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The Top 40: Christian Celebrities

Christian celebrities have lots of worldly rewards and recognition, but these will all pass away with death.  But those who belong to Jesus will move up to heaven, the eternal reward.
The Top 40 Christian Celebrities in the last 2,000 years. How many do you know? Will you meet them in heaven? A lot will depend on you!

Christian celebrities are people who were famous apart from their Christianity. They come from all walks of life. (an asterisk by a name says there is a short biography of that person in SPIRITUAL LIVES)

Jesus and His first followers were anything but celebrities. They were unknown and largely poor people who felt the oppression and harsh rule of the leaders and elites of their time.

Every famous person mentioned in the New Testament was opposed to Jesus, from the High Priest Caiaphas, Roman governor Pilate, to King Herod to Roman Emperors Augustus, Tiberius and Nero. Here are 40 famous in their own right before they decided to follow Jesus.

  1. Saul of Tarsus* (5-67)

  2. Constantine the Great* (272-337)

  3. Augustine of Hippo (354-430)

  4. Clovis *(466-511)

  5. Olga of Kyiv *(890-969)

  6. Johannes Gutenberg* (1398-1468)

  7. Christopher Columbus (1451-1506)

  8. Michelangelo (1475-1564)

  9. Isaac Newton (1642-1727)

  10. Jonathan Swift (1667-1745)

  11. William Cowper* (1731-1800)

  12. Lewis Carroll (1832-1898)

  13. C.T. Studd* (1860-1931)

  14. Billy Sunday* (1862-1935)

  15. Thomas Stearns Eliot* (1888-1965)

  16. Bettie Page (1923- 2008)

  17. Johnny Hart (1931-2007)

  18. Johnny Cash* (1932-2003)

  19. Paul Anderson (1932-1994)

  20. Pat Boone (1932

  21. Bobby Richardson (1934

  22. Bob Dylan (1941

  23. Margaret Smith Court* ( 1942

  24. Al Green (1946

  25. Francine Rivers (1947

  26. Alice Cooper (1948

  27. Donna Summer (1948 -2012)

  28. George Foreman (1949

  29. Tony Dungy (1955

  30. Mel Gibson (1956

  31. Reggie White (1961 – 2004)

  32. Darryl Strawberry (1962

  33. Evander Holyfield (1962

  34. Michael Landon, Jr. (1964

  35. Stephen Baldwin (1966-

  36. Michael Chang* (1972

  37. Kanye West (1977-

  38. Bubba Watson (1978

  39. Tim Tebow* (1987

  40. Justin Bieber (1994

1. Saul of Tarsus* (5-67) was a shining star among the Pharisees who led a campaign to put Christ’s followers in prison or to death. All that changed when Jesus appeared to him on the road to Damascus, and he became the greatest missionary/teacher of his time, writing 14 of the 27 books of the New Testament.

Paul was the first of the Christian celebrities we are looking at. His celebrity led to a confrontation with secular power, and he was executed for his faith. What a price to pay for following Jesus!

2. Constantine the Great* (272-337) was emperor of pagan Rome. Jesus gave him a vision, and he became a Christian and stood with them, first giving them civil rights and then calling the bishops together to create the Nicene Creed which all Christians use today.

Followers of Jesus were no longer persecuted, and paths to success were open and sought by many who came to prominence in many areas, their faith was often a great asset to their success.

3. Augustine of Hippo (354-430) was a prominent philosopher espousing first Persian religion and later Neoplatonism before becoming a Christian in answer to his mother’s prayers. He became the FIRST BIOGRAPHER, philosopher, and theologian of the church.

4. Clovis *(466-511) was the pagan king of the Franks (Germans who occupied France) and Clotilde* (475-545) was his Christian wife. Her testimony softened his heart, and he promised to become a Christian if God gave him victory over his enemies. He was victorious and immediately keep that promise, and France was drawn into the fold of Christ.

5. Olga of Kyiv *(890-969) was a fierce, pagan Viking queen who burned her enemies alive. When she was born-again she brought up her son in the Christian faith, and he led Russia into Christianity.

3 of the 4 Christian celebrities above were rulers and exercised governmental and military power. Augustine achieved fame and prominence because of his intellect and reputation as a philosopher and writer. All 4 moved in elite circles and had great social prominence.

