Black Church Figures You Should Know - Dr. Ralph West

Why the series?

Historical Theology and Church History in the African American context is rarely celebrated. That is a very sad occasion. There is much we can learn from the rich tradition of the African American church. When we do, it affirms the great doctrine that all men are created in the Image of God and it kills the great sin of intellectual racism.

What about the series?

A few things must be noted about our list. First and foremost, please be aware that appearances on the list do not automatically confirm theological content and biblical orthodoxy. Please consider each figure in light on proper biblical interpretation and refer to our statement of beliefs when in doubt. Secondly, this list is nowhere near being exhaustive in scope or content. We are barely scratching the surface and this is merely the tip of the iceberg. We considered appearances on the list by surveying several avid supporters for their considerations based upon the figures of significant impact, rich content, and historical significance.

Ralph D. West – Giant Preacher and Humble Pastor


A native of Houston, Texas, Dr. Ralph Douglass West is one of the most sought out preachers in the country.  First preaching at sixteen years of age, Dr. West is now the pastor and founder of Brookhollow Baptist Church, also known as “The Church Without Walls”, in Houston, TX.  Initially beginning with 32 members, the church now has a membership of over 24,000 in three locations.

Pastor West received a Bachelor’s Degree in Religion and Philosophy from Bishop College, in Dallas, TX; a Master of Divinity degree with Biblical Languages from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, TX; and a Doctor of Ministry degree from Samford University’s Beeson Divinity School, Birmingham, AL.  He also has received honorary Doctor of Divinity degrees from the Interdenominational Theological Center at Morehouse School of Religion, Atlanta, GA and Paul Quinn College, Dallas, TX.  He serves as Adjunct Professor of Preaching at the George W. Truett Theological Seminary, Baylor University.

It is Dr. West’s philosophy that the academy and the church are mutually dependent upon each other.  That the church directs the work of the academy and the academy helps to illustrate scripture, inform the worship of the church, and directs its course in return.  It is this way of thinking that allows Pastor West to be effective in both lecture halls and pulpits nationwide.  He has a unique ability to enhance his sermons by thorough exposition of Scripture coupled with the use relevant illustrations, all while maintaining the preaching tradition of church and culture. 

West is well respected as a great preacher who maintains a pastor’s heart.  He is married to SherettaMachell Grays West and has two sons: Ralph Douglass II, and RalphealDanial.

For more information, visit:

The Church Without Walls



Check out a sermon by Dr. West: