Although church history is not likely high on your reading list (unless you’re in seminary or a Pastor), there is definitely great value for Christians to take some time to look back at those who have impacted the church, fought for translations and sacrificed to share the message of Jesus. But where does the average reader turn? We at Frequency were blessed with the opportunity to read and review 60 People Who Shaped the Church by Alton Gansky through Baker Books.
From our perspective, this is an important read, because Gansky provides enough of a background on each person to grasp their significant role or influence on the church and does so without the reader feeling like they’ve slogged through an entire biography for each. There is always a tension between too much and too little information, but Gansky provides a great balance of both selection and depth of those featured in the book.
For your convenience, we’ve also researched the web to find other reviews to give you a wider perspective on the book.
The Grounds Bookstore and Cafe
“With each chapter, I found myself more and more enthralled with new acquaintances. In many ways, the book is like a collection of Christian heroes and enemies I never knew about. I’ve come to admire men and women whose names I had never heard, but importantly, I’ve come to better appreciate the faith I confess and the Church I worship in. Like many of my fellow Christians, I believe we take for granted the Church as we have her today. And not just the church, but also the doctrine that we come to believe as “obvious,” but what was once not so obvious and even debated over to the point of death.”
Review Link: http://frankviola.org/2014/06/16/60shapers/
“60 People Who Shaped the Church is effective to give a brief sketch of some of the better known figures in church history, creating an appetite for a more detailed ecclesiastical history.”
Note: Be sure to take note of Franks comments regarding who he felt should have also been included.
Review Link: https://katherineschronicle.wordpress.com/
“60 People Who Shaped the Church is well-organized, and the three to six page biographies give the reader important history without overwhelming detail. However, it would have been more helpful to profile fewer people and give a bit more attention to each personality.”
“At times, the writing felt shallow. Gansky’s theological bias is evident, which is unsettling. It would have been better to state the differing doctrinal positions without inserting himself, or giving unequal treatment to individuals, or characterizing someone with whom he may differ as “controversial.”
“All in all, 60 People Who Shaped the Church is effective in its function and whets the appetite for more ecclesiastical history.”