6. Johannes Gutenberg* (1398-1468) created the first printing press with moveable type and said this about this REVOLUTIONARY TECHNOLOGY:

Yes, it is a press, certainly, but a press from which shall soon flow in inexhaustible streams the most abundant and most marvelous liquor that has ever flowed to relieve the thirst of men!
Through it, God will spread His word; a spring of pure truth shall flow from it; like a new star, it shall scatter the darkness of ignorance and become a cause of light hitherto fore unknown to shine amongst men!

He and Columbus became famous because of their work or trade. They were, in fact, practical businessmen and risk-takers, and their risks and testimony have earned them a place among the Christian celebrities we honor here.

7. Christopher Columbus (1451-1506) discovered the New World and was a COMMITTED CHRISTIAN:

I am a most noteworthy sinner, but I have cried out to the Lord for grace and mercy, and they have covered me completely. I have found the sweetest consolation since I made it my whole purpose to enjoy His marvelous Presence.

8. Michelangelo (1475-1564) was the greatest sculptor of the Renaissance and a devout Catholic as well. In 1554 he wrote:

“Neither painting nor sculpture will be able any longer to calm my soul, now turned toward that divine love that opened his arms on the cross to take us in.”

Michelangelo’s GENIUS AND FAME is undisputed, but few recognize his deep faith, as deep as any of the Christians celebrities we see here.

9. Isaac Newton (1642-1727) was the greatest and most influential scientist/mathematician in history, but he spent more time studying the Bible than on any other subject. A devout but unorthodox Christian,

He spent more time on theology than on science; indeed, he wrote about 1.3 million words on biblical subjects.”

In his mind, HIS BOOKS ON REVELATION and Jesus’ Second Coming were more import that his discovery of gravity. His faith and Bible study is largely unrecognized today and is often mocked or belittled.

This is generally the treatment Christian celebrities get in our times, and the role and power of their faith is not seen for what it is – the power behind their accomplishments.

10. Jonathan Swift (1667-1745) the great writer and satirist, famous for Gulliver’s Travels and Tale of a Tub, was a lifelong Christian and Dean of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin. He preached regularly prefacing HIS SERMONS with this prayer:

Almighty and most merciful God! forgive us all our sins. Give us grace heartily to repent them, and to lead new lives. Graft in our hearts a true love and veneration for thy holy name and word. Make thy pastors burning and shining lights, able to convince gainsayers, and to save others and themselves.

Swift is the first of 3 we look at here who are Christian celebrities in large part by their literary accomplishments, Swift for satire, Cowper for poetry, and Carroll for his fascinating word-smithing and amazing stories.

11. William Cowper* (1731-1800) was one of the most popular poets of the Romantic movement, focusing on ordinary people and ordinary life. After a struggle with insanity and attempts at suicides, he became a committed Christian and powerful hymn writer:

God moves in a mysterious way, His wonders to perform; He plants his footsteps in the sea, And rides upon the storm. Deep in unfathomable mines Of never-failing skill; He treasures up his bright designs, And works His sovereign will.

12. Lewis Carroll (1832-1898) famous for Alice in Wonderland was a renowned mathematician, student of logic, and a DEVOUT CHRISTIAN;

I believe that when you and I come to lie down for the last time, if only we can keep firm hold of the great truths Christ taught us—our own utter worthlessness and His infinite worth; and that He has brought us back to our one Father, and made us His brethren, and so brethren to one another—we shall have all we need to guide us through the shadows.
Most assuredly I accept to the full the doctrines you refer to—that Christ died to save us, that we have no other way of salvation open to us but through His death, and that it is by faith in Him, and through no merit of ours, that we are reconciled to God; and most assuredly I can cordially say, “I owe all to Him who loved me, and died on the Cross of Calvary.” — Carroll (1897)

13. C.T. Studd* (1860-1931) was an outstanding cricket player and later Anglican missionary to China, India and Africa. He also authored a long poem ending with these lines;

Only one life, ‘twill soon be past; Only what’s done for Christ will last.

He is the first one here who received his celebrity status through sports and athletic ability. We will see more ahead.

Christian celebrities in the 20th and 21st centuries often become celebrities through the media, sometimes using personal public relations experts to give them exposure. This means that their public image is often not the whole truth.
Those Christian celebrities I report on here appear to me to be real, Bible-believing Christians. I have excluded those in some of the media reports when I have discovered things that indicate they do not accept the Bible as truth and the final authority for our faith.

14. Billy Sunday* (1862-1935) played baseball for Chicago, Pittsburg and Philadelphia and was known for his speed, base-stealing and hard living.

