I love pastors. In fact, I think pastors get a bad rap because of the foolish or immoral acts of a few. Sometimes it seems that our culture just assumes that the vast majority of pastors are all about manipulating people and making a lot of money. Yet the pastors that I know and spend time with are deeply committed to the gospel and building up the Body of Christ. Sure, there’s a bad apple here and there, but that’s not the normal.
There are virtually thousands upon thousands of pastors who have not had the opportunity to attend seminary or theological training who are simply doing all that they can to glorify God. And that’s not all bad. Theological education can be great, but more important is a passion for the kingdom of God and a commitment to learn.
So I have in mind those pastors who, despite no formal theological training, are laboring for the Lord. There’s so many of you. I hope you realize how important you are to the building up of the church. You are in Africa, Asia, South & Central America, North America, and Europe… and God is using you. Bless you. I appreciate you and pray for you.
So onto my point. I’ve noticed a trend in certain circles where theologians and scholars (the professionally trained ones) will write on issues that are extremely important for the church. What these theologians and scholars have to say has eternal significance and many of their ideas will strengthen the church.
Unfortunately, I’m pretty sure that many, many, many pastors are probably not encouraged by their writings. Rather than being encouraged, there are countless numbers of pastors who can’t help but be discouraged.
Maybe you want to know why. Why are many untrained pastors discouraged by the important writings of some theologians and scholars? Great question… I’m glad you asked.
The problem is that a lot of trained people forget that not everyone without formal educations is intentionally trying to damage the church. It seems like some assume that all pastors are intentionally trying to mislead people and proliferate information that is incorrect.
Guess what? I don’t think that’s the case.
So, Dr. Ivory-tower-theological-giant-and-absolute-gift-to-the-ecclesiastical-world, please write to encourage pastors. You’ll encourage far more than discourage if you reflect on the tone and polemic of your contribution. Don’t quickly assume that the thousands of pastors in Africa are intentionally ignorant of the grand truths that you have “discovered.”
After all, many of these pastors have given up everything to serve churches that have nothing in order to see people come to trust Jesus with their lives and to build up the church.
Soap box rant over.
Luke is a pastor-theologian living in northern California, serving as a co-lead pastor with his life, Dawn, at the Red Bluff Vineyard. Father of five amazing kids, when Luke isn’t hanging with his family, reading or writing theology, he moonlights as a fly fishing guide for Confluence Outfitters. He blogs regularly at LukeGeraty.com and regularly contributes to his YouTube channel.