Most Influential Theologian

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by TomVols, May 26, 2011.

  1. TomVols

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    Who has been the most influential theologian in your personal life and ministry? I know we can all say "Paul" or "Jesus" or our pastor. But stemming from the conversation about prominent theologians, I'm curious as to who you would say has influenced you the most. Thanks.
     
  2. Van

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    Unfortunately, anytime I read a commentary, I see stuff new to me, that I agree with and adopt, and stuff new to me, that I disagree with and reject. I have never read a commentary where the theologian gets it right, according to my light, more than about 70% of the time. So the most influential theologian would be the one who taught me the basic principles of bible study, where I arrive at my understanding of the text, as guided by the spectrum of views available from my bookshelf and the internet.
     
  3. TCGreek

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    John Piper. Yes, I consider him a pastor-theologian. And of course, N.T. Wright.
     
  4. Ruiz

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    Outside of the Bible, the following have been tremendously influential on me. I will list them in no particular order but by living and dead.

    Dead Theologians

    • Augistine--ecclesiology and his arguments against Pelagianism
    • Jonathan Edwards-His New Light Theology
    • John Calvin-There is just too much to list, love his Institutes
    • B.B. Warfield-Revelation and Inspiration
    • John Owen-Too much to list here.
    • J.C. Ryle-Holiness
    • A.W. Pink-Sovereignty of God and Attributes of God
    • Martin Lloyd Jones-There is just so much to list.
    • Edmund Clowney-Ecclesiology
    • Van Til-Apologetics

    Living Theologians

    • J.I. Packer-Knowing God
    • Sam Waldron-Exposition of the London Baptist Confession
    • Fred Malone-Best Pastor/Theologian I have ever met.
    • Kent Hughes-His commentaries are good, a little light but refreshing.
    • Mark Noll-Best Historical Theologian in Christianity today.
    • John Frame-Apologetics, but overall he is a solid theologian.
    • John MacArthur-his focus on expository preaching

    I am sure there are a few I missed but this is my list.
     
  5. Earth Wind and Fire

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    gotta love your selections Ruiz:love2::thumbs::thumbs:
     
  6. JesusFan

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    John Calvin
    Millard Erickson
    Charles Ryrie
    Dont IF considered to be a theologian but
    Donald Guthrie also
     
  7. glfredrick

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    For me, the "most" influential theologian has been Calvin. I find that his influence (or Luther's) is behind almost all others that we examine no matter who else does the writing.

    But that pick is colored by the MANY other very influential theologians that I have read, including historical figures like Luther, Augustine, Aquinas, Arminius, Baxter, et al, and more modern offerings such as Owen, Edwards, Pink, Broadus, Wesley, Theissen, Erickson, Grudem, McGrath, Piper, Berkoff, MacArthur, Sproul, Packer, Barth, Brunner, Boyce, Hodge, Ware, Schreiner, Seifrid, Ware, Mohler, Elwell, Allison, Grenz, Demarest, Moore, and a host of other minor players who have contributed journal articles, taught in classrooms, etc.

    And yes, I have read a lot (cannot say "all" or "most" for any individual above) of what each has written, and more so, what others have written in response (N.T. Wright, for instance).
     
  8. webdog

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    For me it was Sproul and MacArthur. Chosen By God was influential in my exit from reformed theology, and as someone mentioned MacArthur is a gifted expositor in most instances and skilled in biblical history.
     
  9. glfredrick

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    Interestingly, both men are Reformed in doctrine...
     
  10. webdog

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    No kidding! :)

    Must have stopped reading before getting to "Chosen By God was influential in my exit from reformed theology"
     
  11. preachinjesus

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    Honestly the three most influential modern (or as I prefer provoking) theologians on my life have:

    Karl Barth
    Paul Tillich
    Millard Erickson

    Pannenberg is working his way into the list, but I just haven't haven't read him enough. In terms of historical theologians, well I can list three as well:

    Augustine (between De Trinitate and De Doctrina Cristiania my world changed)
    Thomas Aquinas
    Jean Calvin

    I prefer the differentiation above since modern theology (of the last one hundred years) is remarkably different than historical theology (the previous 1900 years.)

