20 Most Influential Christian Scholars – Congrats Greg!

Look who’s #4 on this preeminent list of scholars!  Greg Boyd was a college professor of mine, and his teaching ministry has had an enormous influence on my faith. Seeing his name on this list both overjoys and concerns me.

Greg Boyd is one of the purist Jesus-shaped, robustly biblical thinkers I know and his teaching ministry is always centered on preserving the Kingdom-of-God teachings of Jesus that challenge all other versions of Christianity that tend to domesticate and water down Jesus’ counter-cultural, counter-intuitive views.  I celebrate that a passionately evangelical pastor and scholar is noted among these other renowned scholars.

One of Greg’s greatest gifts is his ability to articulate complex concepts in everyday language for a diverse congregation ranging from uneducated single moms to college professors with multiple PhDs.  Greg is capable of taking detours in preaching to dabble in neuroscience one Sunday and imaginative prayer the next.  He has an intellect that towers above most, and yet this tower is built upon a very simple, child like love for Jesus.  That humble, sensitive spirit is what I love most about Greg.

If you listen to Greg’s weekly preaching you’ll be hammered with passionate pleas to make Jesus your only Lord, to let God’s love and grace define your self-worth, and replicating that ‘calvary love’ in your interactions with others your main call in life.

Unfortunately, Greg is not primarily known for his impact as a pastor and preacher, and for all the lives that have been transformed by Christ through his ministry. Most people first come to know Greg through his controversial views of God’s foreknowledge — the Open View of the future.  Or, if not that controversy, he is known second best for his stand against mixing worldly politics with the distinct kingdom teachings of Jesus.  Read his Myth of a Christian Nation for more on this.

But as a huge supporter of Greg’s and someone who feels very close to Greg after all these years sitting under his teaching at Woodland Hills, I am constantly saddened that far too many Christians I encounter only know Greg for his controversial views, and never get to know Greg the pastor, Jesus follower and passionate Bible teacher. They are missing out!

Unfortunately, this enormous honor just reinforces this one-sided view of Greg, as it only mentions his contributions to the field of scholarship in reference to his Open View.  I encourage all of you to get to know Greg the pastor and Bible teacher as well if you haven’t already.

Check out his weekly sermon archives here.

Wow, I’m “star struck” that I know personally the scholar just below the influence of the Pope!  Congratulations Greg!  But I’m sure he would rather be known for his teachings that continually introduce people to the transforming love of Jesus than for his highly philosophical speculations on whether God knows the future as settled facts or future possibilities.

I think we know which topic God cares about more.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Zach says:

    It is a list of “influential” not “preeminent” scholars. There is a difference. Clearly Boyd made the list for “reconceptualizing [Christianity] or even […] fundamentally challenging it.” Being influential and challenging what Christians believe isn’t necessarily a good thing. And, considering the list was compiled by a secular organization, I find it difficult to put much value on it.

    That’s not to say Boyd isn’t influential. He clearly is. And is, in my opinion, also praiseworthy for most of the reasons you listed.

    1. Jeremy Berg says:

      ‘preeminent’ – /prēˈemənənt/
      Adjective: Surpassing all others; very distinguished in some way.

      Points taken. I might hesitate to describe all of these as ‘preeminent’ – I am unfamiliar with some of them. However, to be fair, several on this list can fairly be described as preeminent in their scholarship — N.T. Wright for sure. Zach – did you happen to read his letter and watch the videos linked to his profile at superscholars.org? Boyd challenges what Christians believe not to be cavalier and controversial, but by constantly testing long-held views against Scripture.

      Peace,

      JB

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