Book Review Instructions

In order to complete RLGN 490 successfully, you must write a book review of  Hiestand, Gerald, and Todd Wilson. The Pastor Theologian: Resurrecting an Ancient Vision. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2015.

The Hiestand-Wilson Book Review is due by the close of Module 7. You must follow the guidelines that are detailed below and in the grading rubric. The Book Review must consist of 750–1,000 words, be typed in Times New Roman 12-point font and be double spaced with 1-inch margins. The review must provide an overview of the book’s major content, an evaluation of the content, and an assessment of its importance.

More specifically, the Book Review must include four major components:

  1. The book’s bibliographical entry per standard book review practices
  2. The author’s information, such as education, position, and scholarship
  3. A concise summary or synthesis of the major point of the book
  4. An honest and courteous evaluation of the book (this exercise will require some research and diligent effort on your part)

The following questions may serve as a checklist that guides you through the process of reviewing the book:

  1. What is the author’s thesis? How does the thesis develop throughout the book?
  2. Where is the author coming from theologically? What is his academic background? Can you detect the author’s assumptions, biases, or presuppositions?
  3. Whom is the intended reader?
  4. What is the author’s position regarding the problem the book addresses?
  5. Has the author fulfilled his stated or implied purposes? How well have the author’s objectives been met?
  6. How does this book compare to similar works in the same field? Compare it to other works of the same author as well as to similar works of different authors.
  7. What is your assessment of this book? Does it benefit the particular field of study?

Review Chapter 8 in Vyhmeister and Robertson for additional details and a sample review. You may also want to preview the book reviews in peer-reviewed journals such as JETS.

Submit this assignment by 11:59 p.m. (ET) on Friday of Module 7.


Book Review: The Pastor Theologian

Hiestand, Wilson. The Pastor Theologian: Resurrecting an Ancient Vision. Zondervan, 2015

            Gerald Hiestand has worked in different capacities, mostly as a pastor and associate pastor. He is the “center for pastor-theologian” executive director and the co-founder. He is a patristics author. Other interests include historical theology, ecclesial theology, and pastoral theology. He has authored various books with Todd Wilson. His books include Creation and Doxology, Beauty, Order, and Mystery, pastoral theologian, amongst others. Todd Wilson is a theologian, speaker, author, and the co-founder of the center for pastor theologians. He is an alumnus of Cambridge University and Wheaton College. Wilson majored in theology /biblical studies and New Testament studies (PhD). Some of his books include The Pastor Theologian: Resurrecting an Ancient Vision, Mere Sexuality: Rediscovering the Christian Vision of Sexuality, Real Christian: Bearing the Marks of Authentic Faith, Galatians: Gospel-Rooted Living, Preach the Word: Essays on Expository Preaching: In Honor of R. Kent Hughes, amongst others.

           The book “The Pastor Theologian backs the need to have pastors who are cognizant of theology. The authors want to outstrip modern Christian’s perception, which holds that pastors are preacher counselors’ managers. Chapter one presents how the role of a pastor-theologian can be resurrected. Chapter two lays out the customary scope of the pastor-theologian. The subsequent chapter narrates how the pastor-theologian lost its relevance in North America and Europe. Chapters four and five, present ecclesiological anemia and theological anemia. Chapters six, seven, and eight disseminate the appropriate roles of a pastor-theologian. The last chapter closes by giving restoration sense to scholars, students, and pastors.[i]

           The book coins that for pastor theologians to resurge ecclesial theology, they should add value to popular theology. Unlike a local or popular theologian who exercises theology in church or congregants, an ecclesial theologian offers theological leadership to everyone, including scholars. Hiestand and Wilson might be misquoted, but they still believe that ecclesial theology is essential for the local congregant. Illustratively, the authors pick Thomas Aquinas, Augustine, Athanasius, Calvin, and N. T. Wright as some of the epitome ecclesial pastor theologians.

           The book embodies evangelism and how authors should resurrect their vision. Hiestand and Wilson make assumptions, i.e., churches are business set-ups, and there exists an ancient vision. Pastors are or should be the church primary theologians. The authors issue a call for the men of God to be theological practitioners. The book appeals for pastors to have mutual dialogs with other theologians. Besides providing theology, they should edify the body of Jesus Christ instead of being theologically anemic. The authors embark on a historical review of western churches examining how monastic clerical and non-clerical theologians contributed to evangelical/ theological reformation.

           Hiestand and Wilson’s accounts on theological anemia and pastoral theology are reasoned and impassioned. They are conservative when describing pastor theologians. Herein, Hiestand and Wilson embrace the inclusion of all genders in ecclesial theology. Consistent with the book’s language, the vision of being a modern theologian is meant for all genders. A modern pastor’s role is to translate academic scholarship, be an ecclesial theologian, and interpret theology to congregations. Even with all these roles, a pastor-theologian should remain faithful to pastoral ministry. The book coins that a pastor-theologian should balance lives, demands of ministry, and biblical training. Also, a practicing pastor is who is committed to the academy. Herein, they should contribute theological works that are relative to both medieval and modern times. 

              “The Pastor Theologian” is quite remarkable because it reaches out to local churches that have deviated from core theological matters. The book is endorsed by reputable scholars, giving the “piece” a standing ground in theology matters. Real-life examples outlined in the book model how the prominent scope of pastoral ministry. If I were to compare Hiestand and Wilson with other similar works on the same subject, I would vote for the book because it indirectly aligns its historical case to a biblical foundation. The use of conservative languages means that the message for all people who would like to know theology and evangelism. A patient approach when reading the book is important if one wants to understand the natural pastor-theologian. The book is similar to Pastoral Epistles, which affirms that theologians do not necessarily have to become pastors. I assess that the book finds a balance between theology, pastoral ministry, and scholarship. Through this book, Heistand and Wilson have presented a holistic and less taxonomical theory about theology.

[i] Hiestand, Wilson. The Pastor Theologian: Resurrecting an Ancient Vision. Zondervan, 2015