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They Were Christians: The Inspiring Faith of Men and Women Who Changed the World

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What do Abraham Lincoln, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Louis Pasteur, Frederick Douglass, Florence Nightingale, and John D. Rockefeller Sr. all have in common? They all changed the world--and they were all Christians. Now the little-known stories of faith behind twelve influential people of history are available in one inspiring volume. They Were Christians reveals the faith-filled m What do Abraham Lincoln, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Louis Pasteur, Frederick Douglass, Florence Nightingale, and John D. Rockefeller Sr. all have in common? They all changed the world--and they were all Christians. Now the little-known stories of faith behind twelve influential people of history are available in one inspiring volume. They Were Christians reveals the faith-filled motivations behind some of the most outstanding political, scientific, and humanitarian contributions of history. From the founding of the Red Cross to the family crisis that drove America's favorite president to his knees and cracked his religious skepticism, the fascinating stories of these faithful history-makers will inspire, encourage, and entertain readers of history and biography.


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What do Abraham Lincoln, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Louis Pasteur, Frederick Douglass, Florence Nightingale, and John D. Rockefeller Sr. all have in common? They all changed the world--and they were all Christians. Now the little-known stories of faith behind twelve influential people of history are available in one inspiring volume. They Were Christians reveals the faith-filled m What do Abraham Lincoln, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Louis Pasteur, Frederick Douglass, Florence Nightingale, and John D. Rockefeller Sr. all have in common? They all changed the world--and they were all Christians. Now the little-known stories of faith behind twelve influential people of history are available in one inspiring volume. They Were Christians reveals the faith-filled motivations behind some of the most outstanding political, scientific, and humanitarian contributions of history. From the founding of the Red Cross to the family crisis that drove America's favorite president to his knees and cracked his religious skepticism, the fascinating stories of these faithful history-makers will inspire, encourage, and entertain readers of history and biography.

59 review for They Were Christians: The Inspiring Faith of Men and Women Who Changed the World

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jamie

    I love inspiring stories. Ones that share snippets of people’s lives long past lived, the work they did and the world they changed. I wonder if, even with the things they did, they could have imagined the impact their lives would have so long after they died. I liked the setup Krusen used. Each chapter/feature starts with a few paragraphs of his personal thoughts (why he chose the people). I enjoyed that, as it gave extra insight into why I should go on to read the chapter. I imagine it’s hard to I love inspiring stories. Ones that share snippets of people’s lives long past lived, the work they did and the world they changed. I wonder if, even with the things they did, they could have imagined the impact their lives would have so long after they died. I liked the setup Krusen used. Each chapter/feature starts with a few paragraphs of his personal thoughts (why he chose the people). I enjoyed that, as it gave extra insight into why I should go on to read the chapter. I imagine it’s hard to write a book focusing on just a few people who changed the the world, but I appreciated the variety Krusen used. There were several I knew nothing or very little of, but also people (like Lincoln and Douglass), who are more widely known. Even if you aren’t a big history buff, this is a book showing the ways God has used people in the past and that’s always encouraging and inspiring. Do you have a favorite history read? (Thank you to Baker Books for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review) Originally posted at http://booksandbeverages.org/2016/06/...

  2. 4 out of 5

    Kim Wells

    I read this book over a period of about three days. It was just that good. Like a mini history lesson combined with an inspirational sermon, They Were Christians by Cristobal Krusen was both motivating and informative. It reads like a collection of short stories, each one standing on their own. The author has such a talent for storytelling that I felt drawn into the lives of each of these people, but he also has obviously done extensive research on each of the subjects. Including well known hist I read this book over a period of about three days. It was just that good. Like a mini history lesson combined with an inspirational sermon, They Were Christians by Cristobal Krusen was both motivating and informative. It reads like a collection of short stories, each one standing on their own. The author has such a talent for storytelling that I felt drawn into the lives of each of these people, but he also has obviously done extensive research on each of the subjects. Including well known historical figures such as Frederick Douglass, Florence Nightingale, Abraham Lincoln and Charles Dickens as well as the lesser known Dag Hammarskjold, Jen-Henri Dunant and Chiune Sugihara this book truly serves to convince the reader that absolutely anyone can make a significant contribution to the world if only they will commit their lives and hearts to the cause of Christ. I had just finished reading “Letters to a Birmingham Jail” before I read this book, so the account of Frederick Douglass was particularly moving to me, though ALL of the stories in this book were extremely well written and affected me deeply. Each chapter begins and ends with the author’s own stories and thoughts on each of the men and women of faith. His thoughts after the story of John D. Rockefeller, Sr. were particularly poignant and it was obvious that he was personally inspired by the story of Charles Dickens. They Were Christians is filled with stories of regular people who faced enormous obstacles yet, with a foundation of faith in Christ, overcame those obstacles and went on to make an incredible impact on the world. Stories of perseverance, faithfulness, love, kindness and sacrifice. Stories like how Charles Dickens wrote out The Life of Our Lord specifically to teach his kids and grandkids about Jesus. Or how John D. Rockefeller, Sr. gave away half of his fortune and started multiple schools, hospitals and churches all over the world. Or how Florence Nightingale was willing to give up a life of luxury and excess to pursue her passion for taking care of the ill and suffering, ultimately pioneering a new standard in nursing and contributing greatly to the field of medicine as a whole. It is impossible to read this book and not be inspired to stand up, step out and faithfully pursue your own God-given task in this world. Some of my favorite quotables from this book: “Slowly the truth began to permeate Fyodor’s soul – all men are equally men; all men are made in the image of a loving God. The goal of universal brotherhood is not to be attained by class warfare but by mutual love and forgiveness.” (chapter on Fyodor Dostoyevsky, pg 101) From the chapter on Abraham Lincoln, regarding his thoughts about the Bible: “It seems to me that nothing short of infinite wisdom could by any possibility have devised and given to man this excellent and perfect moral code. It is suited to men in all conditions of life, and includes all the duties they owe to their Creator, to themselves, and to their fellow man.” (p131) From the chapter on Joseph Lister and Louis Pasteur: A quote from Louis Pasteur: “One does not ask of one who suffers: What is your country and what is your religion? One merely says: You suffer, that is enough for me.” (p145) The author’s thoughts on Lister and Pasteur: “They were individually gifted by God and uniquely motivated by his Spirit to work for the common good. All of us can be forever thankful for the tenacity they displayed, the discoveries they shared, and the indelible and life-changing contributions they made in this world.” (p160) Disclosure: I received a copy of this book through Baker Books Bloggers. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jeffrey Romine

