John Piper, Tim Keller, and Don Carson have each been used by God to influence millions. But who influenced them? And what sources beyond themselves would they encourage you to pursue and learn from?
“I really think you have to have multiple influences,” Keller observes in a new roundtable video with Piper and Carson. “If you cut a good minister like a tree, there should be a lot of rings. If you’re only learning from one or two individuals or kinds of sources, you risk becoming a clone.” He commends diving into the Puritans, Jonathan Edwards, and C. S. Lewis, among others.
Carson carries Keller’s observation a step further: “If you listen to one preacher, you’ll become a bad clone. If you listen to two, you’ll become confused. But if you listen to many, you’ll have multiple influences shaping you and will actually be freer to be yourself under the authority of the Word.” He cites John Calvin’s Institutes and Arnold Dallimore’s biography of George Whitefield as being particularly formative for him personally. Carson also highlights the profound influence of personal mentors, noting the impact of an ordinary local pastor who taught him to pray.
“I want people to go toward the Edwardsian author because today I don’t think we suffer today from an overabundance of earnestness,” Piper explains. “We do not suffer from an excess of the weight of glory.” Both Edwards and Martyn Lloyd-Jones can be helpful cultural correctives in this regard.