James Denney was incontestably right: our churches need pastors who are both theologians and evangelists, men who know theology and who at the same time have the pastoral spirit and the evangelistic burden. For no minister of the Gospel can be abidingly effective unless he obeys the Pauline exhortation: “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15).
Yet how can a hard-pushed preacher possibly continue to engage in the study of theology? First, he has no money to buy books except occasionally a dog-eared volume from a second-hand dealer or a selection by some club or other. Think of the rising cost of living. Think of the sheer necessity of purchasing a new Ford annually if a clergyman is to hold his head high in Suburbia. Think of the miscroscopic salary that many churches pay. No! Books are a luxury that must be ruthlessly pared from the parsonage budget.
Second, what conscientious servant of Jesus Christ has time to study theology? Consider his exhaustive responsibilities. He must oversee the complicated activities of a fellowship which has wheels within wheels, and he must keep those wheels lubricated—and sometimes placate the bigger ones! He must direct a program of education which stretches from the cradle to the grave. He must spearhead the evangelistic outreach of his people. He must promote and sustain an intelligent concern for the missionary enterprise. He must participate in counseling situations that would tax the combined resources of King Solomon, Sigmund Freud, and William Menninger. He must raise enough money to support this whole structure without abandoning his role as a man of serene faith who eschews mundane realities. ...1
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