I LOVE to learn! It’s one of my favorite things in the world to do. I want to say for the record that I can & will learn from everybody! I learned long ago to “chew up the meat and spit out the bones.” I’m not influenced negatively by learning from such a broad spectrum of people; I’m simply challenged and stretched. There are a lot of people who have a lot of good things to say & I want to learn from them all.
My whole life people have warned me not to read or listen to certain people because they might “win me over” to their side. I want the truth. If that person is right and has the truth then maybe we should all be “won over” to their side. If they’re wrong then I’ll spit out the bones and walk away with whatever is good. In college every time a professor told us that a certain author or book was “dangerous” or that we should stay away from it, I immediately got the book and read it. I learned a lot of good stuff from those “bad” authors.
Also, in my humble opinion, people need to stop bashing authors, pastors, etc… for what they’re teaching until they read and/or hear it straight from them. Stop reading what their enemies say is wrong with them & read for yourself what they have to say! Don’t just take someone’s word for it. There are a lot of Christians bashing other Christians right now… but very few of them have taken the time to really hear what the other side is saying. Instead they take someone’s word for it – their teacher, pastor, or friend. I don’t think my generation as a whole will be satisfied with this approach. We want to know for ourselves. I think that’s part of why some circles will die off over the next few generations (fundamentalism for example).
I don’t have to agree with everything someone says to learn from them. So, when you see me quoting people or mentioning people on this blog it’s not necessarily because I agree with everything they say… in fact, I might disagree with half of what they say, but I’ve probably learned at least one good thing from that person. So, just because you think the person I quote is a heretic doesn’t mean I’m a heretic too—hopefully I’m not.
I want to learn from all cultures, all theological traditions, and people from all socioeconomic and denominational backgrounds. So, I really don’t care if someone is democrat/republican, charismatic/cessationist, dispensational/covenant, Calvinist/arminian, Presbyterian/non-denominational, mystic/scholastic, liberal/conservative, etc… That’s why I can learn from Rick Warren one day and then read a John Macarthur (doesn’t care for Rick all that much to put it nicely) commentary the next. This is why I’ve been able to learn a lot from both Piper & Mclaren, even though the two are obviously not best buds. This is why I like reading Calvin & Edwards, but also Wesley & C.S. Lewis. I like learning from a pretty broad spectrum of people. I feel that I learn more and can be more effective in spreading the fame of Jesus when I do this. I recommend that you do the same.
Here’s a quick list of some guys I’ve read a lot of and/or listen to a lot. If you’re familiar with them you’ll know that many of them have major disagreements with each other & I obviously can’t agree with everything all of them say. But, I sure do have a lot of teachers!
andy stanley, paul hiebert, craig groeschel, john piper, brian mclaren, c.j. mahaney, louie giglio, j.i. packer, marcus buckingham, rick warren, don richardson, james emery white, john maxwell, john stott, dan kimball, christopher wright, malcolm gladwell, rob bell, mike foster, donald miller, john eldredge, bill hybels, erwin mcmanus, dave ramsey, mark buchanan, richard foster, francis chan, shane claiborne, gabe lyons, chris seay, rick mckinley, karl barth, mark driscoll, matt chandler, francis schaeffer, jim collins, dave ferguson, tony morgan, mark batterson, tim sanders, phillip jenkins, patrick johnstone, tony campolo, len sweet, reggie joiner, millard erickson, bruce wilkinson, n.t. wright, ken ham, george barna, walter kaiser, elmer towns, david crowder, ralph winter, clark pinnock, john sanders, charles ryrie, lesslie newbigin, john Macarthur, jack deere, howard hendricks, robert coleman, r.c. sproul, r. kent hughes, kyle lake, george ladd, bruce demarest, soren kierkegaard, friedrich nietzche, gordon d. fee, john wimber, and on and on.
My old skool dead mentors: john wesley, john calvin, dietrich bonhoeffer, c.s. lewis, d.l. moody, athanasius, anslem of canterbury, augustine, jonathan edwards, ignatius, andrew murray, j.c. ryle, charles spurgeon, bernard of clairvaux, etc...