In April 2009, the Henry Center, my employer, is hosting an event that I am personally excited about. It’s called “The Pastor as Scholar, and the Scholar as Pastor: Reflections on Life and Ministry with John Piper and D.A. Carson”. You can read more about it at the new site for this event.
Here’s the event synopsis: “On Thursday, April 23, 2009, at Park Community Church in Chicago, IL, the Carl F. H. Henry Center for Theological Understanding of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School will host an evening of free lectures and discussion with Dr. John Piper of Bethlehem Baptist Church and Dr. D. A. Carson of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. The event will begin at 7:00pm and conclude around 10:00pm. Titled “The Pastor as Scholar, and the Scholar as Pastor: Reflections on Life and Ministry with John Piper and D.A. Carson”, the evening will feature hour-long lectures by Drs. Piper and Carson that offer reflection of a theological and personal nature on the work of the pastor and the scholar, respectively.”
The following sums up the vision behind the event: “The Henry Center desires to participate in the cultivation of pastors and scholars who have a passion for theological nourishment of the church. In a day when pastors are encouraged to focus less on theological engagement and more on the practice of ministry, and scholars are challenged to work less for the church and more with the academy in mind, the Center desires to see both pastors and scholars embrace a robustly theological view of ministry that centers in nourishment of the local church, the nucleus of God’s kingdom work.
Toward this end, the Center desires to participate in the formation of pastor-theologians who practice affectionately zealous, scripturally faithful, rigorously intellectual shepherding. The Center believes that such labor embodies both the scriptural portrait of the pastor and the dominant historical model. Pastors from Luther to Edwards to Ockenga have brought great blessing to local churches and the broader Christian movement through their preaching, thinking, and writing. It is hoped that Dr. Piper’s personally reflective theological lecture on the work of the pastor will inspire a movement of God’s Spirit resulting in the adoption of the model by hundreds and thousands of pastors.
The Center also desires to participate in the cultivation of ecclesiastical scholars, those who, like Dr. Carson, produce Christian scholarship that is academically excellent, spiritually nourishing, and ecclesiastically concerned. Far fewer opportunities and positions exist for such teachers, though the evangelical community has great need of scholars who work and write with the local church in mind. The Center seeks through Dr. Carson’s theological reflection on the scholar to challenge certain students of extraordinary intellectual and academic gifting to assume this role.”
This is the final word on the matter: “The Center seeks through the reflections of Drs. Piper and Carson to speak a personal word to the rising generation—and the current generation—of evangelical leaders that will set their hearts aflame and raise up pastors who are scholars, scholars who are pastors, all for the strengthening of the local church and the greater glory of God.”
This is a vision that I hope will spread far and wide. Though this event is months away, I hope that you will bookmark it and, if you can, attend. Park Community Church in downtown Chicago’s River North district seats around 1000 people in a brand-new multi-million dollar facility, so seating will be limited–make sure that you plan accordingly. We at the Henry Center hope that this event is richly used for the betterment of God’s church and kingdom.