15 Great American Preachers

American Preachers - 15 Great American Preachers

Preaching is so premodern. In our postmodern mash-up world of participatory services, the idea of expositing the Word of God for any length of time seems authoritative and old-fashioned. However, in light of history, it is this more exhaustive, studied treatment of preaching that comes out of the Reformation and is transported to America with great gusto by the Puritans.

15 Great American Preachers

Here are 15 of the greatest American preachers throughout history. We hope this list is both encouraging and humbling as we’re reminded of how God worked through these individuals, by the preaching of the Word and putting their faith into action. We also included a quote from the preacher that we felt helps represent the person, as well. For video and further bio information, please consider checking out a great resource called workoutyourfaith.com. Each of these (and other Christians throughout history) are represented and a page is given with resources found on each.

Jonathan Edwards - 15 Great American PreachersJonathan Edwards (October 5, 1703 – March 22, 1758)
Pastor during America’s First Great Awakening

From South Windsor, Connecticut
Served in Northampton, Massachusetts
Affiliation: Reformed

“Godliness in the heart has as direct a relation to practice, as a fountain has to a stream, or as the luminous nature of the sun has to beams sent forth, or as life has to breathing, or the beating of the pulse, or any other vital act; or as a habit or principle of action has to action; for it is the very nature and notion of grace, that it is a principle of holy action or practice. Regeneration which is that work of God in which grace is infused, has a direct relation to practice; for it is the very end of it, with a view to which the whole work is wrought; all is calculated and framed, in this mighty and manifold change wrought in the soul, so as directly to tend to this end.”

Richard Furman - 15 Great American PreachersRichard Furman (October 9, 1755 – August 25, 1825)
President of the Triennial Convention, the First Nationwide Baptist Association, and President of Furman University, the South’s first Baptist college and named after him posthumously.

From Esopus, New York
Served in Charleston, South Carolina
Affiliation: Baptist

“Consider what multitudes around you need converting grace; and what a change will soon be made in their state and circumstances as well as in your own, when they, with you, will be arrested by the strong hand of death, and summoned to the bar of God.”

Richard Allen - 15 Great American PreachersRichard Allen (February 14, 1760 – March 26, 1831)
Preacher and Founder of the African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME)

From Sussex County, Delaware
Served in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Affiliation: African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME)

“My sins were a heavy burden. I was tempted to believe there was no mercy for me. I cried to the Lord both night and day. One night I thought hell would be my portion. I cried unto Him who delighteth to hear the prayers of a poor sinner; and all of a sudden my dungeon shook, my chains flew off, and glory to God, I cried. My soul was filled. I cried, enough for me–the Saviour died. Now my confidence was strengthened that the Lord, for Christ’s sake, had heard my prayers, and pardoned all my sins.”

Charles Finney - 15 Great American PreachersCharles Finney (August 29, 1792 – August 16, 1875)
Leader in the Second Great Awakening, Early Abolitionist, and President of Oberlin College where he advocated for universal education (no matter race or gender) in the name of Jesus

From Warren, Connecticut
Served in New York and Ohio
Affiliation: Presbyterian

“Who can object because God holds the sinner responsible for the Bible He gives him, or for the existence with which he has endowed him? Dare you say or even think that God does wrong to hold you responsible for the Bible, for the Sabbath, for the gospel and for all the knowledge of duty which He has placed within your reach? Is He not bound by the eternal laws of right, to hold all his creatures responsible according to the measure of the blessings He has conferred upon them? Could his moral kingdom be safe on any other principle of administration? Would the holy beings around his throne endure any deviation from these eternally and intrinsically righteous principles? Do you not see–for yourself–that if you persist in abusing his mercies, God will bring you to account and must do it, or cease to be a righteous God?”

