Stephen Nichols (SN): Welcome back to 5 Minutes in Church History. Last time, we had Dr. Mark Dever and we left him on a deserted island. He’s back and he’s tanned and he’s ready to go. Welcome back, Dr. Dever.
Mark Dever (MD): Good to be back.
SN: I have a question for you. Who are your five favorite Baptists?
MD: My five favorite Baptists. Well, let me begin with my three favorite Anglicans. I love Richard Sibbes, Charles Simeon, and John Stott. Particularly as models of pastoral ministry, they got in a strategic place and they stayed there for decades, teaching God’s Word. So they’ve been my sort of models in ministry.
SN: So should we do three favorite Presbyterians?
MD: We can do whatever you want, but I just have often been asked about models for ministry and it’s these three Cambridge Anglicans.
SN: So, let’s talk about your five favorite Baptists.
MD: I’m going to generously consider John Piper and John Bunyan Baptists.
SN: Yes, we can do that.
MD: I have questions about both of them, but I love them dearly. Because they don’t understand infant baptism to be baptism and they do understand that believers only should be baptized, we’ll count them as Baptists. So, I think Bunyan and Piper would definitely be there.
SN: And those are great to have on your list. They’d probably be on my list, too.
MD: I think D.A. Carson would be there.
SN: So, what is it about Carson?
MD: Don Carson in my mind is in the category of Calvin and Warfield, men who are first-class scholars who have first-class hearts for the world and for the church. These men are very rare. I’d put John Gill in this category, though he’s not as concise. There’s another Baptist I like.
SN: John Gill, he’s buried in Bunhill fields.
MD: Yes, along with the Wesleys and John Owen. Don Carson is amazingly gifted academically, and yet theologically also good. So good with the text, good with systematics, and yet he has a real concern for the Christian life and pastoral concerns. To get that all together in one person is very rare.
SN: That’s great; so we’ve got three.
MD: Let’s throw Gill in there also. His commentaries are often overlooked, and yet if you wade through them, they’re not eloquent like Matthew Henry’s, but they are really, really helpful.
SN: Is there a particular book to start with in Gill’s commentaries?
MD: His commentaries were reprinted years ago in six or seven large volumes of tiny print. Whatever you’re working on in your quiet time or for a sermon, just jump right in there and enjoy them.
SN: Your fifth and final favorite Baptist?
MD: There are so many Baptists that I just love. Would Ligon Duncan count because he was baptized as a believer? Or what about future Baptists? Again, Ligon Duncan could be in that category.
SN: Who knows what the future holds?
MD: I mean, there are just so many to choose from. So I think, are you wanting me to say Spurgeon by any chance? Yes, I do like Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
SN: There you go.
MD: He’s a wonderful brother.
SN: I was waiting for that.
MD: Good news.
SN: Thank you, Dr. Dever. Thank you for reminding us of these good brothers from the past and even good brothers in our own day who remind us to stay in the Word and remind us of our service to the church and remind us of the work that needs to be done.