Friday, July 13, 2007

Interview with the Editors of A Theology for the Church

James Hamilton Jr. posts Part I of an interview with Peter R. Schemm and David P. Nelson, the associate editors of a recently released systematic theology titled A Theology for the Church. Here are their responses to James's initial question about why pastors should continue studying theology:
DPN: ....Pastors should read theology because the ministry of the pastor, from preaching to any number of pastoral acts, is inherently theological. So, the most faithful pastors will be good theologians, and good theologians are made through years of continuous reflection of the teachings of Scripture. I think it is important, as a professor of theology in a seminary, to pursue a lifelong study of theology. How much more important, then, for a pastor, who has the responsibility to feed God’s sheep, to study theology continually. We hope A Theology for the Church will aid and enrich such study of the Scriptures.

PRS: The most compelling reason that a pastor ought to read/study theology is that it is the essence of his vocation to do so. The nature of pastoral ministry is so directly rooted in truth and doctrine that the Apostle Paul can hardly write a paragraph of the so called Pastoral Epistles without referring to something like “the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth” (Titus 1:1; cf. 1 Tim 1:3; 2 Tim 1:13). This makes sense since the church itself is “the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of truth” (1 Tim 3:15). And, it is also why so many of the great pastors throughout the history of the church were theologians—from Paul to Augustine to Luther to Fuller. It is our hope, then, that TFC will assist in forming the next generation of pastor-theologians.
The interview also addresses the benefits of encouraging lay people to study theology and suggestions for cultivating a church atmosphere in which biblical theology is valued. Thanks, James!

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