In no certain order:

My mother: Although she is much different today (due to her state of mind after the stroke), she stood as rock for the faith all my life, never losing her passion for the lost and showing me this by example everyday.

Dan Wallace: Beyond the brilliance, Dan’s commitment to the truth above all other things has set so much of the tone of my thought that I cannot overstate his influence. As well, I don’t know of any scholar whom I have met that combines such a pastoral, down to earth tone, with unmatched academics. My favorite quote: “We follow the truth, not prejudice.”

Chuck Swindoll: Grace. He taught me about grace and it saved my and set the course for all of my thoughts, hopes, and aspirations in ministry. I want to have a passion for grace the way he does. My favorite quote: “Don’t take yourself too seriously . . . no one else does.”

Mark Hitchcock: Steadfast and committed to the preaching of the word. I have never heard a better Bible teacher nor someone so loyal to people. He and his church sent me to seminary and paid all the tuition. He has been an encourager to me from the day I started ministry until now and always serves as an anchor for my attitude.

R.C. Sproul: Though I have never met him, it seems as if I know him. He gave me a love and passion for theology very early on. To me, there is no better teacher of theology out there, who is fair and balanced, yet overflowing with infective passion.

Paul Copan: Even though we are different on some points of theology (him being a committed Arminian and I a Calvinist), I don’t know of anyone that I have ever seen all the fruits of the Spirit come through in such an evident way. (Besides the fact that he is brilliant!)

Chet Lackey: He died in the mid nineties, but he was my first real pastor who took me under his wing. He did not simply teach me, but he took it upon himself to mentor me and encourage me even though I was so far from one that any would think had potential.

Ed Kosmoszewski: Besides being a top rate scholar and communicator of theology, Ed is a good friend and valued counselor. He is the first person I call when there are big decisions that need to be made. He has a great deal of wisdom. But more than this, he gives encouragement and counsel as if you were the only person in his life even though his illness is such a personal daily burden for him. He shows me that one can look beyond their circumstances to focus on others even while staring at their own problems.

How about you?

C Michael Patton
C Michael Patton

C. Michael Patton is the primary contributor to the Parchment and Pen/Credo Blog. He has been in ministry for nearly twenty years as a pastor, author, speaker, and blogger. Find him on Patreon Th.M. Dallas Theological Seminary (2001), president of Credo House Ministries and Credo Courses, author of Now that I'm a Christian (Crossway, 2014) Increase My Faith (Credo House, 2011), and The Theology Program (Reclaiming the Mind Ministries, 2001-2006), host of Theology Unplugged, and primary blogger here at Parchment and Pen. But, most importantly, husband to a beautiful wife and father to four awesome children. Michael is available for speaking engagements. Join his Patreon and support his ministry

    16 replies to "The Most Influential Christians in My Life"

    • Demian Farnworth

      Absolute love this list. Mom is always at the top, isn’t she?

    • Anja L

      My mother: I remember her sitting on the couch early every morning, reading her Bible. She loved to see us (though I am sure she sometimes would have liked to have some more time alone, but she didn’t show it) and was, and is, incredibly patient and kind. She also made sure that even when money was tight we had enough Christian books and tapes.

      Dan and Suzie Potter: The main speakers at a big Christian summer camp called TeenStreet. Dan’s teaching was always inspiring and convicting because it was all about Jesus. He and his wife were also full of joy, and because of that they became my heroes. When a week of TeenStreet ended, I was sometimes afraid that I wouldn’t ‘make it’ till the next one, but thankfully our church had a good youth group.

      Valerie: One of my youth group leaders and my mentor when I was in my teens. Having a kind, fun and young Christian woman take time for my friends and me during the confusion that is high school was quite priceless.

      Jim and Elisabeth Elliot: Elisabeth’s biographies of her husband and of their relationship showed me what a life devoted to Christ looks like.

      The people behind Focus on the Family: I grew up on Adventures in Odyssey, then their magazines, and now read Boundless. They have been helping me through all the phases of my life.

      John Piper: Because of his example in counting everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ, the passion he has for world missions, and his faithful and thorough exposition of the Bible.

      C.S. Lewis and Michael Spencer: They taught me that being human is not unspiritual.

      Michael Patton: He introduced me to theology and made me like it. I have also really, really appreciated his openness and honesty.

      Goodness, this has become a bit long. Oh well. Loved doing this. Thanks for everything!

    • jill

      Kay Arthur– Her Precept Studies have been the instruments I use
      to study the word in depth and knowing the word has changed my

      Elisabeth Elliot– The wisdom of this godly woman,through her
      books and radio program, has helped me order my life.

