Hears and Doers with Dr. Kevin Vanhoozer

Hearers and Doers

Doctrine is critical to the role of making disciples. Dr. Kevin Vanhoozer, author of many books including Hearers and Doers: A Pastor’s Guide to Making Disciples Through Scripture and Doctrine, explains why doctrine matters, and how we can find our place in God’s story.

Key Ideas

  • We’re all formed by stories, either God’s story, or some other story we use to make sense of the world.
  • Three primary stories shape us today: the liberation narrative, the wellness narrative, and the self-invention story.
  • Pastors must understand the main stories that culture tells us, and help congregations become culturally literate, and live in the big story of Scripture.
  • Good preaching helps to call out false stories and help people live in God’s story.
  • Doctrine is practical, because it helps us learn about God’s story and our place within it.
  • Theology tells the story of what it means to live in Christ.
  • We should discard the metaphor of pastor as CEO or entertainer, and embrace the metaphors of pastors as public theologians, doctors, and fitness instructors.
  • The church must become fit so that it can serve its purpose: to act as representatives of the Kingdom of God, speaking and doing things that Christians should be doing.
  • The evangelical imagination is the ability to live in God’s story, even if we can’t see it with our senses.
  • Ministry isn’t easy, but we can take the pressure off. We’re not supposed to know everything or do everything. That’s God’s role.
  • Change takes time. Think of changing a church culture as changing family traditions.


“If you think I’m off on a doctrinal rabbit hole that has nothing to do with practical ministry, stop me. Call me on it. Force me to show you how it’s practical.”

“If doctrine isn’t somehow involved in the process of making disciples, then it’s defective.”

“I like to think of theology is the study of reality, what is ‘in Christ’ and that’s even more real than what the scientists study, because ‘in Christ’ is the beginning of a new creation.”

“Pastors are theologians because they’re there to help people understand God and all things in relation to God.”

“What should concern pastors is the fitness of their members for gospel citizenship.”

“If you feel overwhelmed, just remember that you’re not supposed to know everything about everything, but you’re supposed to understand the gospel and the gospel can transform everything.”

Books mentioned:


Download a PDF transcript of this episode.

Hears and Doers with Dr. Kevin Vanhoozer
Darryl Dash

Darryl Dash

I'm a grateful husband, father, oupa, and pastor of Grace Fellowship Church Don Mills. I love learning, writing, and encouraging. I'm on a lifelong quest to become a humble, gracious old man.
Toronto, Canada