Today's book review feels incredibly relevant as I continue to examine what it means to be a woman of faith, especially in a culture that so often tells us faith can just be a simple addition to our lives, rather than a priority. Every day I'm challenged to go deeper and seek more, and reading this book was a helpful reminder that I don't have to have it all together to love and serve my God.
Extraordinary Women of Christian History: A Summary
Christianity has long been criticized as a patriarchal religion. But during its two-thousand-year history, the faith has been influenced and passed down by faithful women. Martyrs and nuns, mystics and scholars, writers and reformers, preachers and missionaries, abolitionists and evangelists, these women are examples to us of faith, perseverance, forgiveness, and fortitude.
With gracious irreverence, Ruth Tucker offers engaging and candid profiles of some of the most fascinating women of Christian history. From the famous to the infamous to the obscure, women like Perpetua, Joan of Arc, Teresa of Avila, Anne Hutchinson, Susanna Wesley, Ann Judson, Harriet Tubman, Fanny Crosby, Hannah Whitehall Smith, Corrie ten Boom, and Mother Teresa, along with dozens of others, come to vivid life. Perfect for small groups, these portraits of women who changed the world in their own significant way will spark lively discussion and inspire today's Christians to lives of faithful witness.
Extraordinary Women of Christian History: What I Think
First, let me note that this book reads more like an encyclopedia than a full-length narrative, so just know that going in. Personally, when dealing with books that pack a lot of historical information into just a few pages, I prefer this kind of structure because I don't get quite so overwhelmed.
Tucker approaches the history of the church from a mostly fact-based perspective. She appears primarily interested in offering her readers insight into the truth about flawed people, people who have long been renowned for their incredible faith. The book is far more objective than I expected, but Tucker does delve into some of the reasons why history has glossed over the ugly and/or boring stuff, and it's basically what we would expect: the Church wanted to make itself look as wonderful and as blameless as possible. But, as Tucker explains (and I assume most believers would agree with this statement) the ugly stuff is where things get interesting. The ugly stuff is what helps us have greater faith. Why? Because God doesn't use perfect people to accomplish His goals, unless said perfect person is Christ. Everyone who isn't Jesus is a mess, and every woman in Tucker's book was both brave and uneasy, strong and weak, fearless and cautious. Some were downright ridiculous. Others were inspiring. All were women of God who sought to serve Him above all things. And I'm grateful to have this book so I can go back and reference their mistakes and successes when I'm feeling uncertain about my own.
Also, I'd like to add that there are study questions at the end of each chapter, which makes this book an ideal selection for small group or personal study! Bonus points, in my opinion.
If you want to learn more about Ruth A. Tucker or Extraordinary Women of Christian History, please click here.
Please note, I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.