With the recent release of Seven Summits in Church History, designed to give a brief introduction to major figures in the history of Christianity for churches and all readers, I have asked several friends, pastors, and scholars to answer:
Who are your “Seven Summits”? Or, what figures in church history would you enjoy sharing a meal with?
On Fridays over the last few weeks, I have shared their responses and would love your thoughts and invite you to join the conversation in the comments.
Today, it is my delight to share who Trevin Wax and Bruce Ashford think are seven summits in church history worth knowing:
Trevin Wax’s Seven Summits:
- Clement of Rome (so close to the apostles!)
- Athanasius (What was it like to be contra mundum)
- John Chrysostom (to talk shop on preaching, application, creating wonder, etc.)
- Augustine (I already feel like I know him from Confessions, but I’d want that conversation to continue)
- Thomas Cranmer (for his crafting of the prayer book and his all-too-human wobbling of conviction)
- EY Mullins (the most enigmatic and probably most influential Southern Baptist in history. His work fascinates me, as does his trajectory in life and pullback toward the end. Both conservatives and moderates in the SBC split claimed him – conservatives for his confessionalism and moderates for his emphasis on experience.)
- G. K. Chesterton (I’m in awe of his brilliance in writing virtually any kind of literature and yet maintaining a coherent vision of life and love)
Trevin Wax is the managing editor of The Gospel Project at LifeWay Christian Resources. He also has recently completed is Ph.D. in Theology at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Bruce Ashfords’s Seven Summits:
If I could choose seven figures from the history of Christianity with whom I could spend a day, my list would look something like this:
- I’d sit at the feet of Irenaeus, whose Against the Heresies traced the biblical narrative and showed that the heretics go awry precisely because they rip biblical passages out of the context of that narrative.
- I’d swill tea with Athanasius, whose On the Incarnation made the single most important statement in the history of Christianity—that the Son was begotten and not made, and therefore is of one substance with the Father.
- I’d swig some coffee with Augustine, whose City of God showed that Rome was but a bit player in the grand sweep of creational and redemptive history.
- I’d hang out with Thomas Aquinas, whose Summa Theologiae is the most enduringly influential text in the history of Christianity,
- and John Calvin, whose Institutes is easily the most influential Protestant text.
- I’d spend a full day with Balthasar Hübmaier, asking him to tell the story of how he recovered from early timidity under persecution and was able to go on to become a courageous martyr for the Christian faith.
- Finally, I’d imbibe some of the bubbly (diet Coke®) with Abraham Kuyper, whose life and writings help us consider how to build a public theology for the common good; Kuyper was a pastor who later became a professor, parliament member, prime minister, journalist, founder of a political party, and author of numerous books.
Bruce Ashford currently serves as Professor of Theology and Culture, a Fellow for the Bush Center for Faith and Culture, and the Provost and Dean of Faculty at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina. He is the author of Every Square Inch: An Introduction to Cultural Engagement for Christians.
Who are your Seven Summits?
Join the conversation in the comments below and learn who are my Seven Summits and more about the book here.
Other posts in the Seven Summits series: