Arminian Today

A Gospel Centered Arminian Blog

Top And Bottom Ten Preachers

I get to listen to many different style preachers and I admit that I enjoy downloading many sermons on my MP3 player but in all actuality I tend to delete many of the sermons I hear almost as soon as the preachers get started simply based on two things for me. First, the voice of the teacher must be one that keeps my attention. Second, the content of the message must be one that will keep my attention as well. A passionate teaching on micro biology does little for me.

I thought I would sit down and come up with my own personal top and bottom preachers of all-time. This is based on several criteria.

  • The teacher must be passionate about his topic. At times I would rather hear a passionate heretic speak than a dry orthodox teacher. I love to hear those who are passionate about their topic. I love to know that the teacher “owns” the teaching. This is not some meaningless teaching to them but its one they are passionate to communicate. Even liberals such as Mario Como or Bill Clinton were good at this.
  • By no means am I endorsing all that the teachers are teaching. I often will listen to a message I don’t fully agree with in order to learn what they are teaching. For instance, I can listen to a passionate Calvinist teach on Calvinism and yet not fully agree with them on all issues. My top and bottom ten is not based completely on content.
  • These are my own personal choices and you are free (of course) to disagree and I know some of you will. We all have our own personal qualifications we place on good teachers. I well remember in college that many of my fellow students enjoyed a certain professor but I thought he was so boring. His content was solid but his lectures were boring and I often slept. A good speaker, in my book, must keep me awake!
  • There is no order to my list and I am not trying to be mean but giving my own views.

Bottom Ten Preachers

  1. Charles StanleyAt times Stanley can sound so passionate (particularly when he preaches on eternal security) but his sermons are too topical for me and often I find them boring.
  2. Lester RoloffProbably an unknown to many of you. He passed away in the early 1980’s but his sermons are still found on many AM radio stations at night. Roloff often starts a sermon by reading a text of Scripture but he never even teaches on the Scripture and he can chase a thousand rabbits during a thirty minute teaching. His KJV only emphasis often bores me as well.
  3. Paul Washer - I know that some of you will brand me a heretic here but again this is not based on content. Washer’s content is often solid and his call for people to truly repent and be true disciples is commendable but I find his style boring. He simply never keeps my attention. His monotone voice never rises and so while he has great content and sticks to his text in a great expository style, I still find him too boring for me.
  4. R.C. SproulAgain, at times Sproul can have good content particularly when he tackles issues such as ethics or cults but Sproul’s voice is simply too much for me to sit and listen to. I can’t tell if he is passionate about what he is speaking on or is he just going through the motions of teaching since that is what he does.
  5. Billy GrahamThe excuse for pro-Grahamers is that he is an evangelist and so all his messages should sound the same. I find this argument lacking for several reasons but that is another issue. I once heard Graham in person and even then (and I was lost) I thought it was boring. His voice is unmistakable but his messages are too topical and too singular in their focus (belief) but lacks repentance nor the proper response to the gospel.
  6. Jack Cottrell – I think Jack Cottrell is a good theologian and writer (I know some of you don’t agree with that but at least Cottrell wrestles with the Scriptures on nearly every issue you throw at him) but hearing him speak in person is much like going to a college lecture. His style is monotone and while his content may be good, he doesn’t keep my attention because of his lack of passion for his topics. His voice never rises but only falls in his lectures. Too boring for me.
  7. Kenneth Hagin Jr. and Son – While I am not a fan of the prosperity message, these guys happen to come on the AM station I often listen to early in the mornings when I work. Both love to spend more time telling stories about themselves than teaching from the Bible. Their stories, to me, are often too far fetched such as the story of Kenneth Hagin Sr. being telaported while preaching by the Spirit to the backseat of some car where he watched a couple commit fornication and he later confronted them. OK but why tell us this? Prosperity people love these guys but I find their style too self-focused, lacks biblical content, and often their chase many rabbits along their trails.
  8. Erwin LutzerHis voice. He sometimes has good content and he does teach his text but his voice is too hard to describe. I simply do not enjoy hearing him speak at all.
  9. Donald ColeI know that Dr. Cole is about to retire and from the way he speaks, he needs to. I don’t always agree with Dr. Cole but I am thankful for his program that seeks to answer Bible questions with his “open lines” from Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. But Cole sounds so dry.
  10. John MacArthurAgain, I know some of you want to cast stones at me but hear me out. I know that Dr. MacArthur teaches his text. I know that he is an expositor of the Scriptures. I know that he is a man of deep knowledge but two things bother me about MacArthur’s style. First, much like Dr. James White I don’t like the feeling of superiority I feel from hearing him speak. Its as if MacArthur is unwilling to even acknowledge that others have a different opinion on non-essentials such as spiritual gifts, election, and other issues like this. It’s his truth and no others. Second, because his sermons often sound to me like lectures on theology and not passionate communication of biblical truths, I often turn him off. I will say this though in his defense – I love it when Dr. MacArthur takes on tough issues such as the emergent church, the charismatics, or other groups he is opposed to. I don’t always agree with him but that does keep my attention then when he teaches say on parenting.

