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131 Christians Everyone Should Know

, 2000
ISBN: 9781087791036

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If you think history is boring, take about three minutes and scan through 131 Christians Everyone Should Know. Zero in on an article, and you may find you can’t read just one! These sketches have been put together by the editors of Christian History magazine, who have an impressive track record for making history come alive every month for their readers. Note the diversity in this volume: Menno Simons, a pacifist, and the Roman emperor Constantine, a general. Leaders of the Reformation—Luther, Calvin, Zwingli—and the Counter-Reformation—Ignatius Loyola and Teresa of Avila. Men and women. Teenagers such as Joan of Arc, and aged saints like Polycarp.

History isn’t just dates, statistics, and grand social movements. It’s people—people from many callings:

  • Theologians—Athanasius and Jonathan Edwards
  • Evangelists and Apologists—Justyn Martyr and Billy Graham
  • Pastors and Preachers—John Chrysostom and Richard Baxter
  • Musicians—Johann Sebastian Bach and George Frederic Handel
  • Artists and Writers—Rembrandt and C. S. Lewis
  • Poets—Dante and Fanny Crosby
  • Denominational Founders—Richard Allen and Aimee Semple McPherson
  • Movers and Shakers—Dominic and John Wycliffe
  • Missionaries—Patrick and David Livingstone
  • Inner Travelers—Brother Lawrence and Oswald Chambers
  • Activists—Sojourner Truth and Lord Shaftesbury
  • Rulers—Charlemagne and Henry VII
  • Scholars and Scientists—Eusebius of Caesarea and Nicolas Copernicus
  • Martyrs—Perpetua and Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Each personality sketch includes a timeline that gives the historical context in which that person lived. The book also contains a topical index that will help you find illustrations for teaching and preaching. Some time spent with 131 Christians Everyone Should Know will forever enlarge your view of “the church as we see her spread through all time and space and rooted in eternity, terrible as an army with banners” (C. S. Lewis)—a spectacle that will inspire you to deeper thought and greater faithfulness.

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Top Highlights

“He concluded that faith is the precondition of knowledge (credo ut intelligam, ‘I believe in order to understand’). He didn’t despise reason; in fact he employed it in all his writings. He simply believed knowledge cannot lead to faith, and knowledge gained outside of faith is untrustworthy.” (Page 28)

“In necessary things, unity; in doubtful things, liberty; in all things, charity,’” (Page 87)

“Arminian theology: Christ died for all (not just the elect) and individuals can resist grace and even lose salvation.” (Page 42)

“He taught that original sin eradicated free will in people. Only by God’s initiative can anyone begin to have faith and thus experience assurance of salvation.” (Page 39)

“Of his fame, Moody admitted, ‘I know perfectly well that, wherever I go and preach, there are many better preachers … than I am; all that I can say about it is that the Lord uses me.’” (Page 71)

Product Details

  • Title: 131 Christians Everyone Should Know
  • Editor: Christian History Magazine
  • Publisher: Broadman & Holman
  • Publication Date: 2000
  • Pages: 384

Sample Pages from the Print Edition


5 ratings

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  1. Raymond Frank Mullis, Jr.
  2. Olli F

    Olli F


    I was happy to find this book accidentaly in my library and totally enjoyed it. It was excellent how the book grouped the people and then went from early centuries to more recent days one group at a time giving glimpses of the Church history around each person. I enjoy reading biographies and in this book I think they were nice and compact but still large enough to introduce a person and stir interest to study a bit more. Especially with couple poets I immediately started to look for their books after reading about them in this book. Also visited Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam after reading the portion of Rembrandt from this book. So I would recommend to give this book a change. I assume it comes with some base packages. At least I guess that is how it sneaked in to my library.
  3. Glenn Crouch

    Glenn Crouch


    I thoroughly enjoyed having this as a part of my daily devotional time. Whilst there are several entries that surprised me, it is never easy to make a selection like this. I did like how they "grouped" the people, which allowed you to compare in a sense "similar" people. One could argue that many of the choices have controversial issues in their background, but I found the Authors did a good job of emphasising the positive aspects without overstating them - nor did they hide the controversy. It is good, as Christians, to learn a bit about those who have gone before us - even if we don't agree with them :) This is also a good way to develop an interest in Church History. If there are individuals that intrigue you, then go find out more about them!
  4. Shiloh Hubbard
  5. Ben Rheinheimer
    Not much to say. Why did they stop at 131? It seems that they left out a few people and it wasn't because they were limiting their options. Only 15 women are present. Only 3 African-Americans. And post-Constantine only 2 people enter the list from outside European/N. American influence. The list is large enough that it could have been much more diverse. I think the idea is great and the list includes (for the most) people that are important to know, but I am disappointed that the list seems very one sided. It would have been nice to see the names of Martin Luther King Jr., Howard Thurman, Oscar Romero, Desmond Tutu, Leo Tolstoy, Mother Teresa, Li Tim-Oi, and Gustavo Gutierrez, to list a few. I am ranking this as a 3 but it is more like a 2.5. I hope that as a church we are seeking for ourselves and the people around us a christian an understanding that includes both the past voices of white males as well as the past voices of the larger diverse community.


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