    Inspiring stories! Delightful reading.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Hannah Schmidt

    This book was not only inspiring but, also challenging. In fifty years or so what will be remembered of us? Our car, house, or money? I hope it will be our kindness, forgiving spirt, and our fortitude for our Lord Jesus Christ. I enjoyed throughly learning about these men and women who have given more then we could imagine.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Mary Lou

    SOUNDBITE “The twelve individuals I have gotten to know through writing this book have become personal friends. They are highly regarded today for their contributions to science and medicine, literature and philanthropy, government and diplomacy. Unfortunately, people seldom—if ever—remember them for the rich storehouses of faith that gave their lives meaning and purpose in the first place. It is time to change that. It is time to let the record show that They were Christians” (They Were Christia SOUNDBITE “The twelve individuals I have gotten to know through writing this book have become personal friends. They are highly regarded today for their contributions to science and medicine, literature and philanthropy, government and diplomacy. Unfortunately, people seldom—if ever—remember them for the rich storehouses of faith that gave their lives meaning and purpose in the first place. It is time to change that. It is time to let the record show that They were Christians” (They Were Christians: The Inspiring Faith of Men and Women Who Changed the World, Cristobal Krusen, Baker Books, 2016, p. 12). REVIEW The author of They Were Christians is a global Christian due to his family background and experience living and working in Latin America, Australia, and the United States. Cristobal Krusen’s book reflects his global understanding. He writes about people known and unknown, including as Dostoyevsky (from Russia), Frederick Douglass (African-American slave), Frank Pais (from Cuba), Dag Hammarskjold (from Sweden), Florence Nightingale (from England), and Chiune Sugihara (Japan). His description of each person’s contribution to the world and walk of faith is inspiring. It is noteworthy that many of his models had sought God for their purpose in life. The faith journey of these history makers needs to be told. This book is worth the read. Dr. ML Codman-Wilson, Ph.D., 5/13/16 EXCERPTS ARE FROM A FEW OF THE KNOWN AND RELATIVELY UNKNOWN PEOPLE KRUSEN HIGHLIGHTS: Dag Hammarskjold: “As I consider Dag’s life and legacy now, I realize that one of the greatest statesmen of the 20th century (indeed of any century) has been my brother in the Christian faith. He left me—and the world—a shining example of what it means to serve others and ‘so fulfill the law of Christ’ (Galatians 6:2) (They Were Christians: The Inspiring Faith of Men and Women Who Changed the World, Cristobal Krusen, Baker Books, 2016, p. 16) [During his lifetime, Dag wrote a manuscript called Markings]. Dag describes his journal as ‘a sort of white book concerning my negotiations with myself—and with God’…Dag was using the diplomatic term for an official government report, a position paper bound in white…What made this document so compelling was the identity of its author, the many world figures he had known, and his sudden untimely death…The diary contained nearly 200 typed written pages… When Dag was asked to take the post of Security Council Secretary-General, he told them ‘he needed to sleep on it.’ Two days passed before he cabled the Security Council with his answer. After admitting to ‘strong feelings of personal insufficiency,’ he nonetheless concluded that ‘he could not refuse to accept the task imposed upon him.’ What the world did not know—indeed what most of his friends did not know was that Dag, always an intensely private individual, had prayed years before for God to give him a life defining task… He established a Secretariat of nearly four thousand administrators and drafted new regulations defining their responsibilities. He also found ways to trim the budget. Dag hoped to create not only a well-oiled machine but also a community of like-minded souls, men and women who would work tirelessly for peace on earth and goodwill toward all…As Dag wrote in his diary, ‘in our era the road to holiness necessarily passes through the world of action’…On his election to a second term he wrote: ‘the best and most wonderful thing that can happen to you in this life is that you should be silent and let God work and speak’” (pp. 21-24, 29, 32). Frederick Douglass: As a young slave, “he had already seen more in his few years living in Talbot County, Maryland, than any child should—arbitrary and brutal whippings, children forcibly separated from their mothers, unprosecuted cold-blooded murders. He had suffered from hunger and cold all of his life. He had never owned a pair of trousers or shoes and slept on a mud floor at night…He wrote later, ‘the frequent hearing of my mistress reading the Bible soon awakened my curiosity in respect to this mystery of reading, and roused in me the desire to learn. Having no fear of my kind mistress, I frankly asked her to teach me to read and without hesitation, the dear woman began the task’…Her husband, however, did not share his wife’s excitement. Apart from the fact that it was illegal to teach a slave to read, there were the inevitable and undesirable consequences should Freddy actually gain an education. Mr. Auld forbade his wife to ever teach Freddy again and considered the matter settled…It was not. As the years passed, Frederick took advantage of every opportunity to build his vocabulary and increase his knowledge…He continued to read everything he could find. He learned of the abolitionist movement by reading The Columbian Orator and by weighing the many compelling arguments against slavery that were presented in public debates. He also maintained a keen interest in the Bible. He recounts in his autobiography how he lovingly rescued torn fragments of the Bible from the gutters of Baltimore streets, washing and drying the pages so that he ‘might get a word or two of wisdom’”(pp. 36, 37, 39). “Frederick yearned for a spiritual mentor, and his prayers were answered in the form of a free, elderly black man named Charles Lawson…Uncle Lawson told his young disciple that the Lord had shown him there was a great work for Frederick to do and he must prepare for it. He would one day preach the gospel to the entire world. ‘But how can that be?’ asked Frederick. ‘Trust in the Lord,’ Uncle Lawson said kindly, ‘He’ll bring it to pass in his own good time.’ ‘But, Uncle, don’t you see, I’m a slave, a slave for life.’ The old man reached out and touched Frederick on the shoulder. ‘The Lord can make you free, my dear. All things are possible with Him. You only need two things…Have faith in God, Frederick, and ‘ask and it shall be given to you.’ If you want liberty, child, then ask for it in faith’…Frederick believed God would deliver him from bondage. But it would not happen overnight” (pp. 40- 41). Florence Nightingale: “Flo longed for a purpose in life. She wanted to make a difference in the world. And why not? She possessed a keen mind, physical courage, and a first-rate education. Through her family connections she had access to the nation’s highest echelons of power. But to what end? Girls in nineteenth-century England, even those of the privileged upper classes, had no pathway to a career outside the confines of hearth and home. A woman’s place—her only place—was with her family… ‘On February 7, 1837,’ she wrote in a private note, ‘God spoke to me and called me to His service.’ Flo was in the habit of praying and communing daily with God. But this was something else, something distinct…At the age of twenty-five, when Flo had decided to become a nurse, she asked her parents for permission to work at nearby Salisbury Infirmary. However, in nineteenth-century England, nursing occupied a rung in society roughly equivalent to that of a streetwalker. Only people from the lowest class of society took up such an occupation. Hospitals were known to be places rank with disease and dirt more than places of healing. To cope with the degrading environment, nurses often drank too much and were open to sexual advances by patients and doctors alike…People thought Flo was mad to consider such a pursuit. Flo, however, was not one to give up easily. God had spoken to her years before. She was sure of it. How could she disobey the heavenly vision?” (pp.61, 63-65). During the Crimean War (1853-1856) “reporter William Howard Russell, from the Times of London, wrote: ‘Not only are sick and wounded soldiers kept, in some cases, for a week without the hand of a medical man coming near the wounds,’ not only are they left to aspire in agony, unheeded and shaken off, it is found that the commonest of appliances of a workhouse sick-ward are wanting’…[By then Flo had completed her nurses training.] She was galvanized into action. She became the Superintendent of the Female Nursing Establishment of the English General Hospitals in Turkey. She mandated new standards of care,…lobbied through her contacts back in Britain for funds to purchase more fresh food and medical supplies, [and worked among the sick and dying tirelessly.]…When the other nurses retired for the night, Flo would continue making her rounds, typically carrying a lamp in front of her. She would go from bed to bed checking on each man, voicing a comforting word, whispering a prayer. The soldiers adored her; they knew she was their champion and would fight for them to receive the best care humanly possible. They began calling her ‘the lady with the lamp’…All agreed that Florence Nightingale was the only true hero to emerge from the Crimean War” (pp. 68-71). Frank Pais: “Frank Pais was a true hero of the Cuban revolution and an evangelical Christian…He didn’t oppose Batista (the Cuban Dictator) because he had turned from his Christian faith but because he believed it was what his faith demanded of him…He saw his fellow Cubans suffering cruel oppression, many facing torture and murder at the hands of Batista’s secret police, and decided to do something about it…He formed the National Revolutionary Action Party (or ANR). It consisted initially of underground cells of students and young working-class folk in Santiago de Cuba. Under Frank’s leadership, these youthful revolutionaries (their average age was 17) began storing weapons and medical supplies for a future uprising. They also organized mass street protests and published a small bulletin countering Batista’s censored version of the news…Frank held to the view that tyranny should be resisted on the basis of personal conscience; that a godly man should ‘defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed’ (Psalm 82:3)…The following year in April, Frank and his group clashed with the military and police in Santiago de Cuba. The next year he took the lead in organizing an uprising meant to coincide with Fidel Castro’s group landing on Cuban soil…Frank’s uprising went off as planned on November 30, but Castro’s group did not reach the shores of Cuba until two days later and were very nearly wiped out…Batista now readied his long knives to end the rebel resistance once and for all…In June 1957, police arrested, tortured, and killed Frank’s youngest brother, seventeen-year-old, Josue. His body was dumped on the streets of Santiago de Cuba. A month later Frank suffered the same fate…It is worthy speculating what might have happened had Frank lived to see Batista’s defeat and the Revolution’s victory in 1959…Would he, instead of Castro, have become Cuba’s leader? If he had, …likely he would have worked as tirelessly to reinstate the Cuban Constitution of 1940 as he had labored to unseat Batista (pp. 78, 82-87). Jean-Henri Dunant: “Jean-Henri Dunant was raised in one of the leading families of hard-working and philanthropic Protestant Geneva during the time of the Reveil, a spiritual awakening in Switzerland marked by widespread religious fervor and works of public charity. His parents…were active in helping the sick and poor as well as orphans and prison parolees…(In Henri’s youth), he spent much of his free time visiting prisons and doing social work…At age thirty-one years he was living two thousand miles west of the Suez canals in the French colony of Algeria.” [His business was facing economic ruin because of the lack of water rights given the French colony.] “As far as he could tell, there was but one solution to his predicament—obtaining a personal audience with the French emperor Napoleon III, and making a case for financial support from the royal family…He wrote a personal attribute to Napoleon entitled The Empire of Charlemagne Restored, bound the book in handsome leather to