When he was saved at Pacific Garden Mission, he changed his living and became an evangelist, crude in speech, dramatic in preaching, and very popular among the working class people.

Over a million souls came to Jesus through his ministry.

Sunday is the first “man of the people” represented here. Hitherto, all our Christian celebrities have been well-educated people moving among the upper classes.

15. Thomas Stearns Eliot* (1888-1965) shook the literary/cultural world when he announced his conversion in 1927.

Author of the Wasteland, Eliot was its representation until he became a Christian and concluded the culture was lost and DOOMED WITHOUT JESUS:

“The experiment will fail, but we must be very patient in awaiting its collapse; meanwhile redeeming the time: so that the Faith may be preserved alive through the dark ages before us; to renew and rebuild civilization, and save the world from suicide.”

Eliot was at the other end of the spectrum from Sunday and perhaps the most erudite of all the Christian celebrities we are looking at. He was certainly the most influential culturally, singlehandedly resurrecting the metaphysical poets and their Christianity to prominence and displacing the romantic poets from theirs.

16. Bettie Page (1923- 2008) was a model famous for posing provocatively in men’s magazines. She was saved in 1957:

“The Lord took me by the hand, and we stepped inside. I was crying in the back row about my sins. I turned my life over to the Lord.”

She became a counselor for the Billy Graham crusade in Chicago: I’m more proud of my work with the crusade than of anything else I’ve ever done,” she told the L.A.Times.

Determined to become a missionary she completed training at BIOLA but was denied acceptance because she had been divorced. Undeterred, she remained a FAITHFUL BELIEVER until her death at 85.

Page was close to Sunday culturally, and has never before been recognized as one of our Christian celebrities because of her background.
But Jesus lifted her and changed her life despite her sin and has placed her with His own.

17. Johnny Hart (1931-2007) was the creator of B.C. and The Wizard of ID comic strips that appeared in newspaper across the nation.

Chuck Colson called him the most widely read Christian of our time,” and Hart was certainly a devout and outspoken Believer.

In a 1999 Washington Post interview he said that “Jews and Muslims who don’t accept Jesus will burn in Hell,” and that “homosexuality is the handiwork of Satan.”

The BLOWBACK WAS FIERCE, but Hart was strengthened when a fan wrote to say she was considering suicide until she read one of his INSPIRING STRIPS.

“I couldn’t believe it when I read that letter. God managed to use my strip to reach that precious soul,” Hart said. He said that one fan letter alone made all the controversy worthwhile.

Hart set the tone for the next few Christian celebrities in our list. All believers in the simple Gospel of repentance, deliverance from sin, and the absolute truth and authority of the Bible as the Word of God.

18. Johnny Cash* (1932-2003) lived a hard life of drugs and alcohol which he celebrated in song. After HE WAS SAVED in 1968, he said:

A few years ago, I was hooked on drugs. I dreaded to wake up in the morning. There was no joy, peace, or happiness in my life.
Then one day in my helplessness I turned my life completely over to God. Now I can’t wait to get up in the morning to study the Bible.”

19. Paul Anderson (1932-1994) was the WORLD’S STRONGEST MAN, lifting 6,270 lbs. in 1957, a feat unequaled to this day. He left his weight-lifting career to start aboys’ home to offer the grace of Jesus Christ to hurting young men and their families by planting God’s Word in their lives and discipling them in a relationship with Him.”

He closed his many public appearances with this line:

“If the strongest man in the world can’t get through one day without the power of Jesus Christ — where does that leave you?”

20. Pat Boone (1932 – has been a lifelong star in popular music, second only to Elvis Presley during the 1950’s.

He has been a consistent and faithful Christian and now, at 87, is perhaps the most famous SPOKESMAN FOR JESUS in Hollywood.

“I believe what the Bible says and for that matter, God has proven it to me over and over. I’m writing my last book, and it’s called IF.
The if is, where are you going to spend your life after you leave this body? Are you going to spend it in Heaven or Hell?”

21. Bobby Richardson (1934 – was the star 2nd baseman for the New York Yankees from 1955-1966 and a hero of mine. He was also the team’s unofficial chaplain and faithful to Jesus and His Word throughout his life. He led teammate Mickey Mantle to the Lord and continues to witness for Jesus today.

