Non-Fiction Review: Daryl Aaron’s “The 40 Most Influential Christians Who Shaped What We Believe Today”

Anyone hungry for a hefty, satisfying book – something that takes a while to muse over and digest? This is one for you.

I was not familiar with this author before picking up this book, but I am definitely interested in getting to know more of his works. Professor Aaron’s style is clear and direct, and his teaching background flavors his written words. He speaks to his audience in a very relatable manner, not talking down to them, which is something I greatly enjoy when I find it.

I would almost say the introduction is my favorite part of the text, where the professor lays out who he is, what he stands for and believes, and his purpose in writing this book. He speaks in an unfiltered, personal manner, acknowledging that the reader may not agree with his chosen 40, yet, he has reasons for including them; and if we will allow him to guide us through the stops he has set up for us, he will explain. To that end, he also lays out the format of each chapter, the historical context, the person and contributions they made, and the lasting effects they had. In a book such as this, it’s nice to have a map handed to us so we can enjoy the exhibits better.

That is not to say I didn’t enjoy the rest of the work, quite the contrary. Each chapter, each character pulled me in and taught me something new. As Professor Aaron states, you may not agree with all of their theologies, but their overall contributions have indeed shaped us today. Each chapter is stand-alone, focusing on one person or group. There are ties between them, as the real-life people built on the work of those before them, but I see this book at its most effective used as a day-by-day study guide to deeper understanding. This format is something that shows up in the author’s other works, so he is well-practiced in making this style work without making the book seem choppy or disjoined.

The content of each chapter is comprehensive, well-researched, and told based on the source materials of each individual as much as possible. The story the author is trying to create is one of common threads, and a building cohesiveness that has brought us to where we are today, not one of personal opinions or agendas. As a historical book, it hits the mark dead on.

This read was hefty, but absolutely worth the plunge. I recommend it fully!

I received a review copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s