Recalling my conversation with the Reformed wrangler, where we enthused over different pastors and preachers we each especially liked . . . I thought I would make a quick, rough list of some of my favorites and the whyfors. . . . Some are on the earth now, some have moved on up the line. . . .
First off I would describe these preachers and pastors as sound. That is a primary quality that must be there as I'm not interested in charismatic personality, wittiness, or supposedly "novel" or "newly revealed" ear-tickling teachings. Sound doctrine, consistency, adherence to the Word as it is . . . has got to be there from the get-go. [And I've no doubt forgotten and/or accidentally skipped a few . . . but these are a good batch of my go-tos . . . aside from the Word of God itself . . . for encouragement, teaching, inspiration.]
Besides that essential basis (promoting sound doctrine), then I think there is plenty of room for individual nuance and varying temperament to be on display. One thing God is not short on is creativity. All through the nature He created we see variation, uniqueness, individuality. No two flowers, no two snowflakes, no two people are exactly alike. And so, I love the fact that there are all kinds of sound preachers and teachers and evangelists who, while agreeing on the necessary "essentials" of the faith, nevertheless exhibit all kinds of different styles and proficiencies in expressing the Gospel.
Some are more dry and matter-of-fact. Others are more emotional and heart-focused. Some revel in the slightly abstract, deep and mystical . . . while others stick to straight lines of logic and maintain encyclopedic degrees of knowledge from which to draw. So long as the foundational saving truths are there, anchored in Holy scripture . . . I count it a pleasure and a blessing that so much diversity is to be found among the Body.
Myself, I have a mind that likes to roam a broad range of information and sentiment, and so appreciate and draw from them all.
Paul Washer . . . for passion and convicting. He is easily one of my favorites and represents to me someone who is "all in".
James White . . . for clarity, precision, facts, historical knowledge, consistency of doctrine. White has a brilliant, methodical mind and is unmatched (to me) for being thorough, studious, tireless, prolific in laboring in the field of apologetics.
Jason Wallace . . . is a local pastor I've mentioned regularly before. Similar to James White for precision, historical knowledge (which I love) and consistency. Around our house, I've knick-named him "the pasty gangsta" . . . as his appearance and demeanor at first glance bely a devoted passion for the Gospel and truth . . . and he is unafraid, unrelenting in his bid to confront modern errors and blatant sin both in the culture and in the loosely called "church". I like and appreciate Jason a lot. Solid, sound, perceptive, dogged . . . but also one who bears a "pastor's heart."
Jeff Durbin . . . I am always impressed with. A young pastor . . . who is remarkable in the way he also confronts error and heresy, but with humor, a light touch, and a ton of compassion, gentleness for the lost. He too is sharp as a two-edged sword--unwavering yet highly accessible, especially to the younger generations. He is "hip", "relevant" . . . but not in a phony or manipulative way. He can go from silly to searing within the span of a sentence or two.
Doug Wilson . . . I like because he is a bit abstract at times and brings a unique and unusual take on things. I count on him to surprise me from time to time with an angle I didn't expect. He also is a very quick wit and always brings that same brilliance I love that the others share.
R.C. Sproul . . . for his excellence in teaching method and style, broad knowledge (historical, doctrinal). . . .
[Now, also there is a whole batch of mostly "younger", mostly internet-based fellows that I also regularly tune in to and enjoy . . . who give me hope for the future . . . usually quite brilliant chaps in their own ways, Colin Pearson (one of the young and slightly brash but smart as a whip "new Calvinists"), Andrew Rappaport (Striving For Eternity), Sye Ten Bruggencate (for his unswerving, un-apologetic adherence to pre-suppositional apologetics), Dustin Segers (has a brilliance, wide knowledge base and relatable style similar to Jeff Durbin), Keith Thompson, Tom of (Jude Three), James of "all4Hisgloryalone", "fivepointbaptist", "Bible Thumping Wingnut Show (BTWN) . . . and then there is Matt Slick (of C.A.R.M.) whose radio show and website are providing relentless, ongoing apologetics, solid for the faith. . . . Tony Miano for his hard working ethic and on-the-ground street preaching efforts (with sound, Biblical doctrine throughout), Jeff Rose of Jeremiah Cry Ministries and the various "Abolistionist/Abolish Human Abortion" groups . . . David Wood on all things Islamic. . . . Ken Ham (related to Creation science) . . . and for kicks sometimes Kent Hovind (re an entertaining exposition on the evolution/creation debate--his son Eric Hovind is solid.) And there's "Fighting For The Faith" with Chris Rosebrough for a solid heretic hunting ministry done with humor but always poignant. . . .
Of those that have moved on, there is:
Francis Schaeffer . . . for his Christian Manifesto . . . and the great heart and practical applications of scriptural teaching and history he brings. If I ever need a strong, compelling and convicting comfort I can count on Schaeffer.
Of course there is Charles Spurgeon . . . with his grand manner combined with authentic humility; Jonathan Edwards similarly but also with his vast intellect and mystical bent; Greg Bahnsen for his analytical prowess and pre-suppositional solidity. . .
Leonard Ravenhill . . . is similar to Paul Washer for me in his way of always bringing passion and conviction--emphasis on "always"!
Martin Lloyd Jones . . . for reasons similar to Spurgeon.
Donald Barnhouse . . . for his panoramic, big view style . . . his literary, descriptive qualities combined with a pleasantly severe old-timey style.
John Bunyan . . . for obvious reasons I would hope.
George Whitefield. . . .
Calvin and Luther . . .
Corrie Ten Boom for her humble, practical, God-loving heart. . . .
A. W. Pink . . . A. W. Tozer . . .
(Some I don't often seek out, but do appreciate and enjoy from time to time:
Steve Lawson, David Platt, Al Mohler, John Piper, John MacArther, Ray comfort, Alistair Begg, Greg Koukl . . . Vodie Bauchum, Todd Friel for Gospel issues related to current events . . also Janet Mefferd is sound in that regard and I'm always checking into the latest edition of the "Unbelievable" podcast with Justin Brierly in the UK for interesting topical debates/discussions.)