Honorable Mention: James White, Dave Hunt, Michael Easley, Jack Hayford, A.W. Tozer, Vance Havner, Keith Green, Bob Jones, Mike Bickle, Rick Joyner

The Top Ten

  1. Chuck SwindollHis voice. He is the opposite of Erwin Lutzer and his voice alone keeps my attention. I don’t always agree with Swindoll on all issues but he is passionate, a great story teller, and keeps me awake even when I don’t agree with him on the subject at hand. President Bill Clinton said that Chuck Swindoll was the greatest evangelical preacher he had ever heard. Maybe that is a bad thing?
  2. John MaxwellIf you have never heard Dr. Maxwell teach in person, you are missing a treat. The guy is a communicator and he can make you laugh and cry all in the same message. His outlines are incredible and he does deal with his texts. His Leadership Bible contains many of his outlines and its worth getting just for that.
  3. David Jeremiah - Passionate about whatever he speaks on. This guy could be lecturing on almost any subject and he would keep my attention for three reasons. First, his passion. Second, his outlines! Third, his ability to take stories and take you back to focusing on the text. In some cases you might remember Chuck Swindoll’s stories over his sermon but Jeremiah does a good job of not losing focus from his text.
  4. Carter ConlonCarter is the passionate preacher of Times Square Church in New York City. This man preaches with a zeal for repentance and holiness in the heart of Manhatten. While Carter in not an expository preacher, he does preach his text and does preach it with passion.
  5. Dr. George W. WoodThe General Superintendent of the Assemblies of God is a solid preacher. He is also very well educated with two earned doctorates with one in Law and the other in theology. He is a man who once taught through the book of Leviticus and kept people awake! Enough said right there.
  6. Tony EvansPassionate about whatever he teaches on and the guy is funny. I don’t always agree with Dr. Evans and often sit waiting for him to make me mad with some strong dispensationalism teaching but Dr. Evans is always going to teach his text, teach it with passion, and you will remember what you preach. I visited his church in Dallas, Texas once and met him in person and found him to be a delight to talk with. He is a godly man.
  7. Mark RutlandFew men have a strong grasp on the English language as Dr. Rutland from Global Servants, former pastor of Calvary Assembly of God in Orlando, Florida, and current President of Southeastern University in Lakeland, Florida. Dr. Rutland once preached at a men’s conference I attended for two hours and he kept 1000 men focused and alert. Dr. Rutland can go from deep biblical teaching from the book of Psalms to an illustrated sermon on sanctification using an old fishing rod that he fixes before your eyes while showing you the power of God’s love. At Southeastern he teaches nearly every chapel message to college students and keeps them awake!
  8. Jack GrahamThree things impress me about Dr. Graham and Prestonwood Baptist Church. First, he teaches with passion. You can hear it in his voice alone. Second, he teaches his text. Third, he keeps his messages simple and short yet full of content.
  9. Johnny HuntThe pastor of First Baptist Church in Woodstock, Georgia teaches with as much fire as you can get in one man. I once heard Johnny Hunt preach before a hostile crowd about why Christians should abstain from alcohol and yet the crowd listened, gave him many amens, and stood in applause at the end. He won them over probably not by his biblical arguments but they ate up his passion. This guy just makes you feel as if he truly does love Jesus when he preaches.
  10. P. Doug SmallDoug mainly teaches in Pentecostal/Charismatic settings but I have found his teachings to be full of Scripture and passion. His ministry entails a prayer movement among the Church of God (Cleveland, TN) to which he often preaches. His best teachings are on prayer where he applies passion for prayer along with Scripture and lessons from Church history.

Honorable Mention: John Piper (at times), David Braxton, Randy Valimont, Gordon Ferguson, Dave Roever, Loran Livingston, Ray Comfort, David Wilkerson, Leonard Ravenhill

Conclusion - I add again that this does not mean that I endorse all that any of these preachers have said or done. By no means do I agree 100% with any of the men listed above. I also did not post this to be mean spirited. Please don’t take it this way. I simply thought I would let you hear my opinions on preaching and preachers. You are welcomed to disagree with me and I know that you probably will if you take time to listen to any of the above. Most of these speakers can be found at Oneplace.com. The others I have provided links for you.

Lastly, I believe in biblical preaching (Romans 10:9-17) yet I believe that only the Bible is our final authority for faith and practise. We must never be disciples of men but disciples of Jesus only (John 8:31-32) and listen to His voice alone (John 10:27; Hebrews 12:25). We must never be focused on one man (1 Corinthians 1:10-17) and we must never embrace a Bible teacher simply because they say what we want to hear (2 Timothy 4:3-4). We must test all teachings no matter what and how it is spoken by the inerrant Word of God (Acts 17:11; 1 Thessalonians 5:19-21; 2 Timothy 3:15-17; 2 Peter 1:16-21).

About these ads

Written by The Seeking Disciple

04/12/2008 at 10:13 PM

12 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. We had Cottrell do an all day seminar on gendes roles a year or so ago. He’s more a “teacher” than a “preacher” perhaps. His topic was one that was an attention holder too. I esteem him highly so its hard for me to be objective, but I agree that he isn’t particularly passionate or dynamic. I’m with 100% on Stanley, B. Graham & Macarthur too!

