100 Influential Evangelicals Protestants

100 Influential Protestants You Ought to Know

on December 6, 2017

Give our friends at Newsmax credit for compiling a rousing list of the 100 most prominent Evangelical Americans influencing culture today. While we here at the Institute on Religion and Democracy (IRD) did scratch our heads at the sight of a United Church of Christ author and Catholic philosopher on the list, we thought the concept a grand idea and decided to compile our own list of influential religious leaders.

Instead of attempting to repeat the more well-known names you probably already know, what follows is IRD’s list of Evangelicals and Mainline Protestant movers and shakers who fly under the mainstream radar. Others on our list are better known but missed making the Newsmax list. Many are folks IRD’s staff have interacted or collaborated with during the course of our work. All are leading Evangelical and Protestant influencers who you should know.

Note that while the list is numbered, it is in no particular order.

1.  Greg Thornbury – Previously president of The King’s College in New York City, Thornbury was recently named Chancellor of the school. He has been dubbed “America’s first hipster college president” by The American Spectator. A respected writer and speaker on pop culture and its relationship to faith, Thornbury has a forthcoming book titled Why Should the Devil Have All the Good Music?: Larry Norman and the Perils of Christian Rock.

2. Albert Mohler – Once described by Time.com as the “reigning intellectual of the evangelical movement in the U.S.” The president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary is a preeminent voice strengthening Christians’ public witness amid secular political and cultural issues affecting the Church via his popular podcast The Briefing.

3. Peter Leithart – Ordained in the Communion of Reformed Evangelical Churches, Leithart has served in two pastorates and is now the President of Theopolis Institute. With a bi-weekly column in firstthings.com, he has been dubbed the journal’s “resident Renaissance man” by Christianity Today because of his ability to write about such a wide range of topics relating to faith.

4. Anne Carlson Kennedy – In addition to being a minister, a minister’s wife, and homeschool mom to six children, Anne Kennedy hosts Preventing Grace, one of the most popular blogs on the Evangelical Channel at Patheos.com. Kennedy is also the author of the new book Nailed It: 365 Sarcastic Devotions for Angry or Worn-Out People.

5. Tim Tennent – President of Asbury Theological Seminary, the largest Wesleyan seminary in the world. Tennent is the author of several books, including Christianity at the Religious Roundtable and Theology in the Context of World Christianity.

6. Shirley V. Hoogstra – After years of practicing law, Hoogstra became co-chair of Calvin College’s first endowment drive which led to a greater passion for service and a career change that would allow her to work in Christian higher education. She now serves as the president of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities and is a co-host of the PBS show Inner Compass.

7. Paige Patterson – The eighth president of the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, Patterson has spent over 50 years serving in various roles in the church. Patterson and his wife Dorothy have ministered in over 135 countries and have had the opportunity to share their faith with some of the world’s most significant leaders, such as Yasser Arafat and Menachem Begin.

8. Danny Akin – Akin has a reputation of advocating for international mission work and expository preaching. He has served as the president of the Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina, since 2004 and has pastored 10 different churches.

9. Kathy Keller – Known as C.S. Lewis’s pen pal, Keller began to revere Lewis at a young age, and the two began to exchange friendly letters. Keller’s whole theological premise was derived from the writings of C.S. Lewis. Having always felt a calling to ministry, she now holds the position of assistant director of communications at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City where her husband Tim formerly served as senior minister.

10. Robert Nicholson – Founder and Executive Director of the Philos Project, Nicholson is an advocate for a Middle East that is established on freedom and the rule of law. Also a publisher of Providence: A Journal of Christianity and American Foreign Policy, Nicholson has had his works featured in prominent news sources such as The Jerusalem Post, The Federalist, and The Hill.

11. Luke Moon – Previously employed as business manager at the Institute on Religion and Democracy, Moon now serves as the Deputy Director of the Philos Project. He has spent time in over 45 different countries, dedicating a significant portion of that period to advocate for human rights.

