Evangelicals in America

Written by Mark Van Steenwyk : February 2, 2005

Check out this feature from Time on Evangelicals in America.  Is this the way Church is supposed to engage America?  Is this what a light on a hill looks like?  According to Time, these are the most influential evangelicals in America…does this encourage you or discourage you?  Some of these folks are well worth emulating, but others seem to demonstrate an evangelicalism that has accomodated to Americanism.

  1. Rick Warren
  2. Howard and Roberta Ahmanson
  3. David Barton
  4. Douglas Coe
  5. Chuck Colson
  6. Luis Cortes
  7. James Dobson
  8. Stuart Epperson
  9. Michael Gerson
  10. Billy (and Franklin) Graham
  11. Ted Haggard
  12. Bill Hybels
  13. T.D. Jakes
  14. Diane Knippers
  15. Tim and Beverly LaHaye
  16. Richard Land
  17. Brian McLaren
  18. Joyce Meyer
  19. Richard John Neuhaus
  20. Mark Noll
  21. J.I. Packer
  22. Rick Santorum
  23. Jay Sekulow
  24. Stephen Strang
  25. Ralph Winter
Mark Van Steenwyk is the editor of He is a Mennonite pastor (Missio Dei in Minneapolis), writer, speaker, and grassroots educator. He lives in South Minneapolis with his wife (Amy), son (Jonas) and some of their friends.

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Viewing 10 Comments

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    I guess I'm even less evangelical than I thought. I only know 6 names on this list and only one that I would "emulate."
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    I was about to make the same comment, except I do know a few more than 6. I've liked the things I've read by Mark Noll and Richard John Neuhaus (although I wonder what it means to be an "evangelical" in Neuhaus' case - I'm not questioning the definition, it's just interesting).

    Who the Sam Hill are Robert and Roberta Ahmanson?
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    Oh - I mean "Howard," and oh, I just looked them up by following your link. And oh, sorry for the snotty tone - I didn't realize they were financiers.

    Seriously, it's sort of weird to be an evangelical and not know some of these people. I guesss I just haven't progressed far enough in the movement to be let in on some of this stuff.
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    This is my last comment: Looking over the list, I think this says more about Time's view of what ultimately matters - politics - than it does about evangelicalism.

    But having said that, I'm not sure who I'd put on the list - I just don't think I'd arrange them in the same order.

    Jesus would definitely be there, though.
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    Pat, does the article really show more of what Time thinks matters or who Evangelicals portray as people who matter within their own movement?

    In today's politicized environment, it's natrual that Evangelicals will try to promote those within their group who are political in order to appear "relevant"

    I was a bit peeved that there wasn't a single mention of a DEMOCRAT in the entire article, or even someone like Tony Campolo who is at least questioning the blind obedience Evangelicals have to the right.
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    Yes, those are good points. I'm just not sure that if you asked your average Evangelical in the pew who the influential people are, you'd get some of these political hacks. I think you hit on something with Tony Campolo. What about Al Mohler at Southern Baptist Seminary? And is it only my proximity to (and six year stint at)his church that makes me think John Piper has had a much more lasting impact on Evangelicalism than David Barton or almost any of those other political people?

    I don't know...just sorta thinking out loud.

    But you may be right that the rank and file Evangelicals are the ones promoting these people as the "Golden Boys (and Girls)." In a few of the cases, that's sad...
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    I was feeling a little weird about not knowing a bunch of people on the list myself, but I guess even Tim LaHaye said he didn't know some of them too. CNN has a transcript of a Larry King show with McLaren, the LaHaye's, TD Jakes, and Franklin Graham at:

    Poor Brian seemed a little bit in the minority with Larry King talking about evangelicals and Republican politics, gay hating, etc. but he seemed to do a good job presenting a different view.
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    Did you see this list, where 614 pastors cite the most influential and most trusted spokesmen for the church? Top 4:Graham, Warren, Bush, Dobson...
    Falwell and Robertson are in there too somewhere, but still no Campolo.
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    I'd be more interested in having Time do a counter-balance and going to the pastors and the pews of Evangelical churches and seing how we view ourselves and who we think are important people in our clique.

    I'd also like to add that some people are already waning in influence and some are rising stars, for instance, much of the Evangelical church is unaware of the Emergent movement, yet I really do believe that it is the way of the future.
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    That's interesting, I would have thought Piper would have been on that list too. And I don't know the majority of the people on the list either. Thank goodness I'm not alone.


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