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All Christians' beliefs are shaped by those who went before them. Now these giants of Christian history are presented chronologically and in a format that helps readers get to know them. In addition to a biographical sketch, readers will discover each person's primary contributions to the Christian faith along with a brief quotation from their work. Students, history buffs, and curious readers ...
All Christians' beliefs are shaped by those who went before them. Now these giants of Christian history are presented chronologically and in a format that helps readers get to know them. In addition to a biographical sketch, readers will discover each person's primary contributions to the Christian faith along with a brief quotation from their work. Students, history buffs, and curious readers will be fascinated as their faith is strengthened. Included are Polycarp, Justin Martyr, Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Martin Luther, John Calvin, Karl Barth, Carl F. H. Henry, and more.
Posted November 9, 2013
This book takes you on a brief journey through the lives and influence of 40 people important to the history of the christian faith. A chapter is devoted to each person, and that is broken down to the context (the time the lived, a little about their life, etc), their contribution and a brief conclusion summing things up.
I found this book to be quite dry. I guess I expected it to be more biographical than theological. I would have liked to know more about their lives, as well as what they believed. There really wasn't enough information about the different individuals and too much of the author's opinion on what they believed and/or preached. I can see this being a good resource for Bible School students but it didn't hold my interest.
This book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group.
Posted August 25, 2013
Anyone hungry for a hefty, satisfying book - something that takes a while to muse over and digest? This is one for you.
I was not familiar with this author before picking up this book, but I am definitely interested in getting to know more of his works. Professor Aaron’s style is clear and direct, and his teaching background flavors his written words. He speaks to his audience in a very relatable manner, not talking down to them, which is something I greatly enjoy when I find it.
I would almost say the introduction is my favorite part of the text, where the professor lays out who he is, what he stands for and believes, and his purpose in writing this book. He speaks in an unfiltered, personal manner, acknowledging that the reader may not agree with his chosen 40, yet, he has reasons for including them; and if we will allow him to guide us through the stops he has set up for us, he will explain. To that end, he also lays out the format of each chapter, the historical context, the person and contributions they made, and the lasting effects they had. In a book such as this, it’s nice to have a map handed to us so we can enjoy the exhibits better.
That is not to say I didn’t enjoy the rest of the work, quite the contrary. Each chapter, each character pulled me in and taught me something new. As Professor Aaron states, you may not agree with all of their theologies, but their overall contributions have indeed shaped us today. Each chapter is stand-alone, focusing on one person or group. There are ties between them, as the real-life people built on the work of those before them, but I see this book at its most effective used as a day-by-day study guide to deeper understanding. This format is something that shows up in the author’s other works, so he is well-practiced in making this style work without making the book seem choppy or disjoined.
The content of each chapter is comprehensive, well-researched, and told based on the source materials of each individual as much as possible. The story the author is trying to create is one of common threads, and a building cohesiveness that has brought us to where we are today, not one of personal opinions or agendas. As a historical book, it hits the mark dead on.
This read was hefty, but absolutely worth the plunge. I recommend it fully!
I received a review copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley
Posted July 22, 2013
Daryl Aaron spent fourteen years in pastoral ministry before coming to the University of Northwestern and he has been a member of the Biblical and Theological Studies faculty since 1996.
Daryl's recent book is The 40 Most Influential Christians Who Shaped What We Believe Today. I know even when I was in seminary, some of my favorite classes were that of church history. And I think the average lay person might get a lot of "bible history" from church, but to get any real "church history" one needs to look elsewhere.
Everything we teach in church today and even the right and the freedom to teach what we do today - comes from our church's forefathers (and foremothers) who have carved that path before us. Daryl has gathered these forty influential names and placed them in chronological order for you so that you can see first hand the impact that they had on Christian culture.
Each one of the chapters is dedicated to one of these pioneers of the faith and Daryl has even graciously allowed each person to speak in their own voice so that the reader can get a sample of their contribution.
At over 300 pages, this is not a quick read, but each chapter is short and contained, so one could easily read this book alongside another one and not have to worry about plowing through it. Daryl is a university professor, so at times you are reminded of that with his prose and grammar, but I don't think that makes this book unapproachable or "scholarly" I think the typical church-goer would enjoy such a book and as such.
Thank you to Bethany House for a review copy in exchange for a fair and honest review.