12. Charmaine Yoest – Yoest was appointed Assistant Secretary of Public Affairs at the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services by President Trump last April. She previously served as president of Americans United for Life, is a strong anti-abortionist, and co-authored a book titled Mother in the Middle: Searching for Peace in the Mommy Wars. Yoest is the daughter of Dr. Janice Shaw Crouse, Chair of the Board for the Institute on Religion and Democracy

13. Jim Daly – In 2005 Daly was named president of Focus on the Family, an organization that seeks to advise Christian families using Biblical insights. He also serves as the host for the Focus on the Family’s radio show and draws in a weekly estimate of over 6.3 million listeners.

14. Denny Burk – The newest President of the complementarian Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW). Burk also teaches Biblical Studies at Boyce College while also serving as an Associate Pastor at Kenwood Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky. He has recently focused his literary work on theological issues surrounding the modernized view of homosexuality and sex. His book Transforming Homosexuality depicts his belief in traditional biblical views of relationship and marriage.

15. Michael Wear – Creator of Public Square Strategies LLC, Wear founded his organization to help a wide range of both religious and political organizations find their niche in the ever-evolving American landscape. An Evangelical who was instrumental in Barack’s Obama’s re-election campaign in 2012 by leading faith outreach programs to engage both the White House and the general public in religious issues throughout the country.

16. Jackie Hill Perry – A writer and spoken word poet, Perry spreads the truth of the Gospel by sharing how she was converted to Christianity and away from a life of homosexuality. Her influential works have been published in The Washington Times, Desiring God, and The Gospel Coalition.

17. Gabe Lyons – Lyons has striven to help the masses understand the role faith plays in cultural issues by co-finding Q Ideas, a non-profit that strives to help Christians be prepared to positively influence current culture. He spends much of his time organizing faith events, speaking to crowds, and writing to reach and influence Christians of the modern day.

18. Rebekah Lyons – With a passion to inspire and empower women, Rebekah, wife to Gabe Lyons, is cofounder of Q Ideas. She has used her platform and her own past battles to write and speak about the freedom found in God and the calling that is present in every individual.

19. Thabiti Anyabwile – Affectionately known as “Pastor T,” Anyabwile currently serves as the pastor at the southeast Washington, D.C. branch of the Anacostia River Church. He has authored several books, one of which is The Gospel for Muslims. Using his past experiences in the Muslim faith and his conversion to Christianity, Anyabwile has significantly impacted modern day Christians.

20. Ruth Malhotra – The Public Relations Manager at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM) was initially known for her lawsuit against Georgia Tech in 2006 for unconstitutional speech policies. Malhotra has continued to play an active role in advocating religious freedoms.

21. David F. Watson – Academic Dean and Vice President for Academic Affairs as well as Associate Professor of New Testament at the United Methodist Church’s United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio. He is an ordained elder in the denomination’s West Ohio Conference, published author, and blogger at www.davidfwatson.me.

22. Jessica LaGrone – Previously a pastor of nine years at a United Methodist church in Houston, Texas, LaGrone is now the first female Dean of the Chapel at Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky. Though she is known as an engaging pastor and speaker in general, LaGrone has also presented a passion for writing by authoring several books and biblical studies.

23. Cherie Harder – Harder serves as the president of the Trinity Forum, a non-profit organization dedicated to cultivating networks of Christian leadership, reforming culture, and promoting human flourishing. Prior to joining the organization in 2008, Harder was no stranger to politics, having worked under President George W. Bush, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, and Senator Sam Brownback. She serves on the boards of various faith organizations.

24. Garrett Kell – Pastor of Del Ray Baptist Church in Alexandria, Virginia, Kell also serves as an associate Council member of The Gospel Coalition. An intense conversion to Christianity in his college years caused Kell to immediately jump into ministry which led to his revival of the Del Ray church in 2012 after staffing with the pastor of the Capitol Hill Baptist Church Mark Dever.

25. Carmen Fowler LaBerge – LaBerge has had a wide spread influence by being a talented writer, speaker, and host of a Christian radio show called “The Reconnect: How to listen.” No stranger to proclaiming the Word, LaBerge served in ministry for 17 years before being named the President of the Presbyterian Lay Committee, a position she has now held for nine years. She is the author of the new book Speak the Truth: How to Bring God Back into Every Conversation. 

