Just a random thought today – seeing as how it is Friday and no one is paying attention anyway —
I got to thinking about the authors that have really influenced me – maybe not convinced me of the truth of every one of their thoughts, but the authors that invariably make me think deeply about their subject. I came up with 7 (a good biblical number) based on the number of books in my library, and by the significance of the author’s ability to cause me to reflect on my own beliefs and to think holistically.
Here are my seven: (well, I will actually throw in an eighth, but with a caveat)
- Dietrich Bonhoeffer (if you know me, this was a no-brainer)
- C.S. Lewis (I am continually blown away by Lewis’ logic and penetrating insights)
- Thomas Merton (a contemplative’s contemplative; profound insights into human nature and Christian theology)
- Henri Nouwen (a poetic theologian, or a theological poet)
- N.T. Wright (a scholar who can write so I can understand him – a rare trait; has just exploded my understanding of many points theological)
- Os Guinness (just learning more about Guinness – but right up there with Bonhoeffer for penetrating intellect and Merton and Nouwen for powerful prose)
- John Stott (had to put a preacher/commentator on the list)
(And for my wild card – Glen Stassen, although with Dr. Stassen his influence has been primarily in the field of ethics, specifically in relation to the Sermon on the Mount and Christian ethics)
By the way, I have to explain why no authors from my own heritage are on this list – primarily it is because I already approach the subjects with which they interact in a posture of basic agreement. But, for sheer brilliance and depth of intellect, no one can even hold a candle to Everett Ferguson. I would be hopelessly lost in my journey in the Restoration Movement without such guides as Richard Hughes and C. Leonard Allen. In terms of historical knowledge and critical analysis, the peak of Mt. Olympus belongs to David Edwin Harrell, Jr. There, I think I have covered all of my bases.
So, who makes your list? Why? Any thoughts about new voices on the horizon? (Six out of my top eight are deceased, hmmm. Why is there such a dearth of theologians who can write anything more than vapid pablum today?)
Looking forward to hearing your thoughts.