5 Theological Influences

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mattrose
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5 Theological Influences

Post by mattrose » Thu Dec 20, 2012 11:59 pm

My wife made be join Pinterest....but I really didn't know what to do with it. Eventually I decided to make lists of the best 8 of whatever I decided to make a list of. One list I decided to make was my 8 biggest theological influences. But in so doing I realized that there are 5 who are quite a bit more influential than anyone else. I thought I would share my list. I wonder if some of you would like to share the same. I'd love to look into some of the preachers, teachers, and authors that influence you.

Here's my list, in no particular order

Steve Gregg
Clark Pinnock
Greg Boyd
C.S. Lewis
N.T. Wright

Of course, this list doesn't mean I agree with everything any of these guys say (although, let's face it... if they are my top 5 influences, I probably do agree with them more often than not), but it does mean I have shifted mindsets based on their teachings and, perhaps especially, the method in which they do their theological and biblical work.

Honorable Mention:
Bruxy Cavey
Frank Viola
Roger Olson

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Bud
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Re: 5 Theological Influences

Post by Bud » Fri Dec 21, 2012 3:51 pm

Hi Matthew,

I thought I would join in here. I will as you did, assume everyone knows I hold the Triune God as no. 1 influence in theology, followed by all the biblical authors then for me, I will list 3:

Steve Gregg
Hank Hannegraaff
C.S. Lewis

In that order. If I had studied under Lewis as I have the other two he may have made the top of my list but I'm not sure.

Blessings,
Malachi 3:16 Then those who feared the LORD spoke to one another, and the LORD gave attention and heard [it,] and a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear the LORD and who esteem His name. (NASB) :)

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Paidion
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Re: 5 Theological Influences

Post by Paidion » Fri Dec 21, 2012 4:21 pm

When I was a teenager, I was influenced by fundamentalist and Calvinist preachers. I thought these teachings were the norm — what virtually "all" Christians believed.

At about age 21, I was influenced by Major Ian Thomas. I went to hear him speak, and I was riveted. It was about a 2 h lecture, and it seemed like 10 minutes. Then I read his book "The Saving Life of Christ", and I began to think that there were two kinds of Christians, one who was saved from hell and the bondage of sin, by accepting Christ, but who might keep on living the self life if they so chose. The crossing of the Red Sea to escape from Egypt was symbolic of this experience. The Israelites had escaped from bondage to the Egyptians. But these Christians having been saved from the bondage of sin, need to submit to Christ fully in order to live the full Christian life. The entering of the Israelites into the promised land was symbolic of this experience. There were still many enemies to fight in the promised land, and so the Christian has many spiritual enemies to fight, but now he is "feasting on the grapes, dates and pomegranates of the promised land" instead of merely surviving on nothing but manna.

For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. (Romans 5:10)

Hence the name of Ian's book The Saving Life of Christ.

This was my first major paradigm change. I think I carried Ian's teaching much further than he did. For the next few years, I wrote and published tracts such as "Are You and Unbelieving Believer?" based on the passage in Hebrews, "Take heed, brethren, lest there be in you an evil heart of unbelief." Another tract I published was entitled, "The Difference between Christians and Disciples." (This, I supposed, was based on whether the person had merely "crossed the Red Sea" or whether he had also "entered the promised land.")

When I was about 25 and teaching in a Hutterite Community, I was given a booklet written by Clarence Jordan who founded Koinonia Fellowship in Georgia. It was titled The Sermon on the Mount. With that I experienced another paradigm change. I saw that there was no difference between Christians and disciples. There were only disciples who began to be CALLED "Christians" at Antioch. Unless you are a disciple of Christ, submitting to His authority as King in the Kingdom of God, you are not a Christian. I came to see that disciples have not been merely saved from hell, nor have they been saved from the bondage of sin through a single experience. Rather they are in a process of being saved from sin itself. My new understanding was re-inforced by Bonhoeffer's The Cost of Discipleship in which he distinguished between "cheap grace" and "costly grace." What really crystallized this understanding for me was the many works of George MacDonald.
Last edited by Paidion on Fri Dec 21, 2012 8:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Paidion

Man judges a person by his past deeds, and administers penalties for his wrongdoing. God judges a person by his present character, and disciplines him that he may become righteous.

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steve
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Re: 5 Theological Influences

Post by steve » Fri Dec 21, 2012 6:25 pm

Like Paidion, I am old, and there have been different "seasons" of my Christian life during each of which, different teachers (and, more importantly, role models) were the most influential to me. If I can remember correctly, the list would look something like this:

1953-1965 — My parents

1965-1970 — Billy Graham (my earliest hero, and still to this day)

1970-1972 — Chuck Smith, Hal Lindsey, (briefly, Kenneth Hagin!), Richard Wurmbrandt, Brother Andrew, Corrie ten Boom, C.S. Lewis, Josh McDowell, George Mueller, my own study of scripture

1972-1975 — Bob Mumford and his associates, my own study of scripture

1975-1980 — A.W.Tozer, William Law, George Mueller, J. Sidlow Baxter, Hannah Whitall Smith, ancient devotional writers (like Thomas a Kempis, Fenelon and Brother Lawrence), my own study of scripture

1980-1983 — Chiefly my own independent study of the scriptures

1983-2012 — Hmmm. Mostly independent study with helpful input, especially, from Clark Pinnock, F.F.Bruce, Sadhu Sundar Singh (to throw in a wild card!), George Mueller, quite a collection of theological and apologetics writers.

