30 Events That Shaped the Church: Learning from Scandal, Intrigue, War, and Revival  -     By: Alton Gansky
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30 Events That Shaped the Church: Learning from Scandal, Intrigue, War, and Revival

Baker Books / 2015 / Paperback

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Product Description

How did a movement that began as a ragtag group of Middle Eastern fishermen, tax collectors, and zealots become the multiethnic, multifaceted church of today? Spanning 20 centuries, Gansky's book brings 30 course-altering events to life---from Pentecost to the rise of the New Atheism. A lively resource for all students of church history.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 304
Vendor: Baker Books
Publication Date: 2015
Dimensions: 9.00 X 6.00 (inches)
ISBN: 0801016088
ISBN-13: 9780801016080

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Publisher's Description

The church of today did not appear on the earth fully formed but developed over the centuries through historical events that, while they may seem distant, have a direct effect on our everyday lives. Following Jesus's command to spread the gospel to the ends of the earth, the apostles and their spiritual descendants have grown the church through times of peace and times of war, through persecution and pilgrimage. The church that began as a rag-tag group of Middle Eastern fishermen, tax collectors, and zealots became the multi-ethnic, multifaceted church of today.

Now thirty of those course-altering events are brought to life by consummate storyteller Alton Gansky. Spanning twenty centuries of history, this lively book will entertain and educate readers who love history and who want to know why the church is the way it is today.

Author Bio

Alton Gansky is the author of twenty-four novels and eight nonfiction books, including 60 People Who Shaped the Church. He is a Carol Award and Angel Award winner, and has been a Christy Award finalist. He holds a BA and an MA in biblical studies and has been awarded a Doctor of Literature degree. Director of the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference, Gansky also serves as an editor and collaborative writer for top tier authors. He lives in California.

Product Reviews

4.6 Stars Out Of 5
4.6 out of 5
5 out Of 5
(5 out of 5)
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(4.8 out of 5)
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4.5 out Of 5
(4.5 out of 5)
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Displaying items 1-5 of 5
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  1. Midwest
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Well-written history of Church and Christianity...
    February 25, 2015
    Jen Pen
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 4

    Reveling in the knowledge that history shapes the present as well as the fact that no man is an island, Alton Gansky explores and explains how 30 events helped determine the church and Christianity as it is today while ultimately changing the world. With events lasting between just hours and as long as years, 30 Events That Shaped The Church examines the past, present and future effects.


    Set up in an easy to reference and study manner, Alton Gansky chose the 30 events he felt were important at that moment to include (he admits he had a hard time choosing). I appreciated and found very interesting the eventsPentecost, The Protestant Reformation, The Dead Sea Scrolls. Though familiar with many, I still brushed-up on the history of them and actually learned a few tidbits of new knowledge. Designed to be a companion book to 60 People Who Shaped The Church, this book would be a good reference for Confirmands, Bible Studies, Church Leaders or even history buffs. Well thought through, planned, designed and written.


    4.5 (out of 5) pennies

    *I received a complimentary copy of 30 Events That Shaped The Church from Baker Books for my honest review*
  2. Upstate NY
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: male
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    An Overview of Church History
    February 9, 2015
    Floyd Johnson
    Upstate NY
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: male
    Quality: 5
    Value: 4
    Meets Expectations: 4
    Partly historical, partly biographical, and partly anecdotal, Alton Ganskys new book is an intriguing look at 30 events that helped make the church what it is today. In no way does it attempt to identify the 30 most important events that shaped the church, but it does look 30 event (using the term broadly) that changed the church. over the last 2000+ years. It should be noted that some events are specific events that can be identified in history (e.g. The First Council of Nicea); others are movements that occurred over decades or centuries (e.g. The Protestant Reformation). It would be easy to identify a second book in the series (30 More Events That Shaped the Church) that would include additional events or persons that helped make the church what it is. For example, little is said about the Wesleys or the Wesleyan Revival in England - an event that certainly shaped the church into what it is today. Strangely, what is said focuses on their influence upon George Whitefield and the Great Awakening in America.

    One of the greatest flaws in this volume is the lack of an index. More details could very well be mentioned about the Wesleys, but without an index there is no way to tell whether he or his brother or the movement that followed their conversions is discussed in detail. An electronic version of this book (e.g. Kindle, Nook, LOGOS) might help with this dilemma - alas, I was only provided a paper copy of the book. Without an index the book lacks the tools needed for the future scholar. Similarly, references are provided;l however they seem weak and incomplete. For example, the chapter on the reformation only includes four references, leaving one to wonder where much of the information was gathered.

