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The 50 most influential Christians in America
Church Executive ^ | January 2003 | N/A

Posted on 08/23/2004 2:28:57 PM PDT by swilhelm73

The 50 most influential Christians in America The readers have spoken! Here's a look at who you voted as the most influential Christians in America in 2002.

[1] George W. Bush, 43rd President of the United States Formerly the Governor of Texas, this compassionate conservative has grown in popularity since 9/11. His decision to go after terrorists at all costs has recently caused an uproar, but he has also proposed bold initiatives to ensure churches can play a role in the betterment of this country. His establishment of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives had a rough start, but President Bush is working to ensure its success.He is always willing to share his testimony after being saved at age 40. He is also very open with his faith, unlike his many predecessors.

[2] John Ashcroft, Attorney General of the United States Attorney General Ashcroft has been the center of controversy since his appointment in 2001. This son of an Assemblies of God minister has not been bashful about discussing his religious beliefs. However, he has not allowed those beliefs to dictate his enforcement of the nation's laws, much like his opponents thought they would.He leads an area and department that typically has been predominated by secular individuals. For many years God was purposely left out of decisions at the Justice Department.

[3] Tim Lahaye and [4] Jerry Jenkins, Authors, Left Behind Series Dr. Tim LaHaye was the man who dreamt of fictionalizing an account of the Rapture and the Tribulation, which lead to the wildly popular Left Behind Series. This author, minister, counselor, television commentator, and speaker is the founder and president of Tim LaHaye Ministries and the founder of PreTrib Research Center.Thanks to the smashing success of the Left Behind Series, Jerry Jenkins is no longer the "most famous writer no one's ever heard of." Instead, he has become a leading contemporary evangelical writer with six books on the New York Times best seller's list.This popular fictional account of Revelation has caused many non-believers to search for answers. Some may think this ranking is too high, but the influence of their work during the last two years has been extraordinary.

[5] Sandra Day O'Connor, U.S. Supreme Court Justice O'Connor made headlines when she shattered the glass ceiling by being named the first woman to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1981. She is considered to be a thoughtful jurist - one who thinks through cases thoroughly, letting her mind, rather than her heart, lead her decisions.She is the deciding vote in many Supreme Court cases. She will not strike down Roe v. Wade, but she was key to upholding government aid to religious organizations in the Cleveland school voucher case.

[6] Wilton Gregory, Catholic Bishop The Most Reverend Wilton D. Gregory was elected as the first African-American President of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops in 2001. His role on the Ad Hoc Committee on Sexual Abuse has brought him much attention in the past year, causing many to believe that Gregory still has so much more to accomplish.He is a telegenic African-American who has put a 21st century face on the Catholic Church in America. His profile was raised by his handling of the sexual abuse cases. Some look to him as the future leader of the Catholic Church in the U.S.

[7] Billy Graham, Evangelist Considered one of the greatest pastors of our time, Billy Graham has been leading revivals and crusades since the 1930s, successfully packing huge event halls even to this day. He is scaling back his own duties, but his two children have become a leading force in the American Christian arena.While his age and health are limiting his work, he is still a powerful force in American Christianity.

[8] Rick Warren, Pastor, Saddleback Church, Lake Forest, CA Rick Warren, who started Saddleback Church in his home, now leads the fastest growing Baptist church in history, with more than 16,000 people in attendance each weekend. While he is best known for his Purpose-Driven model for church health and, Warren made waves in 2002 with his case against the IRS regarding the clergy housing allowance.He has been the most influential person in advancing church growth during the past 10 years. His controversial housing allowance challenge only increased his impact on the American church.

[9] Bill Hybels, Pastor, Willow Creek Community Church, South Barrington, IL Bill Hybels has developed his own standards for church growth, taking into account the reasons people were unchurched - they did not want to make time, or they felt "guilty" when they left services - and appealing to them in a different, edgier way. His model for church growth has taken on a new resurgence, making this Chicago-based pastor an extremely busy man.He is still competing with Rick Warren for the title of "father of the megachurch in America." As a pastor of a growing church, you either learn from Saddleback or Willow Creek.

[10] Jimmy Carter, 39th President of the United States and Nobel Peace Prize Winner, 2002 In the years since he served as president, Jimmy Carter has devoted his time and resources to sharing with the world the work that is most important to him. Rather than spending time analyzing the current political climate on a regular basis, Carter volunteers with such organizations as Habitat for Humanity, lending a famous face to not-so-popular causes. It is his desire to help those less fortunate that resulted in his winning the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002.He is always willing to share his faith with others, which shows in the strides he has made through humanitarian work.

