A prompt has been making the rounds asking people who the 10 most influential Protestants were for their lives. This seemed like a self-indulgent, fun exercise. So, with all the usual caveats (my parents & pastors, seminary professors, “What does influential even mean?”, influential as far as I notice, does influential equal most read?, influential vs. favorite, etc.), here they are in chronological order. I’ve also included written works for the different figures that have been particularly instrumental in communicating their influence.
I. Martin Bucer (1491-1551). His Ground and Reason is the best and most practical distillation of the Reformed doctrine of worship. De Regeno Christi and Concerning the True Care of Souls are fantastic applied theologies of the Reformation to pastoral ministry and care for the poor. His Strasbourg liturgies and Letters are also insightful in terms of theological method and Protestant ecumenicism.
II. John Calvin (1509-1564). Calvin is deservedly most famous for his Institutes of the Christian Religion, but I have also found his Commentaries (and sermons) to be most insightful…
The end of 2020 and the duration of 2021 saw significant life change for me and my family, which meant far less blogging than in previous years. Only two posts from 2021 rise to the level of “top” posts (i.e. my favorites). The first was a post from April, wherein I assessed the compatibility of common charismatic practices with the Westminster Confession and Catechisms, especially in light of the EPC’s position paper on the Holy Spirit. The second post focused on Basil of Caesarea’s teaching on the Holy Spirit being sent by the Son, a result of my 2021 reading project.
I did have several articles published elsewhere…
Last year, I was horrified at the reports that protestors and parishioners had been gassed by police so that President Trump could have a photo-op in front of St. John’s Church. Well, an internal investigation under the Biden administration has turned up that the police had cleared people from the area for unrelated reasons, and then President Trump arrived for the photo-op. I still think the photo-op itself and the unrelated, indiscriminate gassing of parishioners and clergy was bad, but my characterization of President Trump’s actions was premised upon a falsehood.
My book review of Duke Kwon and Greg Thompson’s Reparations: A Call for Repentance and Repair is up at Mere Orthodoxy. Kwon and Thompson make the case that White churches owe African Americans reparations. I expect that their work will be a starting point for a lot of reparation discussions in Presbyterian circles in the near future. The book was compelling, but overreached. Here’s an excerpt of my reivew,
I was persuaded of the biblical arguments for reparations before reading Kwon and Thompson, and their work only strengthened that conviction. But the application of that biblical principle into the life of the church? My church, where I pastor? The duty of Christian love and sacrifice in working towards repair does not go away if fault is cleared, but the bedrock of Kwon and Thompson’s argument is that reparations is the complicit returning what was stolen. It is not ethical bean counting or an evasion of loving obligation to take that aspect of their argument seriously and then to assess its claims of historical moral responsibility for my congregation.