It's an interesting correlation the way doctrine and minister health are connected. One of the questions is which affects which, the belief system or the trouble? For me, the theological position defines everything else. The tenets of my faith are domino one. When they are faulty or in question, the others simply fall in place. You know, the domino effect.
In an article @ intotheyword.org., Dr. Richard J. Krejcir writes this good sense about the place of biblical theology in the pastor's life:
A pastor who does not have a good theology is like an engineer who does not know
math; he or she would totally be unable to do the job of designing. A pastor that is not
theologically sound is like a surgeon who does not know anatomy and physiology; would
you want him or her to operate on you? Would you want a lawyer representing you who
does not know the law or the court system?
Krejcir's study (which may be reviewed here) for the Francis A. Schaeffer Institute of Christian Leadership Development concludes that theological passion is a essential component of pastoral health. Pastors with well-developed theological positions on the providence and care of God, the efficacy and authority of Scripture, the deity and atoning death of Jesus Christ, his bodily resurrection, his founding and direction of the church, the church as the body of Christ, and even his promised return, are more apt to rely on his provision in the demanding assignments of spiritual leadership.
Finding hard numbers to verify this proposition is difficult. Much of the research in the areas of pastoral ministry is dated. A good bit of myth surrounds the topic. Still, it makes a lot of sense and certainly resonates with the biblical record. One unifying theme of the New Testament is the perpetuation of sound doctrine. Paul's appeal to his churches and ministry partners uniquely mentions sound doctrine in their teaching responsibilities.
But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine.
Titus 2:1, ESV
Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I
come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in
one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel...
Philippians 1:27, ESV
Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so
doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.
1 Timothy 4:16, ESV
Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith
and love that are in Christ Jesus.
2 Timothy 1:13, ESV
He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be
able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who
Titus 1:9, ESV
More to the point, Paul's deep personal theology was the strong point as he faced the grueling hardships of mission and spiritual leadership. Several examples provide ample evidence of the way his theology guided his reaction to the tests of his apostolic calling.
Yet now I urge you to take heart, for there will be no loss of life among you, but
only of the ship. For this very night there stood before me an angel of the God to
whom I belong and whom I worship, and he said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul; you
must stand before Caesar. And behold, God has granted you all those who sail
with you.’ So take heart, men, for I have faith in God that it will be exactly as I
have been told. But we must run aground on some island.
Acts 27:22-26, ESV
Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was
to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.
2 Corinthians 1:9, ESV
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in
2 Corinthians 12:9, ESV
But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one. 2 Thessalonians 3:3, ESV
But the Lord stood with me and gave me strength so that I might preach the
Good News in its entirety for all the Gentiles to hear. And he rescued me from
2 Timothy 4:17, ESV
As we contemplate the dilemmas of serving Christ and his church in these times, many factors must be weighed. Abundant research clarifies what we all know: ministry is hard. This truth is verified in the lives of those who are called to serve. While we're implementing mission statements, examining organizational models, adjusting structures and systems, basic theology must not be overlooked.
If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words
of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, he is
puffed up with conceit and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy craving for
controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension,
slander, evil suspicions, and constant friction among people who are depraved in
mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain.
1 Timothy 6:3-5, ESV
In the rough and tumble world of spiritual leadership, sound theology is domino one.