"As she stood looking at it, wondering why there was a lamp-post in the middle of a wood and wondering what to do next, she heard a pitter patter of feet coming toward her..." (C S Lewis, The Chronicles of Narnia)

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

The 'Greatest' Theologian/Preacher/Christian Philosopher

Here's a fun little discussion for us. Who is the greatest theologian since the apostle Paul? Sounds too subjective, but here are some criteria to evaluate by:

1) Personal life - Did this person's personal character reflect his convictions effectively?

2) Breadth of Influence - How wide and long has this person's influence effected the church and the world?

3) Depth of thought - How careful, biblical, and articulate were this persons's works?

My vote to come...


Pastor Erik DiVietro said...

That's easy.


Rick said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rick said...

Is that 'Neo' as in Brian McLaren's series, or 'Neo' as in The Matrix? Never thought of fictional characters as an option.

On a different note, when I say 'greatness', I don't mean worldly greatness (fame, fortune, etc.) I mean true greatness. Greateness in Kingdom values. The greatness Jesus talked about when he said, "Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant..." (Mt 20:26) There is such a thing as 'Greatness', it's just not defined the same as the world's parody of greatness.

cmadin said...

martin luther, obviously... oh wait, i forgot about the personal life aspect... and the biblical aspect... um, how about martin luther king?

Rick said...

My answer, (Chris will love this), John Calvin. Not because I am some radical Calvinist, but because of the categories listed.
1. Personal life - Calvin ministered under great suffering and resistance in Geneva for years. His life was truly in line with what he taught. Not perfect, but certainly deserves an A in this category.
2. Breadth of Influence - Calvin's influence is virtually universal today within Christianity. Not that it is agreed with universally by any stretch of the imagination, but his influence cannot be denied. non-controversial absolutely not, influential without a doubt.
3. Depth of thought - profound. Reading Calvin is like reading a genius who has devoted his studies to the text of Scripture. Again, you may agree with him or not, nevertheless you will find a well thought out argument for whatever he is postulating.

The next runners up in my opinion
2. Augustine (better than Calvin in influence, slightly less in depth of thought as he was not a thorough exegete)
3. Aquinas
4. Athanasius
5. Wesley

Thus ends the geeky game!

bbas 64 said...

Hi, Rick

Augustine would be my first pick.

For his Glory Alone!!


Anonymous said...

John Owen

princeton said...

in 1987 the catholic church saw fit to celebrate the 1,600th anniversary of the baptism of this theologian...for nearly a thousand years an "intellectual & educational" tradition bore his name...his Rule is the rule for more catholic church orders such as the dominicans and others...when thomas aquinas visited both theology and philosophy, thomas was revisiting much of the works of this church father...the first recorded personal autobiography written in wester civilization is his (also a tribute to self-reflection)..."THE CITY OF GOD" the first book on the philosophy of history ever written, and a book that would chart a christian future for the West. in this book, he illustrates how and why the teachings of plato are nearest to christian ideas...the definitive book on the Trinity that has been the guiding light to western christianity for both catholics and protestants is his handiwork...Authoer of "on the doctrine of the catholic faith", Aquinas would take from this to write his Summa Theologica..martin luther may have been famous, but luther belonged to the church order that bears his name...Fought against 3 major heresies in his lifetime...the only saint in church history who's mother is also a saint...the first theologian and philosopher of the first order in church and western history...his name: Aurelius Augustinus or St. Augustine....yes St. Paul, Peter, John are beyond the definition of theologian...Aquinas, Jerome, Ambrose, Bonaventure we give thanks to, but this man can be said to not only be the greatest theologian, but the father of western civilization.