1) Dr Kenneth Mathews
The first great scholar I studied with was in college. He is Dr Ken Mathews, who now teaches Hebrew Exegesis and Old Testament at Beeson Divinity School. He did his PhD in Semitic Languages under David Noel Freedman, one of the three or four greatest biblical scholars of the twentieth century. Like his mentor taught him, Dr. Mathews taught me to read the parts of the Bible in terms of the whole. Before Dr. Freedman published his phenomenal book The Nine Commandments, Ken taught me to read the Bible this way. This reading strategy put me on the trajectory I still follow. (BTW, along with Nashotah House, Trinity School for Ministry, Regent College and Asbury Theological Seminary, Beeson Divinity is one of the Seminaries to which I direct people for theological training).
2) Dr. Leslie Fairfield
Les was my teacher of Church History at Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry. I have never had a more influential professor, for he asked the questions that directed the itinerary of all my subsequent theological education. His seminal article, The Anglican Tradition: Three Streams, One River, is the single best short essay on Anglicanism. It was the first article which we published in our Truro Tract Series. Les taught me to understand Anglicanism from the "inside out" as a movement of reform and renewal within the wider Western Church AND he taught me that "a church without a memory is a dangerous thing." During the Anglican Crisis I asked Les who I should study for inspiration and guidance. He recommend Wesley. So he, in part, is to blame for my theological interest in and doctoral studies on two heroes of the faith: Augustine and Wesley. Dr Fairfield is a master pedagogue and I often ask myself "how would Les teach this?"
3) Dr. Dennis Kinlaw
Dennis Kinlaw came into my life during my late thirties while I was teaching at Asbury Theological Seminary and writing my doctoral dissertation. Dr. Kinlaw is a contemporary of Billy Graham and John Stott, and like them, is an evangelical statesman in the truest sense of that term. He is simply the most sagacious man I have met and he introduced to me the theology and poetry of Karol Woytjla, who became Pope John Paul II. His little book of brilliant theology, Let's Start with Jesus
Who are the influences in your Christian life and witness? To name them publicly is not bragging; its gratitude.