Ordained academics

Geordie asked a question in response to this post which seemed to demand a longer answer. How is a vocation to ordained ministry lived out on the academy? It seems to me that there are two sides to this question: one theological and one existential. On the theological question there are probably two basic ways to jump: one might acknowledge the presence of different orders of ministry within the church, of which an academic role could be one. Calvin included ‘doctors’ alongside ‘pastors’ amongst the ordinary ministers of the church (Inst. IV.3.iv), calling on Eph. 4 as his justification. The Baptist Union of Great Britain is beginning to head in this direction, recognising specialist ministries in evangelism and in youth ministry on its...

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An exegetical puzzle in Eph. 5

I have been looking again at Yoder’s Politics of Jesus in preparation for teaching; he writes a chapter on ‘revolutionary submission,’ picking up on the Haustafeln of Eph. 5:21ff., Col. 3:18ff., 1Pet. 2:13ff., &c. He gives cogent reasons for reading these texts as collisions between the radically liberating ethic of Jesus and the patriarchal assumptions of the culture, and so decries both an unthinking assertion of gender equivalence that simply ignores the texts, and a wooden reading that extracts the text from its social context as some timeless normative principle that will guide modern Western egalitarian and nuclear marriages just as effectively as it did the older ones. Yoder’s point was not particularly exegetical, but it, and...

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Evangelicalism divided? (2)

I ended the last post with the promise that I would return to the question in ‘a day or two’. Illness and exam marking intervened, quite dramatically in the latter case, unfortunately. Evangelicalism has never been a uniform movement; has it been a united one? Or has it, at least, been more united than Rob Warner suggests it has become at present? Warner suggests a growing divide between the ‘entrepreneurial Evangelicals,’ representatives of the ‘conversionist-activist’ axis, and the ‘Conservative undertow’, or ‘Calvinistic hegemony’, representatives of the ‘biblicist-crucicentric’ axis. He then, curiously, acknowledges that there is already a new middle (‘the post-conservative...

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Easter

‘Rise, heart, Thy Lord is risen; sing His praise Without delayes, Who takes thee by the hand, that thou likewise With Him mayst rise; That, as His death calcinèd thee to dust, His life may make thee gold, and much more, just. Awake, my lute, and struggle for thy part With all thy art: The crosse taught all wood to resound His name Who bore the same; His stretchèd sinews taught all strings what key Is best to celebrate this most high day. Consort both heart and lute, and twist a song Pleasant and long; Or, since all musick is but three parts vied And multiplied, O, let Thy blessèd Spirit bare a part, And make up our defects with His sweet art. George...

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