present to the emperor in person and set sail for Europe. Meanwhile , Napoleon had declared war on Austria…and won victories over the Austrians at Montebello, Palestro, and Magenta…On June 24, 1859, the decisive Battle of Solferino was fought” (pp.111, 108-109). “The toll of the battle was immense—forty thousand soldiers dead or wounded, houses demolished, farmland and orchards destroyed, thousands of horses and mules killed, the populace traumatized. Henri, meanwhile, certain he had at last caught up with the Emperor Napoleon, rolled into Solferino that night by private coach, dressed nattily in a white linen suit to stay cool in the summer heat. To his chagrin, he learned that the emperor had already moved on. Due to the late hour, he decided to wait for morning to continue his pursuit…At daybreak, Henri approached the battle field for a closer look. The terrible carnage of war was evident everywhere…The devastation Henri witnessed was shocking…The battle was over, the damage was done, and he had not traveled this great distance to embroil himself in the affairs of warring nations. He had a mission to accomplish, a somber responsibility to investors (an agribusiness firm in northern Algeria). At least, that is what his head told him. The clear and emphatic voice of his heart, however, presented him with a much different course of action… Instead of stepping over the dead and dying in dogged pursuit of the French emperor, Henri decided to stay and serve the weak and wounded at Solferino…Because he spoke French, Italian, and German fluently, Henri was able to moderate between all sides, ensuring that every soldier received attention regardless of nationality…He cleansed and dressed wounds, moistened parched lips with drinks of cold water, wrote letters home to the families of dying soldiers, and gave spiritual counsel when asked…In 1861, Henri sat down to write A Memory of Solferino, feeling throughout that he was ‘inspired by the breath of God’…The seed of an idea that had been formulating for the previous two years was now finding expression in the last chapter of his book. He wrote, ‘Would it not be possible in time of peace and quiet to form relief societies for the purpose of having care given to the wounded in wartime by zealous, devoted and thoroughly qualified volunteers?’…The book caught the attention of Europe’s ruling elite and…Geneva’s leading citizens. On February 7, 1863, the Geneva Society for Public Welfare appointed a committee of five, including Henri, to examine the possibility of putting his plan into action. They formed the International Committee for Relief of the Wounded…approved the 1864 Geneva Convention…and adopted as its emblem the inverse of the Swiss flag—a red cross on a white background…When he was honored in 1901 with a first ever Nobel Peace Prize for his role in founding the International Committee of the Red Cross, the ICRC’s official congratulations included these words: ‘Without you, the Red Cross, the supreme humanitarian achievement of the nineteenth century would probably have never been undertaken’” (pp. 109, 112-114, 116). Chiune Sugihara: “I have learned a number of things about Japan and its history over the years, but until recently I never knew about one of its most heroic sons—Chiune Sugihara. His heroism is still largely unrecognized, but if ever anyone embodied the best and noblest aspects of Japanese culture and tradition, it would be this man….In the fall of 1918, on his own initiative, Chiune began attending Waseda University in Tokyo…While there, he again broke with family tradition and entered Yu Ai Gakusha (Brotherly Love Learning Association), a Christian fraternity founded by a Baptist missionary to Japan. While at Waseda…he answered a classified ad for candidates interested in a diplomatic career with the Japanese Foreign Ministry. He passed the difficult entrance exam and was assigned to the national language institute in Harbin, China, near the border with the Soviet Union. While at the institute, Chiune became fluent in Russian and German…He worked his way through the diplomatic ranks…and in March 1939, he was sent to Kaunas, Lithuania, to run the newly open Japanese consulate…He and his wife learned firsthand from acquaintances in Kaunas’ Jewish community of the atrocities being committed by SS-run killing squads which were ‘Jew hunting’ in newly conquered Poland, murdering thousands of innocent civilians and destroying Jewish businesses and synagogues. It’s important to remember that during Hitler’s awful rise, the Japanese, by and large, did not share the anti-Semitism of the Axis allies” (pp.162, 165-167). “On July 27, 1940…a crowd of people began gathering outside the gate surrounding the Japanese consulate…Chiune went outside and talked with leaders of the group and discovered they were mostly Polish Jews looking for a way out of Lithuania. Many of them carried visas provided by the Dutch consulate but needed additional transit visas through the Soviet Union and Japan to ensure their escape…Issuing visas to Polish Jews would likely be deemed a hostile act toward Nazi Germany…It was a sleepless night for Chiune…It seemed that many cares for the Jewish people occupied his mind. The next morning, Chiune sent the following cable to the Foreign Ministry in Japan: ‘Hundreds of Jewish people have come to the consulate here in Kaunas seeking transit visas. They are suffering greatly. As a fellow human being [and a Christian], I cannot refuse their requests. Please permit me to issue visas to them’…[Three times he sent his request to the Foreign Ministry in Japan. Each time the answer was no.] With his wife’s full support, he made the decision to write the visas on his own authority: ‘I may have to disobey my government, but if I don’t, I will be disobeying God’…When he returned to Japan in 1946, he was dismissed from his job and left to fend for himself…For the next sixteen years he worked in relative obscurity…The years passed, and it seemed that no one much remembered the lifesaving actions he had taken in Kaunas during those fleeting summer days of 1940… [Yet,] All told, he issued 2,140 visas (many of which were for entire families). The Simon Wiesenthal Center estimates that six thousand people were saved because of Chiune’s intervention, while another forty thousand descendants are alive today because of his resolve to obey God rather than man” (pp. 167-174).

