Who Influences You?

Most Christians who seek to study the Bible and understand proper Christian living tend to have one or a few teachers that they gravitate toward in helping them along the way. I do not mean just their local pastor or Sunday School teacher. I mean that many Christians have a well-known Bible teacher they read or learn from via electronic media and that Bible teacher has great influence on the theology of that believer. And the believer will usually take on some degree of that Bible teacher’s position on nearly every issue.

I can name some now that people tend to gravitate toward. There is John Piper, John MacArthur, J.I. Packer, David Jeremiah, Alistair Begg, and Ravi Zacharias, to name a few. There are also teachers of the past that folks latch on to such as C.S. Lewis and St. Augustine but I am focusing on contemporary teachers here.

Until recently I would have said that C.S. Lewis is the only person I would name as a teacher that I consistently return to (other than my church pastor) in order to answer my difficult questions and the one from whom I continuously seek out understanding of God. Outside of this I pretty much considered myself a free-thinker. But that is not really true.

Over the last year and a half I have noticed that I have come to greatly respect the insight of another contemporary teacher. I am talking about R.C. Sproul.

R.C. Sproul is a Reformed, Five-Point Calvinist, cessationist, Augustinian Amillennialist Bible expositor whose teachings appear in print and audio media. Now if you compare the Sproul-in-a-nutshell list I have just given with my past writings then you will conclude that I do not agree with every jot and tittle of Sproul’s theology and you would be right. However I have come to greatly appreciate his understanding of theology and philosophy and history and the way in which he uses all three to come to a clearer understanding of the context, meaning, and message of the Holy Scripture.

I realized only recently how much I have come to respect Sproul’s interpretations and views when I was wrestling with a particular issue. I do not want to say what the issue was but it is something I have mulled over and over and over. I still have not come to a conclusion but I nevertheless turned to Sproul’s website to seek out his opinion for consideration. That is when I realized how much I respect his viewpoint.

So now I want to hear what contemporary teachers have influenced you in this way. If there are none then tell me someone from the past that you respect and typically refer to when considering the more difficult points of theology. Or if you think Sproul is a total bozo and that I should lean more towards the teaching of ___________, then let me know!

And do not pretend you are not reading. I have seen my stats and I know you are out there so give me some feedback. 😉

Josh H.


16 Responses to “Who Influences You?”

  1. February 20, 2009 at 8:50 am

    Ha! I like your last line about the stats.

    For me, I would say Chuck Swindoll, Piper, and Tozer on my biggest influences. Since I’m a woman, I also really like Beth Moore and Carolyn MaHaney (C.J.’s wife). Oh, and on a smaller level, I really like C. Michael Patton of Parchment & Pen:http://www.reclaimingthemind.org/blog/

  2. February 20, 2009 at 9:50 am

    My church history professor, David Hogg, is the man. He preaches at his church on Sunday nights. Allan Moseley is the pastor there and he’s great too. http://www.christbaptist.org there are sermons there. Check out Hogg, you’ll love him. What I really, really appreciate about both is that they stay in the text, emphasize the importance of the text to the original audience, then look to the significance of the text in the overall revelation of Scripture, and finally seek to apply it to our lives. My beef with many preachers/bible teachers is that they jump straight to application for today to the neglect of the past.

    Others I like include Albert Mohler, Daniel Akin, David Nelson, Mark Dever, Packer, Edwards, Luther, and Lewis. I hear David Allen is REALLY good as well but I’ve not had a chance to hear him.

  3. February 20, 2009 at 10:16 am

    @sarah mae: Hey, thanks for stopping by. I’m familiar with C.J. Mahaney. I’ve heard him preach twice live (at New Attitude conference), but I’ve never heard his wife. Tozer, Piper, and Swindoll are great too.

    As for the stats remark. It can be a challenge to get these shy blog readers out of their shells!

    @Lance I highly respect the men you mentioned as well. I’ll check out David Hogg. Sounds like my kind of expositor. 😉

  4. February 20, 2009 at 10:38 am

    I expect to write a spin-off post on this, Josh. For the record, I really appreciate Sproul’s approach to teaching (although, like you, not always the content of his preaching) over almost everyone else I’ve heard that’s still preaching.

  5. February 20, 2009 at 11:32 am

    Steve, I look forward to it.

    I just really enjoy how Sproul brings in classic philosophy and world history. I have heard sermons where he didn’t quote a single scripture but discussed the views of a particular philosophy and then analyzed from a biblical/Chrstian worldview, and sometimes he agrees with large parts of the philosophy.

  6. February 20, 2009 at 3:34 pm

    I know this isn’t helpful, but reading your description of Sproul’s beliefs reminded me of this cartoon.

  7. February 20, 2009 at 3:53 pm

    @Heath: I feel like the blond guy in the cartoon sometimes.

    And will someone PLEASE tell me the difference between emergent and emerging? I hear they’re different, but have yet to hear how.

  8. February 20, 2009 at 5:39 pm

    And will someone PLEASE tell me the difference between emergent and emerging?

    If you’d really like to know: http://www.reclaimingthemind.org/blog/2008/02/would-the-real-emerger-please-stand-up-part-1/

  9. February 20, 2009 at 6:17 pm

    @Steve: I actually really do. Thanks.

    All I ever get out of emerging/emergent people is that the emergent movement is “about a conversation.” That tells me exactly bupkiss.

  10. February 20, 2009 at 6:56 pm

    Yeah, I’m sure you do — I just meant that this is a very long series of long posts, so you may have to read awhile before you get a true picture!

  11. February 22, 2009 at 10:29 pm

    2 Things:
    One, did you know that on the Dick Van Dyke show there was a song called “Bupkis?” “Bupkis means a lot of nothing and that’s what I got from you. Bupkis, Bupkis.”
    Two, just so you know, since you check the stats and everything, if it says I’ve been on here three hours, I left your page pulled up–it didn’t take me that long to read a post 😉

    Oh, and a third thing. Thanks for asking this question about influences, because it has reemphasized something that I’ve been realizing lately: I don’t read enough. I do enjoy listening to preaching/teaching, however. Alistair Begg and Ravi Zacharias are my favorites.

  12. 12 Matt Evans
    February 25, 2009 at 12:27 am

    Being in seminary there are a lot of guys who have influenced me who aren’t neccessarily well known. David Platt is one. I also like some of John McArthur’s work. I like D.A. Carson, John Stott, and Spurgeon as well.

    Finally, one that has really taught me a lot and that I get a lot of my thinking from is a guy from a large church in Texas, you may have heard of him…last name Osteen. Yeah him and Kenneth Copeland and the pink haired lady on TBN! Oh and the Georgia Prophet whose real name was something Franklin!

    That’s all!

  13. February 25, 2009 at 10:50 am

    Dude, Roosevelt Franklin (www.revrooseveltfranklin.org)

    Peace, Philly Brown style

  14. February 25, 2009 at 1:05 pm

    @Lance: Yeah, if I had no scruples, I could be rich like Roosevelt.

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