26. Brandon Showalter – An influential singer and writer, Showalter has shared his love for God and the Gospel through an EP titled Songs of Psalms released in 2014. Since the release of his EP, Showalter blogged at Patheos.com before joining The Christian Post as a journalist where he writes about modern issues concerning the church.

27. Lauren Green McAfee – McAfee holds the impressive title of Corporate Ambassador for Hobby Lobby while behind the scenes she is pursuing a Ph. D. in Ethics and Public Policy. Committed to God and his Word, McAfee has also been named the Director of Community Engagement for the recently opened Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C.

28. Kate Shellnutt – Associate editor of Christianity Today, Shellnut writes about Christian women and the issues they face in the current day. Shellnut’s works have previously received honors from the Society for Features Journalism and Religion News Association.

29. Jennifer Wishon – Wishon is the Christian Broadcasting Network’s own White House Correspondent. She reports on the Evangelical movement in the country and how it pertains to White House politics. A segment she completed three months ago was titled, “Bible Studies at the White House: Who’s at the Heart of This Spiritual Awakening?”

30. Alan Noble – As cofounder and editor-in-chief of the popular website Christ and Pop Culture, Noble advocates for a solid, faithful presence of believers in modern day culture and society. Noble is also an assistant professor of English at Oklahoma Baptist University.

31. John Stonestreet – Stonestreet is the co-host of the Breakpoint radio show, a Christian-centered worldview program that claims a weekly estimate of 8 million listeners. Named president of Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview in 2015, Stonestreet is also the author of several books, including A Practical Guide to Culture: Helping the Next Generation Navigate Today’s World.

32. Julie Roys – Host of the national talk show Up For Debate on the Moody Radio Network, Roys is a highly influential speaker, writer, and reporter. Roys’ writings have appeared in notable news sources such as World Magazine, Christianity Today, and The Christian Post.

33. David Platt – Previously the senior pastor of a megachurch in Birmingham, Alabama, Platt was labeled “one of the youngest megachurch pastors in the country” by Christianity Today in 2006. Today, he is the president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s International Mission Board and author of a book titled Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream, a New York Times Best Seller. Additionally, Platt was recently named as the new teaching pastor at McLean Bible Church.

34. Jerry Johnson – Johnson is President and CEO of the National Religious Broadcasters, which is an international coalition of Christian communicators. After obtaining his Ph.D. from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Johnson spent 14 years serving a number of roles at several educational institutions. A noteworthy figure in both religion and politics, Johnson was interviewed by The Washington Times during which he expressed the importance of protecting freedom of speech rights.

35. Deamon Scapin – Founder of Triumph DC, Scapin moved his entire family from suburban Texas to Washington, D.C. where he and his wife felt God calling them to start a church. Scapin began ministering in a living room on Capitol Hill in 2013 with 14 people and has experienced an enormous growth in numbers of young Evangelicals since then.

36. Kerri Kupec – The religious liberty public advocate serves as legal counsel and communications director for Alliance Defending Freedom. Kupec frequently addresses prominent domestic religious liberty cases and appears on major cable news networks. She was recently named an America Future Foundation 2017 Buckley Award winner.

37. Archbishop Foley Beach – The bishop of the Atlanta-based Anglican Diocese of the South was elected Archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) on June 25, 2014.

38. Phillip Bethancourt – Second-in-command of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission’s (ERLC), Bethancourt is a leading voice among Southern Baptists on moral and ethical issues facing the church today. In addition to the ERLC, he serves as assistant professor of Christian theology at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

39. Sean McDowell – A writer and speaker like his famous father, McDowell is the author of over eighteen books including A New Kind of Apologist and Same-Sex Marriage: A Thoughtful Approach to God’s Design for Marriage. With a passion for youth ministry and teaching, McDowell also serves as an associate professor in the Christian Apologetics program at Biola University.

40. Michael Farris – The new president and CEO of Alliance Defending Freedom is a veteran advocate for Christian values in the public square. He is the founding president of the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) and Patrick Henry College and continues to serve as chancellor emeritus of PHC.

41. Mark Dever – The pastor of the Capitol Hill Baptist Church (CHBC), a much-beloved church among the young and reformed in Washington, DC. CHBC is the flagship of Dever’s 9Marks Ministries, a resource aiding church leaders in establishing church structure and discipline policies.

42. Janet Parshall – The Christian talk show host, author, and commentator evaluates trending news stories from a biblical worldview each day on Moody Radio’s In the Market with Janet Parshall program.

43. Karen Swallow Prior – English professor at Liberty University and popular cultural commentator, Prior’s work frequently appear in outlets such as The Atlantic, Christianity Today, and The Washington Post. In addition, Prior is a research fellow with the Southern Baptist Convention’s ERLC and author of the book Fierce Convictions: Fierce Convictions: The Extraordinary Life of Hannah More.

44. Owen Strachan – The former president of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood resigned from his post to focus on his role as an associate professor and director for the Center on Theological & Cultural Engagement at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Strachan is a popular blogger and the author of several books, including The Colson Way and Risky Gospel.

45. Trevin Wax – The pastor, and managing editor of the Lifeway Christian Resources’ The Gospel Project formulates popular and timely blog posts on the Gospel Coalition. His writings often aid Christians on cultural engagement informed by a biblical worldview.

46. Ed Stetzer – A researcher and biblical scholar who holds the Billy Graham Chair of Church, Mission, and Evangelism at Wheaton College and serves as Executive Director of the Billy Graham Center for Evangelism. Stetzer engages political and cultural issues as a contributing senior editor for Christianity Today, executive editor of Lifeway’s The Gospel Project, and executive editor of Facts & Trends Magazine, a Christian leadership magazine with over 70,000 readers.

47. Dominic Sputo – A passionate advocate for the Persecuted Church, Sputo founded Mute No More, a ministry dedicated educate, encourage and equip Christians to pray, advocate and provide relief for persecuted Christians overseas. Sputo is also authored Heirloom Love: Reclaiming Authentic Christianity in This Age of Persecution.

48. Lon Solomon – Born and raised in a Jewish home, Lon gave his life to Jesus Christ after encountering a street evangelist. Since 1980 Solomon served as senior pastor of McLean Bible Church, a vibrant non-denominational mega-church within the Washington, D.C. Beltway. In February 2017, Solomon transitioned to senior pastor emeritus of MBC.

49. Trillia Newbell – Dedicated to writing and speaking on womanhood, church, family, and racial reconciliation informed by the Gospel, Newbell serves as Director of Community Outreach for the ERLC. Her latest work is a children’s book God’s Very Good Idea, to illustrate how all kinds of people are all made in the image of God.

50. Joe Carter – A Christian cultural influencer and senior editor at the Acton Institute, a think-tank promoting freedom and virtue in the marketplace of ideas. Carter is also an editor for The Gospel Coalition and First Things. He is known for his widely-popular listicles such as “9 Things You Should Know About Marriage in America.”

51. Anne Paulk – The mother, author, and executive director of Restored Hope Network, an ex-gay ministry birthed out of the now-defunct Exodus International. Paulk’s ex-husband John served as chairman of Exodus International before coming out as openly gay. Paulk, who struggled with same-sex attraction herself, continues to minister to those impacted by homosexuality through her writings and speaking.

52. Warren Cole Smith – A journalist and prolific author, Smith serves as the Vice President for Mission Advancement at the Colson Center. Smith also hosts WORLD Radio’s Listening In program.

53. Christopher Yuan – An author and instructor at Moody Bible Institute, Yuan uses his inspiring personal testimony to minister to those struggling with sexuality, gender identity, and addiction. Yuan co-authored the book Out of a Far Country: A Gay Son’s Journey to God. A Broken Mother’s Search for Hope.

54. Thomas S. Kidd – A distinguished professor of history at Baylor University and associate director of the university’s Institute for Studies of Religion, Kidd has gained a loyal following on his blog “Evangelical History” on The Gospel Coalition website.

