The 40 Most Influential Christians . . . Who Shaped What We Believe Today
Very dry, not what I expected
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.
November 9, 2013
This book was not very interesting and it took me awhile to get through it. I gave the book 4/5 stars for a few reasons. I would say this book is more of a textbook then a sit down and read for the enjoyment book. I also thought some of the people chosen were not as influential as others. There are so many great Christians to choose from that I was surprised at some that were chosen and written about. If you are looking for a book about Christians and are willing to skim over some boring parts, you might enjoy the book more than I did.
I would like to thank the publisher for the copy of this book I enjoyed reading. I gave an honest review based on my opinion of what I read.
November 8, 2013
Good synopsis of those who shaped our faith
A synopsis of the lives and influence of 40 theologians, from second century figures such as Clement of Rome and Justin Martyr, to Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Karl Barth in the 20th century, this book is a well-written and interesting look at some important shapers of the faith.
Each chapter begins with a section on the context of the person, followed by a summary of his contribution, and a conclusion encapsulating the influence of the person. It is a convenient reference for information about names that may or may not be familiar. I was personally intrigued by some of the debates that occupied the leaders of the church during the second and third centuries Ã¢ÂÂ issues such as whether those who had succumbed to the civil authorities under threat of torture and death should be welcomed, or even allowed, back into the church once the Roman government embraced Christianity. Other discussions, particularly those on the nature of God and the Trinity, just made my head hurt.
In order to test for myself the objectivity of this book, I started with the chapter on John Wesley, one of the most important theologians for my Methodist self. Satisfied that there was no bias in that chapter, I started at the beginning. I confess that I have not finished the book Ã¢ÂÂ it does not lend itself to bedtime reading, which is when most of my reading gets done, but I am continuing through it and enjoying it. It is accessible to lay people who are interested in theology and church history without being overly simplified. On the whole, a satisfying read.
I received a copy of this book from Bethany House in exchange for an honest review
September 3, 2013
Only What's Done for Christ Will Last...
Daryl Aaron's new book The 40 Most Influential Christians deals with a vast sweep of time- two millennia- and his book points a novice of Christian Theology such as myself to some of the main players.
(I have read Bonhoeffer by Eric Metaxas as well as his Amazing Grace, which features William Wilberforce. Wilberforce did not make this list of the 40 most influential Christians, but he could have. Space only permits so many...and it must have been terribly hard to decide who to include. The author did a great job compiling this selection of people who have influenced Christian thought!)
What Daryl Aaron's book has done for me is pique my interest in several men whose works I haven't been blessed by yet, like Karl Barth, who lived in Germany the same time as Bonhoeffer did under the rein of Adolf Hitler. Now I'll search for something to read about Karl Barth.
As Daryl Aaron points out, lots of people throughout time have paved the way before us. Some were great thinkers, who handled the Truth in a such a way that their words make the Gospel more clear to us as we read their insights- hundreds of years after they first put pen to paper.
Some of these people influenced us in a different way: they muddied the water with additives like feminism or human-centered theology.
Some of them bled and died for their faith, martyrs and saints.
Some were almost unknown until after they died.
All of their lives are still being felt today.
The old hymn is right:
Only One Life, It Soon Will Pass. Only What's Done for Christ Will Last.
August 11, 2013