I was perusing a few blogs and came across a sad and humerous anecdote over on the Founders blog about a pastor who bought his doctorate at a diploma mill. The story led to an interesting discussion about academics and ministry. One reader passed along an interesting anecdote about John Piper:
“It’s his personal story regarding why he is a pastor, which he recounts in his MP3s on Romnas 9. While he was a professor who was teaching future pastors, he realized that God was not to be put in a box: the Glory of God was not the subject of academic dissertations, or a means for making a living through critical essays, but in fact the purpose of the church and the obligation of the believer.
“Piper resigned from teaching immediately, and was blessed with the pastorate he serves in today. In that, his vision for making God glorfied in a people has only been emboldened over the years.”
Now I don’t think that Piper (or I) would say that academic work is inherently sinful or always motivated by pride. But what I gather is that he realized that academic world lent itself to a detached, analytical perspective on the things of God in which God can become the object of academic poking and prodding. Now, I know men who are top shelf scholars for whom this is absolutely NOT the case. But there is certainly a danger there that led Piper, at least, to refocus his ministry. He still engages in discussions and debates on an academic level, but that is not his primary focus. Anyway, I thought it was an interesting comment. What do you think?