Why does D.A. Carson recommend Robert M'Cheyne? (See previous post).
First, he typifies a host of ministers who were scholar-practitioners, pastor-theologians, serious students yet fervent evangelists. The bifurcation between scholar and pastor that cripples so much of ministry today was not for him.Read Carson's entire recommendation of M'Cheyne in "Overlooked Shapers of Evangelicalism," pp. 77-79.
Second, he brought piety and serious study together in unashamed union. So much of the Western tradition of study magnifies dispassionate distance from the subject. Certainly we need the careful listening to the text that avoids mere subjectivism. But our aim should not be to become masters of the text but to be mastered by the text.
Third, M’Cheyne was passionately committed to reforming the church by the Word of God, and did all he could to promote a broad, deep, and reverent grasp of Scripture. By his standards, so much ecclesiastical ministry today seems misfocused or even frivolous.
So I recommend M’Cheyne—and not just M’Cheyne, but a host of pastor-theologians who manifest similar values. They will inform our minds, warm our hearts, and steel our wills.
It may be that so many Christian minds are left ill-informed, so many Christian hearts are cold, and so many Christian wills are un-steeled, because our pastors are no longer theologians.
May God confound that satanic division of scholar and pastor and equip a generation of churchmen to reject frivolity for "a broad, deep, and reverent grasp of Scripture." Christians, these are the pastors for which we must be praying!