Top 100 Christians 2015
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The search for the Top 100 UK Christians – nominations now open for #CranmerList2015

 

The celebration of Christian saints is a phenomenon which has endured throughout the centuries with an enthusiasm that shows little sign of diminishing. Recent Roman Catholic popes have dished out sainthoods by the bucket load. John Paul II canonised a record 110 individuals over 26 years. Benedict XVI upped the pace with 45 in eight years, and Francis isn’t hanging around, having already managed 17 in his three years as pontiff. The majority of Protestants would argue that biblically every Christian is a saint and spurn Rome’s formalities and arbitrary qualifications, but that doesn’t stop them having their own heroes. John Wesley, William Wilberforce, Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Martin Luther King among many others are still revered almost as much as St Paul and the other Apostles.

There are some individuals whom deserve to be remembered for their outstanding examples of great faith and deeds, serving God and advancing His Kingdom. When Jesus said, ‘Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these‘ (Jn 4:12 NIV) he knew that once his Spirit was poured out upon the Church, some would run and run with it burning in their hearts. That fire has never diminished and we see God’s Spirit as much alive now as in the days of the Early Church – if we have our eyes wide open and know what to look for. That is why it is such a shame that too often the Church pays more attention to the ‘saints’ of the past who long departed this earthly realm.

To rejoice in what God is doing in and through the Church right now is to savour God’s love for the whole world. When we hear great stories of individual Christians following in Jesus’ footsteps, being salt and light in a world full of darkness, they can and ought to spur us on to deepen our faith and respond accordingly. When any of us chooses to pursue God’s calling beyond a self-centred life, we should expect to see wonderful things. This power to transform the world is simply not restricted to a select few.

This was the motivation behind last year’s #CranmerList2014. It was always about sharing the good news of God’s Spirit in action through a democratically nominated and un-ranked list of the Top 100 UK Christians. There are, of course, thousands more who are at least as deserving of recognition, but they can rest assured that in the Kingdom of Heaven the first shall be last and what is done in secret will, in time, receive full reward.

Such a proposition was a chance to provide a counter to those annual power lists rooted in celebrity culture and obsessed with ranking. The notion of a ‘Top 100 UK Christians’ can and does grab attention and headlines, but it is the substance underneath that is of real importance: if this works (and it did) in terms of spreading some Good News, then the irritation of those who see the whole idea as a worldly vanity project is worth enduring.

One of the key notions behind the Top 100 UK Christians was that it would become an annual event with fresh nominations each time ensuring a broad range of names that go beyond any one denomination, tradition or the compilers’ whims. Inevitably, some will delight and others will provoke, but to allow our opinions to be challenged once in a while is no bad thing. Last year there was criticism that there were a lack of women on the list, but the only reason for this was the limited number of submissions. If you wish to see more women (or business people or young pioneers) then do something about it.

So once again we ask for your input to help compile this year’s list. The nomination form is below. Nominees must be living and a citizen of the United Kingdom. Their ministry may, however, be wider than teaching, preaching or pastoring, and may be to anywhere in the world.

You are entirely free to nominate Rosemary for her faithfulness in serving teas and coffees week after week for the last two decades at your local church. But much as this is a commendable service for the kingdom, the point of the exercise is a consideration of spiritual influence in the world, focusing on Christians whose ministry is significant in the public realm; those who labour in the vineyard, contending for the Faith, whose fruits are discernible and compelling.

As you consider your nomination(s), do not just ask yourself, ‘What has this person done for us?’ (where ‘us’ is the Body of Christ and the communion of saints), but also ‘What has this person done for the mission of God and the cause of Christ in the world?’ If their ministry is principally in and to the Church, have they sufficiently inspired others to follow Christ; to go out into the world and reflect upon the treasures of eternity? If their ministry is in and to the world, does it reflect the peace, truth and mercy of a loving God? What, if anything, distinguishes it from secular social intervention? Do they foster unity or division? Are they gracious or conceited? Do they speak, sing or write with divine wisdom, passion and insight, or go on about carnal obsessions and material desires? In short, are their eyes fixed on Jesus?

Nominations are now closed. The results will be published at the end of December to coincide with the New Year’s Honours.

