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What is a Teacher?

Part of my required reading this semester includes Jaroslav Pelikan’s The Christian Intellectual. I came a across this dynamite line today:

Few tyrannies are more insidious than that of a teacher who is interested in disciples rather than pupils, who seeks to be imitated rather than transcended, and who is so sure of the correctness of his ideas that he can evaluate all his students on the basis of their obedience to his opinions rather than on the basis of their judgment and maturity.

He continues:

The history of Chrisitan theology has not lacked for such teachers, who have compounded the tyranny by identifying their notions with the word of God and thus equaiting their authority with the sovereignty of God. Yet no field of study is free of this temptation, and no intellectual community can afford to relent in its vigil against the tyranny of the pedagogue.

A bit later he affirms: “…it is the function of the teacher to make his students outgrow him.” How true!

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