I love me some college hoops, especially when March comes around. Next to the start of football season, March Madness is the greatest time of the year to be a sports fan.
But, as one who dares not divine the sacred and the secular, I have put together a tournament to crown the greatest Reformed theologian. I have 64 theologians, spanning from John Calvin to John Frame.
A few guidelines and bits of info before I reveal the bracket.
1. This is my bracket, and it’s for fun. Don’t get bent out of shape just because you don’t like Karl Barth or you wish more theologians from your preferred lane of the Reformed highway had higher seeds. Please debate this bracket in a charitable way. Make a case for someone who missed the cut, or debate the seeding. Just keep it non-serious and in good taste.
2. You may vote through posting a comment on my blog, my Facebook page, or sending me an e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org).
3. Round 1 voting is March 18-21. Round 2 voting is March 22-24. Round 3 is March 25-28. Round 4 is March 29-April 1. Round 5 (Final Four) is April 2-4. Round 6 (Championship) is April 6-9.
4. I began with Reformation period theologians, which means St. Augustine didn’t make the cut. I feel that Augustine is on a whole other plane as a theologian due to his entire different time period and types of concerns.
5. My criteria are 1) depth of theology 2) creativity in theology and 3) breadth/influence of theology. This means that more pastoral Reformed thinkers that aren’t usually referenced in theological discourse were left out. So, even though Tim Keller’s influence is greater than some theologians in the tourney, it is difficult to classify Keller as a theologian in the same way as Michael Horton or John Frame. I did include men like R.C. Sproul. While Sproul is a popularizer, his teaching and theology revived Reformed theology in the American context and has great influence. (No, Gertsner and Boice didn’t make the cut.)
6. Again, have fun.
1. John Calvin v 16. Douglas Kelly
8. Caspar Olevianus v 9. Martin Bucer
5. Richard Gaffin v 12. Richard Muller
4. Geerhardus Vos v 13. G.K. Beale
6. Heinrich Bullinger v 11. Phillip Melanchton
3. John Knox v 14. George Gillespie
7. Zacharias Ursinus v 10. William Perkins
2. Martin Luther v 15. Samuel Rutherford
1. Herman Bavinck v 16. Wilhelmus a Brakel
8. A.A. Hodge v 9. Francis Schaeffer
5. Abraham Kuyper v 12. James Ussher
4. Cornelius Van Til v 13. Roger Nicole
6. Michael Horton v 11. R.C. Sproul
3. John Frame v 14. R.L. Dabney
7. Louis Berkhof v 10. J.I. Packer
2. Karl Barth v 15. R.J. Rushdoony
1. Jonathan Edwards v 16. Gordon Clark
8. Vern Poythress v 9. Theodore Beza
5. John Murray v 12. Thomas Cranmer
4. J. Gresham Machen v 13. Thomas Watson
6. Herman Ridderbos v 11. T.F. Torrance
3. Francis Turretin v 14. Richard Sibbes
7. Herman Witsius v 10. John Nevin
2. B.B. Warfield v 15. John Girardeau
1. John Owen v 16.Greg Bahnsen
8. Johannes Cocceius v 9. Gisbertus Voetius
5. Kevin Vanhoozer v 12. William Ames
4. Charles Hodge v 13. Hughes Oliphant Old
6. James Henley Thornwell v 11. Richard Baxter
3. Meredith Kline v 14. G.C. Berkouwer
7. Sinclair Ferguson v 10. D.A. Carson
2. Ulrich Zwingli v 15. John Flavel