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6 Theologians Millennials Should Know + Why They Matter
6 Theologians Millennials Should Know + Why They Matter

Does the word “Theology” make you cringe? Or does it conjure images of old, white-collar males who only spend their times reading the Bible in its original Hebrew? Many people seem to have this misconception of theology, and they assume theology is only studied by the academic elect. So, over time, we at Deep Roots want to set the record straight.

Back in High School, I was obsessed with Apologetics. (I talked about it already here) Although the word begins with “apolog”, which in our minds is related to the word “apology”, Apologetics in no way is apologizing for our faith and beliefs. Instead, it is the study and practice of said faith and beliefs. Every Christian, without hesitation, should have a clear understanding of what they believe and why. So in those High School years, I spent hours studying the likes of Norman Geisler, Francis Schaeffer, St. Augustine, Paul E. Little, Josh McDowell, and C.S. Lewis.

Last post, Jeremiah and I gave you our favorite commentators. Today, I am going to list 6 important theologians that I think you should know, and why they matter to your faith.


06. St. Augustine

St. Augustine is kind of a big deal in the theology world. Born in 340 A.D., Saint Augustine was one of the first Christian theologians. (Keep in mind that the book of Acts was written in 60 A.D. or so, which means Saint Augustine was only about 300 years later from the time of the early church) In some ways, you may even call him the Father of Theology. You will find that he is quoted often in works of both old and new theologians, which makes him someone you need to know and be familiar with. Augustine was a huge influence on the medieval world, with his “new” ideas concerning God, the Church, and Christ. (I would explain it all here, but I’mma send you over to Wikipedia instead) Since he wrote his greatest works Confessions and The City of God almost 1,700 years ago, his language is somewhat awkward to read for our modern linguistics. However, I think you need to read one of his books at least once in your life, because otherwise, you may become very confused when other theologians refer to him (which they do…a lot).


05. C.S. Lewis

You probably have read The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, or at some point have seen its movie(s). If you’ve even heard of the series Chronicles of Narnia, then you are already familiar with C.S. Lewis. Born Clive Staples Lewis in 1898, Lewis was a huge intellectual who enjoyed debating ideas and philosophies. In 1929, Lewis co-founded with some his friends a club called The Inklings, which was dedicated to trading each other’s writing for feedback. At this point, Lewis was a staunch Atheist, but his food friend and fellow Inklings member, J.R.R. Tolkien (yes, that Tolkien) was finally able to convince C.S. Lewis of the realities of Christianity.  Some of Lewis’ greatest works are Mere Christianity, the Great Divorce, Till We Have Faces, and the Screwtape Letters. At Biola, students and faculty alike are obsessed with Lewis and quote him constantly. However, there is no denying Lewis had a great mind. Lewis uses a lot of analogies when he explains theology, which can be helpful for a lot of people who learn better through visuals and abstract imagery. Check out some of Lewis’ work below:


04. Francis Schaeffer

My mom likes to joke that Francis Schaeffer is her real father, and somehow the stork got confused on the way to drop her off at Schaeffer’s house! Francis Schaeffer was born in 1912, and went to Heaven in 1984. There are certain people I cannot wait to meet in Heaven, and Francis Schaeffer is one of them. Schaeffer was an incredibly intelligent man. He spent much of his time talking to young people in coffee shops, discussing ideas and explaining apologetics. Heavily opposed to the modernism developing in America, Schaeffer sought to explain the Creator, and why understanding and glorifying Him bring our world back into balance. If this sounds strange to you, watch his series How Should We Then Live? The episodes will blow your mind. (I foolishly let my ex-boyfriend borrow them and he never gave them back. Dude, if you’re reading this, can you please give them back? Ok thx bye.)  Along with his wife Edith, he founded the organization L’Abri in Switzerland, which was a place people could stop by to learn more about apologetics and theology on their travels. How cool is that?! You literally would stop by and sit down with the Schaeffers to have your mind blown, while getting food and a place to stay. A Bible nerd’s dream! Schaeffer’s works can seem dense and difficult to read at first, so I suggest reading them in small bits if his works overwhelm you. I would also suggest (again) his How Should We Then Live? DVDs, because I found those more comprehensive and interesting since you’re watching him explain concepts in different parts of the world. So boss. Here are my top Schaeffer picks for your library:


03. Norman Geisler

Dr. Norman Geisler was born in 1932 (i.e. he is 84 years young) and is considered one of the top Christian systematic theologians of our generation. He has a Ph.D. from Loyola University, founded several seminaries, and was the former president of the Evangelical Theological Society. I grew up reading his gigantic Systematic Theology volumes, and was absolutely horrified when I arrived at Biola University to find we were required to read anyone else’s Systematic Theology collections! Now, what are Systematic Theology books? They are almost like encyclopedias, but they cover theological concepts, like the trinity, atonement, justification, creation, the resurrection, miracles, etc. Dr. Geisler is still my favorite, because: (1) He explains difficult concepts, like the trinity, in a very simplified way. You can easily follow along with his ideas and arguments, while he shows you the biblical evidence of his propositions. (2) If you ever wondered about concepts A, B, or C, Dr. Geisler explains them in full in his Systematic Theology collections. (3) He’s written many books beyond his Systematic Theology, like From God to Us: How We Got Our Bible, which is an amazing piece of work. If you’ve ever struggled to explain Christianity to a non-believer, or you just want to know more about what you believe, then you need to have this man’s books in your collection! Here are my favorite Geisler books for your collection:


02. Josh McDowell

I am now going to get into our more reader-friendly theologians, whose works are easier to read and understand out-right. My #2 theologian is Josh McDowell, who wrote the very popular book More Than a Carpenter. McDowell’s story is incredible and similar to C.S. Lewis’ – he was absolutely convinced that God wasn’t real, and that “Christianity was worthless.” However, after studying the Bible to prove it was inaccurate and wrong, McDowell instead came to the conclusion that it was accurate and true. At that point, McDowell put his faith and trust in Jesus Christ. McDowell’s book studies the evidence for Jesus’ existence, deity, and resurrection. It is a must-have! The book’s description claims that it is the perfect resource for the skeptics in your life, and I must agree. If you are looking for theological answers concerning Jesus Christ, then please do yourself a favor and buy his book. McDowell also has other books available, which you can find below:


01. Paul E. Little

Sorry for the lame photo on our #1 Theologian, but it was hard to find pictures of Paul E. Little! In my nerdiest apologetics days, Paul E. Little was my go-to. This guy answered all your theological questions in two short books: Know What You Believe and Know Why You Believe. He covers everything from the evidence that Scripture is reliable and historically accurate, to your most fundamental theological principles like the significance Jesus’ death and resurrection. He’s my #1, because if I had to recommend just ONE theological resource to you today, I would say grab something of Paul E. Little. His works are easy to read but thorough in their research and information. To give you some background on Paul E. Little, he was born in 1928 and went to Heaven in 1975. Little was an associate professor of evangelism at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Illinois and for 25 years worked with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, an evangelistic club network that seeks to witness for Christ on college campuses (similar to Cru/Campus Crusades). Please give his books a read – I know you will love them:


That about wraps up my top 6 theologians! Who are your favorites? Will you check out any of these guys? Tell me in the comments!



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