Top Ten Most Infuential Theologians

ATHANASIUS OF ALEXANDRIA (293-373 AD)
Athanasius of Alexandria (also spelled “Athanasios”) (c. 296 C.E.[1] – May 2, 373 C.E.) was a Christian bishop—the Patriarch of Alexandria—in the fourth century. He made three primary (and integral) contributions to the theory and practice of Christianity: an endorsement of the monastic lifestyle, the formulation of the New Testament canon, and a theological defense of the full divinity of Christ (against the position taken up by Arius)…. read more

AUGUSTINE OF HIPPO (354-430 AD)
Augustine of Hippo or Saint Augustine (November 13, 354 – August 28, 430), bishop of Hippo, was one of the most important figures in the development of Christianity. His writings such as The Confessions and The City of God display his depth of faith and the theological skill of a trained rhetorician. His explanation of the doctrines of God, free will, evil, original sin, grace, illumination, and predestination have become standard for the majority of Christians. His Confessions is often called the first Western autobiography. His City of God defended Christianity from pagan accusations blaming it for the fall of the Roman Empire.

Born in what is present-day Algeria as the eldest son of Saint Monica, Augustine as a young man pursued a secular career as a teacher of rhetoric and philosophy while living a dissolute lifestyle. For nine years he was a follower of Manichaeism. In Milan he studied Neoplatonism and his conversion to Christianity took place in 386. As a theologian, he was called to write against the many heresies of the period—Manichaeanism, Donatism, and Pelagianism, and in so doing he defined the shape of orthodox doctrine. Read more

THOMAS AQUINAS (1225 -1274 AD)
Saint Thomas Aquinas, O.P.(also Thomas of Aquin, or Aquino; c. 1225 – March 7, 1274) was an Italian Roman Catholic priest in the Order of Preachers (more commonly known as the Dominican Order), a philosopher and theologian in the scholastic tradition, known as Doctor Angelicus, Doctor Universalis and Doctor Communis. He is the foremost classical proponent of natural theology, and the father of the Thomistic school of philosophy and theology.

Saint Thomas Aquinas is held in the Roman Catholic Church to be the model teacher for those studying for the priesthood (Code of Canon Law, Can. 252, §3). The work for which he is best-known is the Summa Theologica. One of the 33 Doctors of the Church, he is considered by many Roman Catholics to be the Catholic Church’s greatest theologian. Consequently, many institutions of learning have been named after him. Read more

MARTIN LUTHER (1483 – 1546 AD)
Martin Luther (November 10, 1483 – February 18, 1546) was the first and most prominent leader of a reform movement in sixteenth century Christianity, subsequently known as the Protestant Reformation. Essentially, Luther sought to recover core New Testament teachings that he claimed had been obscured by corruption and worldly traditions of medieval Catholicism. In particular, Luther opposed the idea, popularized by certain indulgence-sellers of his day, that one could buy salvation through monetary donations to the Church. Ever against this, Luther held that human beings could be saved by faith alone (sola fides). He came to this understanding over the course of a long and tortuous personal struggle. Having resolved his inner conflicts by means of an “evangelical breakthrough,” Luther began a public ministry that altered the course of Christianity and European history. Read More

JOHN CALVIN (1509 – 1564 AD)
John Calvin (July 10, 1509 – May 27, 1564) was a prominent Christian theologian during the Protestant Reformation and is the namesake of the system of Christian theology called Calvinism. Jean Chauvin (or Cauvin)was born in Noyon, Picardie, France. French was his mother tongue; Calvin derives from the Latin version of his name, Calvinus. In 1517, when Calvin was only eight years old, Martin Luther posted his 95 Theses.