[11] Jim Towey, Director, White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives As an appointee of President Bush, he wields much influence as leader of the president's plan to fund community-based programs in churches.

[12] Lisa Beamer, Author She used the tragedy of 9/11 to share her faith and that of her family. God's message is prominent in all of her appearances.

[13] Kurt Warner, NFL Football Player His public faith is tested when team losses and injuries mount. He takes some hits from the secular media, but he is a great role model in professional sports.

[14] Cal Thomas, Syndicated Columnist As a "token" Christian columnist, he is still able to get his point (and faith) across each day in the mainstream press.

[15] Ralph Reed, Political Consultant The stunning wins by the Georgia GOP in the November elections prove him to be a political force for the future.

[16] James Dobson, Founder and President, Focus on the Family His media empire continues to keep him on the front pages.

[17] Charles (Chuck) Colson, Founder, Prison Fellowship Ministries This Watergate figure has become a beacon of strength, and he shows that life-changing events can happen through Christ.

[18] J.C. Watts, Congressman While his influence remains to be seen as he leaves Congress, he has been a great role model for the African-American community.

[19] Ed Cole, Deceased, Evangelist He was the true father of the Promise Keepers movement. While he passed away in September 2002, his legacy lives on. However, it remains to be seen whether or not Promise Keepers canre-establish itself.

[20] John Maxwell, Pastor and Motivational Speaker While most megachurch pastors have great motivational speaking skills, he has been successful in taking his principles to the secular world, as well.

[21] Marvin Olasky, Editor, World Magazine It won't ever be Newsweek or Time, but he keeps advancing World as a Christian complement to those publications.

[22] Paul Crouch, Televangelist The TBN empire is facing some new challenges, but he continues to forge ahead. Cable networksand low-power TV stations nationwide hum withthe sound of TBN broadcasts.

[23] Thomas Kincaid, Artist This Painter of Light spreads the Gospel through his pop-art paintings. Disdained by the critics, his works are accepted by the masses.

[24] & [25] Dayna Curry and Heather Mercer, Missionaries Thanks to them, missionaries are finally receiving positive press in the mainstream media. It took a lot of guts to work in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan.

[26] & [27] Tommy and Matthew Barnett, Pastors, Phoenix First Assembly of God and Dream Center, Los Angeles Father Tommy continues to lead one of the largest Assemblies of God churches. Rather than staying home in comfort in Arizona, son Matthew has helped develop a significant inner-city ministry in Los Angeles.

[28] T.D. Jakes, Pastor, The Potter's House, Dallas He moved his church to Dallas, and it immediately became a church to be reckoned with. He's another strong figure in the African-American community.

[29] C. Truett Cathy, Founder, Chick-Fil-A His decision to close his restaurants on Sundays is a surprise to the business world at large, but it's one way he can show his faith. The chain continues to be run on Christian principles and succeeds.

[30] Anne Graham Lotz, Author and President, AnGel Ministries While issues of women in the pulpit continue to surround her, she is arguably the heir to the Graham legacy. She may be more influential than her brother.

[31] Franklin Graham, President and CEO, Samaritan's Purse and The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association While he is successor to his father, he is still developing his own voice.

[32] Bill Bright, Founder, Campus Crusade for Christ He established one of the most successful evangelistic movements in the world, which resulted in more than 4 billion exposures to the Gospel.

[33] Richard Hammar. Attorney Most Americans will not recognize this name. However, his "Tax Law and Clergy Guide" is required reading for members of all faiths. Most churches in America operate based on Hammar's interpretation of the law.

[34] Jack HayfordPastor, Church on the WayEven in semi-retirement, his influence is felt in church leadership and worship.

[35 & 36] Chuck Smith and Don McClure, Founder, Calvary Chapel Movement McClure is considered Smith's heir-apparent. The ministry is strong, but transition lies ahead.

[37] John Hagee, Pastor, Cornerstone Church and Founder, John Hagee Ministries, San Antonio, TX He's a Texas preacher with a national following and good relationships with politicians. He is also a strong supporter of Israel. His end-times prophecy takes on greater meaning with the current conflicts in the Middle East.

[38] Alan Keyes, Presidential Candidate Keyes' influence has diminished since his failed presidential bid and cancelled talk show. Still, he has set the groundwork for national recognition in the future. He could significantly move up this list in coming years or fall from it entirely.

