No one who keeps at least superficially abreast of the theological literature pouring from the presses of various countries these days can escape the impression of being flooded with significant problems. Moreover, these problems are discussed so intensely that only the brave dare pursue them to the end. Matters that used to be set out in brief and clear summaries are now becoming far more complicated, sometimes needing the tools and training of specific and rather awesome specialization. The preacher is now faced with the burden of coming to terms with some of these complex problems.
The average pastor has too busy a schedule and too limited leisure to keep up with the theological evolution these days. But meanwhile, the developments can too easily pass him by. He may well get the feeling that the dialogue is beyond him, leaving him insecure in the theological discussions going on everywhere around him. The trouble is that he may not divorce himself from the theological dialogue. It is bound up too closely with the life of the Church he serves. However difficult this may be, he shall have to orient himself to the problems on the agenda of the modern theological world.
There is another problem that the minister faces in regard to the theological world. Is there not a danger that the certainties of the simple Gospel which we preach on Sunday may be undermined and even destroyed by the complications of modern theology? Does not theology complicate the Gospel needlessly? If theology needs specialists, cannot the preacher best leave it to them and go on preaching the Gospel? One need think of only a few of today’s theological problems: the exegetical studies in the Four Gospels (form criticism, the priority of Mark, the ...1
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