On the relation between the pulpit and the academy

pulpit‘[I]f God speaks, and if God speaks in the church, then on some subjects sermons are not popularized products of more basic scholarly reflection. Rather scholarly reflection is an academized product of the more basic proclamation of the gospel … Thus, for the Christian community, sermons are a first-order, not a second-order, activity … As worship is more fundamental in the church than theology, so kerygmatic proclamation is more basic and often more pertinent than scholarly reflection’. – Charles Partee, The Theology of John Calvin (Louisville/London: Westminster John Knox Press, 2008), 46.

By the way, I’ve succumbed: readers of Per Crucem ad Lucem can now follow the blog via Twitter.

[Update: Rick has posted a great rant reflection on this Partee quote here]


  1. Jason,
    I think the quote from Partee is spot on. I served two congregations that were adjacent to seminaries, and we had faculty in the pews, and I was on a theology faculty myself. It still worries me that theology (in America at least) is so preoccupied with its status in the secular academy that it loses sight of its vocation to the church. It’s better in Britain, where theology is actually still a discipline (as opposed to “religion” here). But both the academy and the church suffer when they forget that sermons are a first order activity.


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