  6. 4 out of 5

    James

    I enjoyed reading this set of short accounts about how the lives of prominent and influential figures and their relationship with Christianity. Of particular interest are the stories of lesser known figures such as Dag Hammarksjold and Chiune Sugihara, of whom I was reading for the first time. Krusen opens and closes his summary of each person’s life with personal anecdotes that tie the eclectic group of historical figures together. The stronger anecdotes at the beginning of the book relate to t I enjoyed reading this set of short accounts about how the lives of prominent and influential figures and their relationship with Christianity. Of particular interest are the stories of lesser known figures such as Dag Hammarksjold and Chiune Sugihara, of whom I was reading for the first time. Krusen opens and closes his summary of each person’s life with personal anecdotes that tie the eclectic group of historical figures together. The stronger anecdotes at the beginning of the book relate to the author’s own spiritual journey and conversion. In the latter part of the book, the connections are more trivial, but serve to explain the author’s interest in each subject. What I would have liked to see in the book was a deeper consideration of the personal faith of the individuals presented. It may be that there simply is not sufficient documentation for those who did not often refer in writing to their personal faith. For some, their individual convictions regarding saving faith are made clear. For others, the author never reaches that far, perhaps wisely. They Were Christians is a well-written, well-organized book that I would recommend to anyone with an interest in historical figures that wants to brush up on the background of eleven important individuals while considering the role of Christian ideals and, likely, personal faith in their lives.

  7. 4 out of 5

    David

    This was very, very, well researched. I appreciated the author's sharing of how he first came to hear of these people's faith (often, before he found his own)-- Florence Nightingale's story was very, very impressive along with the friendship of Dr. Lister and Louis Pasteur, and their understandings that changed. However, there were a few others I never would have assumed were believers without reading some of their writings, their letters, and the statements of other who knew them. Charles Dicken This was very, very, well researched. I appreciated the author's sharing of how he first came to hear of these people's faith (often, before he found his own)-- Florence Nightingale's story was very, very impressive along with the friendship of Dr. Lister and Louis Pasteur, and their understandings that changed. However, there were a few others I never would have assumed were believers without reading some of their writings, their letters, and the statements of other who knew them. Charles Dickens, for one, who wrote the story of Christ for his children and read it to them every Christmas. All of these stories were moving because they showed God's people, often sacrificing their own happiness, to serve others, while writing of their faith.. often obscured by their very fame. A must read for pastors and church leaders.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Roger Smitter

