First, I think I shall differ from the title of this post and give the offer first, and then the review. The offer is the free audio book download from christianaudio.com. This month it is a newly released title by Tim Challies who is a pastor, prolific writer, and extreme blogger. It has been documented that 20,000 people visit his blog everyday. The last time I spoke with him he was being introduced as, “Tim Challies the blogger” but I think he would prefer “author”. His newest title, The Next Story is out and free for download. This wonderful text shows us how the world has been/is being changed by the digital revolution, and how we, as Christians can still promote a Christ-centered life. This means living with integrity and serving our Lord with an iphone, a pc, a gps, television, etc. His book is enlightening and accessible. Listen to it, again and again.
Ok, the review. I have not done a review for a blog before. The book reviews I have written have been for academia and teeter on the edge with scholarly jargon and systematic flair. Not to say that I know what I mean when I write the things I do. Sometimes I reread what I wrote, and think to myself, “I wrote that!?”
But, this review is for my two readers, that they can understand, with vocabulary that is choice, not forced.
The text under review is The Pastor as Scholar and The Scholar as Pastor, I know you maybe thinking, “doesn’t the title of the book contradict what he just wrote in the paragraph above?” Well, no. This book, written by John Piper, and D. A. Carson (The Donn) is geared for pastors, but I would contend is a useful resource for any member of a congregation.
Piper and Carson set out to show the life and mind of what it means to be a pastor and a scholar, how these two worlds meet, collide, and glorify Christ in his people. They want to show their readers that you do not have to bifurcate (seminary word alert!) the two offices, and that to fully lead a congregation one must be both pastor and scholar.
Each author begins with their own journey to the positions they hold. Each is interesting in its own way, their struggles are quite close to their hearts, and their willingness to be open is encouraging. I never knew Piper had a minor case of dyslexia, I never knew Carson sometimes regrets his life choice of being scholar and then pastor. Maybe regret is too strong, but you should read the text for yourself!
They also share what it means to be fully devoted to the Word of the Lord, the critical thinking, the intense labor, the seclusion, the loneliness sometimes, and the complete and utter joy of diving into the means by which God chose to reveal himself…in a book!
This little book, 111 pages, is a delight. Two of the largest names in evangelicalism today have come together to share themselves. I suggest this book for pastors, students, lay people, and especially wives of pastors/students. By reading this text, the words of wise men who articulate better than most, one can see the mind of a pastor. One can see why a pastor, or a student, spends 5 hours sleeping, 7 hours at work, and 8 hours at study daily. Study has been called “the other woman” of pastors/scholars. Ladies, wives, girlfriends, fiances, read this book to better understand the heart and mind of the one called to preach the Word of the Lord. Piper writes that “The way you [pastors] will be a gift to your church is if you are an effective teacher” (61). This is what we do, what we are called to do.
I love the ending of Carson’s chapter, he spends 35 pages enlightening pastors and scholars how to improve themselves according to Scripture and he finishes his thoughts like this, “In short, most of what I have been urging has correlative application in the lives of all Christians. Because the virtues and graces that go into pastoral care are essentially Christian virtues and graces, the application is as broad as the number of Christians” (106). It is such a tender way to end the discussion, or to begin a discussion. This little book is focused on pastors, but is not limited to pastors by any means. Any reader can come away with a sharpened view of discipline and devotion, and a heightened awareness to the gravity of God’s Word.
If you follow the link provided in the book title above you can purchase the text for $6.00 and if you purchase $25.00 or more from Desiring God Ministries you will receive free shipping. (Commercial for Desiring God Ministries not paid for or endorsed :P)