[39] Bishop Charles E. Blake, Pastor, West Angeles Church of God in Christ He is one of the leading African-American preachers in the United States, and he has also developed power in the political and entertainment arenas.

[40] Lyle Schaller, Church Growth Specialist, Naperville, IL Twenty years ago he would have made the top 10. His research into church growth is still cited and used frequently today.

[41] Max Lucado, Author, Radio Host and Pastor, Oak Hills Church of Christ, San Antonio This self-described "Texas tough-guy," who offers psychological self-help from the Christian perspective, has become a leader in helping people overcome the doubts, insecurities and burdens they bear everyday.

[42] Bruce Wilkinson. Author, Prayer of Jabez His writings have become a best-seller and have had an influence on secular society. You may disagree with the specifics, but the influence on America is there.

[43] Pat Robertson, Evangelist He's not as influential as he was when he was advancing the Christian Coalition on a regular basis. Will that change with the GOP in control the Senate?

[44] Chuck Swindoll, Pastor, Stonebriar Community Church, Frisco, TX, and Host, "Insight for Living" He was successful in starting a Texas megachurch from scratch three years ago. He is one of many who have succeeded with a new venture at an age when most Americans have already retired.

[45] Kirbyjon Caldwell, Pastor, Windsor Village UMC, Houston He is a leader in demonstrating the economic power of the African-American Church. His model in Houston has set the benchmark for a number of community-based church-business initiatives.

[46] & [47] Larry Stockstill and Ted Haggard, Pastors, Bethany World Prayer Center in Baker, LA, and New Life Church in Colorado Springs, CO Stockstill and Haggard both were pioneers in the "cell" church movement, whereby today's modern megachurch exists as a support base for a variety of smaller churches or "cells" within it. Haggard also was one of the leading founders of the World Prayer Institute in Colorado Springs.

[48] George Barna, Pastor and Pollster He would have ranked higher on this list a few years ago - his polls used to be required reading for every pastor in America. However, questions have arisen lately regarding the methodology of his polling and the results obtained.

[49] Ron Blue, Financial Consultant, Ron Blue and Company, Atlanta, GA He has made a significant mark as an investment manager for Christians, using Christian-based principles in his advising.

[50] Willie George, Pastor, Church on the Move, Tulsa, OK He is not in the media like his more visible counter-parts listed above, but his ministry models for children and teens have made perhaps a greater impact on the American church than many of the more well-known televangelists.

TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society
KEYWORDS: christians; topten
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1 posted on 08/23/2004 2:28:58 PM PDT by swilhelm73
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To: swilhelm73


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To: swilhelm73

1/4 of the population is Catholic, but just 1 Catholic is listed as a "50 Most Influential Christians"?

3 posted on 08/23/2004 2:34:33 PM PDT by Hermann the Cherusker
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To: swilhelm73

Sorry where is Mel Gibson? Like most of the picks?

4 posted on 08/23/2004 2:36:04 PM PDT by man from mars
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To: swilhelm73
From what I see, not one of these has much to do with entertainment(books aside) or journalism--Christian or otherwise. Has the influence of Christianity gone so far down hill that music and journalism have no good witness anymore?

What about Fred Barnes in journalism? Or Patricia Heaton--isn't she a Christian actress? Just wondering.

5 posted on 08/23/2004 2:38:44 PM PDT by Recovering_Democrat (I'm so glad to no longer be associated with the Party of Dependence on Government!)
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To: man from mars

Bingo. Mel Gibson.

6 posted on 08/23/2004 2:39:04 PM PDT by Recovering_Democrat (I'm so glad to no longer be associated with the Party of Dependence on Government!)
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To: swilhelm73

These are the results of a poll. Any relationship to reality is purely coincidental.

7 posted on 08/23/2004 2:39:45 PM PDT by ZGuy
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To: swilhelm73
The 50 most influential Christians in America
[5] Sandra Day O'Connor, U.S. Supreme Court Justice O'Connor

An abortionist as an influential Christian? I wonder how she explains Abortion to her grandchildren (who weren't aborted)?
8 posted on 08/23/2004 2:39:51 PM PDT by leprechaun9
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To: leprechaun9

How about Jimmah in the top 10? And where is my pastor Adrian Rogers?

