Preachers You Should Know: Conservative

Part One: Preachers You Should Know: Mainline

In this installment of Preachers Your Should Know, we turn towards the conservative circles. I use conservative to describe moderate to conservative Evangelicals. Since these circles are what I grew up in, it was very difficult to cut anyone from the list! After several conversations, I cut the list to seven preachers ranging from well-known to should-be-well-known. I wanted to focus on those preachers that may not be well-known, but don’t worry, I added a massive list of honorable mentions that most of you should already know. If not, be sure to check them out to see why they are PYSK.

As with part one, the biographies below are taken mainly from Wikipedia or their respective universities or church websites. I have tried to highlight their individual personalities as best as I can. I only included books under recommended reading if I am familiar with the work. I know that most of the preachers have some connection to Gordon-Conwell, so please comment below and recommend some other preachers that you would have put on this list. If mainline preachers have consistently short sermons, conservative preachers have consistently loooong sermons in comparison. I have been told a sermon is not a sermon unless it’s over 30 minutes! Thankfully, chapel sermons have time constraints on them that is mainly what is included below. You’ll notice some commonalities below. There is no shying away from the biblical text; it is taken head on. Culture is attacked rather than embraced, but the social justice of the mainline preachers is still present, just dialed down a bit. The evangelistic nature of the Gospel is dialed up far louder than the mainline preachers as well.


Who is he?

From Gordon-Conwell’s website, Haddon Robinson is the Harold John Ockenga Distinguished Professor of Preaching at Senior Director of the Doctor of Ministry Program at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. Widely regarded as an expert in the area of preaching, Preaching magazine named him one of the 25 most influential preachers of the past 25 years in 2010. He was also recognized by Christianity Today in the top 10 of its “Top 25 Most Influential Preachers” from 1956-2006. He was named one of the 12 most effective preachers in the English-speaking world in a 1996 Baylor University poll and in 2008 he received the E.K. Bailey Living Legend Award.

Why should you know him?

Aside from being one of the most influential preachers in modern evangelicalism, Haddon Robinson popularized “Big Idea” preaching. Essentially, this means that each sermon should have one main idea rather than 4-100 points. For me, Haddon was the first conservative preacher I heard preach in a narrative style similar to Fred Craddock.

Required Reading:

Biblical Preaching (2014 edition)


Who is he?

Dr. Tony Evans is the current pastor of the massive Oaks Fellowship church in Dallas, TX and is the chaplain for the Dallas Cowboys. He was the first African-American graduate from Dallas Theological Seminary.

Why you should know him?

Haddon Robinson has said that Tony Evans was the best student he ever had. He has a way of staying true to the text while leaving aside the lecture style that characterizes conservative preaching. He is an extremely good communicator and is a welcome voice against the prosperity gospel. As a student of Haddon, he uses the big idea style of preaching but is so clear that you can often pick out the sub-points to his big idea. His political commentary is balanced and welcomed.


Who is he?

Gabriel Salguero is the pastor of the Lamb’s Church in Manhattan and the President of the National Latino Evangelical Coalition. Salguero’s leadership of the National Latino Evangelical Coalition (NaLEC) offers an important voice for growing diversity and changing demographics in our country. Salguero has been named as one of the most prominent Latino evangelical leaders by the Huffington Post, the Center for American Progress, El Diario, and Jorge Ramos’ Al Punto.

Why you should know him?

Gabriel is bilingual. Aside from the ability to speak both English and Spanish, he has the specialized talent to expound the biblical text faithfully and apply it to political and social realities. He has the exegesis ability of Haddon Robinson and the social commentary of E.K. Bailey. He would deny this vigorously, of course, but his voice is so important and necessary it would not allow me to put another preacher on this list before him. I’m quite partial to his sermon at Gordon-Conwell, probably because I had the pleasure of speaking with him through out that day. You’ll find the video of that sermon here


Who is he?

Gordon Hugenberger is the senior pastor of the historic Park Street Church in Boston, MA and Ranked Adjunct of the Old Testament at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. He was also on the board for the ESV translation committee. He has a B.A. in Applied Physics from Harvard and studied the Hebrew Bible at Oxford after receiving his PhD.

Why should you know him?

Dr. Hugenberger is a pastor in the heart of Boston, America’s academic heart. His sermons reflect his audience, graduates of Harvard, Tufts, MIT, and so on. That being the case, he goes into far more detail than the other pastors on this list. Especially important for his inclusion for me, he is one of the few preachers that actual understands science and embraces it. His sermons on Genesis, all 43 of them, are available at this link and are excellent and highly recommended. Dr. Hugenberger has the rare ability to keep my attention for a full 45+ minutes. That’s not very easy to do!


Who is she?

Dr. Alice Mathews is the Academic Dean for Christian University GlobalNet and the Lois W. Bennet Professor of Education and Women’s Ministries Emerita at Gordon-Conwell. She is a very popular speaker on preaching, particularly preaching to women. She was a missionary in France and Austria for 17 years, so she brings quite a bit of cross-cultural experience to her sermons. She has co-hosted the Discover the Word radio show with Haddon Robinson for years. Interestingly (at least to me), she’s a graduate of Bob Jones and Iliff School of Theology, which is like saying you’re a mainstream hipster.

Why should you know her?

Because of theological positions, it is very difficult to find any conservative women preachers that are not Pentecostal. When I think of women who are great preachers and Dr. Mathews is a marvelous preacher and speaker. She commands attention in her presentation. She is fond of the first person narrative sermon. It takes all sorts of talent to make those sermons not cheesy! Dr. Mathews is also a needed voice in preaching conversation in conservative circles and highlights the need to approach listeners as men and women. I couldn’t find a sermon on YouTube, but many of them exist on iTunes. Here’s a fantastic sermon in the form of a baccalaureate address:

Required Reading:

Preaching that Speaks to WomenMarriage Made in Eden


Who is he?

Calvin Miller was a prolific author, pastor, and professor. After 30 years as a pastor, Miller joined the faculty of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, where he served as professor of communications and ministry studies, as well as writer-in-residence for 8 years. In 1999, he moved to Beeson Divinity School in Alabama until 2007. He passed away in 2012 at the age of 75.

Why should you know him?

Calvin Miller was one of the few Christians that really transcends the title ‘preacher.’ He could preach just as easily to you through his books or poetry than in the pulpit. He was also a huge proponent of the narrative style of preaching in conservative circles. His sermons, stories, and poems combine art and Christianity in a meaningful way rather than cheesy branding.

Required Reading:

The Singer TrilogyThe Art of Narrative Preaching;


Who is he?

Robert Smith, Jr. is the current Professor of Christian Preaching at Beeson Divinity school, replacing Calvin Miller. He was previously professor of Christian Preaching at Southern Baptist Seminary in Louisville, KY.

Why should you know him?

Robert Smith has been accused of making even the “whitest” of congregations lively. His style is reminiscent of Gardner Taylor in that he emphasizes action though he is not as political as Gardner. Smith is clearly one of the best speakers in the church, and thankfully his theology is orthodox. He uses alliteration, metaphors, and really stimulates the mind as well as any preacher I know.

Required Reading:

Doctrine that Dances;

Honorable Mentions: Billy Graham | Andy Stanley | Warren Wiersbe | Tim Keller | Ed Young, Sr. | Brian Chappell | Charles Stanley | Adrian Rogers | John Stott | John Piper

Who did I miss? What do you think of  the sermons? Let me know in the comments.


2 thoughts on “Preachers You Should Know: Conservative

  1. Pingback: Preachers You Should Know: Mainline | Variegated Vita

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