Hiestand on the Differences between Ecclesial and Academic Theology

Gerald Hiestand is pastor of Harvest Bible Church and Executive Director of The Society for the Advancement of Ecclesial Theology (SAET).  Hiestand has been dedicated to reforming the misconception that theology is reserved for the realm of academics and not the local church.  One of the difficulties he notes is distinguishing between “ecclesial theology” and “academic theology”.  In his most recent post he compares and contrasts these two “theologies”.  Read the whole post here.  He is also encouraging any comments and thoughts you might have on this subject.

Gerald Hiestand:

My article, “Pastor-Scholar to Professor-Scholar: Exploring the Theological Disconnect between the Academy and the Local Church” is now out in the current issue of Westminster Theological Journal (vol 70, 2008). In the article, I argue that the eighteenth-century transition from pastor-scholar to professor-scholar has had significant implications for North American evangelical theology, namely that evangelical theology has become too apologetically focused and has lost sight of distinctly ecclesial concerns. In the paper I argue for a resurrection of the pastor-scholar.

But “pastors writing academic scholarship” is not my vision of a pastor-scholar. Instead, I’m calling for a return to the sort of theological reflection done by past pastor-scholars such as Augustine, Athanasius, Luther, Calvin, Wesley, Edwards, etc.–theologians who wrote from within the social location of the Church, whose reflection was driven by ecclesial concerns, and who were unashamedly Christian and prophetic. As Luther has said, theologians who are willing to “assert”.


2 thoughts on “Hiestand on the Differences between Ecclesial and Academic Theology

  1. Yeah, thanks for introducing me to his material. I’m liking his stuff more and more. The work that he is doing with SAET is timely…I wish more people were aware of his work.

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