9 posted on 08/23/2004 2:42:30 PM PDT by Sybeck1 (Kerry: how can we trust him with our money, if Teresa won't trust him with hers!)
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To: Hermann the Cherusker

I counted at least 2 Catholics, Sandra Day O'Connor and Alan Keyes. Don't know about a few others who might be Catholics as well. But I find it odd that like a third of Christians in the U.S. are Catholic, yet less than a handful are included among the 50 most influential Christians in the U.S.

10 posted on 08/23/2004 2:42:44 PM PDT by AuH2ORepublican (Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice, moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.)
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To: man from mars
This list was created in 2002, not 2004. Mel Gibson was just another actor/director before The Passion of the Christ (2004).
11 posted on 08/23/2004 2:43:38 PM PDT by dufekin (A President. Kerry would have our enemies partying like it's 1969-- when he began his treason.)
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To: swilhelm73

Candidate #10 (Carter)Deleted by FReeper

At least, he is deleted from my list.

12 posted on 08/23/2004 2:44:07 PM PDT by Christian4Bush (I approve this message: character and integrity matter. Bush/Cheney '04)
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To: swilhelm73

I want to vomit over Jimmy Carter being on the list. Never met a dictator or terrorist he didn't like or help. Millions and millions of people have been subjected to more horror and terror, thanks to this fraud.

13 posted on 08/23/2004 2:44:43 PM PDT by AmericaUnited (It's time someone says the emperor has no clothes.)
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To: Hermann the Cherusker
but just 1 Catholic is listed as a "50 Most Influential Christians"?

And let's pray he's misplaced. If Gregory's influential, the Catholic Church in America is in trouble. Ratzinger sent his memo to him too, and Gregory didn't have the cajones (or more likely, the desire) to let the other bishops know where the Vatican stands on CINOs like Kerry.

14 posted on 08/23/2004 2:45:37 PM PDT by old and tired
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To: swilhelm73
[5] Sandra Day O'Connor, U.S. Supreme Court Justice ????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, who is notoriously pro-abortion and voted to strike down the partial-birth abortion laws of more than 30 states, is presenting the annual "Sandra Day O'Connor Medal of Honor" to Judge Maryanne Trump Barry (Sister of Donald Trump) of the U.S. Court of Appeals, the pro-abortion author of the opinion striking down the New Jersey partial-birth abortion statute.

Matthew 7

15 Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravening wolves.

16 By their fruits ye shall know them. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?

17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but the corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.

18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.

19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

20 Therefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father who is in heaven.

22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy by thy name, and by thy name cast out demons, and by thy name do many mighty works?

23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

15 posted on 08/23/2004 2:46:56 PM PDT by truthandlife ("Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God." (Ps 20:7))
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To: Hermann the Cherusker


* Mother Angelica, EWTN
* Fr. Frank Pavone, Priests for Life International (Extremely influential amongst Protestant pro-life leaders, especially behind the scenes.)
* Tom Monahan (of Domino's and Ave Maria U. Fame).
* Sean Hannity (Ok, so he's waffly at times in his positions concerning his faith, but he's still very influential).

I could go on...

16 posted on 08/23/2004 2:50:41 PM PDT by 1stFreedom
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To: swilhelm73
[10] Jimmy Carter -- "He is always willing to share his faith with others, which shows in the strides he has made through humanitarian work."

So that's why he had Michael Moore sit in his box at the RATS convention --- just offering Moore a little 'ol time religion, huh?

17 posted on 08/23/2004 2:53:35 PM PDT by TRY ONE (NUKE the unborn gay whales!)
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To: swilhelm73

Marvin Olasky, Alan Keyes, and Frank & Billy Graham Bump!

I respect these men's opinions on much.

18 posted on 08/23/2004 3:03:41 PM PDT by k2blader (It is neither compassionate nor conservative to support the expansion of socialism.)
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To: swilhelm73

No top 50 rank for the Pope? He is a Christian.

And what about the head of the head of the Mormon church? They refer to them selves, as Christians.

By who's and what definition, are those on the list eligible, and my suggestions not?

19 posted on 08/23/2004 3:10:20 PM PDT by truth_seeker
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To: truth_seeker
No top 50 rank for the Pope? He is a Christian.

The 50 most influential Christians in America. The Pope is, IIRC, a Pole with Vatican City citizenship.
20 posted on 08/23/2004 3:17:58 PM PDT by swilhelm73 (I WILL VOTE FOR GEORGE W. BUSH INSTEAD OF JOHN KERRY because I still believe in the rule of law)
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