Saturday, July 21, 2012

theology and ministry

I have long believed that there is a vital and integral relationship between theology (biblical truths, good doctrine) and pastoral care.  Much of pastoral ministry is bringing people to see and appropriate biblical truth for themselves.  


And the doctrines in view are not merely those that we feel are aimed at us, being personally relevant to our situation, but are those truths which are eternally relevant, being about God, his nature, the person and work of Christ, the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, and the doctrine of salvation by grace through faith.


Andrew Purves expresses this well in his book Pastoral Theology in the Classical Tradition:  


"One cannot be a pastor without being a theologian, in the sense of being a faithful and disciplined student of the Word of God.  Gregory's view [Gregory of Nazianzus, ca AD 463] prevailed for a long time in the church, and probably only in recent times has pastoral work come to have such an ambiguous connection to the church's theological heritage that psychology and counseling methods rather than the church's doctrine have come to dominate. ... A reading of Gregory's text is a timely reminder -- both in his day and ours -- that ministry should be entered into by those who recognize the need to commit themselves to the work of theology and who have the skill and sensitivity to understand the nature and needs of persons in such a way that the gospel can be addressed for them in healing and helpful ways."  


(Andrew Purves, Pastoral Theology in the Classical Tradition

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