March 9, 2010

Evangelist Billy Graham, 91, was cited by 21 percent of Protestant pastors as among the most influential figures in their lives in a survey taken of 1,000 pastors in November by LifeWay Research. Graham was named three times more often than the runner-up in the telephone survey, author-pastor-radio personality Charles Swindoll. Charles Stanley of Atlanta, Rick Warren of Lake Forest, California, and John MacArthur of Sun Valley, Cali fornia, also registered high on the list. The only mainline minister to make the list was author Barbara Brown Taylor, an Episcopal priest and religion professor at Piedmont College. Ed Stetzer, director of LifeWay Research, an arm of the Southern Baptist Con vention, said he was surprised that the top ten names mentioned were almost all theological conservatives. He said the poll sample included liberals and conservatives, mainline and evangelical pastors.

L. Gregory Jones, dean of Duke University Divinity School since 1997, has been named senior adviser for international strategy at the Durham, North Carolina, university. Jones, a regular Century contributor for the past decade, will step down as dean at the end of the current academic year. Richard Hays, who holds an endowed chair in New Testament, will serve as interim dean for two years during the search for Jones’s successor, school officials announced.