William Pendleton - 15 Great American PreachersWilliam Pendleton (December 26, 1809 – January 15, 1883)
Pastor to Robert E. Lee and Chief of Artillery

From Richmond, Virginia.
Served in Virginia and Maryland
Affiliation: Episcopal

“For has not God Himself, the Lord our Savior Jesus Christ, promised to comfort them that mourn, to calm the unrest and disturbance of mind arising from temptations, to inspire a hope that would take the place of despair, — a hope for the continued existence of the church, a hope for the regeneration and salvation of the individual man, — a new perception, a new light, a clearer understanding, a new delight in the things of heaven. All these, and immensely more are involved and contained in the words of our Lord to His disciples, when He said unto them, as He sat upon the mountain, ‘Blessed are they that mourn; for they shall be comforted.’”

Henry Ward Beecher - 15 Great American PreachersHenry Ward Beecher (June 24, 1813 – March 8, 1887)
Pastor and Abolitionist

From Litchfield, Connecticut
Served in Indiana and New York
Affiliation: Congregational

“One thing is certain. The whole world is the preacher’s magazine. Whatever, in the whole range of human knowledge, can be used to persuade men to godliness, it is lawful for the preacher to employ. Every thing is ‘fit for the pulpit’ that can be made to have power for good on the human soul. The fruit of a preacher’s labor is the best justification or condemnation of his judgment in the selection of topics and material. As the sheaves are the proof of good husbandry, so are good men, after the pattern of Jesus Christ, the only proper test of a good ministry.”

Alexander Crummell - 15 Great American PreachersAlexander Crummell (March 3, 1819 – September 10, 1898)
Founding pastor of St Luke’s Episcopal Church in Washington D.C.

From New York City, New York
Served in New York, Liberia and Washington D.C.
Affiliation: Episcopal

“I wish to speak to-day of the greatness of Christ. It is a greatness which has constantly manifested itself
through the ages by a gracious but irresistible revolution, which has never, at any time, known a moment of
cessation. We talk of the influence of Christianity; and men ofttimes seem happy when they can thus drop or deny a personality and make a catch-word of a system. But it is best, at all times, to speak the real facts of a case. No system, of itself, produces results. It is, in its results, the work of either devils, or of angels, or of men, or of God. There is a personality behind every organized institution, behind every bank, behind every insurance company, every mercantile house, every manufactory. So, too, of Christianity. It does not work
itself. It is not the work of men and ministers. It is a result, in all nations, societies, families, and persons, — a result that is produced by Jesus Christ, present in this world by the power and energy of the Holy Ghost.”

D.L. Moody - 15 Great American PreachersD.L. Moody (February 5, 1837 – December 22, 1899)
Founding Pastor of Moody Bible Church and Institute

From Northfield, Massachusetts
Served in Chicago, Illinois
Affiliation: Congregational

“Have faith in God! Take Him at His word! Believe what He says! Believe the record God has given of His Son! I can imagine some of you saying, ‘I want to, but I have not got the right kind of faith.’ What kind of faith do you want? Now, the idea that you want a different kind of faith is all wrong. Use the faith you have got; just believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. Not only that, you can’t give any reason for not believing. If a man told me he couldn’t believe me, I should have a right to ask him why he couldn’t believe me. I should have a right to ask him if I had ever broken my word with him; and if I had not broken my word with him, he ought to believe me. I would like to ask you, has God ever broken His word? Never. My friends, He will keep His word. God condemns the world because they believe not on Him; that is the root of all evil. A man who believes in the Lord Jesus Christ won’t murder, and lie, and do all these awful things. Don’t get caught up by that terrible delusion that unbelief is a misfortune. Unbelief is not a misfortune, but is the sin of the world. Christ found it on all sides of the world. When He first got up from the grave, He found that His disciples doubted. He had reason to cry out against unbelief.”

William Seymour - 15 Great American PreachersWilliam Seymour (May 2, 1870 – September 28, 1922)
Preacher at the Azusa Street Revival
From Centerville, Louisiana
Served in Los Angeles, California
Affiliation: Pentecostal

“There are many wells today, but they are dry. There are many hungry souls today that are empty. But let us come to Jesus and take Him at His Word and we will find wells of salvation, and be able to draw waters out of the well of salvation, for Jesus is that well.”


