In this digital age we have access to fantastic resources. Whilst there is some discernment needed, for the first time in history it is no long necessary to travel across the world to hear the best Christian preachers that are available. With the Internet we can read and listen to the best and most interesting Christian thinkers in the world, as well as find lesser-known gems who would never have found the publicity necessary for recognition outside of their own church before the advent of the web.
We also have access to commonly available resources that allow us to not simply listen to the people who influence our faith and thinking, but communicate with them directly. Twitter, Facebook and all the rest have opened lines of communication that have never before been accessible to you and I, the ordinary believers.
I realise that there are dangers involved with unfettered and unedited teaching, but the opportunities are staggering.
Below are just a few that I have found (I will probably share others in future blogs). I would encourage you to follow the links to their pages and Twitter feeds. You may not enjoy them as much as I do, but they are certainly worth a look. Interacting with these people has helped my faith grow, challenged my assumptions and helped my walk with Jesus to mature (which is, after all, much of the point of theology).
Mark is the Teaching Pastor at Mars Hill Church in Seattle. The resources that Mars Hill put out are amongst the best I have ever found, especially the sermon podcasts that are available on iTunes. I would encourage anyone who had dead air time because they spend long periods in the car or travelling between meetings to download this remarkable preachers sermons and listen whilst they walk.
What is most impressive is that all of Mars Hill’s resources are available for free! They ask for a donation in line with one’s appreciation and my wife and I have made a donation or two over the years.
I would add that Mark’s style is often quite confrontational and shouty, but the things he says and the attention he gives to the Word of God are brilliant. What a blessing he and his church have been to my family and I, as well as to hundreds of thousands of people around the world.
Pastor John Piper is one of the most thoughtful and wise men of the Word of God that I have ever had the privilege to read and hear. The Website at www.desiringgod.org is a resource based on his gargantuan output and there is all sorts of stuff that is worth looking at. He is not a theologian who sits in an ivory tower but one who asks the amazingly important question, “What does the Bible mean in the face of the reality of everyday life?” The site also has other contributors who are equally worthwhile reading and hearing.
I would encourage everyone to take a little time to explore the website, listen to a few of the podcasts and read a few articles. To have the ability to invite a Pastor of John’s wisdom into your home is a tremendous privilege.
I read Andrew’s book, Incomparable, a few years ago and I have just found him online in the last year whilst I have been concentrating on my own writing. He is much closer to home for me (since I am in the UK) and an excellent apologist and deep thinker. Recently he appeared on Justin Brierley’s show on Premier Radio, discussing Rob Bell’s new book and theology with Rob Bell himself (good listening). I will meet him one of these days, but in the meantime I follow him on twitter and really appreciate his tweets (@AJWTheology).
Andrew is also a major contributor to the excellent ‘Theology Matters’ website (www.thinktheology.co.uk) where lots of different pastors and elders write articles relating to all sorts of issues that effect Christians, as well as offering apologetics relating to challenges and teaching from many different quarters.
Again in the UK, Adrian Warnock is a blogger who has a very large following and writes very interesting articles relating to Christian faith in the real world. His recent focus has been on mental health and faith has been very helpful and insightful. Adrian also has links to some very interesting theologians and teachers who feature on his site under the ‘Interview’ menu.
Adrian is a thinker for whom I have great respect. He is also an occasional guest on Premier Radio and author of a very worthwhile book on the resurrection of Jesus called Raised with Christ.