My Review of The Pastor Theologian

22574114When I went to college, I found a pastor who believed, by and through his sermons, there was a place for thinking in the life of faith and ministry.  Now I grew up with wonderful pastors who helped me grow in my Christian faith and one who helped me come to faith in Christ and baptized me. But my college pastor showed me there was a good place for thinking in the life of faith and in the local church.

Gerald Hiestand and Todd Wilson in their timely book The Pastor Theologian: Resurrecting an Ancient Vision (Zondervan, 2015), make a case for what I think that Pastor Frank did from the pulpit of that college church when they argue, very well in my opinion, for a revival of Pastor Theologian.

Arguing for a robust “intellectual calling” Hiestand and Wilson, both local church pastors, take the reader on a highly readable review of church history from the perspective of the development of the pastorate and the pastor into what it is today – often more of a manager than the Chief Spiritual Officer. Then they address the theological amenia of both the church and ministry and how that has played out in both the church and society and concluding with what to this reviewer is the core of the book – A Taxonomy of The Pastor Theologian.

As they argue for the development of a Pastor Theologian Hiestand and Wilson acknowledge the tensions between the local church pastorate and the university and also what they call the “social location” of both academic theologians and local church pastors how this location affects their ability to be pastoral in one direction and academic in the other direction. Yet while they acknowledge the tensions, and lay out the challenges of scheduling for good thinking and writing for the benefit of the church while being in the pastorate, I believe that Hiestand and Wilson make a very good case for the calling of men, and I also think women, who combine solid thinking with a deep and warm faith.

I enjoyed the breadth and depth of this book that challenged both my thinking and my faith as a believer and a pastor.

I gave The Pastor Theologian a four-star rating on Goodreads.

Note: I received an electronic galley copy of this book from the publisher via Net Galley in exchange for a review. I was not required to write a positive review.


3 thoughts on “My Review of The Pastor Theologian

  1. This book sounds fascinating. How can it be that within the clergy the idea of thinking about what you’re doing is something potentially problematic? That looking at theoretical underpinnings and how they influence daily behaviors is not what a spiritual leader should be doing? Seems obvious to me that any and all leaders of good moral character need to be thinking things through all the time. The world changes, so must the ways in which we interact with it. Managers might figure out the how of things, but leaders need to understand the why.

    1. Thanks Ally for your thoughts. Good thinking is important but I know that emotions are part of our spirituality as well and can, can, overwhelm thought at times and be given too much attention to the detriment of thought and behavior. Emotional manipulation is always a danger in ministry. Thank you! Jim

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