“Top 10” or “Top 100” lists are audience favorites, right? We like to scan through rankings of various categories published by the media just to see how they stack up against our own knowledge and preferences. But attempts to adapt these lists to the spiritual realm can be dangerous. Those who men praise may not be those who the Lord esteems.
As a case in point, the Newsmax website recently came out with its list of “The 100 Most Influential Evangelicals in America” (see below). I was familiar with about seventy names on the list, but for the rest I had to read their accompanying blurb. This listing is a very sad commentary on the state of the evangelical church today. I could not endorse the vast majority of the 100, either because of 1) their flaming unorthodoxy, 2) their strong commitment to ecumenism, or 3) their crusade for church-state symbiosis.
Here’s the first ten on the list:
- Billy Graham
- Franklin Graham
- Joel Osteen
- Mike Huckabee
- Pat Robertson
- Rick Warren
- Jerry Falwell Jr.
- Joyce Meyer
- Mike Pence
- Mark Burnett and Roma Downey
Any concerns with any of these folks? Argh! There’s no doubt these eleven people have been or are very influential, but definitely not in a good way according to the three criteria I listed above. Most have done tremendous damage to the Gospel witness in this country and around the world by preaching a false “name it and claim it” prosperity gospel and/or by linking arms with Roman Catholicism and its false gospel of sacramental grace and merit. In fact, Roma Downey as well as at least one other person on the list is Roman Catholic!
Three people on the list who I do admire are Charles Stanley #16, R.C. Sproul #34, and John MacArthur #39. I’m grateful for these men and their ministries, but of course we should put no one on a pedestal.
But let’s be honest, these kinds of lists are all about worldly pride and the flesh and have nothing to do with the Lord. All praise and honor to Almighty God! However, as I mentioned, a list such as this is useful as a revealing spotlight on the very sorry state of the church today in regards to who is admired and influential.
Newsmax’s 100 Most Influential Evangelicals in America