Monday, October 29, 2007

Things That Make You Go Hmmm.

Here's a thought-provoking quote from David Wells, from his book No Place For Truth or Whatever Happened to Evangelical Theology? If you haven't read him, do yourself a favor get started. This is a great place to start (and a good answer to my anonymous commenter pal from my last post).

In Chapter 6 ("The New Disablers" - ouch!), Wells says this:

"Two models of pastoral ministry have been vying for the Protestant mind in the twentieth century, especially in its evangelical expression. Each arises from its own culture. In one case, it is the culture of theological truth, and in the other case that of modern professionalism. Each has its own distinctive way of thinking about the ministry - its nature, objectives and methods - and each has its own distinctive way of thinking about the place of theology in all of this.

In one model, theology is foundational, and in the other it is only peripheral. In the one, theological truth explains why there is a ministry at all, what it is about, and why the Church without it will shrivel and die. In the other, this reasoning is marginalized so that what shapes, explains, and drives the work of ministry arises from the needs of a modern profession. And it is my contention that the presence of this latter model in the Church goes a long way towards explaining the growing enfeeblement of the Church inwardly despite its outward growth. This model is ascending, even as the other is declining, and with its ascendancy the attacks upon theology grow more strident and the appetite for it diminishes." (p. 218-219)

Wells, in my opinion, lays his finger on the pulse of one of the great problems in the Truth war in evangelical churches... and one of the reasons that the Truth appears to be losing currently.

As Wells quotes from Richard Baxter (from his classic The Reformed Pastor):

"It is the first and great work of ministers of Christ to acquaint men with that God made them, and is their happiness; to open to them the treasures of His goodness, and to tell them of the glory that is in His presence, which all His chosen people shall enjoy... Having shewed them the right end, our next work is to acquaint them with the right means of attaining it."

Where do you think we stand relating to this standard? Which type of pastor do you have? Why are we trending the way we are? I'm open for comments.

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