  • Busy Mum

    I find it quite reassuring that there was a ‘lack of women’ on last year’s list. There are far too many women around wrecking what is left of Christianity in this country. Maybe we could have an alternative list called the Top 100 UK pseudo-Christians and I am sure we could come up with plenty of female nominations.

    p.s. it needed to be a woman who said this, for obvious reasons.

    • magnolia

      Surely you are called to love women as well as men? After all Jesus was noticeably respectful and gentle with women, wasn’t he? What’s not to follow?

  • I trust no-one will nominate the Archbishops or any of our present Bishops who are busy surrendering to Islam.

  • dannybhoy

    A daft idea..

  • Politically__Incorrect

    I’m finding it difficult to nominate a single person for this category this time. If it were possible to have a group nomination, I would nominate all those Christians in this country who have been forced out their job, been prosecuted, or undergone industrial tribunals, or otherwise been ridiculed and intimidated by our secular authorities simply because of the beliefs, and who have remained steadfast in those beliefs despite their ordeal. I don’t have exact numbers, but I believe we are looking at dozens of such people.

    • dannybhoy

      Absolutely.
      I would nominate all who are engaged in rescuing and helping our persecuted brothers and sisters in the ME and elsewhere, but I doubt they’d want to be named, and would rather have the prayers and donations..
      If you nominate an individual are you exposing her/him to unwished for publicity? Or prideful temptation? Or endless congratulations?
      I don’t know. That’s why I rather think it’s daft..

      • Politically__Incorrect

        I am sure that very few, maybe none, of those one could nominate are seeking any personal honour or trying to draw attention to themselves. Many would probably prefer not be named at all. I think the only case for a nomination is that some Christians display particular strengths and are a good example to the rest of us. But I agree, we do not want a believer beauty contest.

    • David

      Good suggestion – the martyrs of aggressive, rampant secularism. Let’s do it !

  • Jon Sorensen

    hmmm…. first the Rev’d Barry Trayhorn article, and now this article…. Nah, I can’t join the dots.

    • William Lewis

      Think of it as another topic.

      • The Explorer

        You’e foxed him. He’s gone quiet.

        • William Lewis

          He’s not still trying to join the dots is he?

          • Pubcrawler

            Probably off searching for some variant reading of the works of St Cyril that ‘proves’ Athanasius was a secret Osiris worshipper. Or something about Mithras — we haven’t had that yet.

  • sarky

    Top 100 christians? Not really fair on the 10 not included is it?

    • The Explorer

      You think there are that many?

      • Anton

        I’d prefer a Top XI. Then we could play Subbuteo football against other faiths. Or have a Catholics vs Protestants friendly.

        • William Lewis

          That sounds cool. We could even have a league and pundits discussing which team has the best (spiritual) defence. There could even be a soul of the month competition.

          • CliveM

            A fantasy league, where we buy and sell ‘Christian’ stars?

          • William Lewis

            We seem to be reliving some kind of Dave Allen sketch here, Clive.

          • CliveM

            Didn’t he have a sketch with footballing priests, or am I thinking Monty Python?

          • William Lewis

            And didn’t Father Ted have one as well? It may have been all three.

          • CliveM

            Yes I think you are right. Must have a look on YouTube.

          • dannybhoy

          • William Lewis

            Classic FT

          • dannybhoy

            “Small; faaar away!”
            FT explaining to Dougal that distance only makes cows look small. Not that they actually are small cows….

          • sarky

            That really would be a ‘fantasy’ league!!

          • Anton

            Christian Ronaldo?

          • CliveM

            I wouldn’t like to say. Didn’t a full team of Coptic Christians get martyred by ISIS on a beach? They would be my choice.

          • Anton

            In all seriousness – I wouldn’t want to mix discussion of that event with frivolity – was that a Christian football team?

          • CliveM

            I was trying to make a serious point, but at an inappropriate point. I have deleted.

          • Pubcrawler

            (Speaking with my ex-goalkeeper’s cap on) what about save of the month?

          • sarky

            Considering the inspectors propensity for visiting certain sites, how about tackle of the month?

          • Anton

            Foul!

          • James60498 .

            If we had a rugby match instead, we could have conversion of the month.

