Sunday, December 6, 2009

Apprenticing myself

I find that I am, effectively, apprenticing myself to certain writers and thinkers. These are the people who have shaped, and are shaping, my theological, ecclesiastical, and pastoral thought and action. Some of these are living, while others have passed on to glory. I thought I would mention who these folks are.
  • Donald MacNair-- was described once (by Harry Reeder) as the "father of church revitalization". He had near-prophetic insight into how the "church growth movement" would have negative and even damaging effects, and how to foster healthy church life and vitality.
  • David Martyn Lloyd-Jones-- I can't get enough of his preaching, and everything I've read by him is so solid. I've heard that he was considered one of the greatest preachers of the 20th century.
  • Henri J. M. Nouwen-- has to be one of the most pastorally-minded people I've ever encountered, and even though a couple of his books are fairly odd (I'm thinking of The Wounded Healer), I gain much from him.
  • Adolf Schlatter-- what a solid theologian, and again a model of pastoral and theological integrity. Schlatter was one of the very few voices of orthodoxy in the midst of the emerging German theological liberalism (think Karl Barth) of the 20th century.
  • William Still-- was a Scottish pastor whose faithful model challenges me in every way that I encounter. If I can be half the pastor Still was, I'd consider that a great accomplishment and legacy for my life.

Also, those still living:
  • Hughes Oliphant Old-- is teaching me a deeper meaning and richness to worship that I didn't know was possible.
  • John R. W. Stott-- his exegetical capabilities are invaluable, and his ability to apply the Word is immense.
  • Sinclair Ferguson-- is a hero on many counts, including both his theological prowess as well as his exegetical and preaching skill.
  • Philip Graham Ryken-- is both brilliant and approachable, in ways that I wasn't sure were possible. His expository commentaries are a real delight, but all of his books are worth time and investment.

And these are some who are "emerging" (not in the ecclesiastical sense, but in the sense that they are only beginning to show up) as influences:
  • Lesslie Newbigin
  • Miroslav Volf
  • J.C. Ryle

Some guys are devotees of Tim Keller, John Piper, Lig Duncan, C.J. Mahaney, or some other "in vogue" models. I've got nothing against those guys-- but the ones above are the guys who are influencing me heavily.

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