I was excited to read The Pastor as Scholar and the Scholar as Pastor in theory. What I found in it stirred my affections for both Christian ministry and scholarship. It also breathed life into the stories of these two evangelical icons.
What will our scholarship and pastoral ministry be if we are heads without hearts or hearts without heads? Recognizing the need for pastors and scholars to embody both theological depth and practical focus, John Piper and D. A. Carson have boldly advanced what it means to be a pastor-theologian and a theologian-pastor.
Weaving testimony and teaching, Piper and Carson challenge those in academia and in the pastorate to think carefully and holistically about their calling. Piper centers on the importance of careful thinking in his role as pastor, while Carson focuses on the importance of a pastoral heart in his career as scholar.
With insight and balance, Piper and Carson give critical guidance to help us span interdisciplinary gaps to the glory of God and the good of his church. These chapters are revised and expanded versions of the messages originally given following the 2009 Gospel Coalition conference.
- Piper: I am regularly bursting to say something about the most precious things in the universe – and not in any disinterested, dispassionate, composed, detached, unemotional, so-called scholarly way, but rather with total interest, warm passion, discomposure, utter attachment, and fully emotional, and, I hope always, true (23).
- Piper: So along with the disciplines of precise thinking and painstaking observation came a passion for conceptually clear and emotionally moving expression in writing (29).
- Piper: To cut yourself off from a local church with a sense of self-sufficiency is, in the long run, suicidal (37).
- Piper: Right thinking about God exists to serve right feelings for God (50).
- Piper: The way you will be a gift to your church is if you are an effective teacher (61).
- Piper: What “scholarly” would mean for me is that the greatest object of knowledge if God and that he has revealed himself authoritatively in a book; and that I should work with all my might and all my heart and all my soul and all my mind to know and enjoy him and to make him known for the joy of others (67).
- Carson: It makes no sense to pretend you are something you are not (74).
- Carson: I’d rather have the gospel, knowledge of forgiveness of sins, and a reverence for God’s Word than all the academic applause in the world (88).
- Carson: So when you read “devotionally,” keep your mind engaged; when you read “critically”, never, ever, forget whose Word this is. The aim is never to become a master of the Word, but to be mastered by it (91).
- Carson: Recognize that students do not learn everything you teach them…They learn what I am excited about; they learn what I emphasize, what I return to again and again; they learn what organizes the rest of my thought (98).
- Carson: Love the church because Jesus loves it (103).
Travis Agnew serves as the Lead Pastor of Rocky Creek Church in Greenville, SC. His most recent book is Distinctive Discipleship. He is married to Amanda and the father of two sons and one daughter. Travis graduated from North Greenville University with a B.A. in Christian Studies and earned his M.Div. and D.Min. from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, with his doctoral focus on family discipleship.