J.I. Packer on Meditation

J.I. Packer is a proponent of biblical meditation. He writes, “How can we turn our knowledge about God into knowledge of God? The rule for doing this is simple but demanding. It is that we turn each truth that we learn about God into matter for meditation before God, leading to prayer and praise to God.”[1] For me, this was the most important principle of Packer’s approach to the study of theology. After reading this statement, I was inspired to incorporate the practice of Lectio Divina in my devotions and sermon preparation. This slowing down to soak in the truths of Scripture, taking time to think deeply about the text, praying through it, and contemplating God’s revelation has revolutionized my walk with God. Often, the time crunch of pastoral ministry causes anxiety and stress to build, but now I understand that taking the time and creating space for biblical meditation is key to fruitfulness and faithfulness in ministry. For God calls us to this knowledge of being still before Him and trusting Him to work on our behalf (Ps. 46:10).

[1] J.I. Packer, Knowing God, (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2021), 23.

To PhD or not to PhD?

With me nearing the halfway point in my graduate studies, I’ve toyed with
the idea of pursuing a PhD. After doing some online research and chatting with
a few of my professors, I’ve realized the job market is slim in the field of Biblical
and Theological Studies for evangelicals. Other than adjunct positions, there
are few open positions. What should a person do that wants to pursue this type
of education and employment? That is a question I’m asking.

I’m a pastor at heart, so being an adjunct is alright with me, because at
the moment, I don’t foresee me not pastoring a local church. There are some
schools I can teach at with my MA, but if the pool is full of resumes with
PhD’s on them, I don’t know how I would fare. Of course, the fact I’ve pastored
in some form for almost two decades is a plus. I think. Also, I have classroom teaching
experience at the secondary level. Another plus.

In the end, I understand the many factors that will play into my decision:
family, finances, and timing (I’m forty!). That’s not even mentioning the
biggest factor is God’s will. However, if possible, I think I would love to go
further into academia.

I learned about a podcast from Dr. Stephen Smith at Belhaven called On Biblical Scholarship with Eric Roseberry that is helping me think through some issues. If you’re in the boat with me, I think this podcast will help you. Go check it out.

That’s a decision I’ve pondered lately. What decisions are you facing? How do
you make them? I’d like to hear about it in the comments section.

Feelings & Theology

Over the past few months, I’ve returned to Belhaven University to finish my MA in Biblical and Theological Studies. It was a needed hiatus, but I’m glad I returned. I finished my first course in Old Testament Histories last week. The study of how the theme of kingship develops through 1 Samuel to Nehemiah gave me some ideas for a fantasy series (I may write about this in the future). However, today makes the end of my first week in Systematic Theology and so far, it’s amazing!

The assigned texts are John Frame’s Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Christian Belief and J.I. Packer’s Knowing God. The program also uses video lectures from Third Millennium Ministries. This week’s video lesson is called “What is Theology?” In the video, they state the primary goals of theology as orthodoxy (right thinking), orthopraxis (right behavior), and orthopathos (right feelings). The first two concepts are familiar to many, but the last idea of having correct emotions is often overlooked. We should balance these three in order to make sure our theology is sound.

Why is the emotional goal of theology not as familiar? I can only speak to my faith tradition, which is protestant evangelical. Our tradition teaches us that our feelings are not to be trusted. Feelings are subjective. However, the video argues that proper feelings are important for a wholistic theology. I found this very interesting. Here is a link to the video here. Check it out and let me know what you think in the comments section.

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