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What’s a pastor to do? It’s a simple question, but it’s surprising how different pastors answer it. Some say they’re here to shepherd. Others say they’re here to teach. None would say they’re here to entertain, but a steady diet of their teaching leaves the listener wondering. I once saw a pastor begin his service with guests using golf clubs to chip candy into the audience. He wanted to warm up the crowd.
Lexham Press (2019). 296 pp.
Way - Kevin - Vanhoozer - Hearers - Doers
There’s a better way, and it’s outlined in Kevin Vanhoozer’s Hearers and Doers: A Pastor’s Guide to Making Disciples Through Scripture and Doctrine. Above all, pastors shape the hearts and minds of God’s people with his holy Word. It’s a simple, but all-too-neglected, fact.
Vanhoozer, professor of systematic theology at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, exhorts pastors to disciple their church members with Scripture. The evangelical yard is littered with rusty cans of pragmatism and empty bottles of consumerism, and Vanhoozer pleads with pastors to clean up the mess by returning to a theological, biblically rich, church-centered form of pastoral ministry.
Vanhoozer - Assertion - Culture - Everyone - Something
What stands out first is Vanhoozer’s assertion that the culture is discipling us, whether we know it or not. Everyone is being discipled by something; Vanhoozer singles out diet, fitness, and exercise fads as examples (23–42). These movements shape our thoughts about who we are and who we should be. They compose our “social imaginary”—”the net of background assumptions, often implicit, that lead people to feel things as right or wrong, correct or incorrect. It is another name for the root metaphor (or root narrative) that shapes a person’s perception of the world” (8).
Pastors may think that, in the absence of their influence, the people in their churches are blank slates. Not true. The issue is not if people will be discipled, but by whom or...
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