What Authors Influence Pastors Most?

I am reading a fascinating book by Jackson Carroll called God’s Potters which offers the results from a series of studies on the life, habits, and work of modern pastors across the spectrum of traditions (study dates back to 2001). One question asked of clergy was the authors they most often read in relation to their vocation and work. Here are the results by tradition.

Catholic: Henri Nouwen, John Paul II, Raymond Brown (yay!), William Bausch, Walter Burghardt, Scott Hahn, Anthony de Mello, William Barclay, Richard P. McBrien, Karl Rahner

Mainline Protestant: Nouwen, William Willimon, Frederick Buechner, Max Lucado, Eugene Peterson, C.S. Lewis, Marcus Borg, Lyle Schaller, Philip Yancey, Walter Brueggemann

Conservative Protestant: Lucado, John Maxwell, Charles Swindoll, John MacArthur, Yancey, Rick Warren, C.S. Lewis, Warren Wiersbe, Charles Spurgeon, Eugene Peterson

Historic Black: Warren Wiersbe, MacArthur, Matthew Henry, Maxwell, Swindoll, Charles Spurgeon, Rick Warren, Charles Stanely, J. Vernon McGee, Lucado

What did you find surprising here?

8 thoughts on “What Authors Influence Pastors Most?

  1. I think a 2013 survey would result in the addition of John Piper, Tim Keller, Andy Stanley, Matt Chandler and Mark Driscoll to the Protestant lists.

    No N.T. Wright?? I have a seminary professor that would be disappointed. 🙂

    1. Dave – I agree. Wright did not start writing for more popular audiences until about 5-8 years ago. His earlier major contributions were quite technical before that (aside from What Saint Paul Really Said). I think he would be on people’s list now, but many people view Wright with “suspicion” because he has been condemned by Piper and others for his views on St. Paul.

  2. The study is definitely a bit old. I think I’d have a hard time finding anyone under 40 who had read anything by Wiersbe.

    I guess I’m surprised to not see anyone black in the historic black list. I can think of some influential and notable black preachers, but maybe they just didn’t publish a lot?

    Piper condemning Wright in front of an American audience on the cusp of discovering his work is a true tragedy – church shooting yourself in the foot 101.

  3. Wright would definitely be on the list, as would Dallas Willard & Richard Foster. Scot McKnight, too. And some others. I, for one, try to read everything David Gushee writes. His book, “The Sacredness of Human Life” is one of the best books I’ve read in years. It deserves to be used in many theological schools. Again, there would be others.

  4. I’m a bit late to the conversation here, but I was surprised that the list for conservative Protestants didn’t include Calvin (as Tavis already mentioned), Warfield, Vos, or Bavinck. That seems like a bad thing to me.

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