Famous American Theologians

Find out more about the greatest American Theologians, including Cornel West, Jimmy Swaggart, John Hagee, Reinhold Niebuhr and William Lane Craig.

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

Vote for Your Favourite American Theologians

 1 John F. MacArthur

John F. MacArthur
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Famous As: Author
Birthdate: June 19, 1939
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States

 2 Jimmy Swaggart

Jimmy Swaggart
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Famous As: Singer, Theologian, Pianist
Birthdate: March 15, 1935
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Ferriday
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 3 Reinhold Niebuhr

Reinhold Niebuhr
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Famous As: Theologian
Birthdate: June 21, 1892
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Wright City, Missouri
Died: June 1, 1971

 4 Francis Chan

Francis Chan
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Famous As: Theologian, Author
Birthdate: August 31, 1967
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Hong Kong

 5 John Hagee

John Hagee
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Famous As: Pastor, Theologian, Saxophonist
Birthdate: April 12, 1940
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Baytown

 6 William Lane Craig

William Lane Craig
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Famous As: Philosopher, Theologian, University teacher, Writer
Birthdate: August 23, 1949
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Peoria

 7 R. C. Sproul

R. C. Sproul
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Famous As: Theologian, Philosopher, Non-fiction writer, University teacher
Birthdate: February 13, 1939
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Pittsburgh
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 8 Max Lucado

Max Lucado
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Famous As: Theologian, Writer
Birthdate: January 11, 1955
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: San Angelo

 9 Timothy J. Keller

Timothy J. Keller
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Famous As: Theologian
Birthdate: September 23, 1950
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Allentown, Pennsylvania, United States

 10 Timothy M. Dolan

Timothy M. Dolan
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Famous As: Theologian, University teacher, Catholic priest
Birthdate: February 6, 1950
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: St. Louis

The archbishop of New York, Timothy M. Dolan has previously also served as the archbishop of Milwaukee. He has also penned several religious books, such as Doers of the Word and Called to Be Holy. He was also assigned with the task of handling cases of priests engaging in sexual abuse.

 11 Jeremiah Wright

Jeremiah Wright
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Famous As: Theologian
Birthdate: September 22, 1941
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Philadelphia

 12 Shmuley Boteach

Shmuley Boteach
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Famous As: Writer, Theologian, Rabbi
Birthdate: November 19, 1966
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Los Angeles

Orthodox rabbi and author Shmuley Boteach, also known as the host of Shalom in the Home, soared to international fame with the release of his book Kosher Sex. The father of nine was a spiritual advisor to Michael Jackson and has founded the pro-Israel non-profit The World Values Network.

 13 Alvin Plantinga

Alvin Plantinga
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Famous As: Theologian, Philosopher, University teacher
Birthdate: November 15, 1932
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Ann Arbor

 14 Francis Schaeffer

Francis Schaeffer
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Famous As: Theologian, Philosopher
Birthdate: January 30, 1912
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Philadelphia
Died: May 15, 1984

 15 Daniel Berrigan

Daniel Berrigan
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Famous As: Peace activist, Theologian, Writer, University teacher
Birthdate: May 9, 1921
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Virginia
Died: April 30, 2016

 16 John Witherspoon

John Witherspoon
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Famous As: Politician, Theologian
Birthdate: February 5, 1723
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Gifford, East Lothian
Died: November 15, 1794

 17 John Shelby Spong

John Shelby Spong
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Famous As: Priest, Theologian, Philosopher, Writer
Birthdate: June 16, 1931
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Charlotte

John Shelby Spong is an author, religion commentator, theologian, and retired bishop of the Episcopal Church. Over the years, he has appeared on several national television broadcasts, such as Larry King Live, The Today Show, and 60 Minutes. In 1999, he was honored with the Humanist of the Year award.

 18 Peter L. Berger

Peter L. Berger
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Famous As: Sociologist, Theologian, University teacher
Birthdate: March 17, 1929
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Vienna

 19 Theodore McCarrick

Theodore McCarrick
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Famous As: Priest
Birthdate: July 7, 1930
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: New York City, United States

 20 John Ortberg

John Ortberg
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Famous As: Author, Theologian, Psychologist
Birthdate: May 5, 1957
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Rockford

 21 Erwin McManus

Erwin McManus
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Famous As: Author, Theologian
Birthdate: August 28, 1958
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: El Salvador

 22 Elaine Pagels

Elaine Pagels
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Famous As: Historian
Birthdate: February 13, 1943
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Palo Alto, California, United States

 23 Mary Daly

Mary Daly
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Famous As: Theologian, Writer, Philosopher, University teacher, Feminist
Birthdate: October 16, 1928
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Schenectady
Died: January 3, 2010

 24 Edward Everett

Edward Everett
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Famous As: Former American senator
Birthdate: April 11, 1794
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Boston, Massachusetts
Died: January 15, 1865

 25 Jim Wallis

Jim Wallis
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Famous As: Theologian
Birthdate: June 4, 1948
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Detroit, Michigan, US

 26 Johnny Lee Clary

Johnny Lee Clary
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Famous As: Theologian
Birthdate: June 18, 1959
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Martinez
Died: October 21, 2014

 27 Stanley Hauerwas

Stanley Hauerwas
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Famous As: Ethicist, Philosopher, Theologian
Birthdate: July 24, 1940
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Dallas

 28 Walter Brueggemann

Walter Brueggemann
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Famous As: theologian, university teacher
Birthdate: March 11, 1933
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Tilden

 29 Walter Rauschenbusch

Walter Rauschenbusch
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Famous As: Theologian
Birthdate: October 4, 1861
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Rochester, New York, US
Died: July 25, 1918

 30 Avery Dulles

Avery Dulles
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Famous As: Theologian
Birthdate: August 24, 1918
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Auburn, New York, United States
Died: December 12, 2008

Avery Dulles was a Jesuit priest, cardinal of the Catholic Church, and theologian. Renowned for his skills as an author and lecturer, Dulles was associated with Woodstock College and the Catholic University of America from 1960 to 1974 and from 1974 to 1988, respectively. Over the course of his illustrious career, Avery Dulles received several prestigious honors and awards.

