Articles

Pastor Theologians, The Gospel, and the Ministry of Racial Conciliation by Benjamin D. Espinoza

Pastor Theologians, The Gospel, and the Ministry of Racial Conciliation Benjamin D. Espinoza Benjamin Espinoza (MA, Asbury Theological Seminary) is a PhD student at Michigan State University. His research explores theological education, leadership, vocation, and diversity in churches and seminaries. He is a fellow with the Center for Pastor Theologians and serves on the board of the Association of Youth Ministry Educators. Abstract: Evangelicalism has a historically tenuous relationship with racial conciliation. As our nation becomes increasingly diverse, we must rethink our approaches to racial conciliation. The purpose of this article is to give pastor theologians a vision and plan for developing a rich ministry of racial conciliation. The paper will situate racial conciliation as a gospel issue that demands a response. Next, the article will explore how scholars have reflected on the source, nature, and solutions to racism. Finally, I develop key practices and implications that will assist pastor theologians in being agents of racial conciliation in both ecclesial and academic spaces. Key Words: Race, evangelicalism, pastor theologian, racial conciliation, social justice, gospel Share this on:

A Way Forward for Pastor-Apologists: Navigating the Apologetic Method Debate by Joshua D. Chatraw

A Way Forward for Pastor-Apologists: Navigating the Apologetic Method Debate Joshua D. Chatraw Joshua Chatraw (PhD, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary) is Associate Professor of Theology and Apologetics and the Executive Director of The Center for Apologetics and Cultural Engagement at Liberty University. Introduction When discussing apologetics with pastors, I routinely hear two types of responses concerning method: frustration and confusion.1 While often having been taught a particular approach that seems logical and fits within their theological tradition, they nevertheless find the approach is too confining. “Real life discussions do not work like that,” they tell me. The systems they learned in seminary classes made sense but in the messiness of ministry they often fall short. Dealing with people who don’t primarily theorize their way through life or who seem to have completely different operational frameworks, they become either frustrated with their neighbors or dissatisfied with apologetics as they understand it (and often both). Others are simply confused by the various methods, and when they try to delve into the methodological discussions they find some of the disputes akin to theological hair splitting and the polarizing tone uninviting. In hopes of alleviating some of this confusion and frustration, this article will…

What Worship Leaders Need Their Pastors to Know: A Call to Theological Leadership in Worship by Matthew Ward

What Worship Leaders Need Their Pastors to Know: A Call to Theological Leadership in Worship Matthew Ward Matthew Ward (PhD, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary) is the Associate Pastor of First Baptist Church, Thomson GA, and has led music ministries for almost twenty years. He is also a Fellow of the Center for Pastor Theologians. Abstract: Many pastors today do not understand their role in their church’s worship—they have not received training in the principles of corporate worship and someone else on staff has the title of “worship leader.” That elusive role is to provide theological leadership to the worship ministries of the local church. Theological leadership assumes that pastors have done the work of developing a theology of worship. It then involves two steps: contextualizing that theology to their unique local church and communicating it effectively with that local church. While there are many examples of a theology of worship available to consider, there are few examples of a contextualized theology; this article offers two that are still general enough to glean benefits and pitfalls. Communication is a two-way process. If pastors are to be effective theological leaders, they must cultivate meaningful relationships—particularly with their worship leaders, listen and learn,…

Preaching Psalm 46 to the People of God Today by Jonathan Master

Preaching Psalm 46 to the People of God Today Jonathan Master Jonathan Master (PhD University of Aberdeen) is professor of theology and dean of the School of Divinity at Cairn University in Langhorne, PA. Abstract: The preached word is the means that God has ordained for both the evangelization of the nations and for the building up of the church. As evangelicals, we are committed to the fact that all of scripture is inspired and profitable for the people of God: therefore, all scripture must be preached—including the Psalms. In Part 1, I present four recommendations for preaching Psalm 46 today. Each of these recommendations supplement the preacher’s regular homiletic preparation. These recommendations are intended to remind preachers of certain features of the Psalms in general and of this psalm in particular. In Part II, I present an example sermon, considering each of these guidelines. Key Words: Psalms, preaching the Psalms, Martin Luther, Reformation preaching Share this on:

Theological Preaching and Preaching Through Theology: The Priority of the Pastor-Theologian by Gary L. Shultz Jr.

Theological Preaching and Preaching Through Theology: The Priority of the Pastor-Theologian Gary L. Shultz Jr. Gary L. Shultz Jr. (Ph.D. in Systematic Theology from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) is Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church in Fulton, Missouri. He teaches theology and preaching for Liberty University and Baptist Bible Theological Seminary. He also serves as a fellow for the Center of Pastor Theologians. Abstract: Over the last several years a renewed call for the re-emergence of pastor theologians has occurred within Evangelicalism. The distinguishing mark of the pastor-theologian is that his broader theological ministry to the church and the academy is explicitly grounded in his pastoral ministry, and his broader theological ministry strengthens and reinforces his pastoral ministry. While pastoral ministry has many facets, its foundation is the ministry of the Word, and the heart of the ministry of the word is preaching. Therefore, preaching the Word should be the priority and aim of the pastor-theologian, not only in his pastoral ministry, but in his broader theological ministry. This article will establish this truth by demonstrating how preaching is the theological act that grounds all other aspects of pastoral ministry even as it is grounded itself by that ministry….

