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The Pastor as Scholar and the Scholar as Pastor: Reflections on Life and Ministry Paperback – March 31, 2011
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“Few books are so needed as this. Recapturing the vision of the pastor as scholar and the scholar as pastor is crucial for the health of the church. Who would not want to read John Piper and D. A. Carson as they reflect on this calling? This is one of the most encouraging and helpful books I have seen in a long time. If you are a pastor, read it. If you have a pastor, put it in his hands.”
—R. Albert Mohler Jr., President and Joseph Emerson Brown Professor of Christian Theology, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
“How we need pastors and professors who love God with their minds and their emotions. Two of the preeminent evangelicals of our day reflect here on what it means to love Christ with all our heart. I was encouraged, convicted, and challenged by this book. It is a treasure well worth rereading.”
—Thomas R. Schreiner, James Buchanan Harrison Professor of New Testament Interpretation and Professor of Biblical Theology, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky
“I’m deeply encouraged by the growing number of pastoral scholars and scholarly pastors. Probably no living Christians have done more to bring about this trend than D. A. Carson and John Piper. In this book, they will inspire you with stories from their journeys and challenge you with seasoned advice. Most of all, they will lead you to thank God that he gives you the privilege of leading and teaching his church.”
—Collin Hansen, Editorial Director, The Gospel Coalition; author, Blind Spots
“Who could count how many of us have had our lives changed by the ministries of John Piper and D. A. Carson? How many more have come to Christ or have been discipled in the Gospel by pastors and teachers influenced by these leaders. This book is a riveting breed, granting us a candid, personal, and behind-the-scenes look at what the Lord has used to shape these ministries. As you read this book, pray that the Lord Jesus would raise up, even now the next generation of pastor-theologians and theologian-pastors to carry on the great work of Christ-exaltation and Kingdom-mission.”
—Russell D. Moore, president, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention
“These are important chapters by two of evangelicalism’s most important thinkers. In an age that has largely forgotten the native connection between theology and the church, John Piper and D. A. Carson remind us that these two worlds belong together. There can be, of course, no turning back the clock; the modern research university is here to stay. But Piper and Carson offer us two good examples of how to navigate the contemporary terrain with a view to producing ecclesial theology—theology in service to the church. This short book is a great beginning to a conversation that has been long overdue.”
—Gerald Hiestand, Senior Associate Pastor, Calvary Memorial Church, Oak Park, Illinois; Executive Director, Society for the Advancement of Ecclesial Theology
About the Author
John Piper (DTheol, University of Munich) is the founder and teacher of desiringGod.org and the chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. He served for 33 years as the senior pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and is the author of more than 50 books, including Desiring God; Don’t Waste Your Life; This Momentary Marriage; A Peculiar Glory; and Reading the Bible Supernaturally.
D. A. Carson (PhD, Cambridge University) is research professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, where he has taught since 1978. He is a cofounder of the Gospel Coalition and has written or edited nearly 120 books. He and his wife, Joy, have two children and live in the north suburbs of Chicago.
David Mathis serves as the executive editor at desiringGod.org, a pastor at Cities Church, and an adjunct professor at Bethlehem College & Seminary. His articles regularly appear at desiringGod.org/mathis. David and his wife, Megan, have three children.
Owen Strachan (PhD, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) is associate professor of Christian theology and director of the Theological and Cultural Engagement at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He also serves as president of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood.
Top customer reviews
The book is fascinating in that it helps confirm whether you are called to one or the other. Like many, I, too, came to the crossroads of deciding on a vocation as a pastor or professor, and this book sealed the confirmation. An example for me was when Piper stated that he needed to process information and share it with others through his convictions and point of view and not merely as third person information in a classroom.
I knew then that I, too, am called to study and share what I learn through personal life experiences and the convictions that have emerged from them. Thus, I discovered that I am a pastor first, and then a scholar. I am confident that this book will help you lean one way or the other. The other book I highly recomment as a follow-up is Ben WItherington's "Is There A Doctor in the House?" He charts the rigorous path towards scholarship. I highly recommend both books.
This book is a wonderful addition to the whole discussion of "the Evangelical mind," the modern manifestation of which began with Mark Noll's seminal and recently-sequeled The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind twenty years ago and which has continued, most notably, in the works of Os Guinness, Alister McGrath, and, recently, in Piper's own monograph, Think.
The central contention of both talks is that the radical distinction between "pastor" and "scholar" (roughly analagous in modern parlance as the distinction between "heart" and "head") is unnecessary, unhelpful, and injurious to effective ministry. Piper and Carson effectively argue that knowledge and feeling ought not be pitted against one another. On the contrary, the rigid, careful study of the truths of God should naturally give rise to the most powerful affections and emotions, for they will instill a sense of intellectual integrity to our hearts and keep the faith from being flooded by mere emotionalism. On the other hand, we should study passionately, not in some kind of supposed vacuum in which we are untouched by the overwhelming grandeur of that which we are studying.
Piper and Carson convincingly argue that the pastor should strive for scholarly acumen and a robust development of the mind, not for social or vocational advancement, but because the verities of the faith demand nothing less than our best efforts. In a Protestant tradition which has, at times, tragically pitted knowledge against feeling, this is welcome indeed.
The authors tell their personal stories to great effect. They follow their own testimonies with practical wisdom concerning how to develope as scholar-pastors or pastor-scholars. I have benefited from and been challenged by this wonderful little book. I supposed pastors may benefit most readily, but I daresay that any believer would appreciate and be edified by the discussion herein.
Highly recommended! If you don't care to get the book, by all means check out the other media of the event.
This book was of particular interest to me: first, because of my own interests in both pastoral ministry and scholarship, and second, because of the example and impact of these two men in these areas. The book did not disappoint.
Piper's chapter is largely biographical, and it is amazing to see how God took a young man who physically could not speak in front of people, and made him into one of the most useful preachers of our day. He really loves to take the weak things of the world to shame the strong, and to glorify His power in so doing. After the autobiography, he lays out "from the Scriptures that God's purpose for right thinking (scholarship) is to awaken and sustain satisfaction in God that glorifies him," (p. 52) and does so in nine points.
D.A. Carson's talk starts with a 5 point introduction, with a 12 point body. He too tells some of his own story, from the chemistry lab to the pastorate, and how God then pulled him into scholarship. He retitles his portion "The Scholar as (Frustrated) Pastor." After his autobiography, he lists his 12 "Lessons for the Scholar as Pastor."
The strength of Piper's chapter is in the telling of his story. The strength of Carson's is in his 12 Lessons. On display here are two different men with different gifts that God has used greatly for His own purposes. What an example! Throughout, both men exalt Christ as supreme above scholarship, accolades, or anything else. They expose false dichotomies between "head" and "heart" and propose rigorous use of the mind in the care of souls, each according to his gifts.
If you have a chance, track down the audio to this event. The audio from Piper's talk is bursting with energy that doesn't come through in his chapter. There is also a Q/A session not represented in the book.
I recommend this book as an encouragement to love and serve Christ with "all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind."
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