Cultural Encounters: A Journal For The Theology Of Culture Volume 11 Number 2 (Summer 2016) - Page 123

VOLUME 11, NUMBER 2 A JOURNAL FOR THE THEOLOGY OF CULTURE who have the perspective of being public theologians and also have significant knowledge of the research of pastoral leadership and organizational science. Reflections from these pastors might have prohibited the broad, sweeping, and unproven generalizations the authors use to diagnose what they believe is wrong with pastors in today’s world. These quick diagnoses and broad generalizations weaken the book, making it seem more like a polemic than a serious contribution to this important discussion. The authors’ stated purpose for the book is “to reclaim the theological pedigree of the world’s boldest profession and to awaken the church to the immensely challenging, exciting and joyful vocation of being an evangelical pastor” (p. 2). In order to accomplish this purpose, the authors ask the following question: “What is distinct about the person and work of Christian pastors?” The authors answer their question with the following three theses: pastors are and have always been theologians; every theologian is a public theologian; and a public theologian is a particular kind of generalist. By theologian, they mean, “To seek, speak, and show understanding of what God was doing in Christ for the sake of the world. Christian theology sets forth in speech what is in Christ: God; true humanity; all visible and created things; the reconciliation of the work to God” (p. 17). Pastors are public theologians “[b]ecause they work in and for the public people of God for the sake of the public/people everywhere” (p. 17). The authors strongly argue against society’s attempts to privatize faith and the church’s attempts to overly focus on individual faith. They continue to provide a detailed and compelling understanding of what they mean by “public theologian.” Their third point is that a public theologian is “a generalist who specializes in viewing all of life as relating to God and the gospel of Jesus Christ. Better: the pastor-theologian is an organic intellectual who is present in the mind of Christ which animates the body of Christ” (p. 25). Having made these arguments in the introduction of their book, Strachan tries to bolster these ideas by providing an overview of biblical theology and church history in the next two chapters. These chapters are perhaps the weakest part of the book. Both skim along the top of these deep waters, giving little in-depth analysis and offering broad conclusions that are not proven in their summaries. Readers may 122