131 Christians Everyone Should Know

    Written by Mark Galli

    One hundred and thirty one Christians everyone should know because of how they impacted the lives of others.


    Athanasius Five-time exile for fighting “orthodoxy” early Christian
    Augustine of Hippo Architect of the Middle Ages Greek state paganism; Manichaeanism; Catholic
    John of Damascus Image-conscious Arab Catholic
    Anselm Reluctant bishop with a remarkable mind Catholic (Benedictine monk)
    Thomas Aquinas The brilliant “dumb ox” Catholic
    Martin Luther Passionate reformer Catholic; Lutheran
    John Calvin Father of the Reformed faith Reformed Church; Calvinism
    Jacob Arminius Irenic anti-Calvinist Dutch Reformed
    Jonathan Edwards America’s greatest theologian Congregationalist; Presbyterian
    Karl Barth Courageous theologian Lutheran; Swiss Reformed
    Evangelists and Apologists
    Justin Martyr Defender of the “true philosophy” Catholic
    Clement of Alexandria Theologian for the intelligentsia  
    Gregory Thaumaturgus “The Wonder Worker”  
    Antony of Padua “The hammer of heretics”  
    Blaise Pascal Scientific and spiritual prodigy Jansenism
    George Whitefield Sensational evangelist of Britain and America  
    Charles Finney Father of American revivalism  
    Dwight L. Moody Revivalist with a common touch  
    Billy Sunday Salty evangelist  
    Billy Graham Evangelist to millions Presbyterian; Baptist
    Pastors and Preachers
    Ambrose of Milan Most talented bishop of the early church  
    John Chrysostom Early church’s greatest preacher Catholic
    Richard Baxter Moderate in an age of extremes  
    John Newton Reformed slave trader Anglican
    Charles Simeon Evangelical mentor and model Anglican
    Lyman Beecher Revivalist who moved with the times Presbyterian
    Thomas Chalmers Unrelenting advocate for the poor  
    John Nelson Darby Father of dispensationalism  
    Charles Spurgeon Finest nineteenth-century preacher Baptist
    Harry Emerson Fosdick Liberalism’s popularizer  
    Musicians, Artists, and Writers
    Rembrandt Harmensz Van Rijn Dutch painter of the soul Dutch Reformed
    Johann Sebastian Bach “The Fifth Evangelist” Lutheran
    George Frideric Handel Composer of Messiah Lutheran
    John Bunyan Pilgrim who made progress in prison Baptist
    Harriet Beecher Stowe Author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin Congregationalist
    Fyodor Dostoyevsky Russian novelist of spiritual depth Russian Orthodox
    George MacDonald Fabled Victorian writer  
    G.K. Chesterton “Enormous” essayist, poet, writer Anglican; Catholic
    Dorothy Sayers Mystery writer and apologist Anglican
    C.S. Lewis Scholar, author, and apologist Anglican
    Dante Alighieri Worldly creator of divine verse Catholic
    Geoffrey Chaucer Medieval England’s greatest storyteller Geoffrey Chaucer
    John Donne Poet of God’s love Anglican
    George Herbert England’s greatest religious poet Anglican
    John Milton Puritan author of Paradise Lost Anglican; Congregationalist
    Anne Bradstreet America’s first poet Unitarian
    Isaac Watts Father of English hymnody Anglican; Congregationalist
    Charles Wesley Greatest hymn writer of all time Methodist
    Fanny Crosby Prolific and blind hymn writer Methodist
    T.S. Eliot Modernist poet Anglican
    Denominational Founders
    Menno Simons Anabaptist peacemaker Anabaptist; Mennonite
    John Knox Presbyterian with a sword Presbyterian
    John Smyth The “Se-Baptist” Baptist
    George Fox First Friend Quaker
    Nikolaus von Zinzendorf Christ-centered Moravian “brother” Moravian Church
    John Wesley Methodical pietist Methodist
    Francis Asbury Methodist on horseback Methodist
    Richard Allen Father of the American Methodist Episcopal Church Methodist Episcopal Church
    William Miller Mistaken founder of Adventism Seventh-day Adventist
    Alexander Campbell Christian Church of Christ
    Aimee Semple McPherson Foursquare phenomenon International Church of the Foursquare Gospel
