Lakewood Church pastor Joel Osteen named 3rd most influential US evangelical next to Graham family

Lakewood Church pastor Joel Osteen has clinched third place in a list of the 100 most influential evangelical leaders in the U.S. that was released by conservative paper Newsmax, just after Billy Graham and his son Franklin Graham.

(WIKIMEDIA COMMONS / RobertMWorsham)Joel Osteen preaching at Lakewood Church, Houston, Texas, on July 17, 2016.

Pastor Osteen was just one of the many Texans who were included in Newsmax's annual list of the most influential evangelical leaders in America. Others who also made it to the roster are John Hagee of Cornerstone Church, T.D. Jakes of The Potter's House, Chuck Swindoll, Dallas pastor Robert Jeffress, Dr. Tony Evans, Beth Moore of Living Proof Ministries, and Max Lucado, Chron detailed.

There were also other personalities who made it to Newsmax's list but were neither pastors nor clergy. These include athletes Jeremy Lin and Tim Tebow. U.S. Vice President Mike Pence was also on the list in ninth place. 

Celebrities such as Kirk Kameron, Candace Cameron Bure, Pat Boone, and Phil and Willie Robertson have also been named as influential evangelicals.

Last month, Pastor Osteen spoke to Stuart Varney of FOX Business Network about the persecution of Christians and the conflicts in the Middle East. He said people from all faiths in the region have been targeted in attacks, but Christians were especially vulnerable.

When asked what could be the political solutions to stopping the persecution of Christians, Pastor Osteen said politics was beyond his scope. He said they prayed for the suffering believers but admitted that Lakewood Church and other churches were not doing enough to help.

In addition, Pastor Osteen said though they were working with organizations that helped Mideast Christians, the efforts were still not enough. For the Texas megachurch leader, something more needs to be done so that the situation in the Middle East will not happen again.

Nevertheless, Pastor Osteen did not specify what kind of action he wanted from either U.S. President Donald Trump or Congress. For now, he said he opted to remain in his own field because he was not involved in politics.