Thursday, December 21, 2006

Doug Sweeney on Edwards and the Pastor-scholar

Doug Sweeney, resident Edwards scholar at TEDS comments about the legacy of Jonathan Edwards.

"Edwards teaches us that theology can and should be done primarily in the church, for the promotion of Christian wisdom among God’s people. In Edwards’s day, America did not yet have any modern, post-baccalaureate seminaries. Pastors were our nation’s most important theologians, and parishioners understood better how much our lives depend on God’s Word. Today, many pastors have abdicated their responsibilities as theologians. And many theologians do their work in a way that is lost on the people of God. I want to be realistic in making this point. A certain amount of specialization is inevitable in modern, market-driven economies. And the specialization of roles within God’s kingdom often enhances our Christian ministries. But when pastors spend the bulk of their time on organizational concerns, and professors spend most of their time on intramural, academic concerns, no one is left to do the work that Edwards knew is most important: the hard work of opening the Scriptures in ways that deepen the faith, hope, and love of the church" (Trinity Magazine, Spring, 2004).

Doug was my graduate advisor during my tenure at TEDS and has been the sharpest thinking professor I've had to date. If you have an interest in American Church history, particularly Edwards, consider studying under Doug.

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