There was a time in my life when I had doubts about whether orthodox Christianity was derived exegetically from the Bible or illegitimately forced on a Bible that meant to communicate no such system. I had spent too much time around some “exegetes” who claimed that they were “just interpreting the Bible.” As they went about “just interpreting the Bible,” they scorned Systematic Theology, and some of them even flirted with open theism. God mightily used two men named John at that time of my life—one John is a first class exegete who also loves theology (John Piper); and the other John is a church historian whose love for Christ rings all through the profound thoughts expressed as he teaches. Walking into Dr. John Hannah’s classroom in those days when the doubts of some were giving me pause was like stepping out of shifting sand onto solid rock, and the rock was Christ.
I must also mention that the semester in which Dr. Hannah so profoundly helped me was not a semester in which I was actually enrolled in one of his courses. I had taken all the Church History classes I needed, but because of the lingering questions in my mind I decided to audit Dr. Hannah’s course on the History of Doctrine. The class, however, was full. All the seats were taken. So I went to the administration and asked if the class could be moved to a bigger room. No. So I went to Dr. Hannah and asked if I could sit on the floor, and, don’t tell the fire department, he gave me permission. So for half the semester I showed up for a class I didn’t need for a degree to hear lectures I needed for my soul. I didn’t stop going half-way through the semester, but enough other students either dropped the class or stopped attending to allow me to have an actual chair to sit on.
Praise God for John Hannah.