55. Andrew T. Walker – The Southern Baptist leader was described by the New York Times as one of America’s “undaunted” young leaders in defense of marriage. In addition to serving as Director of Policy Studies at the ERLC, Walker has written several books on sexuality and marriage, including God and the Transgender Debate: What the Bible Actually Say About Gender Identity? and Marriage Is: How Marriage Transforms Society and Cultivates Human Flourishing.

56. Jennifer Marshall – Named by National Journal as one of Washington DC’s “power players,” Marshall is the Vice President for the Institute for Family, Community, and Opportunity at The Heritage Foundation. She has appeared on numerous television and radio programs offering insight into current social and economic trends. In addition, Marhsall is the author of Now and Not Yet: Making Sense of Single Life in the Twenty-First Century.

57. Ryan Bomberger – More than the product of a rape, Bomberger uses his dynamic testimony of adoption and diversity to advocate for the sanctity of unborn life and every individual’s God-given purpose. He founded the pro-life Radiance Foundation alongside his wife, Bethany. Bomberger is a contributing blogger for LifeNews and popular speaker addressing issues, including abortion, adoption, eugenics, fatherlessness, natural marriage, racism, and more.

58. Chelsea P. Sobolik – Adopted as a newborn from Bucharest, Romania by Evangelical parents in North Carolina, Sobolik has an extraordinary testimony. Moody Publishers thinks so too. Sobolik’s first book “Longing for Motherhood” is set for publication in 2018. In the meantime, the young Southern Baptist regularly contributes to The Gospel Coalition, the ERLC’s blog, and Patheos’ Evangelical channel on issues ranging from pop culture and current events to suffering and grief.

59. Billy Hallowell – The journalist and senior editor of Faithwire News, Hallowell garnered a loyal following while working for Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze. Raised in a non-denominational Evangelical home, Hallowell reports current events from a Christian worldview. He is the author of Fault Line: How a Seismic Shift in Culture Is Threatening Free Speech and Shaping the Next.

60. Mathew Staver – A constitutional attorney, Staver founded Liberty Counsel, an international nonprofit litigation, education, and policy organization dedicated to advancing religious freedom, the sanctity of human life, and the family. He previously served as the dean of the Liberty University School of Law.

61. Bishop Julian Dobbs – Originally from New Zealand, now a U.S. citizen, Dobbs serves as Bishop of the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA) East diocese and also holds the title of CANA Missionary Bishop. Beyond the states, Dobbs became part of the Church of Nigeria after being consecrated as bishop and also serves as a member of the College of Bishops in Nigeria. He is also the U.S. Representative of the Barnabas Fund, a ministry to persecuted Christians.

62. Katie Davis Majors – The young missionary moved to Uganda shortly after high school to work as a teacher at an orphanage. In 2008, she founded Amazima Ministries, an outreach organization dedicated to educating the people of Uganda. By age 23, she adopted thirteen daughters and cares for countless more. She is the author of the New York Times Best-Seller Kisses From Katie.

63. Bob Smietana – The senior writer for Lifeway Christian Resources’ Facts and Trends magazine, covering polling and trends affecting the Church. Previously Smietana served as senior news editor for Christianity Today and president of the Religion Newswriters Association.

64. Matt Chandler – A leader among the young and reformed, Chandler is the well-known pastor of the Village Church, a Texas Southern Baptist-affiliated megachurch, and president of Acts 29, a church planting network. As part of his testimony, Chandler was miraculously healed by God of brain cancer after being diagnosed in 2009. He has authored several books and Bible studies, including The Explicit Gospel and The Apostle’s Creed: Together We Believe.

65. Rosaria Butterfield – The former Syracuse University professor published her memoir The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert detailing Butterfield’s journey out of a lesbian lifestyle and into Christianity. Through her writings and public speaking, she ministers to people wrestling with sin and identity.

66. Jenny Yang – The Director of Advocacy and Policy for the Refugee and Immigration Program at World Relief. Yang is a recurrent speaker at Evangelical Christian conferences, including Q Ideas, the Justice Conference, and Evangelicals for Life. She is co-author of Welcoming the Stranger: Justice, Compassion and Truth in the Immigration Debate.

