Monday, 22 May 2006

New poll: Reformed theologians

I have just added a new poll to find out which Reformed theologian you like best. This poll presented very special difficulties. On the one hand, it is a curious fact that, since the 16th century, the dominant theological thinkers have tended to come from the Reformed tradition. (To illustrate: which 18th-century theologian from any tradition could be placed alongside Edwards? Which 19th- or 20th-century theologian could be placed alongside Schleiermacher or Barth?)

More than other traditions, Reformed theology has been characterised by a series of tremendously powerful individual personalities. For a poll, this creates a further problem: it would be ridiculous to place other modern Reformed theologians in the same poll as Barth—as though it were even meaningful to draw a comparison between Barth on the one hand, and Brunner, Torrance and Moltmann on the other. Apples are apples; oranges are oranges.

For the purpose of this poll, then, I have chosen a broad historical spread of five thinkers. Since Moltmann is so popular today, I have also added him to the poll—even though I could have done more justice to the history of Reformed theology by adding another formative thinker like Zwingli or Bullinger, or a heterodox thinker like Arminius or Amyraut, or a Puritan thinker like Owen or Baxter, or a later promoter of orthodoxy like Warfield or Bavinck.

Anyway, come and cast your vote—and if your own preferred Reformed theologian wasn’t included on the poll, let us know whom you would have voted for.


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