8 Christian thinkers you should take seriously

8 thinkers

Over the course of history, God raises people who influence the body of Christ through their ministry and writings. And of them, it can be said that even while dead, they still speak (Hebrews 11:4). Below are a few of such figures who should be taken seriously by the Christian believer today. The list is by no means exhaustive; these are just a number that I particularly want to emphasize as helpful guides in building a Christian view of life rooted in Scripture. By the way, only three of them are late, while the remaining five continue to build up the church in remarkable ways through their lives and work.

Abraham Kuyper 

Kuyper is a towering figure in Christian history. An amazingly brilliant individual, he was a man of several parts. He lived within the years 1837 and 1920 in the Netherlands, During his lifetime, he served as a pastor, founded a university and 2 newspapers. In addition, served as Prime Minister of his country from 1901 to 1905. At a time of general spiritual and theological decline in the church of his day, he was instrumental in fostering a recovery of the biblical gospel. Through his writings and extensive ministry, he was influential in promoting a Christian worldview in contrast to the secular outlook which had permeated both church and society in the Netherlands. He gave some enormously popular and insightful lectures on Calvinism while on a visit to the United States which can be found here and here.

Lesslie Newbigin

Newbigin was a missionary in India for about 40 years. On his return to the West, he was gripped by how the Church had succumbed to a secular mindset and wrote powerful books which sought to help believers recover the power of the Gospel as a comprehensive worldview in the midst of this hostile secular culture. Among his books include Foolishness to the Greeks, The Gospel in a Pluralist Society, and a little but amazing volume titled Truth to Tell: The Gospel as Public Truth. I have a copy on my bookshelf. Many Christian scholars (including N.T. Wright and Michael Goheen) have acknowledged his influence on their lives and work. You can access a lot of his writings online.

Charles Colson

A Special Counsel to former President Richard Nixon of the United States, Charles Colson’s life (1931-2012) is a modern example of how God can use the most unlikely person to accomplish his purpose.  He was convicted alongside some other presidential aides in the Watergate scandal. Colson spent some time in jail in 1974 where God changed his heart and used him to launch a phenomenal global ministry to prisoners, Prison Fellowship. As of 2018, the organization has 1,000 full-time staff and board members (with about 45,000 volunteers) at work across 119 countries and territories. The thrust of Charles Colson’s writings has been in expounding and defending the integrity and relevance of the Christian worldview to every area of life. His books come with such power, clarity, and excitement like few others. I have personally been blessed by them. From Loving God (which has been described as a modern classic) to How Now Shall We Live (co-written with Nancy Pearcey, it is one of the most thorough and enjoyable books on the Christian worldview I have ever read), his books should be on every believer’s library.

Vishal Mangalwadi

He is a Christian Indian intellectual who has written severally on how the Bible shaped Western culture and how it can also transform non-Western societies. His book Truth and Transformation: A Manifesto for Ailing Nations is a magnificent exposition of the implications of the gospel for both individuals and society. You can find my review of the book here. Of course, you can also follow him on Facebook over here.

Nancy Pearcey

Her book Total Truth is a gold mine of Christian truth and wisdom. It is a powerful analysis of how Christians (particularly in the West) have been rendered ineffective by secular culture, and she provides an insightful treatment of how this came to be. She called on the Church to recover the spiritual potency and cultural power latent in a full Christian worldview. Her other books include Saving Leonardo, Finding Truth, and Love Thy Body: Answering Hard Questions about Life and Sexuality (which was just published early in 2018). She is currently an apologetics professor at Houston Baptist University. In addition, you SHOULD follow her on Facebook here.

Tim Keller

In many ways, Tim Keller is something of an apostle. Through his phenomenal ministry, he has helped large sections of the global church recover the strategic value of ministry to cities. Several organizations, partnerships and churches have since caught that vision and are doing remarkable work across key cities of the world. They are communicating the gospel to modern, secular audiences; exploring how the gospel shapes different facets of culture; and striving to build wholesome communities which demonstrate the power of the gospel in the modern world. He has written some amazing books, including The Reason for God (a powerful defence of Christian belief in a skeptical age), The Meaning of Marriage, and a small but captivating booklet on The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness. He founded Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York and is currently Chairman of Redeemer City to City (a global church planting organization).

Os Guinness

Dr Guinness is a Christian intellectual who speaks with acute clarity on the development of the modern context in which we live today. He speaks and writes prophetically on the need for the Church to deal with current questions and debates in light of the firm foundation provided by the gospel. Born in China and raised in England, his ministry continues to influence Christians across the globe. I wrote an article based on extracts from one of his books, The Call, which you can find here

N.T. Wright

Former Bishop of Durham in the Church of England, Professor Wright has a gift for communicating great themes with amazing clarity. He has unveiled the great drama of scripture like few others and has helped many grasp the story afresh. As a New Testament scholar (he is currently the Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at St Andrews University in Scotland), he has helped the church to a better understanding of the richness of the gospel as expounded in the letters of Paul and the Gospels. I have benefited enormously from his lectures which are available on YouTube. I especially recommend this, this, and this for a start. His writings are voluminous: they range from a set of popular commentaries on the New Testament writings, engaging discussions of essential Christian themes (The Resurrection of the Son of God, Simply Christian, Scripture and the Authority of God) to an acclaimed biographical study of the Apostle Paul. He also offers enriching biblical courses online, many of which are based on his books. Finally, you can also follow him on Facebook.


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