67. William Abraham – A Northern Irish theologian, Abraham has been in the United States for the majority of his career as a professor. He has been deeply involved with the Confessing Movement in the United Methodist Church and is a firm believer in Canonical Theism. At present, Abraham is the Albert Cook Outler Professor of Wesley Studies at Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University.

68. Marvin Olasky – After being born into a Jewish-Russian family, becoming an atheist and then a Marxist, and joining and then leaving the Communist Party, Olasky converted to Christianity in 1976. He is now editor-in-chief at World magazine and serves as a distinguished chair in journalism and public policy at Patrick Henry College. Olasky’s most notable work is The Tragedy of American Compassion.

69. Michael Gerson – Previously a chief speechwriter for President George W. Bush and senior fellow for the Council on Foreign Relations, Gerson is now an op-ed columnist for The Washington Post. He also serves as a fellow for the ONE Campaign and a visiting fellow at the Center for Public Justice. Time Magazine named Gerson the ninth most influential Evangelical in 2005.

70. Peter Wehner – An experienced writer and commentator for various programs and publications, Wehner is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center and also serves as the director of EPPC’s Faith Angle Forum. He served as the deputy director of speechwriting under George W. Bush and other political roles since then.

71. David French – French is a man who wears many hats being a senior writer for National Review, an attorney, a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom, and an accomplished author. He did a significant amount of legal work on college campuses pertaining to religious freedom rights, which partially inspired the movie God’s Not Dead. Even more impressive is that French’s book Rise of ISIS: A Threat We Can’t Ignore rose to number one on the New York Times bestselling list.

72. Tim Goeglein – After a plagiarism scandal forced him to resign from the Bush administration, Goeglein joined Focus on the Family as vice president for external relations. In 2011, Geoglein authored The Man in the Middle: An Inside Account of Faith and Politics in the George W. Bush Era.

73. Kelly Rosati – Focus on the Family’s Vice President of Advocacy for Children initiatives. As a public advocate for the dignity of human life, adoption, and foster care, Rosati addresses such cultural issues on various media outlets and as a frequent conference speaker.

74. Travis Wussow – Serving as the ERLC’s hands and feet in Washington, DC, Wussow serves the SBC’s public policy arm as vice president for public policy and general counsel. Before joining the ERLC, Wussow was the executive pastor at Austin Stone Community Church in Austin, Texas and also served as an International Justice Mission Fellow.

75. Eric Teetsel – The former director of the Manhattan Director continues his pro-family advocacy as president of the Family Policy Alliance of Kansas. He is the co-author of Marriage Is: How Marriage Transforms Society and Cultivates Human Flourishing.

76. Barton Gingerich – The managing editor of Patheos’ Evangelical Channel, Gingerich writes on theology, culture, and current events. In addition, he is an ordained priest serving at Jude’s Anglican Church in Richmond, Virginia.

77. Gerald McDermott – An Anglican priest, author, and professor, McDermott holds the Anglican Chair of Divinity at Beeson Divinity School and is Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Baylor Institute for Studies of Religion. McDermott frequently writes on theology and culture on his blog, The Northampton Seminar, hosted by Patheos.com.

78. Mario Diaz – As legal counsel for Concerned Women for America, Diaz directs CWA’s amicus briefs, judicial activism, and litigation involving the organization’s core values, including religious liberty, sexual exploitation, and human life. Diaz is the author of the book Be Spent: Winning the Fight for Freedom’s Survival.

79. Wilfred McClay – An historian at the University of Oklahoma who currently holds the G.T. and Libby Blankenship Chair in the History of Liberty. McClay is senior scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, a Judeo-Christian think-tank in Washington, D.C.

80. Carl Trueman – Holder of the Paul Woolley Chair of Church History at Westminster Theological Seminary, Trueman is a Christian theologian and church historian. He is a professor at Westminster while also pastoring at Cornerstone Presbyterian Church in Ambler, Pennsylvania.