    Some of the subjects are discussed in detail as subjects, others subjects spend more time looking at the key individuals who played a part in defining the event. An example of this latter case is the discussion of the Protestant Reformation - 80% of the chapter discusses the lives of Martin Luther, Ulrich Zwingli, and John Calvin.

    Along with discussing historical events themselves, most chapters also spend a few moments discussing the significance of the events to the remainder of church history - as it moves into the 21st century. I might expect that there would be some devotional value to the book - how do these events influence the average Christian today. This is missing.

    Though I am critical, I do think the book has value - it might serve as a ancillary text in a church history course. It might also serve as a refresher for the pastor or layman who has been out of college for a number of years and wants a refresher on church history. Though there were significant holes in the book, I found it interesting and containing sufficient content to make it worth reading.


    This review is based on a free copy provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review. The opinions expressed are my own.
  3. Missourl
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: Female
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    An interesting review of church history
    February 8, 2015
    Mrs. C
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: Female
    It must have been quite difficult for author Alton Gansky to narrow his scope of Church history to just thirty events. I assume that each reader, as I, would have chosen to add or subtract certain events. His religious background as a former atheist, now Baptist minister, contributed to his opinion of what shaped Church history. This review is of the book as it is.

    The author's style of writing is informative, in depth, yet simplistic. Each event is written as a narrative. As an educator, I believe this book would be an excellent textbook for a high school religion class, or as a book club discussion text for adults.

    As a lover of history, this book has sparked an interest in me to learn additional information concerning many of the events Alton Gansky wrote. You will be encouraged and blessed to read stories of those who contributed to the Church of today, and strengthened our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
  4. Warren, Maine
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Everyone's History
    February 5, 2015
    Michele Morin
    Warren, Maine
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    I do not envy Alton Gansky the job of narrowing two thousand years of history down to the thirty most significant events. In doing so, however, what he has created is an aerial view of history, a tool for harnessing the parade of names and dates, which should lead to a greater understanding of who and what the church has become since Jesus original disciples worked the post-ascension crick out their necks and became part of the movement that turned the world upside down.

    Theres nothing dry or dusty about Ganskys brand of history which is, largely, storytelling. His major players are three-dimensional, whether piecing together the New Testament account of the first missionary to the Gentiles (Pauls life is the stuff of movies . . .); the warped trajectory of a demented emperor (A teenager with ultimate power and a controlling mother sounds like trouble from the start . . .Nero was a young man with hidden and unacceptable appetites.); or the trials and tribulations of a brilliant scientist who would not bow to tradition (Galileo, now an old man, was allowed to live out his days under house arrest.).

    A further strength of 30 Events . . . is that, without bogging down in detail, Gansky manages to re-enact the history and to provide the background that led to each event. For example, he follows the rise of the Christian Right through the Baby Boomers and post-WWII social changes and on into the commercialism and secularization of the 60s and 70s before Jerry Falwell ever puts a toe on the stage.

    Reading this book has stimulated my own questions about history and will affect my future reading of historical material. I would recommend its use as a supplement to a homeschooling history curriculum. Thirty chapters would provide nearly one a week for a high school student to read and summarize, or it would be ideal for a special read-aloud over lunch for elementary students. An ambitious student could take on the book with a chapter a day for six weeks. Adults will enjoy the opportunity to put flesh on the bones of history they already know (or lived through!), and to be introduced to pivotal events of which they were barely aware.

    Best of all is the reminder that history unfolds day by day, and the church will continue to be shaped in our life time. As the people of God respond to world events and the leading of the Holy Spirit, God is at work behind the scenes with the gentle reminder, Surely I am coming quickly.

    Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.

    Disclosure: This book was provided by Baker Books, a division of Baker Publishing Company, in exchange for my unbiased review.
  5. Tennessee
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Great Information to Grow Your Knowledge of the Church's Beginning
    January 22, 2015
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    I'm always thrilled to dig into the words of Alton Gansky. He brings the details of history into perspective and guides us through the works of those God meticulously placed, who become the stepping stones of His church. Details, unique point of view, well thought out - Gansky's 30 Events that Shaped the Church is intriguing and interesting. This is a book I'll keep with my religious reference books. - Cindy Sproles, author and Exe. Editor ChristianDevotions.us
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