April 6, 2022

Theology Is for God’s People

I am happy to announce that the good people at B&H Publishing Group and I have contracted for a major 3-volume popular-level systematic theology.

The Lord has long impressed me with the truth that theology is the responsibility of his people in the local churches.

This conviction began under the preaching of pastor Wayne DuBose, now of Minden, Louisiana.

It was then reinforced by the teaching of James Leo Garrett of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Research on the biblical and historical doctrine of the priesthood of all believers with the ThM at Duke Divinity (on the continental Reformation) and the DPhil at University of Oxford (on the English Reformation) cemented this conviction. (The latter was published by Oxford University Press).

Significant pastorates in Texas, Louisiana, and North Carolina showed in practice the truth that our people in our local churches want to know how to think properly about God, his work in the world, and his Word. These pastorates above all developed a deep love to teach God’s Word.

When Lakeside Baptist Church Granbury called me to be their Teaching Pastor, I was overwhelmed with joy to ground academic theology in church theology. The combination of the roles of Teaching Pastor and Research Professor have proved beneficial for both classroom and pulpit.

In important ways, the ongoing Baptist struggle with theological modernism has been exacerbated by a divorce between church and academy. The churches rightly claim theology is for their use in worship, mission, teaching. The academies serve best when we support the churches.

The theological construction undergirding this conviction was written up for academic theological audiences in “The Formation of Christian Doctrine,” a detailed methodology published by B&H Academic in 2007. Theologians in the academy may consult that work for more detail.

Now, in my writing ministry, I plan to turn in the direction that, as my wife Karen Searcy Yarnell recently reminded me, Leo Garrett long hoped I would do: popular theology.

The American Evangelical and Southern Baptist academy is maturing theologically by leaps. Let us now build on that.

Stay tuned for more details from B&H Publishers in the next few years. For now, however, you know where my focus will be dedicated.

Theology is for God’s People.

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