10 Of The Most Famous Christians Of The Past 100 Years

What makes a Christian famous? The depth of the Christian influence throughout the last 100 years can’t be known until we all stand before Christ. There are those Christians who have done tremendous work in the name of God:

Amy Carmichael (1857-1951)

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” (Matthew 25:40).

As a missionary to India, Amy Carmichael served for 55 years without a furlough. Her heart was to serve God by serving others. She resisted what many people turned a blind eye from—saving the mistreated and abused women and children from pagan rituals.

Corrie ten Boom (1892-1983)

“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32).

Corrie ten Boom and many of her family members risked their lives to protect Jews and others who were hunted by the Nazis during World War II. After suffering great loss of health and family in concentration camps, Corrie demonstrated the unconditional love and forgiveness of Christ towards the Nazis as well as their collaborators.

Billy Graham (1918- present)

“Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction” (2 Timothy 4:2).

Billy Graham led the largest crusades even known to preachers. His fervency about God’s love and power has led to many people making a commitment to Christ.

Dr. Martin Luther King (1929-1968)

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery” (Galatians 5:1).

Dr. Martin Luther King was compelled by the Spirit of God to move when he felt the “inner urge” to help others. His preaching and writings stirred up the conscience of people all over the world to rethink their prejudicial and racial practices.

Mother Teresa (1910-1987)

“Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him?” (James 2:5).

Mother Teresa was a Roman Catholic nun who found herself with a calling to reach out to the poorest of the poor in India. Before she was well known, Mother Teresa chose to step away from the comforts of living in a convent to immersing herself to minister to those with leprosy, AIDS, and the dying.

Jim Elliot (1927-1956)

“But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ” (Philippians 3:8).

Jim Elliot was a missionary killed in Ecuador when he and other fellow missionaries attempted to reach the Huaorani people. Their highly publicized deaths brought attention to Jim’s life and the pursuit of following God’s calling to dangerous places. Eventually many people in this tribe would come to know Christ.

Robert Pierce (1914-1978)

“Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead” (James 2:15-17).

Robert Pierce was a passionate filmmaker and preacher who shared the gospel as well as meeting the needs of the hurting. He started World Vision and Samaritan’s Purse to give believers an opportunity to give of their wealth to the suffering poor around the world.

Nelson Mandela (1918-2013)

“Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him” (James 1:12).

Nelson Mandela was a South African who spent much of his adult life in prison because of his stance against apartheid. His story of persevering through difficulties and separation from family inspires us to push forward in the face of opposition.

Gladys Aylward (1902-1970)

“Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you” (Matthew 17:20).

Gladys Aylward was a missionary who focused her calling and work in China. She put her trust in God and left home for China without a missions support. Her life mirrored what it is to put faith in God to overcome personal fears, illnesses, and outside pressures.

C. S. Lewis (1898-1963)

“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms” (1 Peter 4:10).

C.S. Lewis was an author and apologist with a prolific imagination and understanding of Christianity. His writings are interweaved with the message of Christ for children to adults.

Famous for what?

We can glean faith, hope, and trust in God’s faithfulness as He worked through these people to accomplish His great will. They weren’t perfect people—rather, they were those willing to give their time, resources, money, and energy to bring to light the example of Jesus Christ to a dying world.

Article by Crystal McDowell

Crystal McDowell is a writer, speaker, and teacher with a passion to encourage believers to know and grow in their relationship with Jesus Christ through practical application of God’s word.  

Crystal and her husband, Marshall, raise their five children in the Bloomington, IL. As a freelance writer and editor for over 13 years, Crystal has published numerous Christian curriculums for Sunday School and VBS as well as many articles dealing with marriage, motherhood, and relationships. She’s a weekly staff writer for www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com as well as writing her own blog at http://crystalmcdowellspeaks.blogspot.com.