    Author Cristobal Krusen wants to provide readers to know about a number of famous heroes in history (and a few not so well known) who showed what Christianity can do. The theme of the book tells readers that they can follow Jesus. While the book focuses heavily on Christian interpretations of what Jesus did and wants His followers to do, Some of chapters have engaging examples of what followers of Jesus should do with narratives of Dag Hammarskjold, Frederick Douglas, and Charles Dickens, Abraha Author Cristobal Krusen wants to provide readers to know about a number of famous heroes in history (and a few not so well known) who showed what Christianity can do. The theme of the book tells readers that they can follow Jesus. While the book focuses heavily on Christian interpretations of what Jesus did and wants His followers to do, Some of chapters have engaging examples of what followers of Jesus should do with narratives of Dag Hammarskjold, Frederick Douglas, and Charles Dickens, Abraham Lincoln shows up in the book as a model for doing the right thing. Then there’s the senior John D. Rockefeller, (and his billions0. Only two of chapters have females. The book can be useful to a group that wants to talk about we should do with others.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Cedric Dukes

    Frederick Douglass, Abraham Lincoln, Florence Nightingale and the founder of Red Cross. Great audio listen on hoopla. Helps you understand why they had a burden to help people. Their legacy was not for them but others.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jill

    Very inspiring. Well written and fascinating.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Frank Deardurff

    An enjoyable read! It was interesting to read about well known as well as unsung hero’s and how their faith shaped who they were.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Brit

    This was an enjoyable and quick book to read. It introduced me to a few historic figures that were less known, at least to me.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Tummey

    My favourite were the stories about Lister and Pasteur, and the Japanese man in World War 2. I originally bought the book because I wanted to learn more about Abraham Lincoln, but I also learnt about others I'd never even heard of. You only have to look at the notes to see how much research it took to put this little book together. My favourite were the stories about Lister and Pasteur, and the Japanese man in World War 2. I originally bought the book because I wanted to learn more about Abraham Lincoln, but I also learnt about others I'd never even heard of. You only have to look at the notes to see how much research it took to put this little book together.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jim Rickard

    I enjoyed this book and learned new things about the people who were Christians. Reading it caused me to want to do more for people. It was a blessing to read and I read a couple of chapters at a time.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Just Commonly

    Did you know they were Christians? Dag Hammarskjold, Frederick Douglass, Florence Nightingale, Frank Pais, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Jean-Henri Dunant, Abraham Lincoln, Joseph Lister, Louis Pasteur, Chiune Sugihara, Charles Dickens and John D. Rockefeller Sr., 12 individuals that shaped, defined or remembered by many for their achievements, yet how many did you know were Christians? “The twelve individuals I have gotten to know through writing this book have become personal friends. They are highly reg Did you know they were Christians? Dag Hammarskjold, Frederick Douglass, Florence Nightingale, Frank Pais, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Jean-Henri Dunant, Abraham Lincoln, Joseph Lister, Louis Pasteur, Chiune Sugihara, Charles Dickens and John D. Rockefeller Sr., 12 individuals that shaped, defined or remembered by many for their achievements, yet how many did you know were Christians? “The twelve individuals I have gotten to know through writing this book have become personal friends. They are highly regarded today for their contributions to science and medicine, literature and philanthropy, government and diplomacy. Unfortunately, people seldom—if ever—remember them for the rich storehouses of faith that gave their lives meaning and purpose in the first place. It is time to change that. It is time to let the record show that They were Christians” (12) The author, Cristóbal Krusen presented to us snippet bios of each of these individuals, and focus not what made them famous, but their faith journey and how it shaped their decisions and lives, leading to their "claim to fame". What's interesting is the intermix of biographical content with the author's own personal experiences, giving us a direction and theme of the forthcoming story. And great stories they were. I'm particularly fascinated with Dag Hammarskjold's story. I knew who he was, but to what extent, I know not. Yet, his short chapter led to a certain intrigued and humility of his quiet thoughtfulness and faith. I'm adding his personal notes and meditations, Markings (published posthumously) to my to read pile. Insightful and informative, They Were Christians spoke not of an individual's achievements, but the relationship between man and God, in faith and in conversation, seeking God's guidance and provisional blessings. Definitely a must read for anyone. This review first appeared on Just Commonly Blog. NOTE: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher, Baker Books for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own. For my review policy, please see my Disclosure page.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Joan

