Shepherds As Pastor-Theologians
In the last twenty years, the church has moved from a pastor's study to a pastor's office. This shift, while subtle, and perhaps seemingly insignificant, speaks volumes of how the pastorate seems to be changing. Broad evangelicalism seems to think in terms of a CEO, but at RTS, we want to cultivate a model of shepherd-theologians.
In a world that gives us all the characteristics it would like in a pastor, we have the difficult task of listening well, yet not swaying to worldly whims. We must offer the world not something new, but rather something old. We are seeking and offering here at RTS the old model of the pastor-theologian. Pastors are not manufactured at seminary, and neither are they made by an impersonal program. Rather, they are mentored. There is no way to make a pastor, save by the work of the Gospel through ordinary means. Our emphasis can therefore be nothing more or less than doctrine and life. If we stress doctrine, we become only scholars. If we stress only life, we tend to become the sort of pastors who cannot protect or disciple the sheep. Rather, we are seeking the more arduous task of making pastor-theologians.
Theology is not to be done in the ivory tower of the academy, but in the lives of people. What seminary students learn in the classroom needs to be lived out in a way that affects the church. The notion of "practical theology" is redundant because all theology is practical and to be practiced. Orthodoxy must become orthopraxy. That’s why at RTS Jackson, our faculty are actively serving the church. They are doing theology while living theology. Whether pastors of local congregations, serving as pulpit supply or interim pastors, or regularly teaching Sunday School or small groups, our faculty exhibit the desired paradigm: pastor-theologians training pastor-theologians.