A Two Lane Street for Pastors and Students
Why has there arisen this impulse in our day towards pastor-scholars and scholar-pastors? Why are so many within the youthful era reluctant to let the pastoral and scholarly roads diverge? Amongst many elements, it’s value pointing to the wonderful half-century explosion of the evangelical motion in the US that’s paving a two-lane highway the place as soon as stood a fork. Not solely have we seen a shocking advance in evangelical publications but in addition a proliferation of preaching and instructing through the Web (written, audio, and now video). Mix this with the variety of fashions the earlier era has producedone thinks not solely of John Piper and D. A. Carson, however of others like Tim Keller, Al Mohler, Mark Dever, Ligon Duncan, Gordon Hugenberger, Sam Storms, and othersand, underneath God, you will have a recipe for the revival of a brand new era of Jonathan Edwardslike pastor-scholars.
Past these up to date examples come the extra distantly historic examples of Athanasius and Augustine, Luther and Zwingli and Calvin, together with John Bunyan, Andrew Fuller, and the Puritans.
And past these stalwarts is the apostle Paul, a person with each a manifestly first-rate mind and a coronary heart sufficiently big to really feel the day by day strain on me of my nervousness for all of the church buildings (2 Cor. 11:28).1
Past Paul is the instance of the truest pastor-scholar of all, who even at age twelve gave proof of each his scholarly thoughts and his pastoral coronary heart. Like a scholar, all who heard him had been amazed at his understanding and his solutions (Luke 2:47) whereas he responded to his dad and mom, like a pastor, Did you not know that I should be in my Fathers home? (Luke 2:49). When absolutely grown, as a scholar, he knew the Scriptures higher than any and will silence the discovered Pharisees with a phrase; and as pastor, he known as kids to himself and lovingly educated his disciples by means of their sluggishness and persistent incompetence.
Jesus, the God-man, is the final word mannequin of participating each coronary heart and head, not compromising both for the opposite. He’s each the chief Shepherd (1 Pet. 5:4) and the one whose knowledge is bigger than Solomons (Matt. 12:42). He’s not solely the good shepherd of the sheep (Heb. 13:20) and the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls (1 Pet. 2:25), but in addition in Luke 24, starting with Moses and all of the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all of the Scriptures the issues regarding himself (Luke 24:27) and was the grasp professor who along with his instructing, by the work of his Holy Spirit, opened their minds to grasp the Scriptures (Luke 24:45).
Jesus, the God-man, is the final word mannequin of participating each coronary heart and head, not compromising both for the opposite.
This new era of Christian leaders does effectively to look to Piper and Carson and Keller and the others. We might do even higher, in some senses, in trying to Luther and Calvin. We do higher nonetheless trying to Paul. And we do greatest trying to Jesus.
The Significance of the Middle
The temptations are nice, within the lifetime of each the pastor-scholar and the scholar-pastor, to present better and better consideration to the peripheral issues, to the multitude of marginally vital topics. The peripheral and marginal little doubt at occasions do want our consideration, at occasions even nice consideration. However as a Christian chief, whether or not pastor-scholar or scholar-pastor, the servant of the Lord comes again time and again to the outdated, outdated story that’s the very coronary heart of the religion. It’s the gospel that apostle Paul says is of first significance (1 Cor. 15:3). It’s the gospel that’s the energy of God for salvation (Rom. 1:16). It’s the gospel that not solely saves the misplaced however is at work in you believers (1 Thess. 2:13), the gospel that’s bearing fruit and rising (Col. 1:6), not solely worldwide however in us and in our church communities. So it’s the gospel that Paul leaves with the non secular leaders of Ephesus in his farewell handle to them in Acts 20: I commend you to God and to the phrase of his grace, which is ready to construct you up and to provide the inheritance amongst all those that are sanctified (v. 32). It’s the gospel that builds up and makes us holy.
So in charging pastors to be extra critical in regards to the lifetime of the thoughts, and in difficult students to be extra engaged with the lifetime of the church, we conclude with this prayer, that every one our considerate shepherding and all our pastoral scholarship could also be to the good finish of getting the gospel message about Jesus dwell richly (Col. 3:16) each in us and in our individuals; that understanding Jesus could be the good finish of all our pastoring and our scholarship; that we ourselves, in all our preaching, writing, finding out, and counseling, would proceed to see ourselves as the good beneficiaries of his nice grace; that into eternity we’d be followers of Jesus increasingly formed, saturated, and reworked by his particular person and work. To Jesus, the good pastor-scholar, be the glory. Amen.
This text is by David Mathis and is customized from The Pastor as Scholar and the Scholar as Pastor: Reflections on Life and Ministry by John Piper and D. A. Carson.