 31 H. Richard Niebuhr

H. Richard Niebuhr
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Famous As: Theologian
Birthdate: September 3, 1894
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Wright City, Missouri, United States
Died: July 5, 1962

 32 William Ellery Channing

William Ellery Channing
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Famous As: Preacher
Birthdate: April 7, 1780
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Newport, Rhode Island, United States
Died: October 2, 1842

William Ellery Channing was an American preacher. One of the most important Unitarian preachers in the early-19th century, Channing was also one of Unitarianism's most prominent theologians. Remembered for his impassioned and articulate public speeches and sermons, Channing had a major influence on the New England Transcendentalists. In 1903, he was honored with a statue at the Boston Public Garden.  

 33 Richard Foster

Richard J.  Foster
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Famous As: Theologian
Birthdate: May 3, 1942
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: New Mexico, United States

 34 Irvin Baxter Jr.

Irvin Baxter Jr.
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Famous As: Televangelist
Birthdate: July 8, 1945
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Richmond, Indiana, United States
Died: November 3, 2020

 35 John Woolman

John Woolman
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Famous As: Religious leader
Birthdate: October 19, 1720
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Ancocas, New Jersey, United States
Died: October 7, 1772

John Woolman was an American tailor, merchant, abolitionist, journalist, and Quaker preacher. He is best remembered for preaching Quaker beliefs after traveling through the American frontier. He condemned slavery, cruelty to animals, conscription, and economic injustices. He also published several essays against slavery. His journal, which he carried throughout his life, was published posthumously as The Journal of John Woolman.

 36 Charles Hodge

Charles Hodge
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Famous As: Theologian
Birthdate: December 27, 1797
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: June 19, 1878

 37 Richard John Neuhaus

Richard John Neuhaus
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Famous As: Cleric
Birthdate: May 14, 1936
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Pembroke, Canada
Died: January 8, 2009

 38 Nicholas Wolterstorff

Nicholas Wolterstorff
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Famous As: Philosopher, Theologian
Birthdate: January 21, 1932
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Bigelow

 39 Jaroslav Pelikan

Jaroslav Pelikan
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Famous As: Historian
Birthdate: December 17, 1923
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Akron, Ohio, United States
Died: May 13, 2006

 40 Albert Barnes

Albert Barnes
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Famous As: Theologian
Birthdate: December 1, 1798
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Rome, New York, United States
Died: December 24, 1870

 41 Charles Hartshorne

Charles Hartshorne
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Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: June 5, 1897
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Kittanning, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: October 9, 2000

 42 Elias Hicks

Elias Hicks
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Famous As: Quaker minister
Birthdate: March 19, 1748
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Hempstead, New York, United States
Died: February 27, 1830

 43 Thomas J.J. Altizer

Thomas J.J. Altizer
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Famous As: Theologian
Birthdate: September 28, 1927
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Virginia, United States
Died: November 28, 2018

 44 Martin E. Marty

Martin E. Marty
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Famous As: Historian of religion
Birthdate: February 5, 1928
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: West Point, Nebraska, United States

 45 Timothy Dwight IV

Timothy Dwight IV
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Famous As: Theologian
Birthdate: May 14, 1752
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Northampton, Massachusetts, United States
Died: January 11, 1817

 46 Peter John Gomes

Peter John Gomes
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Famous As: Preacher
Birthdate: May 22, 1942
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Died: February 28, 2011

 47 Jacob Neusner

Jacob Neusner
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Famous As: Academic
Birthdate: July 28, 1932
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Hartford, Connecticut, United States
Died: October 8, 2016

Jacob Neusner redefined the study of Judaism in the U.S. at a time when theological studies focused on Christianity. A Harvard alumnus, he later attended the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. He not only ushered in new techniques of critical examination of Judaism but also translated countless Jewish texts.

 48 Troy Perry

Troy Perry
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Famous As: Religious Leader
Birthdate: July 27, 1940
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Tallahassee, Florida, United States

Religious leader Troy Perry founded the Metropolitan Community Churches, which caters specifically to the LGBTQ community. He lost his bootlegger father as a child and was sexually abused by his stepfather. His homosexuality caused him to attempt suicide, too. He later performed the first American same-sex wedding.

 49 Walter Wink

Walter Wink
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Famous As: Theologian
Birthdate: May 21, 1935
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Dallas, Texas, United States
Died: May 10, 2012

Walter Wink was a biblical scholar, theologian, and activist. An important figure in Progressive Christianity, he was known for his work related to nonviolent resistance. He is also credited with coining the phrase "the myth of redemptive violence". He was a Peace Fellow at the United States Institute of Peace and organized many workshops jointly with his wife, June Keener-Wink. 

 50 Calvin Ellis Stowe

Calvin Ellis Stowe
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Famous As: Biblical scholar
Birthdate: April 6, 1802
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Natick, Massachusetts, United States
Died: August 22, 1886