81. Jason Allen – Considered to be among the youngest leaders of higher education in America, Allen was elected the president of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in 2012. His role has been significant in leading the institution to rapid growth as not onlythe president but also as an associate professor of ministry.

82. Shannon Royce – After two years serving as Family Research Council’s chief of staff, Royce moved to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. At HHS, Royce serves as Director of the Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships.

83. Alison H. Centofante – The Director of Alliance Relations at Alliance Defending Freedom working to serve, strengthen, and expand the alliance on life, marriage, and religious freedom. Prior to joining ADF, Centofante served as communications coordinator for Concerned Women for America, a conservative Christian public policy organization.

84. Ben Witherington – Currently Amos Professor of New Testament for Doctoral Studies at Asbury Theological Seminary. Witherington also serves on the doctoral faculty at St. Andrews University in Scotland. An accomplished writer and speaker, he has presented seminars across the world for churches and religious organizations and written more than 50 books.

85. Shannon Bennett – The Director of Community Relations for the Museum of the Bible, a newly-opened 43,000-square-foot museum in the heart of Washington, DC. Previously, Bennett worked in Christian outreach for Israel’s National Holocaust Memorial Museum and Research Center.

86. Mollie Hemingway – A seasoned journalist, Hemingway is a senior editor at The Federalist alongside being a freelance writer for various news outlets. Her articles have been published in a variety of influential news outlets, such as The Wall Street Journal and National Review. A member of the Lutheran Church (Missouri Synod), Hemingway has rejected the negative stereotypes surrounding Christians and has also grown in her own faith as she has studied that of others in her work.

87. James K. A. Smith – Smith is the editor-in-chief of Comment magazine and a professor of philosophy at Calvin College. A senior fellow with Cardus, he has been featured in a number of magazines and is the author of several theological books, including his most recently published You Are What You Love: The Spiritual Power of Habit.

88. Jennifer Murff – The president of Millennials for Marriage, a faith-based non-profit working to change the younger generation’s distorted perspectives on marriage. Murff’s research and writings on marriage, education, motherhood, and family have been cited by The Christian Post, Christian Broadcasting Network, Christianity Today, and the Institute for Family Studies. In addition, she serves as an adjunct professor at Regent University.

89. Fred Sanders – Identified as a systematic theologian, Sanders is a professor at the Torrey Honors Institute and a historian of Biola’s institutional history. A member of the Grace Evangelical Free Church, he has studied and written about a variety of theological doctrines but takes a specific interest in addressing the concept of the Trinity.

90. Francis Chan – A notable speaker, Chan was the former pastor at Cornerstone Community Church in Simi Valley, California, which he founded with his wife in 1994. In 2010, Chan left his church that had grown into a congregation of more than 1500 people and began planting churches in inner city San Francisco. He now is an ambassador for Care for Children and is the author of best-seller Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God.

91. Mark Galli – An experienced journalist of 28 years, Galli has also served as a pastor in both Mexico City and Sacramento, California. He is currently the Editor in Chief of Christianity Today and has authored or co-authored nine books.

92. Bruce Ashford – The provost and professor of theology and culture at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. His writings on faith and culture are found at The Gospel Coalition and Fox News.com. In addition, Ashford is a research fellow for the ERLC and author of Every Square Inch: An Introduction to Cultural Engagement for Christians and One Nation Under God: A Christian Hope for American Politics.

93. Bishop John Guernsey – Elected Bishop of the Diocese of the Mid-Atlantic of the Anglican Church in North America in 2011, Guernsey has served the church throughout his life in a great number of ways, including being on the board of several religious organizations. Before his current position, Guernsey was titled the Bishop of Congregations in America for the Church of Uganda after spending a significant amount of time in the country on mission trips.

94. Sandra C. Gray – As the first female President of Asbury College in Wilmore, Kentucky, and professor of business management, Gray has been a strong influence in the Evangelical community for many years by serving various roles in the Christian education system. She has previously held the titles of Director at Council for Christian Colleges and Universities and Director at Christianity Today.

