Covering a vast span of church history, Daryl Aaron’s book, The 40 Most Influential Christians . . . Who Shaped What We Believe Today, provides an overview of Christian theology and the men and women who shaped it over time. Each chapter covers the contributions of one particular Christian leader/writer/theologian, etc. in history, his or her beliefs, teachings, brief life experiences and how they impacted his or her influence.
Aaron does offer summation commentary at the end of the chapters, suggesting what was right or wrong, off balance, or perhaps questionable or controversial about the different perspectives. Overall, he tries to stay fair and balanced here, even offering Christian leaders from various branches of Christianity, including Catholicism, Protestantism of various sorts, both liberal and conservative leaders.
In the case of a particularly divisive issue such as Calvinism versus Arminianism, for instance, Aaron urges readers to consider what the leaders really taught rather than extremes, stereotypes, and out-of-context third-party arguments for or against their theology.
In this book, you’ll find Christian leaders you may have heard of (Calvin, Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Jonathan Edwards, John Wesley, and Dietrich Bonhoeffer). There were, however, many on the list that may be new to the reader; that was definitely true for me. For those wanting to know more about what we believe and why we believe it, Aaron’s book serves as a useful resource. He also connects us to the teachings of Christians going all the way back to the first century, reminding us of our long heritage of faith and connection with believers in history.
I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”