I am sorry not to have limited this to five influences. When I was your age, Matt, it would have been easier to list the top five. They would have been: Chuck Smith, C.S. Lewis, George Mueller, Hannah Whitall Smith, A.W. Tozer, William Law (oops! That's six!). Not to sound overly spiritual, or anything, but if I am to be entirely honest, I would have to say that, from age 16 (1970) onwards, my two consciously-adopted role models were Jesus and Paul. I have seldom faced any situation in the last 43 years without having as the subtext of everything I contemplate, the question: "What would Jesus and Paul do, or say, with reference to this situation?" All of my other role models were adopted (sometimes briefly) specifically insofar their examples and teachings seemed best to answer those questions for me. Where they did not seem to do so, I ignored them.

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Paidion
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Re: 5 Theological Influences

Post by Paidion » Fri Dec 21, 2012 8:15 pm

Chuck Smith announced that Christ would return in 1981. Just out of curiosity, Steve, what were your thoughts and feelings after it became clear to you that it didn't happen?
Paidion

Man judges a person by his past deeds, and administers penalties for his wrongdoing. God judges a person by his present character, and disciplines him that he may become righteous.

Avatar shows me at 75 years old. I am now 82.

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steve
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Re: 5 Theological Influences

Post by steve » Fri Dec 21, 2012 10:17 pm

I had given up on dispensationalism, and on looking for the imminent end of the world, a few years before that year, so I was not disappointed—in fact, I didn't even notice—when 1981 came an went without incident. I was taking those predictions pretty seriously up till about 1974 or so. My theology was changing more quickly in those early years than it does these days. Of course, it is pretty easy to find you way out of dispensationalism and the word of faith if you just read your Bible (especially if you had accepted them as a teenager, and are now in your twenties). Many other changes were yet to come—most of which came very slowly, due to the greater popular acceptance of the errors that required rethinking. The changes happening at this moment are very slow indeed. You get more conservative as you get older. It takes longer to see the problems withd unfounded traditions that you, and everyone you ever listened to, have taught for fifty years.

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Re: 5 Theological Influences

Post by Cheryl » Sat Dec 22, 2012 1:03 am

In addition to some already mentioned...

Dallas Willard

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Bud
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Re: 5 Theological Influences

Post by Bud » Sat Dec 22, 2012 10:49 am

I wrote,
Hi Matthew,

I thought I would join in here. I will as you did, assume everyone knows I hold the Triune God as no. 1 influence in theology, followed by all the biblical authors then for me, I will list 3:

Steve Gregg
Hank Hannegraaff
C.S. Lewis

In that order. If I had studied under Lewis as I have the other two he may have made the top of my list but I'm not sure.
I had a few thoughts since writing the above:

My mom, Virginia, a Lutheran put me in sunday school when I was 6,7, or 8 in a subarb of Milwaukee, Wi.

The teachers there told me about Jesus. This turned out to be a huge influence on my life, I can't remember ever not believing in Him since then...THANK YOU Mom, and all sunday school teachers!!!

I went astray.

In 1998 at the age of 39 after years of being schizophrenic I read the testimony of a born again inmate friend, I surrendered to God and received Jesus as Lord.

I slipped and sinned badly, repented and was filled with the Holy Ghost.

At the inmate brother's recommendation I went to a local Pentecostal church that turned out to be "Oneness". The pastor there taught me that Jesus was God (BIG influence). Stayed for a couple of months till I realized the congregation was cultic.

Still schizophrenic I lived in an RV at a campsite for several years. Read the Bible and numerous evangelical authors, each an influence, about 60 books in all.

Read about 5 versions of the Bible, the KJV numerous times.

Still at it.
Malachi 3:16 Then those who feared the LORD spoke to one another, and the LORD gave attention and heard [it,] and a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear the LORD and who esteem His name. (NASB) :)

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Re: 5 Theological Influences

Post by CThomas » Sat Dec 22, 2012 3:22 pm

This is a fun challenge. My list would include abusrdly incompatible thinkers, perhaps the following unordered list:

1. George Salmon
2. Greg Bahnsen
3. Steve Gregg
4. Michael Brown (Jewish follower of Christ)
5. Alfred Edersheim

But I know I'm going to cringe when I think back in an hour and realize I've missed out people who should replace some in that list.

CThomas

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jeremiah
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Re: 5 Theological Influences

Post by jeremiah » Mon Dec 24, 2012 10:36 am

I like what CThomas said about "absurdly incompatible thinkers." when Matt first posted this, I thought how the people I would list might appear as quite a mixed bag.

This is basically in chronological order

1. J. Vernon Mcgee
2. John Piper
3. Steve Gregg
4. James White
5. Fiddle June Dillashaw (my 3 year old daughter ;) )

I've recently found reading through "The Imitation of Christ" to be a lot like reading through the proverbs of Solomon: like drinking from a fire hose of living water. :)
Jeremiah Burroughs, George Mueller, and John Locke have also had a profound effect on me. But none so sweet as the 12 or so sermons I frequently return to of A.W. Tozer.

grace and peace.
Also unto thee, O Lord, belongeth mercy: for thou renderest to every man according to his work.

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