John Calvin was a leader of the Swiss protestant reformation. Reformed and Presbyterian churches trace themselves from his reforms, while others including Congegationalist and Baptist and the English Puritans draw on his theology. Calvinism dominated the England and Scotland Civil Wars and Cromwellian period. It also subsequently influenced Anglican thought. Calvin wrote numerous significant works but his personality remains somewhat opaque. He wrote a constitution for Geneva, and virtually ruled over an experiment in Christian government, though he did not officially hold any office other than chief pastor. He has been described as the first thinker to try to organize social life and governance entirely on Biblical principles. Clergy were involved in the governance of the city. Calvin was not as much of a popularist as Luther, but his social reforms in Geneva continued to have an impact on succeeding generations. Read more

JONATHAN EDWARDS (1703 – 1758 AD)
Jonathan Edwards (October 5, 1703 – March 22, 1758) was a colonial American Congregationalist preacher and theologian. He was a prominent leader of the east-coast revivals of the 1730s and 1740s known as the Great Awakening, which defined Christianity in the new world as distinctive from its European forms and allowed it to adapt to a democratic society. At the same time he is known as one of the greatest and most profound American evangelical theologians; he explicated the fundamentals of Reformed Calvinism according to reason and common sense, relying minimally on arguments from the Bible. Thus he translated America’s Puritan heritage, both it’s spirituality and it’s moral ethos, into a form that would sustain the nation through the revolutionary period and inspire future generations of evangelicals. Read more

KARL BARTH (1886 – 1968)
Karl Barth (May 10, 1886 – December 10, 1968), from Switzerland, was the greatest Protestant theologian of the twentieth century that changed the course of Christian theology significantly. Many have mentioned him in the same breath with Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Luther, Calvin and Schleiermacher.

His theology, emphasizing the importance of divine revelation given in our faith as the real source of knowledge on God, seriously challenged nineteenth-century liberal theology’s unity between God and human beings in human terms, thus launching the school of Neo-Orthodoxy which inspired a whole generation of Protestants.

According to Barth, a new divine revelation given in our faith now revealed God as a God of love who decided to seek his partners of love. Based on this new perspective, Barth’s later, more mature theology built a new synthesis of God and humans that was no longer in human terms. Because of his poposed transformation of the divine-human unity, he is entitled to be called a unifier in spite of his vehement attack upon nineteenth-century liberal theology. The importance of his theology in this regard is much recognized in the Catholic Church as well. Read more

RC SPROUL (1939)
Robert Charles Sproul, (born February 13, 1939, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)[1][2] is an American Calvinist theologian and pastor. He is the founder and chairman of Ligonier Ministries (named after the Ligonier Valley just outside of Pittsburgh, where the ministry started as a study center for college and seminary students) and can be heard daily on the Renewing Your Mind radio broadcast in the United States and internationally. “Renewing Your Mind with Dr. R.C. Sproul” is also broadcast on Sirius and XM satellite radio.[3] Read more

JOHN MACARTHUR (1939)
John Fullerton MacArthur, Jr. (born June 19, 1939) is a United States evangelical writer and minister, noted for his radio program entitled Grace to You. MacArthur is a fifth-generation pastor, a popular author and conference speaker and has served as the pastor-teacher of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California since 1969, and as the President of The Master’s College (and the related The Master’s Seminary) in Santa Clarita, California.

Theologically, MacArthur is a dispensationalist and Calvinist, and a strong proponent of expository preaching.[1][2] He has been acknowledged by Christianity Today as one of the most influential preachers of his time,[3] and is a frequent guest on Larry King Live as representative of an evangelical Christian perspective.[4]

MacArthur has authored or edited more than 150 books, most notably the MacArthur Study Bible, which has sold more than 1 million copies and received a Gold Medallion Book Award.[5] Other best-selling books include his MacArthur New Testament Commentary Series (more than 1 million copies), Twelve Ordinary Men, (more than 500,000 copies),[6] and the children’s book A Faith to Grow On, which garnered an ECPA Christian Book Award.[7] Read more

JOHN PIPER (1946)
John Stephen Piper (born January 11, 1946) is an evangelical Calvinist Christian preacher and author, currently serving as Pastor for Preaching and Vision of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is the author of numerous books, including ECPA Christian Book Award winners Spectacular Sins,[1] What Jesus Demands from the World,[2] Pierced by the Word,[3] and God’s Passion for His Glory,[4] and bestsellers Don’t Waste Your Life[5] and The Passion of Jesus Christ.[6] The evangelical organization Desiring God is named for his book Desiring God: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist (1986). Read more

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About John
A follower of Christ and sinner who needs his grace everyday.

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