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Earl Marshall

A Pastors Calling?

I have been reading "Creation, Evolution, and Christian Laypeople" by Tim Keller. I am grappling with this quote on pages 2-3.

"In short, if I as a pastor want to help both believers and inquirers to relate science and faith coherently, I must read the works of scientists, exegetes, philosophers, and theologians and then interpret them for my people. Someone might counter that this is too great a burden to put on pastors, that instead they should simply refer their laypeople to the works of scholars. But if pastors are not 'up to the job' of distilling and understanding the writings of scholars in various disciplines, how will our laypeople do it? This is one of the things that parishioners want from their pastors. We are to be a bridge between the world of scholarship and the world of the street and the pew. I'm aware of what a burden this is. I don't know that there has ever been a culture in which the job of the pastor has been more challenging. Nevertheless I believe this is our calling."

The contemporary pastoral JD continues to grow.  Sometimes I wish I had the brain of a Tim Keller.  I am hoping this quote is not a call to be an expert in all disciplines but more of a learned generalist.


  1. Are you grappling in terms of “I’m not sure I agree with Keller’s statement” . . . or grappling in terms of “I agree but don’t like what this means”?

  2. Gotta admit i think Keller’s missed this one. I think he’s thinking about the role of pastoral ministry as it relates to a bygone era. Pastors are no longer perceived as the ‘smartest, brightest’ in the community. People don’t need us to ‘distill’ info for them… they need us to point them back to God in the sea of info and knowledge all of us are drowning in

  3. I am not sure that we need Pastors to be better science teachers…I don’t believe that the apostle Paul would see it as a priority either.
    Paul to Pastor Timothy:
    “In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.”
    Paul to Pastor Timothy again:
    “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.”

  4. Just stick to the gospel of Christ and him crucified…sheesh.

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