Monday, June 26, 2006

New Poll: Contemporary Evangelical Theologian

Who is your favourite present day evangelical Theologian?

Are you conversant with Carson, dazzled by the drama of Vanhoozer, mesmerized by Macleod, stimulated by Sinclar or gobsmacked by Grudem?

Make your choice in the poll [above left] and leave a comment to tell us who you voted for and why.


pilgrim said...

If you hadn't included Sinclair Ferguson I'd have written him in.

he is clear and straightforward, easy to understand without dumbing it down or watering it down.
He doesn't pull punches.

He's a delight to read and recommend.

Jon said...

Don Carson all the way... baby...

Clare said...

None of the above, I'm not saying ferguson and carson might not get my vote, but I'm not sufficiently familiar.

My favourite living is Robert Reymond.

As for Prof Donald Mcleod, I wouldn't read a word he has written. By their fruits ye shall know them.


Guy Davies said...

Hi FB,

I don't want to get into the troubles in the Free Church of Scotland on my blog. But it depends who you belive with regard to Macleod. There are good people that I respect on both sides of the argument.

I certainly don't agree with the Prof on everything. But his has written some really helpful stuff.

Rileysowner said...

I was really conflicted between Ferguson and Carson. Eventually voted for Carson, but would just as happily have voted for Ferguson.

Clare said...

Yessir I know.

Personally, I take the sworn testimonies of 'the four' over that of Prof Macleod.

Even laying THAT aside (which I find it hard to do) I would never vote for a theologian who denies a literal creation. I'm not saying such folks aren't saved, or aren't wonderful christians, but I wouldn't tick their box.

I decided to go Carson in the end as I have read and profited from a couple of his books.

I do think Reymond is a great modern theologian though. He brings great beauty to his lectures and writings.

Guy Davies said...

Hi FB,

Yes, I enjoyed Reymond's New Systematic Theology. It was certainly an advance on Berkof. I like the way that much of his Theology arises from exposition of key Biblical texts. But it was hardly a New Systematic Theology because he doesn't interact sufficiently with modern exponents of Systematic Theology. he was also very dogmatic about peadobaptism and supralapsarianism!

Carson's writing has breadth and depth, from major commentaries to serious works of theology. He also helps us to engage with the concerns of the postmodern world.

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Ben Myers said...


I haven't read any Macleod, but the rest put me to sleep (and Reymond puts me to sleep even faster -- sorry!). But Vanhoozer is a superb scholar and a very fine thinker -- his work is tackling some of the most urgent contemporary theological problems in a creative and sophisticated way.

And, even more importantly, he plays the piano beautifully...

Guy Davies said...

Hi Ben,

I've just started The Drama of Doctrine. His attempt to apply the principle of sola scriptura in a postmodern context is really stimulating. He also writes exceptionally well.

"The church lives at present between the definitive event of Jesus and the concluding event of the eschaton, poised between memory and hope."

You should try some Macleod, his The Person of Christ (IVP 1998) is a wonderfully lucid and moving Christology.

Ben Myers said...

Thanks for the tip. And now that you mention it, I have thumbed through Macleod's book on christology -- so I'll have to make time to read it properly.

Elijah the Strict Baptist said...

What about David F Wells or Carl Truman??

Guy Davies said...

Hi Elijah,

It is difficult to fit more than 5 chocies on a poll!

I haven't read much Trueman. But I appreciated Wells' God in the Wasteland and Losing our Virtue very challenging stuff. He confronts spiritually compromised Western Evangelicalism with a stunning vision of the weighty holiness of God. Above all Earthy Powers is on order at the moment.

Maybe I should do the next poll on "The five most important Evangelical book of the last decade". I think one of Wells' titles would merit a place.

James Miller said...

I voted for Sinclair because I know him best having heard him speak live many times and because I've never found anything written by him that wasn't very useful to me in my Christian walk. (I could say this last point for most of the other too of course). But I just like Sinclair.

My fear is that he is going to be another Warfield or a Murray and leave us with many short works but not actually write a full blown Systematic Theology of his own. I'm sure it would be a very fine work if he did.

Of those who have written such a work in our time, Robert Reymond obviously takes first place it seems to me.

michael jensen said...

Carson is terrific - and a terrific man - but really he is a NT scholar and not a theologian per se, true?

I voted Vanhoozer because he is a man of conservative convictions without a tendency to obscurantism.

What about Robert Letham? His Holy Trinity book is a significant piece of work.

Guy Davies said...

Hi Michael,

True, Carson is a NT man rather than a Systematic Theologian, but he does wrestle with Theological issues beyond his NT remit, eg The Gagging of God. I think he deserved a place in the poll.

I've only just bought Leatham's The Holy Trinity, but I enjoyed his The Work of Christ in IVP's Contours of Christian Theology Series.

Nate Mihelis said...

For the record, Carson's PhD from Cambridge is in Systematic Theology. Ironically enough,Grudem's is in NT. Both are great, but I'd probably give Vanhoozer my vote. I'd also be inclined to toss Frame and Feinberg into the fray based on their recent works on Theology proper.

David W. Congdon said...

Vanhoozer is the only decent theologian on that list, and even he is not all that great. Carson and Grudem are embarrassments.

Guy Davies said...

Thanks for that info nwmihelis,

Vanhoozer seems to be the man of the moment.

Oh dear d w congdon,

Feeling a little grumpy today are we? Are Carson and Grudem really theological embarrassments, or are you in fact embarrassed by their commitment to historic Evangelical Christianity?

Chris Tilling said...

Carson is breathtakingly intelligent, in my opinion, and only those who have a serious agenda could claim he was anything other. He is no embarrasment.

However, his style seems to be rather defensive and predictable. Actually, I wonder if his talents are wasted patching up what ought to be discarded sometimes.

The only other potential on that list for me is Vanhoozer, whose creativity isn't suffoctaed by his conservatism. I voted Vanhoozy!

Elijah the Strict Baptist said...

I havent had as much time as I would like to read Well's stuff( in between rearing a young family,holding down a secular job and preaching regularly!).Have read a little bit of No Place for Truth though.
I predict Truman will be one to watch.He has impressed me ever since he took our undergraduate Divinity tutorials and seminars at Aberdeen in early 1990s when he was a post grad student.Very clear and faithful.

Guy Davies said...

Hi Chris,

I think that some (not you) dismiss Carson out of hand rather snobbishly because he still holds to inerrancy, eternal punishment and other less fashionable views. Good on him, I say. "Woe unto you when all men speak well of you."


thegreatswalmi said...

so i know the poll is over, but i would've loved to have voted vanhoozer. what a great job he did with "drama of doctrine"...still rereading it!

Guy Davies said...

Hi theoblogian,

You may still vote if you wish. I don't think any of the other candidates are going to catch up with him anyway.

I've just bought and am reading The Drama of Doctrine too. Enjoyable and stimulating read so far. I didn't think he'd win the poll, though. I reckon Ben Myres over at Faith and Theology threatened to set his pet crocodile on any of his cronies that didn't vote for Vanhoozer.

David W. Congdon said...

One problem: inerrancy is not "historic Evangelical Christianity." It's a modern invention in order to validate the Bible as an authority outside the church, outside the community of believers, for matters on which it is not intended to arbitrate. Inerrancy is a deviation from evangelical Christianity, by which I mean historic Protestantism.

Guy Davies said...

Hi D W Congdon,

Vanhoozer addresses some of your concerns: Here