Is The Gospel Coalition a Good Thing? Is Harold Ockenga Like John Piper?

You can find scintillating answers to these and a number of other questions in an interview (part one, part two) I just did with historical theologian Nathan Finn. Nathan graciously asked me several questions following the release of the book I edited with David Mathis of Desiring God, The Pastor as Scholar, the Scholar as Pastor: Reflections on Life and Theology (Crossway, 2011, authored by John Piper and D. A. Carson–that’s Carson to the right speaking at the event that led to the book).

Nathan has released the interview in two parts–part one is on the forgotten Harold Ockenga and why he’s worthy of attention (and a dissertation!), and part two is about The Gospel Coalition, theological moves in the Southern Baptist Convention, and pastor-theologians.  I can’t speak to the helpfulness of my responses to Nathan’s great questions, but I can say that this was a very fun interview to do.

Nathan is a leading young scholar and historian teaching at the sister seminary of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. He teaches a great deal at the highly esteemed First Baptist Durham, the reformed congregation led by Bostonian Dr. Andy Davis, a preacher worth hearing and emulating.  He has edited a number of books and chapters which I would commend to you.  Nathan likes Allison Krauss, Broadway musicals, and the Atlanta Braves, but we won’t hold that last one against him.  I’m grateful for Nathan and his scholarly, unapologetically theological ministry, which is a model for other young evangelical scholars.

I’ll leave you to surf over to Nathan’s site.  By the way, One Baptist Perspective is a fantastic church history resource.  Bookmark it or load it into your feed reader.  In the meantime, I’ll look forward with Nathan to seeing what the Lord does in the SBC and the evangelical movement more broadly to bring health to our churches.  It is my conviction that the rise and recovery of the pastor-theologian model is a major sign of future health for our churches.  I’m thrilled to see awareness of this historic model spreading, and I hope for many more young guns to catch this vision and storm the gates of hell on a mission of Christocentric dominion, possessing every tool and weapon attainable from ministry training in order to give glory to the Father.

(Image: the beloved Henry Center)

  • Josh Manley

    Owen,

    What would you say is the best single work you have read on Henry, Ockenga, and Graham? — josh

  • owenstrachan

    Great question, Josh. Garth Rosell’s The Surprising Work of God: Harold John Ockenga, Billy Graham, and the Rebirth of Evangelicalism is a good introduction. Joel Carpenter’s Revive Us Again is fantastic. I would commend that to you. Also, George Marsden’s novel-like Reforming Fundamentalism is a great read and highly informative.

    Grant Wacker of Duke is coming out with a major scholarly biography of Graham that will be definitive (though I’m sure that folks will quibble with it in places). Can’t wait for that.


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