If you are a believer it is safe to say that one “person” who must influenced you and changed you is the Lord Jesus Christ. When singer-song writers are interviewed or written about almost always a list of those who influenced their style or genre is included. It is the same with actors and almost any performer.
I was asked recently who had the most influence on me as a Christian, as a pastor, and as a bible teacher. Here is a list of those men who have had the most influence on me that God used to shape, mold, and develop me in both my Christian walk and vocation.
1. Dr. John F. MacArthur, Jr. (Pastor of Grace Community Church, President of Masters College and Seminary – Sun Valley, CA, teacher on Grace to You)
2. Arthur W. Pink – (19th century pastor and producer of “Studies in the Scripture” published 1922-1953 [not to be confused with the cultic teachings of the same name by Charles Taze Russell])
3. Jerry Bridges – (an evangelical Christian author, speaker and staff member of The Navigators)
4. Jonathan Edwards – (an 18th century preacher, theologian, and missionary to Native Americans and the first president of Princeton. He was used of God in the Great Awakening Revivals.)
5. Charles Haddon Spurgeon – (a British Particular Baptist preacher who remains highly influential among Christians of different denominations, among whom he is still known as the "Prince of Preachers", he was Pastor of the great Metropolitan Tabernacle in London, England)
6. Thomas Watson – (a 17th century English non-conformist Puritan preacher and author. In 1646 he commenced a sixteen year pastorate at St. Stephen's, Walbrook. He is best known for his sermons which were incorporated in to the book, The Body of Divinity.)
7. John Calvin – (was an French theologian and pastor during the Protestant Reformation. He was a principal figure in the development of the system of Christian theology later called Calvinism. Other than a brief interruption Calvin spent his life pastoring in Geneva, Switzerland. He is best known for his systematic theology called Institutes of the Christian Religion.
8. Dr. John Owen – (another 17th century English Nonconformist Puritan church leader and theologian. He became pastor at Coggeshall in Essex, in 1647. He argued heavily against Arminianism in his famous book called, The Death of Death in the Death of Christ.)
9. J. I. Packer – (Dr. Packer is an anomaly to me; he can be theologically brilliant one day and then for the most ludicrous reasons sign documents like ECT or ECT II. I take Packer with a grain of salt, but his many books are filled with godly, biblical wisdom. His Knowing God is a classic and a must read for everyone.)
11. The Puritans – (The Puritans were a significant grouping of English-speaking Protestants in the 16th and 17th centuries. The designation "Puritan" is often incorrectly used notably based on the assumption that hedonism and puritanism are antonyms: historically, the word was used to characterize the Protestant group.
Puritans by definition felt that the English Reformation had not gone far enough, and that the Church of England was tolerant of practices which they associated with the Catholic Church. They formed into and identified with various religious groups advocating greater "purity" of worship and doctrine, as well as personal and group piety. Puritans adopted a Reformed theology and in that sense were Calvinists (as many of their earlier opponents were, too), but also took note of radical views critical of Zwingli in Zurich and Calvin in Geneva.
As much as I love the writings of such men as Thomas Gouge, William Bridge, Thomas Manton, John Flavel, Richard Sibbes, Stephen Charnock, William Bates, John Owen, John Howe, Richard Baxter, Thomas Watson and Jeremiah Burroughs, I do not subscribe to all of their theology. I have learned to pick between the bones and garner the nuggets of gold in their writings on God, Holiness, and Sanctification.
Phillipi at Paul’s behalf. At the end of Paul’s life just prior to his execution Luke was the only one with Paul. Luke was a sensitive, accurate, detail-oriented historian of the ministry of Christ and the early expansion of the church. I love this man and can’t wait to meet him in heaven and thank him for the major impact he has had on my life as a theologian and man of God.)
These men influenced me by teaching me to have a love, a deep, insatiable, passionate, wrenching love for God. They influenced me by encouraging me to have the same deep, insatiable, passionate, hunger for the Word of God. They taught me to reverence, fear it, love, tremble before it - to handle it with the utmost care. They introduced me to the necessity of holiness and true biblical piety and sanctification. I love these men. They are gifts to the triumphant church of Jesus Christ. As Hebrews says in chapter 11 of those who suffered mocking and flogging, and chains and imprisonment...stoned, sawn into, killed with the sword, going about in skins of sheep and goat, destitute, afflicted, mistreated --of whom the world was not worthy-- wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves; the world is not worthy of these men!
To accept the presidency of the United States would be a step down from the privilege of teaching the living word of God to the dear lambs and sheep of God for whom the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords gave His life to redeem. For he alone is worthy, to him be the power, the glory, the honor, and the dominion forever!
Who has been the greatest influence on your Christian life?