Avoiding Carson-Beale Syndrome: A Further Note on Compentency

Dr Greg BealeI’ve posted a couple of comments over at Spiritual Sounding Board that touched on the question of pastoral competency, and thought that some of those thoughts deserved to be better organized and more completely fleshed out.

There are some theologians that are very gifted in their particular area. Dr Morton Smith is one of the most gifted and underrated systematicians in the United States. Dr Joel Beeke is an incredibly gifted instructor of homiletics. But then there are other theologians who seem to be good at everything. Dr D.A. Carson and Dr Gregory Beale are two men that are truly phenomenal crossbenchers. I’ve rarely read anything that either of them have written that wasn’t thought-provoking at a minimum. Even when he’s wrong, Carson will give you an intellectual workout.  

What’s more, both of these men have an amazingly broad influence—the sort of influence that most pastors can only dream of. They have intellects that make the rest of us look like lazy 3rd graders. And the influence that they have on those of us who study theology deleterious.

Brothers, we are not D.A. Carson or Greg Beale. Most of us will never have their level of competency, pastorally or academically.

And that is okay. Really.

We must remind ourselves of what Paul teaches us in Romans 12:3,

For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.

Brothers, if you aren’t careful to flee from pride, to flee from the expectation that you must be an expert at everything, to flee from the impulse to answer every question, regardless of your competence in that area, you will destroy your ministry.

But what’s worse, you’ll destroy those of Christ’s sheep that have been committed to your care. That’s far, far worse.


"I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naïve." (Romans 16:17-18) Please read "The Comments Policy."

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