    Krusen has compiled several profiles of Christians who have had a great impact on the world. Each profile is introduced and concluded with personal memories from Krusen, revealing the impact the individuals have had on his own life. He emphasizes how their faith gave meaning and purpose to their lives. Some of the people profiled are familiar, such as Lincoln and Nightingale. Others were unknown to me, such as Dunant, instrumental in forming the Red Cross. And some were a complete surprise, such a Krusen has compiled several profiles of Christians who have had a great impact on the world. Each profile is introduced and concluded with personal memories from Krusen, revealing the impact the individuals have had on his own life. He emphasizes how their faith gave meaning and purpose to their lives. Some of the people profiled are familiar, such as Lincoln and Nightingale. Others were unknown to me, such as Dunant, instrumental in forming the Red Cross. And some were a complete surprise, such as Chiune Sigihara, a Japanese diplomat in the Japanese consulate in Lithuania during WW II. He defied his government by issuing papers that allowed many Jews to escape to safety. Some might be a little controversial, such as Frank Pais, a Cuban revolutionary. John D. Rockefeller Sr. might be considered unusual too. His business practices were certainly questioned but he was a generous man. He gave half of his fortune to charitable causes. He felt his ability to accumulate money was a gift from God. He also felt it his responsibility to use that money for the good of his fellow man. (199) The personal nature of Krusen's choice of people is highlighted in Frederick Douglass, a slave who became a vocal abolitionist. Krusen relates at the beginning of the profile how he and his girlfriend, being a biracial couple, were turned away from a church in Austin, Texas in 1973. He concludes the story of Douglass with his own experience in 1981 of being in a church in New York City where people of all colors were praising God. I found that the quote from Florence Nightingale seems to sum up the determining factor in these lives. “Why, oh my God, cannot I be satisfied with the life that satisfies so many people.” (67) This is an interesting collection of profiles of people who, because of their Christian faith, have had an impact on the world. Some might find the selection of people covered limited. Krusen's writing style is personal and engaging, making each profile worth reading. I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of an independent and honest review.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Brittany

    Faith is beautiful and complex. We all experience and come to faith in different ways. It helps shape our view of the world and how we act. Life can be overwhelming, almost unbearable at times, yet faith can and does bring a person through it all. In faith we have the hope to persevere and trust in God as the head of our lives; the One we answer to above man. In reading about the faith of others, we are at once encouraged by their faith and perhaps challenged to reflect upon our own. In, They Wer Faith is beautiful and complex. We all experience and come to faith in different ways. It helps shape our view of the world and how we act. Life can be overwhelming, almost unbearable at times, yet faith can and does bring a person through it all. In faith we have the hope to persevere and trust in God as the head of our lives; the One we answer to above man. In reading about the faith of others, we are at once encouraged by their faith and perhaps challenged to reflect upon our own. In, They Were Christians: The Inspiring Faith of Men and Women Who Changed the World, Cristóbal Krusen writes about the influence of faith in the lives of twelve men and women who had a profound impact on our world. Each of these accounts pull you deeper into their lives, showing the prevailing of their faith through trials and suffering, or how their faith was the foundation for who they became. Among two of my favorite people written about in this book were, Abraham Lincoln and Fyodor Dostoyevsky. Each of their stories are powerful and humbling. An excerpt from the chapter on Dostoyevsky includes part of a letter he wrote: “God sends me moments of great tranquility, moments during which I love and find I am loved by others; and it was during such a moment that I formed within myself a symbol of faith in which all is clear and sacred for me.” Krusen begins and ends each chapter with a bit of commentary, usually adding a snippet of his own experience into the mix. The book is an easy read and leaves you constantly eager for more. It is a great starting point to learn more about the faith of these twelve individuals and perhaps will inspire you to go on to read a more in depth biography as it did for me. Disclosure: I received this book free from Baker Books through the Baker Books Bloggershttp://www.bakerbooks.com/bakerbooksb... program. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Sharon Leavitt

    I am one of those kinds of people who love to read about men and women who made a difference with their lives. And, as a Christian, the thing I most care about is living a life where my faith is woven into all aspects of it – even in challenging times. I also happen to be one, who when reading a comprehensive biography (even when the subject is an admired person) gets bored by the details that are usually included in those types of books. I normally end up skipping pages. Both of those preferences I am one of those kinds of people who love to read about men and women who made a difference with their lives. And, as a Christian, the thing I most care about is living a life where my faith is woven into all aspects of it – even in challenging times. I also happen to be one, who when reading a comprehensive biography (even when the subject is an admired person) gets bored by the details that are usually included in those types of books. I normally end up skipping pages. Both of those preferences are reasons I so enjoyed reading Cristobal Krusen’s, They Were Christians. I didn’t want to skip a page and read it in one day…I couldn’t put it down! (always a good sign!) I learned about men and women of integrity I’d never heard of before - people who quietly lived out their faith through their actions and not with loud declarations of their faith. They seemed to embody the words (which some attribute to St. Francis) for believers to “preach the Gospel at all times, and if necessary, use words.” And each of these heroes of the faith had a profound effect for good in our world. Cristobal also shed light on famous people not known primarily for their faith, but by looking deeper than the facts normally attributed to them, discovered personal Christian faith that cannot be denied. I appreciated that so much. They Were Christians fed my appetite for inspiration to live out my faith as others had, and who went through many more trials than I probably ever will see myself. It was well written and a bonus feature was the author’s preface at each chapter’s start where he shared his own discovery of the men and women included in this gem of a read. I loved it! Wonderful summer read. Thank you, Cristobal!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    `They Were Christians` is about several influential people of history. One thing they all had in common is they were all Christians. This biography is meant to inspire and entertain the reader as their faith deepens. This book is authored by Cristobal Krusen and is dedicated to Cristobal's father, William A. Krusen, Sr. Cristobal studied English Lit. at Harvard University which brought him up close and personal to many of these people, which makes his writings believable. The reader may be fami `They Were Christians` is about several influential people of history. One thing they all had in common is they were all Christians. This biography is meant to inspire and entertain the reader as their faith deepens. This book is authored by Cristobal Krusen and is dedicated to Cristobal's father, William A. Krusen, Sr. Cristobal studied English Lit. at Harvard University which brought him up close and personal to many of these people, which makes his writings believable. The reader may be familiar with some, but probably not all those mentioned. As the reader opens the pages the first person they read about is Dag Hammarskjold who was killed during one of his peace making trips. He was Secretary General of the U.N. He had a miscegenation relationship. He lived in the south, and many didn't like him because of his relationship. He was one of the first to have a miscegenation relationship, before it was acceptable. I was inspired by Florence Nightingale and all she did to help mend our military. She is the first woman ever to receive the "Order of Merit Award" for her extraordinary achievements in the field of medicine. In 1860, she established the Nightingale Training School for nurses which is still in operation today. This book was written to the awareness of some historically famous Christian leaders in their own right, it is also political history. Even though I learned much in this book I would recommend it to the most well-versed, as it gives much to think and ponder over. I think this book would be of interest to the most astute Christians. Disclaimer: I received this book free from Baker Books through the Baker Books Blogger program.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Curtis