22. Bob Dylan (1941 – was the most famous songwriter/rock star in the world when he was saved in 1978:

“There was a presence in the room that couldn’t have been anybody but Jesus.”
“Jesus put his hand on me,” he went on, “It was a physical thing. I felt it. I felt it all over me. I felt my whole body tremble. The glory of the Lord knocked me down and picked me up.”

23. Margaret Smith Court* ( 1942 – is the greatest tennis player in history, with 62 Grand Slam titles. She was born again in 1973 and retired from tennis to take care of her family and to study for the ministry.

In 1982, I went to Bible College, and since then my goal has been to go out and share God’s Word with as many people as possible.

24. Al Green (1946 – is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and one of the greatest voices of all time. He is also an ORDAINED MINISTER of church in Memphis. His web site greeting is this invitation:

“Thank you for visiting my website. I would like to take this opportunity to invite you to bring Christ into your life.
Confess Jesus Christ today as your personal savior and you will begin to receive his bountiful blessings.
Ask him into your life today. By confessing your sins, you will be given the miraculous gift of salvation.
Your burden will ease, and the clouds will begin to part.”

25. Francine Rivers (1947 – is a popular novelist, specializing in HISTORICAL FICTION. When she was born again in 1986, she turned to Christian/Gospel themes. Redeeming Love is her most well-known book selling over one million copies. Her other Christian novels have sold millions more, all being written to

“illustrate Christ and the Christian walk, to address difficult problems and write realistic stories.”

26. Alice Cooper (1948 – is a heavy-metal, rock star who grew up in a Christian home but turned away from Christ for fame. He reconnected with God in the 80’s after being delivered from alcoholism. He now regularly gives HIS TESTIMONY and warns:

“Be careful! Satan is not a myth. Don’t sit around pretending like Satan is just a joke. My job is to warn [people] about Satan.”

27. Donna Summer (1948 -2012) was the Disco Queen who was BORN AGAIN in the 1980’s.

“I was Christian my whole life, but I didn’t really execute it – I didn’t live it. And I came back to realize that without it I couldn’t get through this stuff I had to go through. I needed something that grounded me, and it had to be really strong.”

28. George Foreman (1949 – was a boxer and heavy weight champion of the world twice. A very fierce and angry man, he found Jesus through reading the Bible and became an ordained minister. He often appears on television to give HIS TESTIMONY and encourage others in the faith.

I found out that the greatest thing in the world—the greatest existence of anything—is that God made us human beings, and that I found out how to love my fellow man.
I don’t think it’s possible for anyone to truly appreciate human beings’ lives until they’ve found Jesus Christ.

29. Tony Dungy (1955 – coached the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Indianapolis Colts in the NFL for 18 years winning Super Bowl XLI for the Colts. A faithful and VOCAL CHRISTIAN for all of those years, he did all he could to share his faith with his players and colleagues:

Christ is so much a part of my life that if I can just help steer someone else, anyone towards Jesus, it’s very important.
Truth always wins. And we can’t be afraid of sharing the truth.” –

30. Mel Gibson (1956 – is a lifelong Believer and POPULAR ACTOR/ PRODUCER best known for the movies Braveheart and The Passion of the Christ. Asked why he was willing to invest $30 million of his own money to produce The Passion, he replied:

Well, of all I have been through, here is a man who died for me. It seems like a pretty small price to try and repay, don’t you think?”

31. Reggie White (1961 – 2004) was an all-pro defensive end for 3 NFL teams and an ENTHUSIASTIC CHRISTIAN.

“I always believed, since I was a kid, that God was going to allow me to play professional football to use it as a platform to proclaim and to live out the name of Jesus, and that is the most exciting part about my life.”

32. Darryl Strawberry (1962 – was a major league baseball player with 4 World Series rings. His fame and fortune led him to drug addiction, broken family and incarceration, but HIS MOTHER’S PRAYERS were answered when he came to Jesus.

“He’s a God of second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth chances, and I think people need to understand that He’s a God that will never leave you nor forsake you,” Strawberry says.
“I don’t want to ever sit around and think like I did when I was a ball player, the foolishness of how great you are. No, it’s how great He is.
Jesus found me in the pit and put me in the pulpit. Nobody can do that but Jesus.”

33. Evander Holyfield (1962 – is the only 4-time World Heavy Weight Champion. In 1994, his license was pulled for medical reasons but a woman he prayed with advised him to go to a healing service at Benny Hinn’s. After he was re-examined the heart condition was gone, and HE REENTERED THE RING winning the championship for a 3rd time in 1996.