        • Albert

          Are you sure you want that given all the Brazilians we would have?

          • Anton

            OK, subbuteo cricket then…

          • Albert

            Mind you, it occurs to me that the Vatican team recently beat the CofE team, so perhaps even that won’t go well for you.

          • Anton

            Better divide teams by the 1662 Act of Uniformity then; I’m not CoE.

          • Albert

            I don’t fancy Protestantism chances at cricket without the CofE.

          • Anton

            Who’s better at spin?

        • bluedog

          Excellent, but let’s stick to a Cricketing XI.
          I nominate Geoffrey Boycott as Christian of the year. Although his personal faith remains confidential, there is something splendidly protestant about Boycott.

          • magnolia

            Are we nominating a cricketing team only of the living, or is this from several centuries? And are they all notionally in their prime?

    • dannybhoy

      (Captain Mainwaring)
      “Stupid boy…”

    • Jon Sorensen

      I was thinking of nominating Jesus (Surely he resides in England), but I guess his views are considered heretical now…

  • Martin

    Yes, I think it is ghastly. A worldly attitude.

  • David

    Tongue in cheek now, just as marketing departments have their “Sales person of the month”, so maybe we could award an “Evangelist of the month”, for the most conversions ?
    But there is the alternative point of view.
    In an almost totally secularised world, do we have to use the methods of the world to win hearts and souls for Christ ? This is applying something similar to the “Why should the Devil have all the best tunes?” approach of General Booth, if I recall the quotes author correctly.
    Overall though I am not convinced that, what is essentially a competition for according some vague sort of status, or the dreaded “celebrity”, is an appropriate publicity tool for us to use. There must be better ways to draw attention to The Kingdom.

    • Martin

      And, of course, salvation is of the Lord. This is an almost idolatrous concept.

  • len

    Every born again believer in Jesus Christ is ‘ a saint’ .So a saint is just an ‘ordinary Christian ‘ ………..

  • David

    Another thought occurred to me – they are rare !
    I do hope that this unchristian competition is not used as a “my denomination is better than yours, because we’ve got the winner of ….”, because that would be perverse. To offer God’s love and salvation to a fallen world, desperately in need of His grace, we need to preach the Gospel, each Church in its own way, but not to compete.

  • dannybhoy

    I admire your tenacity Sir, but on the basis that St Paul considered himself “the chief of sinners”, what devout, active, effective Christian would want their name put forward for consideration in some kind of Christian version of “Britain’s got Talent”?
    It just can’t work Sir. You’re on a hiding to nothing!
    Niow if you wanted nominations fore “best balanced, forbearing and inclusive Christian blog…”, you would have my vote.

    • chiefofsinners

      “On the basis that st Paul considered himself the chief of sinners, what devout, active, effective Christian would want their name put forward…?”
      ME. Me, me, me! Oh pleeeease can it be me? Say it can. Pleeeease.

      • dannybhoy

        (Laughs)
        Pssssst!
        Okay, I vote for you.
        But it’s gonna cost you …

        • chiefofsinners

          I knew you were turning Catholic. OK I’ll have two nominations and a packet of crisps, plus an indulgence for you to cover the filthy lucre.

          • dannybhoy

            TWO nominations!
            Okay, but only if you give me back the packet of votive candles you slipped under your surplice when you thought I wasn’t looking.
            Plus I want a genuine lock of Martin Luther’s hair in a plaster frame with a glass front.
            What flavour crisps you want?

          • chiefofsinners

            Roast tomartyr flavour please.

          • dannybhoy

            Now that is funny!

  • Martin

    Daft I call it.

    • David

      That was commendably brief.

  • IanCad

    Can’t help feeling that a “Top of the Pops” list for Christians is a little unseemly.

  • The year has passed so quickly it seems that voting again now doesn’t feel right. How about a 2 yearly award?

  • len

    The’ greatest ‘in the kIngdom of God will be the’ least’ in the kingdom of this World. So who`s for that nomination then?…Don`t be too predictable now………

  • David

    Business is exceeding slow….
    Little demand I’d say….
    This competition thingy is theologically very dodgy, that’s why…..
    So mark this, a rare accord breaks out, on the Cranny website….
    But it won’t infect other topics, oh no.