Contemplating the idea of Pastor-Theologian

There is an almost innumerable amount of books and resources available delineating what the role of the pastor-teacher is in the church. There has been a strong movement declaring that the pastor must become a better leader for the sake of the church. There is leadership involved in the ministry of a pastor. One would be naive to think otherwise. Yet, this has resulted in pastors spending more time attempting to discover how to better motivate, inspire, and reconfigure people. It has led to many pastors becoming frustrated that they are unable to successfully lead those under their oversight.

When one examines the biblical text there are some very interesting details to be found that shed light on this confusing issue. Moses was the shepherd of Israel. When you read through the account of Moses’ leadership experience you will discover that he didn’t have one of those charming, successful leadership roles that are described in so many contemporary Christian leadership books and seminars. Much of modern leadership appears to be more manipulation and charm, than biblical leadership.

These contemporary leadership books and seminars present principle after principle that many times are based more on anthropology than Theology. People are sinful. Therefore, deep down we don’t desire to submit to Christ as Lord, nor to the authority of Scripture. It is in my humble opinion that the majority of “leadership problems” in the church today are the result of refusing to submit to Christ and the Word of God, not the lack of leadership acumen on the part of the pastor(s). I would be first to admit that as a pastor I have a long way to go in my walk with God. But, as a result of reading books on leadership which are produced by non-believers, we have begun to believe that if one implements all of the anthropological principles set forth, it will always result in the people following. This is not what we learn in the Word of God, nor in life. Sin disrupts the whole process.

My conclusion to this matter is as follows:

If every believer submitted to the Lordship of Christ and the authority of the Scriptures there would be no need whatsoever for all of this talk about leadership. Pastors would proclaim the Scriptures and believers would obey and follow. This would be true even in the many cases in which the pastors are not charming, nor innovative and inspiring. I pray that we would get back to studying the Scriptures for the purpose of determining our actions and training. John Piper suggest this biblical role for pastors. He is the first person I have heard to suggest such an idea of a “pastor-theologian.” He urges every pastor to be a “pastor-theologian” not merely a leader.


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