Just a little while ago, Gerald Hiestand gave me a signed copy of The Pastor as Theologians: Resurrecting an Ancient Vision (Zondervan). I am eager to dive into the book (but I have other necessary readings that are competing for priority at the moment). Here is a teaser from the opening chapter:
Pastor theologians aren’t extinct, but sightings are rare. This is because pastors no longer traffic ideas. They cast vision, manage programs, offer counsel, and give messages. We expect our pastors to be able to preach; we expect them to know how to lead; we expect them to be good at solving problems and giving direction. None of this is inherently wrong. Indeed, all of these are important pastoral tasks. But we no longer view the pastorate as an intellectual calling (11).
What happened to the intellectual calling? Why do churches overlook this aspect of pastoral work? How are churches strengthened by pastors who understand that they are, and must be, their congregations’ chief theologians? How do we recover this calling? Hiestand and Wilson will help us find our way back to this calling.
(Want to help strengthen significantly your church’s Gospel ministry to you, your children and grandchildren, and to those who need to hear the Gospel? Read The Pastor as Theologian from cover to cover, give a copy to an elder you know [or if you’re Baptist, to a deacon, if you are friends with one believes in reading for spiritual growth and understands that he should do so for his church’s sake], and gift one to your pastor with an encouraging note attached. If you are a pastor, you should not be offended if a member gifts you such a book; instead, be encouraged that you have a member who cares for you and the congregation.)
I am benefiting from Hiestand and Wilson’s pastor-as-theologian-approach to ministry to my family and our congregation. May your congregation have such joys.
WGN-TV in Chicago is reporting on an attempt by a Chicago atheist to recruit African Americans to her worldview. Such recruiting is not new; I wrote an article on this phenomena a few years ago.
I guess the lady promoted on the billboard has read Plantinga? I hope she will give a judicial reading to Craig’s future brief.
In one of our recent chapels, a few Moody students performed a small skit in which they proposed to be the Apostles attempting to gain an understanding of the idea of “church.” However, as you will see, their debate is quite modern rather than ancient.
The audio quality is not strong, as the recording is from a cell phone rather than through the chapel audio system. So there are occasions in which the rumblings of the audience drown out the actors. Yet you can hear most of the production.
Congrats to my two students, Laura and Hannah, who were instrumental in the skit!
I just received notice of the publication of Timothy Gloege’s, Guaranteed Pure: The Moody Bible Institute, Business, and the Making of Modern Evangelicalism (The University of North Carolina Press). Here is the publisher’s description:
American evangelicalism has long walked hand in hand with modern consumer capitalism. Timothy Gloege shows us why, through an engaging story about God and big business at the Moody Bible Institute. Founded in Chicago by shoe-salesman-turned-revivalist Dwight Lyman Moody in 1889, the institute became a center of fundamentalism under the guidance of the innovative promoter and president of Quaker Oats, Henry Crowell. Gloege explores the framework for understanding humanity shared by these business and evangelical leaders, whose perspectives clearly differed from those underlying modern scientific theories. At the core of their “corporate evangelical” framework was a modern individualism understood primarily in terms of economic relations.
Conservative evangelicalism and modern business grew symbiotically, transforming the ways that Americans worshipped, worked, and consumed. Gilded Age evangelicals initially understood themselves primarily as new “Christian workers”–employees of God guided by their divine contract, the Bible. But when these ideas were put to revolutionary ends by Populists, corporate evangelicals reimagined themselves as savvy religious consumers and reformulated their beliefs. Their consumer-oriented “orthodoxy” displaced traditional creeds and undermined denominational authority, forever altering the American religious landscape. Guaranteed pure of both liberal theology and Populist excesses, this was a new form of old-time religion not simply compatible with modern consumer capitalism but uniquely dependent on it.
I would love to read this work while I am enjoying an American Church History class at my church on Sundays. However, it will have to go into the summer reading pile.
“If we are going to faithfully follow Jesus we are going to have to become increasingly comfortable with releasing rights for the cause of Christ.” – Todd Wilson, “Giving Up Rights to Gain Rewards,” on 1 Corinthians 9, April 19, 2015.
In this morning’s sermon, Todd mentioned reconsidering (my term) the absolute rights to freedom of speech and freedom of religion. I think Christians give up the right to rights when you say “Yes” to Jesus’ summons to salvation. As Todd asked, “What if Jesus had demanded rights?”
All “rights,” as “claims on other people to treat you a certain way” (Wilson), are not germane to humanity or necessary for a peaceful society. A Christian ought to be wiling to sacrifice any legal right for the sake of the Gospel.
I am excited for my undergraduate MBI student, Casey Zoppa, on the release of her co-written, bilingual children’s story, Cora and the Lost Peanut: Cora Perdió su Maní (CreateSpace). Casey served as a storywriter and as the illustrator. The book began as an extra credit project. I hope you will support Casey and her team by purchasing copies of the book.
I look forward to many other works to come from your pen and crayons!