    Cheerio! :)
     
  12. JesusFan

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    were the first 2 looked at as being Christian Theologians though?
     
  13. preachinjesus

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    Why wouldn't they be?

    I can understand questions about Tillich (again notice my note about provoking as influencing) but Barth was solidly Christian.

    Also, who are we to judge their faith?
     
  14. Earth Wind and Fire

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    For me Paul & Augustine started me in a Christian process & Whitefield & the HS slammed it home. The writings of Luther have been particularly inspiring but Martin Lloyd Jones have been sustenance to my daily life.

    Now Im John Owen & Spurgeon fixated.

    PS: Read Calvin's institutes recently & very impressed by his clear minded evaluations.

    These books all accomplished in 14 months right after my conversion date...prior to this I would not have paid it any never mind. Amazing what the HS can do once he gets a hold of you.:thumbs:
     
  15. TomVols

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    I've always wondered why some (not saying this about you) believe that pastor-theologian is a contradiction in terms. Actually, you can't be a pastor without being a theologian. Far too many try their darndest to do so, though, and unfortunately succeed.

    Webdog interestingly wrote:
    Interesting. What was it about Sproul and that particular book that made you leave Reformed theology? I say that because I'm no particular fan of him, but I don't hate him either. I have a long list of guys I'd read before I pick up a book by him.

    I'd also qualify MacArthur "in most instances." Just sayin....:laugh:
     
  16. TomVols

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    My most influential was Dr. Daniel Akin, now president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. My mentor for ETS and my theology professor at Southern Seminary in the mid 90s, he is a self-described Amayraldian, he is the model theologian in my mind. Willing to work with Calvinists and Arminians but not willing to divide either. He is a scholar, but would often leave the classroom and go visit a suicidal teenager or a prison cell to share the gospel or go to the bedside of an ill 80-something. I've seen him lecture a hole through theistic evolution, then go wrap hug professors who were deemed as "one of those liberals" and see Dr. Akin ask how their sick spouse was and ask if there was anything he or his wife could do. Congenial and confessional, conviction and compassion....these are friends and not enemies to this wonderful man of God. I wouldn't agree with his progressive dispensationalism, but you have to love this man.

    Akin is more of an editor than a writer, as you can see in his Theology for the Church.

    I'd also rank Erickson next, then Grudem. Honroable mentions are Boyce, Boice, and Herschel Hobbs. Spurgeon influenced me greatly, though not strictly a theologian in the sense we've been speaking of.

    Some that are quickly becoming favorites: Berkhof, Dabney, and Bavinck. Maybe when I read all of Warfield and Calvin, they'll be up there, but not until then. (Piper admitted he'd never read all of the Institutes, so now I don't feel so bad :laugh:

    I, too, love Broadus, but to me he's more of a homiletician than theologian, though that's an artificial distinction. Broadus is a hero. So is Lloyd-Jones as an expositor. Alistair Begg is a modern-day Lloyd Jones in my eyes.
     
  17. Skandelon

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    True, but I wonder if the opposite is true. Won't all true theologians have the heart of a pastor/teacher? I think so.
     
  18. TomVols

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    I think all ministry is theological, and all theology should be ministerial in that doctrine should lead to thought, word and deed, not just one or two.
     
  19. David Lamb

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    Why "of course, N.T. Wright"? (I'm assuming you mean the Anglican bishop of Durham, author of New Perspective on Paul).
     
  20. TCGreek

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    Yes, former Bishop of Durham. He's now a prof. at Saints Andrews in NT and Early Christian Writings.

    Of course as a Baptist, I'll have to disagree with him here and there.
     

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