Billy Sunday - 15 Great American PreachersBilly Sunday (November 19, 1862 – November 6, 1935)
Baseball Player and Evangelist
From Story County, Iowa
Served in Chicago, Illinois
Affiliation: Presbyterian
“Hypocrites in the Church? Yes, and in the lodge and at the home. Don’t hunt through the Church for a hypocrite. Go home and look in the mirror. Hypocrites? Yes. See that you make the number one less.”


A.W. Tozer - 15 Great American PreachersA.W. Tozer (April 21, 1897 – May 12, 1963)
From Newburg, Pennsylvania
Served in Chicago and Toronto
Affiliation: Christian and Missionary Alliance

“The mystery of man’s free will is far too great for us! God said to Adam and Eve: ‘Thou shalt not eat from this tree.’ Here was a divine requirement calling for obedience on the part of those who had the power of choice and will. When they disobeyed they usurped the right that was not theirs! The poet Tennyson must have thought about this for he wrote in his In Memoriam: ‘our wills are ours, we know not how; our wills are ours to make them Thine! We know not how;’ then Tennyson girds himself and continues, ‘Yes, our wills are ours to make them Thine.’ As created beings, that is our only right-to make our wills the will of God, to make the will of God our will! God is sovereign, and we are the creatures. He is the Creator and therefore His is the right to command us with the obligation that we should obey. It is a happy obligation, I might say, for ‘His yoke is easy and His burden is light!’ It is important to agree that true salvation restores the right of a Creator-creature relationship, acknowledging God’s right to our fellowship and communion!”

Charles E. Fuller - 15 Great American PreachersCharles E. Fuller (April 25, 1887 – March 18, 1968)
Radio Evangelist heard on The Old Fashioned Revival Hour and Founder of Fuller Seminary
From Los Angeles, California
Served in Los Angeles, California
Affiliation: Baptist

“Friends everywhere, I ask you to pray as I preach. I all my ministry never have I felt the conflict of Satanic powers as I do now when I stand before the microphone, preaching the shed blood of Christ as sinful man’s only way of approach to God.”


Thomas Merton - 15 Great American PreachersThomas Merton (January 31, 1915 – December 10, 1968)
Trappist Monk and Writer
From Prades, France
Served in the Abbey of Gethsemani, Kentucky
Affiliation: Catholic (Franciscan)

“The beginning of love is to let those we love be perfectly themselves, and not to twist them to fit our own image. Otherwise we love only the reflection of ourselves we find in them.”




John Wimber - 15 Great American PreachersJohn Wimber (February 25, 1934 – November 17, 1997)
Founder of the Vineyard Christian Fellowship
From Kirksville, Missouri
Served in Anaheim, California
Affiliation: Vineyard Movement

“Our passion is to imitate the ministry of Jesus in the power of the Spirit. This requires we must follow Jesus out of baptismal waters, through our personal deserts, and into the harvest. We want to take the ammunition of the balanced evangelical theology with the fire power of Pentecostal practice, loading & readying the best of both worlds to hit the target of making & nurturing disciples…”

Brennan Manning - 15 Great American PreachersBrennan Manning (April 27, 1934 – April 12, 2013) 
Evangelist and Writer
From New York City
Served in many settings as a traveling preacher
Affiliation: Evangelical

“The temptation of the age is to look good without being good.”


Let us embrace afresh the truth of the Word of God, that it is “alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (Heb. 4:12).

Zach Kincaid - Catacomb headshot imageZach Kincaid is a part of the Sharefaith Editorial Team. He manages workoutyourfaith.com and has written on C.S. Lewis, G.K. Chesterton, and general Christian thought for more than 15 years. He is a husband, father, and collaborator on a variety of Christian outreach projects including films and educational resources.

The post 15 Great American Preachers appeared first on churchrelevance.com.


Author: Fred Parr

Fred is a minister and officiant for local wedding companies in Arizona

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