      Oswald Chambers– “My Utmost for His Highest” challenges me to
      be brutally honest with myself.

      I did not come from a christian home and I consider these women to be my “spiritual mothers”.

    • tyler m taber

      I don’t know if I could come up with a list but Darrell Bock would definitely be at the top somewhere!

    • Fadie Fahmy

      Dan Wallace is my hero. He led me through the way to change my fundamental worldview to a wonderful one!

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      My father. When I was a child and I doubted my faith, I considered my father and knew there was something profoundly true and powerful in his life.

      My mother. She taught me how warm God’s love can be.

      Youth pastor (Ron Foreman): Mentored me for 6 years, one on one. That’s commitment.

      Campus Crusade staff at Stanford (Brad Fulton, Bill Miller). Gave me a passion for ministry, especially seeking the lost.

      Soren Kierkegaard. I know this one seems weird. Showed me a way of tying together Christian convictions in a way I continue to find completely compelling.

      James Loder. A (now-deceased) professor at Princeton Th Seminary. I’ve never seen someone combine such extraordinary scholarship with such extraordinary faith. A real giant. A man of great passion who started weeping nearly every time he prayed. His books don’t convey what was so special about him. Videos of his courses do. When you prayed with him, you really felt like he was (and thus you were too) present in the throne room of God.

    • Susan

      My Mother: Faithful, mature student of the Word. As I was growing up I remember she was always up at 5:00 am studying the Bible and praying. She’s the one I went to more than any other when I had a problem or concern. Her wisdom is amazing and deeply rooted in truth. She has devoted herself to child evangelism for more years than I can count.

      Dan Wallace: ‘Brilliant’ and ‘pastoral’…yes. Utterly kind and humble. I count on Dan for wise advice, a ‘listening ear’, much prayer, incredible Biblical knowledge, unending encouragement, a good laugh, and even gentle admonishment. He has an uncanny ability to help me rethink things in ways which challenge me and point me in the right direction. I always admire Dan’s bold willingness to defend the truth and confront sin. The man has guts! Dan shares with me a heart for talking with the lost about Jesus. Best of all: faithful friend.

      Michael Patton, whom I read and learn from. Thanks for all of your amazing thinking and study. You have enriched my mind. I appreciate your genuineness and transparency.

      Paul Copan: Another kind and warm brilliant thinker—godly man. I’ve learned from reading his books and listening to him, and he has dialoged with me a few times about questions I have had, and even read an article being discussed in my SS class at church and posted a response on our class blog!….all because I had concerns that some of what was being taught didn’t sound right. I admire his wisdom when it comes to responding well to those not-yet-saved. What a bold and winsome witness for Jesus! THAT I can always learn from Paul.

      Lou Huesmann: my pastor, from whom I have learned much.

      Jay Bell: Who fanned the flame of a passion for evangelism in me while I was in college (he was my college pastor at church). He’s one of the most enthusiastic, passionate, evangelistic, caring, pastors I have ever known.

    • jim

      My wife, Marie, for her belief in our God who can do all things and her open mind to all my theological discussions.

      Former pastor, Mr. Dunnfield , for showing me the lord!

      Pastor ” Bev Jewett, for his service to my family and showing Christian love in our search for truth.

      Michael Patton, you have made God’s word come alive in your teachngs and our quest for truth. I test truth with a more open mind.

      My sons , for their love of God and their passionate talks of unworldy things.

      To those of this blog, I may disagree, or even fully comprehend what is being dialogued at times but appreciate desire each has to understand God’s holy word.

    • Ed Kratz

      My friend Joe: for showing me the heart of a true Berean who conducts investigation as thoroughly and honestly as possible.

      Neil Damgaard, former pastor and DTS grad: for showing me that you needn’t wear your education on your sleeve and what it really means to relate to people, yet always maintaining an unwavering commitment to truth.

      Michael Patton: because I’m a suck-up 😀 Ok, seriously, for showing me authenticity in theology and life. Michael shows that we spend far too much time and energy huddled in our corners of dishonesty, shame and presuppositions.

      Mark Bailey, DTS president: for inspiring me to know and understand scripture. He is a beast!

      Chuck Swindoll: for his unwavering commitment to both grace and truth.

      My grandfather: while he did not have an impact on me as a Christian, he was my role model for rationality and objectivity. He had a way of always analyzing a situation and stepping in with great wisdom.

