As a pastor, should you be more like a lawyer or a researcher?

How would you answer Kimberly Hyatt’s question:

No disrespect intended, but should pastors act a little less like lawyers and a little more like researchers?

I heard a panel of arts education professors this week remind the audience there are two ways to argue facts — like a lawyer or like a researcher.

The way of the lawyer is to employ facts in order to make a pre-determined assertion seem more credible; the way of the researcher is to be open to letting the facts make whatever point they happen to make.

This distinction comes into play in the oft-discussed divide between what pastors learn in seminary and what they go on to teach people in the pews.

To take just one simple example from the very opening pages of the Bible, let’s look at the creation story.  Beside the fact that the earth is neither flat nor the center of our universe, other information is apparent from even a cursory study of the opening chapters.  Foremost among these is that there is no single creation story in Genesis but rather two very distinct stories.

Among the notable differences, each story presents creation in a different order; for instance, in one, God creates humans before the other animals, and in the other, God creates humans last.

Obviously, both creation stories cannot be literally true, and odds are neither is.  Yet, what’s a pastor to do?  Act like a lawyer and manipulate the facts or act like a researcher and let the facts speak for themselves?

Read more here.

So… what’s your answer?


One Comments

  • carol keeling October 2, 2012 Reply

    I don’t think it is two different stories. Chapter one seems like an outline(that says God made animals, man and woman on the sixth day) and chapter two goes into more detail about day six. Chapter two God made animals from the dust of the earth in the garden where he placed Adam and brought them to him to see what he would call them. It doesn’t say in chapter two these animals brought to be given names were the first God had ever made. Just because He made the first animals earlier that day doesn’t mean He can’t make another one of each from the dirt there in the garden for Adam to name! Then, He made Woman. So, to sum it up, God made all the different types of animals then, He made man. He decided to let
    Adam see and name all of the animals so he made one of each kind there where they were in the Garden . Adam named them, Then God made woman and Adam named her, too! Definitely RESEARCHER. iF SHE HAD RESEARCHED GENESIS BETTER WE WOULDN’T BE ANSWERING THIS QUESTION. That’s my Answer. And where does she think the Bible says the earth is FLAT and the center of the universe? pls enlighten me. Isaiah 40:22
    King James Version (KJV)
    22″ It is he that sitteth upon the CIRCLE OF THE EARTH…”

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