Elder as Shepherd: Implicit Use of the Shepherd Metaphor by the Apostle Paul by Josh Branum

Elder as Shepherd: Implicit Use of the Shepherd Metaphor by the Apostle Paul Josh Branum Josh Branum (PhD in Applied Theology, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary) serves as the Family Pastor at Faithbridge Church in Jacksonville, FL. Abstract: This paper analyzes the Pauline qualifications for eldership considering the shepherd metaphor. In this analysis, the author argues that Paul presents qualified elders as “good shepherds,” those of the utmost integrity, who are able to manage the flock of God well. The shepherd metaphor is utilized throughout both the Old and New Testaments, by various authors, and in a variety of contexts. From a New Testament perspective, the shepherd metaphor is used most frequently in reference to Jesus, but is later applied to elders. While one might expect the Apostle Paul, the author of the so-called “Pastoral Epistles,” to make much use of this metaphor, he only explicitly uses the shepherd metaphor on two occasions. This seeming omission has led some to dismiss it as a central aspect of his teaching. However, Paul demonstrates a heavy reliance on the shepherd metaphor implicitly, particularly in the qualifications for eldership in the books of 1 Timothy and Titus. Key Words: eldership, shepherding, leadership, ministry Share this…

Current Issues in Pastoral Theology: An Editorial Introduction by Justin L. McLendon

Current Issues in Pastoral Theology: An Editorial Introduction Justin L. McLendon, Executive Editor Of Special Issue Justin teaches full-time at Grand Canyon University and is a Managing Editor of JBTS This special issue of the Journal of Biblical and Theological Studies features articles exploring current issues in pastoral theology. The articles within this issue address academic and ecclesial concerns across the evangelical spectrum. In keeping with the mission of JBTS—to relay content that is original and yet accessible—this issue contains articles uniquely formulated to speak to seminary students, busy ministers, and scholars academically engaged in the broad field of pastoral theology. This issue includes an even selection of articles from scholars working within various academic institutions, in addition to articles from pastors engaged in the trenches of everyday pastoral ministry. In sum, this issue offers a distinct set of voices from varied backgrounds, ministry methodologies, and denominational alliances. Share this on:

The Final Word: Prisoners of Our Own Device by Steve Donaldson
Articles , Philosophy / November 10, 2017

The Final Word: Prisoners of Our Own Device Steve Donaldson Steve Donaldson, Ph.D., is Professor of Computer Science and Senior Fellow in the Center for Science and Religion at Samford University. Abstract: Over-confidence in a set of beliefs is frequently buttressed by a binary mentality and, strangely for Christians, a microscopic view of God. Such misplaced assurance can quickly lead to a fixed outlook that assumes an aura of irrefutable permanence. That humans gravitate toward rigid ways of thinking is unremarkable, but it is especially surprising how many educated individuals seem trapped in a perpetually decaying orbit about their pet theories and theologies. For scientists, theologians, and philosophers purportedly engaged in a search for truth, this is a particularly troubling state of affairs and is the root of much unnecessary conflict at the interface of the disciplines. Key Words: binary fallacy, size of God, interdisciplinarity, freedom, constraint, philosophy of science, Christianity Share this on:

Paleoevil, Theodicy, and Models of Earth History by Kurt P. Wise
Articles , Philosophy / November 8, 2017

Paleoevil, Theodicy, and Models of Earth History Kurt P. Wise Kurt Wise earned a Ph.D. in paleontology and is Professor of Natural Science and Director of the Brady Center for Creation Research at Truett Mcconnel University in Cleveland, Georgia Abstract: The total amount of natural evil includes natural evil in the present world plus the natural evil of the past—including ‘paleoevil’, the natural evil inferred from the geologic record. ‘Baseline paleoevil’—paleoevil directly inferred from the geological record—is considerably greater than the natural evil observed in the present. Beyond phenomena of the present that cause suffering—such as disease, parasitism, carnivory, degenerative aging, accidental injury, death, extinction, floods, droughts, storms, tsunamis, mudflows, and avalanches—the geologic column also evidences giant meteorite impacts, supervolcanoes, and superquakes. Because the geologic column is an incomplete sample of earth history, the actual amount of paleoevil is an amplification of baseline paleoevil. How much the baseline paleoevil is amplified is dependent upon one’s view of earth history. A minimal amplification is necessary if the earth is young; an amplification by at least five orders of magnitude is required if the earth is old. Even greater amplification is required if organisms arose by biological evolution. Augustine’s theodicy dominated most…

Divine Action and the World of Science: What Cosmology and Quantum Physics Teach Us about the Role of Providence in Nature by Bruce L. Gordon
Articles , Philosophy / November 6, 2017

Divine Action and the World of Science: What Cosmology and Quantum Physics Teach Us about the Role of Providence in Nature Bruce L. Gordon Bruce L. Gordon is Associate Professor of the History and Philosophy of Science at Houston Baptist University and a Senior Fellow of Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture Abstract: Modern science has revealed a world far more exotic and wonder-provoking than our wildest imaginings could have anticipated. It is the purpose of this essay to introduce the reader to the empirical discoveries and scientific concepts that limn our understanding of how reality is structured and interconnected—from the incomprehensibly large to the inconceivably small—and to draw out the metaphysical implications of this picture. What is unveiled is a universe in which Mind plays an indispensable role: from the uncanny life-giving precision inscribed in its initial conditions, mathematical regularities, and natural constants in the distant past, to its material insubstantiality and absolute dependence on transcendent causation for causal closure and phenomenological coherence in the present, the reality we inhabit is one in which divine action is before all things, in all things, and constitutes the very basis on which all things hold together (Colossians 1:17). Share this…