    Movers and Shakers
    Benedict of Nursia Father of western monasticism  
    Bernard of Clairvaux Medieval reformer and mystic  
    Dominic Founder of the Order of Preachers (Dominicans) Catholic
    Francis of Assisi Mystical founder of the Franciscans Catholic
    John Wycliffe Medieval “protestant” Catholic
    Joan of Arc Teenage war hero with visions Catholic
    Ulrich Zwingli Militant Swiss reformer  
    Ignatius of Loyola Founder of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) Catholic
    Phoebe Palmer Mother of the holiness movement Methodist
    Soren Kierkegaard Christian existentialist Lutheran
    Columbanus Irish missionary to Europe  
    Cyril and Methodius Apostles to the Slavs  
    Francis Xavier First missionary to Japan  
    Matthew Ricci Controversial evangelist to China  
    John Eliot Apostle to Native Americans  
    William Carey Father of modern Protestant missions Baptist
    David Livingstone Missionary-explorer of Africa Calvinist
    Hudson Taylor Faith missionary to China Methodist
    Inner Travelers
    Antony of Egypt Greatest Desert Father  
    Hildegard of Bingen Benedictine abbess, visionary, and writer  
    Catherine of Siena Mystic and political activist  
    Thomas A Kempis Author of the most popular devotional classic  
    Teresa of Avila Carmelite mystic and feisty administrator Catholic
    John of the Cross Spanish mystic of the soul’s dark night  
    Brother Lawrence Practitioner of God’s presence  
    William Law Champion of the serious, devout, and holy life Anglican
    Andrew Murray Leading student in Christ’s school of prayer  
    Oswald Chambers Preacher who gave his utmost Baptist
    John Woolman Quaker mystic and abolitionist Quaker
    William Wilberforce Antislavery politician  
    Elizabeth Fry Prison reformer Quaker
    Sojourner Truth Abolitionist and women’s rights advocate Methodist; Seventh-day Adventist
    Lord Shaftesbury (Antony Ashley Cooper) Godly English statesman  
    William Gladstone Prime Minister of impeccable morals  
    Harriet Tubman The “Moses” of her people Methodist
    Catherine Booth Compelling preacher and co-founder of the Salvation Army Salvation Army
    William Booth First General of the Salvation Army Salvation Army
    Walter Rauschenbusch Champion of the social gospel  
    Constantine First Christian emperor  
    Theodosius I Emperor who made Christianity “the” Roman religion Catholic
    Justinian I and Theodora I Greatest Byzantine rulers Catholic
    Leo I Pope and international diplomat Catholic
    Gregory the Great “Servant of the Servants of God”  
    Charlemagne Christian ruler of a “holy” empire Catholic
    Innocent III Warring “Vicar of Christ” Catholic
    Louis IX Saintly king of France Catholic
    Henry VIII Defender of the faith Anglican
    Scholars and Scientists
    Origen Biblical scholar and philosopher  
    Eusebius of Caesarea Father – and maker – of church history  
    Jerome Bible translator whose version lasted a millennium  
    The Venerable Bede Father of English history  
    Erasmus Pious humanist who sparked the Reformation  
    Nicholas Copernicus Revolutionary astronomer Catholic
    William Tyndale Translator of the first English New Testament Lutheran
    John Foxe Martyrologist  
    Francis Bacon Philosopher of science Anglican
    Galileo Galilei Misjudged astronomer Catholic
    Ignatius of Antioch Earliest post-New Testament martyr  
    Polycarp Aged bishop of Smyrna  
    Perpetua High society believer  
    Boniface Apostle to Germany  
    Thomas Becket Murdered archbishop of Canterbury  
    John Huss Pre-Reformation reformer  
    Thomas Cranmer Genius behind Anglicanism Anglican
    Nicholas Ridley and Hugh Latimer English reformers who died together  
    Dietrich Bonhoeffer German theologian and resister Lutheran

    Source: Mark Galli, 131 Christians Everyone Should Know, Broadman/Holman (2000)

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