Pastors and seminary students often feel the need to choose between one or the other. Derek Thomas, both pastor and professor, joins us to talk about the relationship between the pastor and the academy." Much of use to listen to.