Pastors are strategically placed to counter the culture. No other profession looks so inoffensive but is in fact so dangerous to the status quo. Their weapon? A gospel that is profoundly countercultural. But standing firm in today’s world isn’t easy. Powerful forces, both subtle and obvious, attempt to domesticate pastors, to make them, in a word, unnecessary. In this book, two of today’s most respected authors help pastors recover their gospel identity and maintain a pure vision of Christian leadership. Marva Dawn and Eugene Peterson reconnect pastors with the biblical texts that will train them as countercultural servants of the gospel. Marva Dawn looks to Paul’s letter to the Ephesians for instruction for churches seeking to live faithfully in today’s world. In turn, Eugene Peterson explores Romans, 1 and 2 Timothy, and Titus, drawing from them the correct view of pastoral identity.
“2. We are also unnecessary to what we ourselves feel is essential: as the linchpin holding a congregation together.” (Page 3)
“The purpose of this book, then, is to reconnect pastors with the authoritative biblical and theological texts that train us as countercultural servants of Jesus Christ.” (Page 2)
“A necessary pastor seeks to control Scripture, wielding it for his or her own ends. An unnecessary pastor finds a home and a country within the Scriptures and is shaped by them.” (Page 66)
“The understanding and conviction that bring us together in this book are that pastoral work originates in and is shaped by the revelation of God in Jesus Christ. It takes place in the world’s culture, but it is not caused by it. It is intimately involved in the world, but it is not defined by it. The gospel is free, not only in the sense that we don’t have to pay for it, but also in the more fundamental sense that it is an expression of God’s freedom—it is not caused by our needs but by God’s grace. The Trinity—not the culture, not the congregation—is the primary context for acquiring training and understanding in the pastoral vocation.” (Page 5)
“He spent the first part of his life as a Pharisee, using the Scriptures zealously but wrongly; he spent the second part of his life as a Christian, living these same Scriptures just as zealously but very differently. The difference between his life as Pharisee and as Christian was not in his intellectual ability nor in his knowledge of Scripture but in his relation to the Scriptures: as a Pharisee he used the Scriptures; as a Christian he submitted to them.” (Pages 64–65)