For those who are going to be in San Francisco next week for the national meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society, you will not want to miss the exciting panel with two of the Ref21 bloggers in their guise as friendly church historians.
From 8:30-11:40am on Thursday, November 17, the panel "The Calling and Profession of a Church Historian" will include
- John Hannah (Dallas Theological Seminary) on "Reflecting on 40 Years of Teaching Church History";
- Sean Lucas (FPC Hattiesburg) on "Church History as a Pastoral Discipline";
- Steve Nichols (Lancaster Bible College and GS) on "Unsuccessful Novelists: the Work and Calling of a Church History Writer"; and
- Michael Haykin (Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) on "The Church Historian as Spiritual Mentor"
In order to promote the 9:20am time slot (mine), I'm going to share the thesis paragraph of my paper here (I think this is called a "tease"). Please do come if you are in the area...
"Central to my argument, both when I taught and now that I have returned to congregational ministry, is this: I very much believe that church history is a pastoral discipline. That is to say, there are few other theological disciplines as important and worthwhile for developing one's pastoral sensibilities and resources and for providing one pastoral models (both good and bad) than studying church history.
As a result, not only should church history be taught to aspiring pastors, but also I believe that the ministerial curriculum would be poorer and even incomplete without it. Let me put my claim as baldly as possible: you can be a pastor without thinking about church history or having taken a church history class, but your pastoral ministry will be lacking and not as effective as it could be otherwise. In order to understand fully the impact of this claim, we must back up and think about church history as a historical, theological, and cross-cultural discipline."