Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Among the dead and the living

Phil Whittall observes:
It seems to me that American Christians and pastors are fascinated by dead British Christians while British Christians/pastors are fascinated by American pastors. What's with that? I read this morning that Josh Harris is a fan of JC Ryle, which in itself is hardly something to get upset about but it did spark this mini-rant. Good for Josh, Ryle is a worthy hero of the faith. But it seems to me that the Yanks get all excited by CS Lewis, CH Spurgeon, JC Ryle, CT Studd and other guys with initials instead of first names. Lewis and Spurgeon in particular are highly exalted, oh and Dr MLJ of course.

On the other hand, if you pay close attention to the names that are bandied around amongst us Limey's are John Piper, Bill Hybels, Rick Warren, Mark Driscoll, Tim Keller, Rob Bell and whoever else is leading some very large church. What you don't seem to find are Brits talking about dead American Christians of any note and any Americans talking about living Brits of any note (our churches are too small).
Seems a fairly true observation. From the British perspective we'd do well to look to our own history with the initialed leaders and others, and when looking across the pond we'd be wise to get to know dead Americans like David Brainerd and Jonathan Edwards (Of course one of John Piper's best contributions to the church is his 'the swans are not silent' biographies which take in many American and British dead guys) and those highlighted by Thabiti Anyabwile in The Faithful Preacher: Recapturing the Vision of Three Pioneering African-American Pastors.

Lex Loizides would be a good friend in developing an acquaintance with those who have walked before us as would Historical Theology at

I'm looking seven months ahead with eager anticipation to six hours of teaching Newfrontiers Impacters church history!!

1 comment:

  1. ooh, those lucky impacters!

    I love that word plus has a big chunk of stuff on Church history, and I have thoroughly enjoyed listening to Mike Reeves chatting about some of the key players.

    Church history (and historical theology as Mike dubs it in particular) is wonderful stuff!