Vorsicht, Herr Theologe

Jede Berufsgattung ist bestimmten Verführbarkeiten ausgesetzt, so auch die (angehenden) Theologen. D. A. Carson nennt einige der Spannungsfelder – und auch die Klammer, die alle diese Spannungen zusammenhalten: Demut.

1. Four forms of integration

  • Don’t separate technical and devotional Bible study.
  • Be learned and godly.
  • Read individual texts in light of the whole Bible.
  • Appreciate and read broadly in systematic theology, historical theology, philosophical theology, and various forms of biblical theology.

2. Polar temptations re work

  • Don’t work too much. You can easily work yourself to exhaustion. Perfectionists are especially prone to be workaholics.
  • Don’t work too little. You can survive even if you are lazy and undisciplined, but your work won’t be stellar or effective.

3. Five facets of pride

  • Your desire to be admired and recognized is dangerous.
  • The sheer joy you find in your work does not make you spiritually superior to people who work in other disciplines.
  • Your academic specialty in an area of biblical studies does not make you a superior pastor.
  • Knowing more about the Bible than most people you serve does not make you a superior person.
  • You may experience inverted pride (i.e., being threatened because you are insecure and jealous) if successful professionals in secular work think lightly of your job.

4. Pressures to manipulate Scripture

  • Avoid the pressure from the right: safe exegesis that reinforces your confessional group.
  • Avoid the pressure from the left: clever exegesis that makes you academically respectable.
  • Avoid the nonconformist pressure to reach independent conclusions on nearly everything.
  • Avoid the pressure to so focus on the history of interpretation that you never decide anything.
  • Instead, genuinely and patiently listen to the text with integrity.

5. Three priorities re writing

  • Know what subjects you should tackle.
  • Know what audience you should address.
  • Avoid the lone-ranger complex.

These five domains are interrelated. What ties them together is humility.