    I like Mark Driscoll. Maybe its his “shock jock” style. He does keep my attention (usually).

    David H. Willis

    04/13/2008 at 11:01 PM

  2. We had Cottrell do an all day seminar on gendes roles a year or so ago. He’s more a “teacher” than a “preacher” perhaps. His topic was one that was an attention holder too. I esteem him highly so its hard for me to be objective, but I agree that he isn’t particularly passionate or dynamic. I’m with 100% on Stanley, B. Graham & Macarthur too! I like Mark Driscoll. Maybe its his “shock jock” style. He does keep my attention (usually).

    David H. Willis

    04/13/2008 at 11:01 PM

  3. I enjoy Mark Driscoll sometimes. He has to be on a subject I enjoy and not just a typical message unlike say Mark Rutland who can pretty much hold my attention all the time.

    You are correct though that Cottrell is a teacher. He is professor by trade so I expect that to be the case but I did have some professors in college who were good at speaking even when doing a lecture on boring topics. That is when you know they are good public speakers.

    The Seeking Disciple

    04/14/2008 at 12:49 AM

  4. I enjoy Mark Driscoll sometimes. He has to be on a subject I enjoy and not just a typical message unlike say Mark Rutland who can pretty much hold my attention all the time.You are correct though that Cottrell is a teacher. He is professor by trade so I expect that to be the case but I did have some professors in college who were good at speaking even when doing a lecture on boring topics. That is when you know they are good public speakers.

    The Seeking Disciple

    04/14/2008 at 12:49 AM

  5. Johnny Mac’s messages often sound harsher on Radio because of the editing done to remove pauses because of time constraints. There is a tremendous amount of difference between listening to him on the radio versus getting a cd of a live message.

    You actually listen to Bob Jones, Mike Bickel, and Rick Joyner. That’s a scary thought!

    A. Berean

    04/14/2008 at 3:15 AM

  6. Johnny Mac’s messages often sound harsher on Radio because of the editing done to remove pauses because of time constraints. There is a tremendous amount of difference between listening to him on the radio versus getting a cd of a live message. You actually listen to Bob Jones, Mike Bickel, and Rick Joyner. That’s a scary thought!

    A. Berean

    04/14/2008 at 3:15 AM

  7. I didn’t say I agreed with all of those I hear. BTW, the Bob Jones I listed is not the charismatic Bob Jones but Bob Jones from Bob Jones University in Greenville, SC. I do like the concepts that Mike Bickle’s church does in 24/7 prayer at the International House of Prayer in Kansas City, MO.

    I agree that John MacArthur’s (as all others are as well) sermons are edited. I am sure it is different when you hear him in person which I would enjoy doing. I do like to hear MacArthur when he teaches on controversial subjects.

    The Seeking Disciple

    04/14/2008 at 12:48 PM

  8. I didn’t say I agreed with all of those I hear. BTW, the Bob Jones I listed is not the charismatic Bob Jones but Bob Jones from Bob Jones University in Greenville, SC. I do like the concepts that Mike Bickle’s church does in 24/7 prayer at the International House of Prayer in Kansas City, MO. I agree that John MacArthur’s (as all others are as well) sermons are edited. I am sure it is different when you hear him in person which I would enjoy doing. I do like to hear MacArthur when he teaches on controversial subjects.

    The Seeking Disciple

    04/14/2008 at 12:48 PM

  9. John Piper sounds SO BORING, I’d rather count cotton balls.

    I like Mike Bickle; he’s funny and he communicates the points clearly.

    David Jeremiah is boring… Michael Easley is boring… Charles Stanley should burn under God’s wrath for giving ok-ness to divorce… Erwin Lutzer is boring… John MacArthur should burn under God’s wrath for being Calvinist. And he’s just boring.

    Your list is really… old. Like, over 40.

    -.-

    04/14/2008 at 8:08 PM

  10. John Piper sounds SO BORING, I’d rather count cotton balls.I like Mike Bickle; he’s funny and he communicates the points clearly.David Jeremiah is boring… Michael Easley is boring… Charles Stanley should burn under God’s wrath for giving ok-ness to divorce… Erwin Lutzer is boring… John MacArthur should burn under God’s wrath for being Calvinist. And he’s just boring.Your list is really… old. Like, over 40.

    -.-

    04/14/2008 at 8:08 PM

  11. Uhh, the confusion comes with putting Bob Jones, Mike Bickel and Rick Joyner in the same sentence. Don’t do that!!! : )
    Can’t say I’ve ever heard Bob Jones of Bob Jones University speak. Blessings

    R C

    04/15/2008 at 3:06 AM

  12. Uhh, the confusion comes with putting Bob Jones, Mike Bickel and Rick Joyner in the same sentence. Don’t do that!!! : )Can’t say I’ve ever heard Bob Jones of Bob Jones University speak. Blessings

    R C

    04/15/2008 at 3:06 AM


Comments are closed.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 603 other followers

%d bloggers like this: