Newsmax is out with its list of the top 100 Christian leaders in America who make a real impact on modern lives in 2015.
Christianity’s challenges in today’s world of instantaneous information transmission and new brands of sin are not what they were a century ago, nor are they quite what they were during the socio-sexual revolution of the ’60s. And not all the names below are occupants of pulpits — not traditional physical pulpits, anyway.
The early 21st century is a time of slickly produced videos of mass Christian martyrdoms at the hands of fanatics acting in the name of Islam, a kind of high-tech return to the medieval wars between the two faiths. In the computer age, millions witness those atrocities within hours.
It is also a time when a new Pope seems poised to launch a reassessment of traditional Catholic moral teaching — and the American free-market establishment — that will spark spirited resistance within the church he governs. And so Cardinal Raymond Burke, formerly of St. Louis and little known before Pope Francis’ election, features prominently on our list.
Entertainment and sports stars are not usually considered religious leaders, but today their influence often exceeds that of pastors and televangelists. Reality TV producers Mark Burnett and Roma Downey have resurrected the Christian entertainment industry with their hit series “The Bible” and “A.D. The Bible Continues.”
And what are stand-up comedians doing on a list of powerful Christians? Unlike some preachers, they don’t put their audiences to sleep or send them to the exits with their holier-than-thou attitudes.
And although the Web may rule today, books — bought at Barnes & Noble or downloaded onto your Kindle — are also more influential than ever. So authors like Mark and Grace Driscoll, who reach spouses in troubled marriages who might never have encountered Christian evangelism, make our list because they go where no minister has gone before.
Idea leaders whose Christianity drives their effect on American politics are there too, like Reagan Justice Department official Alan Sears. But so are some of the nation’s most compelling preachers, like Kirbyjon Caldwell, who grew his mostly African-American congregation from barely filling a living room to a multitude that can overwhelm a modest stadium.
The evangelist’s soapbox is obsolete. Accepting Christ and committing sin against Him are both done sitting at a computer screen today. In response, the new world is bringing forth Christian leaders from some unexpected walks of life. Here are Newsmax’s top 100 Christian leaders in America:
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