“I don’t box because I want to box,” Holyfield said. “I’m here because God wants me to be here.”
“Without Jesus, I wouldn’t be who I am,” he told an interviewer, “[My Grandmother and mother] always reminded me, ‘you’ve got to ask Jesus to help you.’”

34. Michael Landon, Jr. (1964 – is the son of the man who made “Little House on the Prairie” such an enormous success. Raised in a Jewish family, Michael Jr. converted to Christianity and has become a producer of MOVIES WITH CHRISTIAN THEME, some based on the novels of Francine Rivers.

The spiritual side of human beings is neglected, for the most part, by Hollywood. And while I don’t want to shove it into anyone’s face, we’re not only physical, we’re spiritual as well. And of the two, the spiritual has greater value.

35. Stephen Baldwin (1966 – is a popular actor and producer who GAVE HIS LIFE TO JESUS just after the 9-11 terrorist attack.

He was led to the Lord by his cleaning lady and wife and has now focused on sharing the Gospel:

I have a calling. Do you know what that calling is? To stand up in a new and hard core, radical way for the Lord.
In the process, if I insult a couple of people, if I offend a couple of people, and if I got to shake it up a little bit, as long as it is led by the Holy Spirit, amen.

36. Michael Chang* (1972 – is a professional tennis player who became a Christian at 15 after reading a Bible his grandparents gave him. He carried his faith with him into tennis.

At 17 he became the youngest man ever to win the French Open. The world learned about his faith then when he announced after winning:

I thank the Lord Jesus Christ, because, without Him, I am nothing.

37. Kanye West (1977- is one of the most successful musicians and producers of all time worth $1.8 billion in 2021. He was BORN AGAIN IN 2019:

“When I was trying to serve multiple gods it drove me crazy” “I didn’t even know what it meant to be saved” and that now “I love Jesus Christ. I love Christianity.” “I’m just a Christian everything.”

He has started worship services attended by many Hollywood celebrities. His latest album is Jesus is King.

38. Bubba Watson (1978 – is a professional golfer who has won 2 Masters Tournaments and is also a COMMITTED CHRISTIAN.

Watson uses his visibility and high profile in the world of golf, to share the Gospel:

For me, it’s just showing the Light. There’re people who want to put down Christians. I try to tell them Jesus loves you. It’s just a way to be strong in my faith…

39. Tim Tebow* (1987 – has had a well-known career in college and professional football while always standing up for the Gospel. He sent a public testimony to millions every week by writing Bible verses on his eye-black and kneeling in silent prayer of the field, soon known as “Tebowing.”

Continuingly mocked by the press for his faith, he remained faithful and kind:

Let’s just love God and love people and let’s bring people together. How many people can we love in the name of Jesus?
How many people can we help in the name of Jesus. That’s the goal. Nothing else is the goal. Nothing else matters,

40. Justin Bieber (1994– is a CANADIAN SINGER, the youngest to reach the “top of the charts” and become a teen idol. He was baptized in 2014 after being born-again:

“I’m a Jesus follower. When you accept Jesus, you walk with the Holy Spirit. I just want to be led by the Holy Spirit.”

He is married to Stephen Baldwin’s daughter Hailey.

Final Comments on Christian Celebrities

How wonderful it is that Jesus is using these people for His glory and to present His great salvation to the lost.

The Gospel goes on from generation to generation, and the Lord raises up holy men and women to speak for Him. I love to see young people from this generation standing up for Jesus.

As I have worked on this for the past few weeks, I have read about many more who have claimed to be Christians, but when I look more closely I see things that trouble me.

Many do not have the “staying power” and soon abandon Jesus and the Bible and latch on to something more current or popular. Others are corrupted by wealth, status, and power and leave the simple truth of God’s Word behind.

But Jesus has others ready to take up the cross and follow Him. I pray that we will join these Christian celebrities on Jesus’ Role of Honor. Listen for His voice and answer His call!

Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. Jesus in Mark 16:15
A call for loyal soldiers Comes to one and all; Soldiers for the conflict, Will you heed the call? Will you answer quickly, With a ready cheer, Will you be enlisted As a volunteer?
Refrain A volunteer for Jesus, A soldier true! Others have enlisted, Why not you? Jesus is the Captain, We will never fear, Will you be enlisted As a volunteer?

Words: W. S. Brown, 1907.

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