In 60 People Who Shaped the Church: Learning from Sinners, Saints, Rogues, and Heroes, Alton Gansky profiles those who have influenced the church for good or ill. Beginning with the Apostle Peter and ending in the present day with Billy Graham, Gansky presents sixty men and women who have contributed to church history using mini-biographies arranged in chronological order. The book gives a broad overview of the ecclesiastical past through the lives of those who impacted the church. Each chapter begins with a quote referencing the person profiled, which was effective. There is more extensive material available, but this is a helpful introduction to the heroes and villains of the faith.
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.
I was given a free copy from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.