The Pastor as Theologian, 4: The Nature of Pastoral Ministry

Much confusion exists today regarding the proper model of pastoral leadership. Both pastors and congregations develop concepts of pastoral ministry that are both unbiblical and destructive to the church. Some see the pastor as entrepreneur, the one who is supposed to mastermind church growth purely by his personality and remarkable business acumen. Others see the pastor as visionary, a sacred prophet who “futurecasts” and is set apart to receive a word from God for the church.

Most of these visions of the pastoral office flow out of a pagan syncretism of gospel ministry and worldly lust for power, glory and money. Most of the “pastors” who adopt these models are narcissistic sociopaths who can’t see that their own ambitions for glory rival that of Lucifer’s.

Al Mohler brings us back to reality when he writes:

Every pastor is called to be a theologian. This may come as a surprise to those pastors who see theology as an academic discipline taken during seminary rather than as an ongoing and central part of the pastoral calling. Nevertheless, the health of the church depends upon its pastors functioning as faithful theologians–teaching, preaching, defending, and applying the great doctrines of the faith…

In far too many cases the pastor’s ministry has been evacuated of serious doctrinal content, and many pastors seem to have little connection to any sense of theological vocation. All this must be reversed if the church is to remain true to God’s Word and the gospel. Unless the pastor functions as theologian, theology is left in the hands of those who, in many cases, have little or no connection or commitment to the local church.

Al Mohler, Jr. He Is Not Silent: Preaching in a Postmodern World (Moody, 2008), 105-6.

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