Victor Knowles’s Thought Leaders

We asked 35 Christian leaders, “Who is the influencer with the biggest impact on your life and ministry?” Most of these leaders listed several influential thinkers, writers, innovators, and leaders more of us should get to know. This response is from Victor Knowles, founder and director of POEM (Peace on Earth Ministries), Joplin, Missouri.


Leroy Garrett is perhaps best known for his magnum opus The Stone-Campbell Movement, but I think his best work is his transparent autobiography, A Lover’s Quarrel. It caused me to tear up a number of times. Anyone who can touch your heart can reach your head. This prolific 97-year-old writer is still challenging my thinking in his weekly “Occasional Essays,” available at

Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California.
Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California.

Peggy Noonan is a columnist for The Wall Street Journal, appearing there most Saturdays and also on I love that she is not shrill or strident (like Maureen Dowd) in her writing. Peggy is clear, concise, and cuts to the chase. She is the author of eight books on American politics and culture, including one of my all-time favorites, When Character Was King: A Story of Ronald Reagan.

Bob Russell, founder of Bob Russell Ministries, Louisville, Kentucky, is one of the most careful, compassionate, and courageous thinkers around today. I am a big fan of his blog,, which he updates about once a week. Bob is not afraid to take on controversial subjects in the church, culture, and politics, but he always “speaks the truth in love.” He also writes an occasional column called “The Living Word” for The Lookout. Bob is the author of 10 books, including my favorite, When God Answers Prayer.

Ravi Zacharias is founder and president of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Atlanta, Georgia. I believe he is the most effective Christian apologist living today. I don’t know of anyone who understands the current culture, and can quickly respond to it in such an authoritative, convincing, and winsome manner. Some of his books include The Real Face of Atheism, Can Man Live without God, and Jesus Among Other Gods.

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