Over the past twenty years I have read countless theology books, the vast majority written by either Catholic or Orthodox scholars. But at times I have also read theological texts by Protestant believers, and although I obviously have some serious disagreements with their fundamental presuppositions, I have found a lot of fine, worthwhile work done by Protestants over the years. Below I have listed a number of Protestant theologians* I have particularly enjoyed.
* Technically, they are not all theologians; some are biblical scholars or historians. But you get the idea of the overall category.
N. T. Wright. Wright is an Anglican bishop who is probably the preeminent “orthodox” biblical scholar alive today. His work on the origins of Christianity is outstanding, and his study of Paul is phenomenal as well.
Jaroslav Pelikan. Originally a Lutheran, near the end of his life Pelikan converted to Eastern Orthodoxy, but his magnum opus – the five-volume The Christian Tradition series – was written while he was still Lutheran. Pelikan was more a historian than a theologian, and his study of the development of Christian doctrine in the aforementioned series is the standard for the subject today.
Larry Hurtado. A professor at the University of Edinburgh, Hurtado wrote the monumental work Lord Jesus Christ: Devotion to Jesus in Earliest Christianity, which gives detailed proofs regarding the early worship of Christ among the first Christians.
William Farmer. Farmer converted to Catholicism before he died, but the work he is most known for, The Synoptic Problem, which argues that Matthew was the first Gospel written, was written by him while he was a Methodist. He also co-wrote a number of books with Catholics on ecumenical issues (from the Protestant perspective).
I’m not as well read on the following scholars, but I have enjoyed what I have read nonetheless.
Stanley Hauerwas. Although I am not overly familiar with Hauerwas’ work, the little I have read (including the volume on Matthew in the Brazos Theological Commentary) has been impressive.
Peter Leithart. I’ve mostly just read Leithart’s work in First Things, but his commentary on 1 & 2 Kings for the Brazos Theological Commentary is also well-done. And besides, he has ten kids, so he must be alright.
F.F. Bruce. The late Bruce was one of the premier Evangelical Biblical scholars of the 20th century. He was also one of the best defenders of the reliability of the New Testament texts that have been handed on to us.
Bruce Metzger. Another biblical scholar, Metzger wrote a standard text on the development of the New Testament canon and was also involved in many biblical translations.
R.T. France. I own France’s commentary on the Gospel of Matthew for the New International Commentary on the New Testament, and while it definitely had a Protestant flavor, I found the work to be rigorous and well-argued (for example, he acknowledges that the “rock” in Matthew 16 can only be referring to Peter himself, and not simply his faith or his confession).
John Calvin. Not.
Feel free to add any of your own favorites to the comments.