95. Kim S. Phipps – In 2004 Phipps became Messiah College’s eighth and first female president after several years of teaching rhetoric and communication. She has proven to be an accomplished leader dedicated to academia, her students, and faith. Credo, a higher education consulting firm, awarded Phipps the Courageous Leadership Award for 2017.

96. Matthew Lee Anderson – Anderson is the founder of the blog Mere Christianity, which is a publication centering on Christian ethics derived from scripture and embraces theological ideas rooted in the works of such greats as C.S. Lewis and G.K. Chesterton. He has authored two books and is considered the lead writer of Mere Christianity.

97. Thomas McKenzie – After serving Anglican churches in both Pittsburgh and San Antonio, McKenzie became a part of the Church of the Redeemer in Nashville, Tennessee, as the founding pastor. He has written a book titled The Anglican Way, which is essentially a well-circulated guidebook to Anglican Christianity.

98. Mark Batterson – Pastor of the National Community Church in Washington, DC since 1996, Batterson has been continually active in the urban church planting movement and has seen his church expand from just 19 congregants to having eight different locations. In 2012, The Washington Post reported observations from people surrounding Batterson who have said he is “among the most promising leaders for the next generation.” He also authored a New York Times Bestseller titled The Circle Maker.

99. Tish Harrison Warren – An Anglican priest at Resurrection South Austin in Austin, Texas, Warren is an influential voice among and for Christian Women. She works alongside the ministry organization InterVarsity Women by frequently contributing to their online blog The Well on topics of academy and professions. Warren also authored the book Liturgy of the Ordinary: Sacred Practices in Everyday Life.

100. D.A. Carson – President of The Gospel Coalition, Carson is also a distinguished professor of the New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Illinois. Having served in ministry for several years and written or edited over 50 books, he is also considered a sought-after speaker across the world.


Chelsen Vicari and Morgan Nelson contributed to this article. 

  1. Comment by Ben Simpson on December 6, 2017 at 11:37 pm

    Correction: Matt Anderson founded and writes for Mere Orthodoxy, not Mere Christianity.

  2. Comment by Loren Golden on December 7, 2017 at 12:05 pm

    Why is Kevin DeYoung, Chairman of the Board of the Gospel Coalition, not on this list?

  3. Comment by Thomas McKenzie on December 7, 2017 at 2:50 pm

    Thanks all. It was very kind of you to put me on your list. 🙂

  4. Comment by Byron Frank on December 7, 2017 at 8:18 pm

    I am surprised that Todd White, Dan Mohler, Ravi Zachirous, or David Wood are not included.

  5. Comment by Robert E. Hays on December 15, 2017 at 1:30 pm

    And R.C. Sproul!

  6. Comment by Kyle H. on December 9, 2017 at 7:40 pm

    Thank you for the list. I would have definitely added William Lane Craig, and agree with Bryon’s comment that Todd White, and Ravi should have been added.

  7. Comment by Donna C. on December 16, 2017 at 8:39 am

    Dr. R. C. Sproul, recently deceased and John Piper, two giants of reform theology?

  8. Comment by Pam Bartosh on December 16, 2017 at 8:54 am

    R.C. Sproul, John MacArthur, Ravi Zacharias should have been at the very top of your list. These men of God epitomized Truth. Glad you included Al Mohler.

  9. Comment by Jeffrey Walton on December 18, 2017 at 10:08 am

    We purposefully did not include anyone who was already on the Newsmax Top 100 list. This IRD list is designed to highlight lesser-known Christians whom we believe our readership would benefit from knowing. Sproul, MacArthur and Zacharias are already well-known, although I share your respect for their teaching!

  10. Comment by John D smith on December 16, 2017 at 10:54 am

    Wonder who is on God’s list? Remember , God had 7000 folks who had not bowed the knee to Baal when Elijah went into a depressed state.

  11. Comment by Peter Cardillo on December 18, 2017 at 11:04 am

    … and N.T. Wright?

  12. Comment by Gregory Shunk on December 27, 2017 at 2:08 pm

    How about including Tim Challies on the list.
    His blog is read worldwide.
    Informing the reforming

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