Here are my personal top 5 preachers. What ones would you include and why?
#5 Dr. Charles Swindoll
It has been said that Chuck Swindoll is among the most influential of Christian preachers and teachers of the day. His radio and television ministry, Insight for Living, is still highly popular. The humility of this man is what attracted me to him in the first place. The success of his ministry has never gone to his head and you can tell this by listening to him. There is not even a hint that his popularity affects his style of preaching and teaching. He has authored many books and his ministry reaches around the globe as well. The interesting fact about Dr. Swindoll is that his listenership has almost as many non-believers as it does believers. The reason might be his transparency and the willingness to admit that he is not nor is even close to being perfect. He quickly admits his past mistakes and his present shortcomings so as to make the listeners (me included) want to keep tuning him in to see what he’ll say next. You will never hear a bad message or hear even a hint of scandal or unbiblical teaching or unsound theology. You can trust this man’s teaching like few others that I know of. He calls himself “Chuck” even in his program, although he has a doctorate. He insists that his name be listed as Charles Swindoll and not Dr. Charles Swindoll. That is a true model of humility for all of us to aspire to.
#4 Dr. J. Vernon McGee (1904-1988)
The late Dr. J. Vernon McGee is still on the radio, even though this godly man of faith has gone on to be with the Lord nearly 30 years ago. His radio program Through the Bible is still highly popular and here is the reason why. Dr. McGee goes verse by verse through the whole Bible in five years. He calls this the Bible Bus and when someone gets “aboard” they get to go through the entire Bible every five years and he exposits nearly every chapter, verse by verse, giving a unique, yet theologically solid teaching. There are few men who know the Bible like he does. His education has served him well as he was a graduate of the Dallas Theological Seminary and the humility and transparency of his own shortcomings makes him among my favorites. I model this man’s preaching where he goes verse by verse through the Bible, explaining difficult passages and is humble enough to acknowledge when he just doesn’t know the meaning of certain verses. This man is still reaching millions for Christ and has a global ministry that is still reaching the lost. He admits that the power is in the message and not in him, the messenger, but that’s why he has retained and even built a strong listener base.
#3 Dr. Adrian Rogers (1931-2005)
The late Adrian Rogers still has a program on the radio called Love Worth Finding and has some of the greatest sayings of all time, called Adrianisms. I have seen this man preach as many of his sermons are on video and I see that much of his preaching is done without his being tied to notes. His life experiences are shared to make an example of his biblical teachings and they are exceedingly impact all who listen to him. He is still making waves in teaching solid, biblical preaching and reaching those who are not yet saved. The style and mannerisms of this “country-style” preacher are so infectious that it’s hard to not watch him. He offers expository preaching in a style that captivates the listeners. He was instrumental in resurrecting the Southern Baptist style of preaching that fights for the faith once delivered in an uncompromising stand for the truth. His bedrock teachings and preaching is as solid as the Bible itself. It’s no wonder that he served as the president of the Southern Baptist Convention three times because so many trust his doctrinal beliefs. Even when much of the biblical teachings began to shift to a more liberal theology in the 1970’s, he remained faithful to the doctrines of the inerrancy of the Word and the infallibility of the Bible. If you’ve ever seen him preach on video, I can almost guarantee it won’t be the last time you see him.
# 2 Dr. John MacArthur
Dr. John MacArthur is also among my favorite Bible teachers, pastors, authors, scholars, and is the distinguished founder and president of the Master’s College and creator of the ministry, Grace to You. He is one of the strongest expository preachers that can be found anywhere. His MacArthur Study Bible (ESV) is an outstanding study Bible that gives theologically solid commentary on those hard to understand passages. There is not even a hint of scandal in this man’s ministry and he has been so faithful for so many years to the essential Christian beliefs that make this man’s teachings so thoroughly trusted. He has authored over 150 books and the list is growing. He grew up in a very strong, traditional Christian family and he is actually the fifth cousin of the famous U.S. General Douglas MacArthur. Like Dr. Sproul, he offers many of his resources free of charge and his ministry is on a global scale.
#1 Dr. R. C. Sproul
Dr. R.C. Sproul is founder and chairman of Ligonier Ministries, an international Christian education ministry located near Orlando, Florida which began in 1971 as the Ligonier Valley Study Center in Ligonier, Pennsylvania. His program, Renewing Your Mind, teaches reformed theology. One of my favorite books of his is The Holiness of God, perhaps the greatest attribute of God that is most often overlooked. He teaches at the expert level in philosophy, theology, Bible study, apologetics, and Christian living. Few can exceed him that I know of in preaching and teaching. He was the editor of the excellent ESV Study Bible called The Reformation Study Bible which I highly recommend. This Bible is second to none in my opinion and is one of the first study Bible’s that I turn to when studying the Scriptures or on a particular subject or difficult passage. This brilliant man holds degrees from Westminster College, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, the Free University of Amsterdam, and Whitefield Theological Seminary. He has television programs on Christian satellite and also is on over 400 radio stations and offers free podcasts and MP3 downloads at oneplace.com. He generously offers free material for first-time callers.
Only selecting five of my favorite preachers or ministries was a very difficult thing. It’s like trying to select only five of your favorite books or chapters in the Bible…there are just so many to choose from. I could have also included Dr. James McDonald, Dr. Irwin Lutzer, Dr. Chip Ingram, Dr. Tony Evans, Dr. Jack Graham, Dr. David Jeremiah, Dr. Michael Fabarez, Dr. Robert Jeffress, Dr. Ed Young, Dr. Warren Wiersbe, Dr. Woodrow Kroll and so very many others. Which ones would you include?