Why ‘Pastor-Scholar’ Is a False Dichotomy

Peter Beck | November 10, 2015

Editors’ note: This is the third installment in a new series on the pastor-scholar. Articles will be published each Tuesday through the opening of the 2015 annual meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS), November 17 to 19, in Atlanta.


I must confess: I’m torn between two loves. I live two lives. I am a bivocational pastor.

Admittedly, I’m not your traditional bivocational pastor. I don’t work in the local mill to support my ministry. I don’t sell anything so I can give the gospel away. I am a college professor who teaches historical and systematic theology.

I am a theologian who also happens to be a pastor, and a pastor who also shepherds minds. Following Michael Kruger’s taxonomy, I am a “scholar-pastor,” someone who works full-time in the academy and part-time in the pastorate. My days are spent behind a lectern; my weekends behind a pulpit.

Dual Life 

I’ve been living this dual life for 16 years. As a college and seminary student I served two local congregations that couldn’t afford a full-time pastor. For the past eight…

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