John Piper

Pastor as Scholar & Scholar as Pastor
In 2009 John Piper and Don Carson presented at a conference called, “The Pastor as Scholar and the Scholar as Pastor.” It was later turned into a book, “The Pastor as Scholar and the Scholar as Pastor: Reflections on Life and Ministry.” I have found this conference to be a helpful reference  as I think about the relationship between the mission of the church and the task of theology.

John Piper presented on Pastor as Scholar.

From the transcript:

“If I am scholarly, it is not in any sense because I try to stay on the cutting edge in the discipline of biblical and theological studies. I am way too slow for that. What scholarly would mean for me is that the greatest Object of knowledge is God and that he has revealed himself authoritatively in a Book. And that I should work with all my might and all my heart and all my soul and all my mind to know him through that Book and to make him known.”


Don Carson presented on Scholar as Pastor

From the transcript:

“I have been talking about the scholar-pastor. It would take only a little imagination to see how the kinds of virtues I have been promoting have analogues in virtually every sphere. Is it only the scholar, for instance, who must avoid the seduction of applause? Is it only the Christian who is a scholar and who wishes to serve pastorally who must be urged to love the church? Is it only the scholar who must constantly check to ensure that the main thing is still the main thing? In short, most of what I have been urging has correlative application in the lives of all Christians. Because the virtues and graces that go into pastoral care are essentially Christian virtues and graces, the application is as broad as the number of Christians.”

John Piper

In May of 2010 my friend Eric Roseberry submitted a question, should pastors get PhD’s, to John Piper through the Desiring God blog and their “Ask Pastor John” series. I think he offers a helpful response, especially to young pastors who are contemplating taking such a path. I know that I weigh this advice heavily in my own considerations.

An excerpt from the transcript:

“…if you’re a pastor, set yourself to study the Bible and take courses. But don’t worry about a degree for goodness’ sake. I’ve not even opened the tube in which my diploma exists since 1974! I haven’t opened it! It’s in the drawer. Nobody asks about it. It doesn’t mean anything anymore. (Maybe that’s an overstatement.)”


Also, a year earlier John Piper received a similar question more generally concerning how much school a Pastor should receive. This is also helpful.

From the transcript:

“…we should not as churches say, “You have to have an MDiv.” There are so many MDivs who are incompetent pastors, and PhDs! And there are people without them who would make really good pastors. I think all of that is changing, in fact”