Matthew R. Perry

I Found “My” Theologian … Who’s Yours?

In Uncategorized on September 13, 2007 at 11:21 am

I recall reading one of John Piper’s works (can’t recall which one) in which he mentioned that a seminary professor urged him to pick one theologian (preferably dead) to pour his life into studying and mentorship.  Of course, Piper picked Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758).  My friend, Mark Combs, adores John Owen. A pastor friend of mine who is now studying in Edinburgh, Scotland, finds John Bunyan as one that God uses to feed his soul.

As for me, I do lean toward Bunyan as well (his Grace Abounding autobiography, though melancholy in spots, provided me with incredible insights to the soul), I must say that Charles Spurgeon has become a friend and mentor to me. Why?

Currently, I am pursuing a Doctor of Ministry degree in Expository Preaching. I just submitted my prospectus (and fully expect to receive it back soon — with much ink and blood!) for my project dissertation on “Training Aspiring Ministers and Lay Preachers in Expository Preaching at Boone’s Creek Baptist Church, etc.” Part of the process is to find a past model and a present model to base the curriculum in which we are to present to our students. I read through Arnold Dallimore’s “Spurgeon: A New Biography” which is a great 250 page introduction to his life and ministry. One chapter dealt with Spurgeon’s conviction of his responsibility to train future pastors. That, combined with his “Lectures to My Students,” has truly helped crystallize many areas dealing with my personal life, my spiritual life, and ministry. 

So tell me … who is your theologian, pastor, or mentor who has meant a great deal to you?  Share!

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  1. This is tough. Martin Luther is one that has made the biggest impact, and I have been reading him the longest. Martin Luther first spoke to me through his letter to Pope Leo X and his “Freedom of a Christian”. One thing I like about Martin is his emphasis on grace. As well, I disagree with Dr. Luther on a number of issues, so I am never tempted to “idealize” him into something beyond what he really was: a sinner saved by grace alone. He was always able to express himself in ways that would make many of us blush, yet trembled at the Word of God.

    Perhaps secondly is Jonathan Edwards ( I especially love his sermons from his 8 month stint as the interim pastor of the English Presbyterian Church in New York City), thirdly J. Gresham Machen (while definitely a man of his times, his point concerning the difference between Christianity and Liberalism is very important), and lastly, Thomas Shepard ( Pastor of congregational church in Massachusetts Bay Colony- and I think John Winthrop’s pastor).

    Who is your favorite Puritan? Mine is Massachusetts Bay Colony’s first governor, John Winthrop, Esqire. Grace-centered, Christ-centered, covenant minded Governor who loved the Lord Jesus. The only sermon he is famous for ( as a laymen) is “A Model of Christian Charity”. I urge anyone to read Francis Bremer’s Bio of him, as well Samuel Morison’s “Builders of the Bay Colony”.

    Somewhere in there is Augustine. He writes as a man who truly knows what it means to be forgiven. Perhaps Augustine should be second.
    Sorry for the long list! Beyond Spurgeon, who is your favorite latter day theologian?

  2. Congrats on both accomplishments…finding your theologian and completing your prospectus. You have challenged me with both!–Don

  3. Steven:

    I appreciate your desire to read wide the Puritans — they truly understand the soul.

    John Bunyan is my favorite Puritan. Edwards runs a very close second. I read through Marsden’s Jonathan Edwards: A Life biography. Priceless. His Resolutions and Religious Affections meant so much. Yet Bunyan, while he did not quite reach the rarefied air of Edwards, Bunyan ministered to me at a time when I desperately needed help in sorting through the issues of my heart. His Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners, Pilgrim’s Progress, and Heart’s Ease in Heart Trouble are my favorite works of him.

    As far as the recent theologians, I’ll list a few: John Piper, Wayne Grudem, Martyn Lloyd-Jones, and R.C. Sproul bless me beyond mention.

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