Church life


Here is a book to obtain and return to again and again.  Some will be aware of the Christian History Magazine, a most useful publication dealing with many aspects of Christian History and these short biographical sketches are in the main culled from that publication.  History is not boring and the one hundred and thirty one lives examined are fascinating.  Not all will agree that each life was truly ‘a Christian’, but their place in history and church history in particular cannot be questioned.  From pastors and preachers to significant kings like Charlemagne and Henry the Eighth, we are carried long in a pilgrimage of historical discovery.  Poets and musicians who were Christians and enhanced the tapestry of church history are included as well as those mystics who are here under the section entitled ‘inner travelers.”   No biography is longer than about three pages, making the whole accessible to all.  I think that if you read one through you will want to have a look at another and so be enriched.  Bach, Handel, Dostoevsky, G.K. Chesterton, what a mix, not to mention John Wesley and Dietrich Bonhoeffer!  Leaders of the Reformation have their place as well as certain pioneer missionaries.  All in all the whole book brings together a fine balanced look that will enlarge your understanding of the church, its development and the varied persons God has taken up to make her a people rooted in the eternal purposes of God, His prized possession and indestructible through her history.  Each person is placed in a historical time line and referral to these brief biographies will help liberate us from the present day prejudices that can so easily imprison us in our view of the churches.  They will lead us to a profound appreciation of God’s great activity throughout the centuries and the vessels He uses, warts and all, to accomplish His purposes.  The editors did not choose one hundred and thirty one because they necessarily admire them or agree with them but because of their intrinsic interest and vital contribution to the Christian church as it now is.  They all have a place and if you want a deepening appreciation of your Christian heritage then this book is a good place to start your learning curve. 

Last modified: June 28, 2021

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