are academic theologians useless?

Well of course not.

In response to a post by Tony Jones, David Fitch, author of The Great Giveaway, as posted something I believe is of tremendous importance. He addresses people entering the academic life with three basic issues; (3) The Publishers Have Become the Pope and we need to deal with it, (2) There is a need for more Ph.D. pastors, and (1) The problem of the Tweener book. I think Fitch identifies some contours of very practical theological issues for today's church, not to mention uncovering the way consumerism affects theology. Definitely worth a read and a comment. I believe as the chair of Evangelical Theology at Northen Seminary, he does appreciate academic theologians at some level :) He writes:
"The tweener book is a book which is neither an academic monograph nor a trade book written for a broader untrained audience. These ‘tweener’ books are written for pastors, the theologically interested and well read, the leaders in the church who communicate regularly to the lay person/ who is not theologically trained or motivated. The problem is these ‘tweener’ books don’t sell 40,000 copies, never mind 20,000 copies. They cannot be priced as a monograph reference text for other professors/libraries that usually buy these books. They fall in between. They are risky and not as economically feasible for a lot of traditional publishers. Yet they fulfill probably the most important educational task. For it is among this audience of leaders - pastors-theologically interested readers where the significant changes are cultivated through books. The economics of these books make it imperative that serious theologians become more creative in marketing and writing publications that are in essence tweener publications."
UPDATE: The discussion was kicked off by Jonathan Walton's post, "Is the Theologian an Antiquated Relic of a Dying Institution?"


  1. well i was going to say that it's too bad that more theologians don't follow your lead to publish their writing online in the form of, oh i dunno, maybe a blog?

    but then i guess they'd have to raise income by some other means... and as you point out, consumerism has certainly infected (oh, i mean affected) theology too...


Post a Comment

I cherish your comments, but not vileness or wickedness. By vileness I mean Spam, and wickedness I mean hateful speech. Unless it's about spam.

Popular Posts