I have been privileged to sit under the teaching ministry of Donald A. Carson during my studies at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in suburban Chicago. Dr. Carson’s skill as a teacher was one of the reasons I chose to enter the Doctor of Ministry program at Trinity. After two all-day, week-long courses under his tutelage—not to mention attendance at a number of conferences where he was the keynote speaker—I have come to deeply appreciate this unique servant of Christ. Although Dr. Carson is a man who deserves a tremendous amount of respect, I don’t want to merely adulate. What follows are my honest observations.
Dr. Carson is perhaps the most brilliant man I have ever met. I can say by experience that feelings of inadequacy proliferate among his students. He is a gracious man, but not particularly sensitive. I once asked a question in a way he did not appreciate, and he was neither slow nor gentle in letting me know it. He told our class one day, “I do not much care what people think of me.” I suppose he exaggerated, but not much. God has graciously equipped him with the thick skin requisite for those who contend for the glory of God in the arena of intellectual battle. Wearing that thick skin in the classroom, Dr. Carson does not waste much time worrying about how his students feel. He is, however, quite anxious to influence how they think. And for this I will forever remain in his debt.