A list of the 25 most influential preachers of the United States was published by Preaching Magazine recently. The top five were Billy Graham, Charles Swindoll, Rick Warren, Gardner Taylor and John McArthur.
1. Billy Graham—This inspirational evangelist has reached millions or maybe even billions around the world with his message that Jesus Christ is Saviour. He has traveled around the globe to countless nations spreading the gospel through his memorable crusades. He reaches even more people through his influentail Billy Graham Evangelistic Association which sends publications around the world also educating people who don’t know who Jesus Christ is. He has also written several bestsellers which have further spread the Word. He has further served as a close adviser to all the President’s of his generation.
2. Charles Swindoll….Besides pastoring a large and growing church, Swindoll has written countless books regarding the Bible and its application to inviduals in the world today. Swindoll is the founding pastor of Stonebriar Community Church in Frisco, Texas where he now serves as senior pastor. Before that he served 23 years as pastor of the Fullerton, California Church. He also serves as a chancellor of Dallas Theological Seminary.
3. Rick Warren….Fresh out of Southwestern Theological Baptist Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, he and his wife traveled with all their belongings in a U-Haul to California. With one other couple he and his wife held the first service of a new church in an apartment. That original attendance of four has grown to thousands each week and is known as Saddleback Church in Southern California. He has since written the bestselling “Purpose Driven Life” followed by “The Purpose Driven Church.”
4. Gardner Taylor….An eloquent and passionate spreaker, he has had a major influence on the African-American pulpit. He saved souls from 1948 to 1990 as senior pastor of Brooklyn’s Concord Baptist Church of Christ. He is now retired and makes his home in Raleigh, North Carolina. In 1979 Time Magazine recognized him as one of the seven best Protestant preachers in the nation. The magazine also referred to him as the “Dean of the Nation’s Black Preachers.” He further delivered the 100th Lyman Beecher Lectures on Preaching at Yale. He has lectured at many colleges and universities.
5. John MacArthur…A bold preacher never fearful of confrontation, MacArthur has been involved in a series of theological debates through the years. His style of preaching verse-by-verse has made him popular to many people. He established the Master’s Seminary. MacArthur has been one of the most influential in using radio in the past quarter-century while pastoring Grace Community Church of Sun Valley, California. He has also served as a teacher on the “Grace to You” program.
Preacher’s Magazine said the primary focus of their rankings has been in the American pulpit. The publication recognized that many gifted preachers around the globe may have influenced even more than the 25 which appeared on their list and in terms of Kingdom impact may have touched far more than many of those listed in their publication. Five other preachers that made the list will be mentioned next week in a subsequent Western Religions article.
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