    • C Skiles

      Mine likewise , are in no certain order:

      My Mom

      Although only finishing the 11th grade she had (and has) a passion for reading & studying God’s word and other Christian literature. She was & is open to the fact that she doesn’t have a corner on truth—she is willing to consider changing her mind on something if the biblical evidence is compelling.

      Chuck Swindoll

      He was one of the first pator/teachers I ever heard who could hold my attention through a complete sermon.
      He was also the first thelogical conservative , non legalistic teacher I ever heard.
      His passion for enjoy life were and are contageous.

      Bob Barbour

      Bob is and has been my pastor for over 27 years. At 74 years old he is still as passionate about being accurate and fresh as the day I first heard him over 28 years ago. He is also very transparent and willing to admit that he still struggles with his fallenness.
      Bob also gave me a love for the great theologians: Martin Luther, Charles Spurgeon, Robert Murray Mcshayne,et al. Oh, and he also infected me with his love of very old hymns.

      Ed Tubbs

      Ed was my Sunday school teacher in college. Ed is a life time bachelor and a lifetime bond slave of Jesus Christ. He was probably the first person I ever met who was consumed with the savior. Years ago Ed sold all of his earthly possesions except his computer and his clothes and moved to Russia to minister. Although back in the states now he still considers Russia his home and maintains a deep concern for its people.

      Chuck Fry

      Chuck is close friend and dear servant of Christ. Chuck and I are very close in age but years apart spiritually. Chuck’s passioin for Christ and the study of His word are infectious. He has read & studied many of the old theologians including Calvin, Edward, and others. He is truly one of the kindest people I have ever met. A tender servant of God.
      Oh, and we both share of love of the old south and have a great interest in the spiritual journals of Robert E Lee & Stonewall Jackson.

    • C Skiles

      I wasn’t able to edit my last entry so I’m addin to it.
      (Remember there is no signigicance to order)

      Michael Patton

      I was first introduced to Reclaiming the mind’s website and Michael Patton by a co-worker over 2yrs ago. I must say Michael has (via his writintgs) has a profound influence on me. Primarily his Irenic approach to theology. (and no, I’m not sucking up__LOL)

    • Adam Omelianchuk


      CS Lewis for having a mind filled with both reason and imagination.

      Dallas Willard for showing the brilliance of Jesus as TEACHER.

      Greg Boyd for his comittment to put self-sacrificial love at the center of our Christian theology (yes, I know about the Open Theism, save it)

      Rebecca Merrill Groothuis who convinced me women are human (that’s a reference to Dorothy Sawyers all you Comps :))

      AB Caneday for his emphasis on detailed exegesis and shepherding Christians to a confident belief in assurance of their salvation.

      William Lane Craig for being able to explain deep philosophic issues in plain language and demonstrating the rational character of the Christian faith.

      Roger Olsen for telling a good story about the often boring subject of historical theology.

      Tim Keller for elucidating the gospel in postmodern culture.

    • Jeremy

      R.C. lives right down the street from me…I go to his church when I can.

    • Paul Copan

      Thanks, Michael and Susan. I’m honored and humbled.

      In terms of the shaping influences in my life, I am grateful to my Dad and Mom (Valery and Valtraut Copan–names from “the old country”!) for their love for God, their servant hearts, and their dedication to me and my six siblings. They endured the ravages, losses, and dislocation of World War II in Europe, but it would be difficult to find more joyful Christians than my parents.

      My wise and loving wife, Jacqueline, who continues to be a marvelous instrument of the Lord’s transformation in my life. She is truly amazing! I call her “my Proverbs 32 woman” (who outdoes the Proverbs 31 woman)! Her five children rise up and bless her, and her husband also. “Her own works praise her in the gates.”

      From my early college years and beyond, the writings of the Christian statesman John Stott have deepened my appreciation for God’s Word and its relevance to contemporary culture. (I also share his love for birds. See his book on, yes, orni-theology: *The Birds Our Teachers*.)

      William Lane Craig and Stuart Hackett were my philosophy professors at Trinity Seminary in Deerfield, Illinois (1985-88). They instilled in me a deep appreciation for the life of the mind for God’s glory. I am so grateful for their enduring imprint on my life.

      Though not a trained philosopher, C.S. Lewis has been for me a deep well of creative insight into the Christian faith and life. I keep returning to him as a rich resource.

      The list could continue indefinitely, so abundant are the imprints of others stamped on my life–an expression of God’s grace. As Paul asked, “What do you have that you did not receive?”

    • G. K. Chesterton.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.