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January 17 , 2009

The Top 100 Most Influential Christians of All Time, Volume 2: From the Reformation to the Twentieth Century


The Reformation was arm-in-arm with the Renaissance, and the world was turning upside down. Erasmus "laid the egg that hatched the Reformation," but he feared to be part of it. Luther did not have that fear. He nailed his Ninety-Five Theses to his church door and the Reformation began. Zwingli, Calvin, and others joined in the world-changing battle, but popes and monks fought back hard. The printing press was discovered, and the new ideas stampeded throughout Europe, including the Radical Reformation with Hubmaier, the Swiss Brethren, and others. The Anabaptists produced Menno Simons, who tried to keep the churches pure and true by supporting the ban. In a few decades, the new spirit would give rise to the Great Missionary Movement, began by William Carey, who could hardly believe the resistance his fellow Baptist preachers were showing to his proposal of sending missionaries. His sermon was powerful and to the point: "Attempt great things for God; expect great things from God." Then there were the great revival movements. Jonathan Edwards preaching "Sinners in the hands of an angry God." John Wesley organizing thousands of ordinary people into extraordinary groups. Isaac Watts bringing new spirit into worship by hymns which used the tunes of his time. Roger Williams fighting for religious freedom. Parham and Seymour founding Pentecostalism. The needs of the poor and needy were given new attention. The Booths founded the Salvation Army. Robert Raikes reformed prisons and started the Sunday School Movement. Rauschenbusch combated the evils of the Industrial Revolution with the Social Gospel. How much has Christianity changed since Jesus' day? How much do the churches reflect and proclaim the truths Jesus actually lived and taught? Which Church is closest to the truths of the New Testament? Can Jesus' true teachings be reclaimed? The lives of one hundred men and women who most influenced Christianity give answers, forty of their stories told in this volume. Their stories are arranged chronologically so the changes can be traced through the centuries.

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