I am often amazed at the level of diversity even within my Reformed tradition. Dutch, Scottish, Continental, Puritan Augustinian, Calvinistic, Bucerian, etc.The intramural debates within intramural debates get microscopically precise. It’s a luxury of a highly Christianized society. In a society that does not have to concern itself with persecution, there should be a greater investment in translating books into the common language, delve deeper into scriptural truths, and grow in theological knowledge. We are seeing this in a revival of translations of unknown Latin texts into English, sending of American scholars to educate third-world countries, an explosion of missiological works around the world, and more. My conclusion, then, is two-fold:
First, good scholarship is for the sake of the people. It is needed more than ever today. We should not fall prey to old fundamentalist dogma that all scholarship is tainted by liberalism. We need good pastor/theologians in the Church. Ministers are shepherds who ought to lead well and this requires adequate preparation. Historically, the most influential leaders in the Church were also the most theologically equipped.
Secondly, we still suffer from a dichotomy between theology and practice. It’s a hangover of pietism which purposefully kept these two apart. But pietism needs to die and replaced with a pastoral anthropology. In other words, man is created to love God in order to love his fellow man better. This love of God is to be grounded in a deeper understanding of who He is.
When scholarship is uninterested in the practice of faith it will die a thousand deaths and fail to bring life to future generations. But when scholarship is conveyed clearly, as a gift of God about Himself, scholarship becomes a delicious exercise worthy of sharing with hungry souls.