    In a series of vignettes the author reveals how many well-known historical figures were influenced in some significant way by Christianity, and how that changed the course of their lives. While I found the stories interesting I was disappointed by their brevity and often shallow exploration of how Christianity intersected with each person. I was hoping for a stronger case given that many of these figures lived during a time of widespread Christian religion and would have been associated with the In a series of vignettes the author reveals how many well-known historical figures were influenced in some significant way by Christianity, and how that changed the course of their lives. While I found the stories interesting I was disappointed by their brevity and often shallow exploration of how Christianity intersected with each person. I was hoping for a stronger case given that many of these figures lived during a time of widespread Christian religion and would have been associated with the faith as part of normal life. Standards of morality and decency were also heavily influenced by Christianity in the past and, on the part of the author, there was little differentiation attempted between society in general and the persons being explored. At least I still have this question of differentiation outstanding in my mind. Having longer stories would have provided for this and would have made the mini-biographies much more engaging than they were. All said my appetite for further reading has been whetted and I hope to find deeper discussions regarding the faith of those mentioned here. Thank you to Baker Books for providing this work for review.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Shaun Lee

    After having read the book, I was compelled to rethink how I have been and want to live this short fleeting life of mine. Not merely for others to remember me after my death, but rather do I desire as much as the 8 Christians in the book, to live a life as meaningful and fulfilling as them. I've never heard of most of their names before, and was highly encouraged by the love put into these short biographies. Krusen does a fine job of providing an interesting introduction of each character from h After having read the book, I was compelled to rethink how I have been and want to live this short fleeting life of mine. Not merely for others to remember me after my death, but rather do I desire as much as the 8 Christians in the book, to live a life as meaningful and fulfilling as them. I've never heard of most of their names before, and was highly encouraged by the love put into these short biographies. Krusen does a fine job of providing an interesting introduction of each character from how they influenced his own life or how he had known of them. And after the biographical entry, he pens his reflection, which were often helpful in my own consolidation of thoughts. The editing work is top notch and I found the content thoroughly engaging and inspiring. Krusen writes intelligibly and yet with fine brevity. I heartily recommend this book to both laymen and scholars alike. I received this book from the Baker Publishing Group's Blogger Review Program for the purposes of providing an unbiased review. All views are my own.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Veronica

    This was a fascinating book that focused on the faith journeys of some of the most famous people in history. There were a few I hadn't heard of, but most I had. I learned quite a bit about not only their faith, but also turning points in their lives. The author starts out relating personally to the subject by telling of memories he had of them or something he had in common with them. Then their story is told in a very readable style with many quotes from the subject themselves. Finally, the auth This was a fascinating book that focused on the faith journeys of some of the most famous people in history. There were a few I hadn't heard of, but most I had. I learned quite a bit about not only their faith, but also turning points in their lives. The author starts out relating personally to the subject by telling of memories he had of them or something he had in common with them. Then their story is told in a very readable style with many quotes from the subject themselves. Finally, the author wraps up their story with a few thoughts of his own about their influence. I loved the details I learned that gave insight into choices they made and how their faith sustained them, some through incredible trials or under intense pressure. It was inspiring to see the influence they had on their countries and in their different fields. It definitely made me think about how I could serve others more and live out my faith no matter where I work or what I'm called to do. I highly recommend this book! I received this book free from Baker Books in exchange for an honest review.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Michelle Jinnette

    This book was a very interesting read. It consists of twelve brief biographies that, as the author described, tells "the rest of the story." The stories are concise and go into just enough detail to keep the reader from getting boring and keep their attention. Each person described is known for their inventions, contributions to medicine, or how they changed the thinking and beliefs of their time. Most are not as well known about their walk with Christ. Some started their walk with Jesus at an e This book was a very interesting read. It consists of twelve brief biographies that, as the author described, tells "the rest of the story." The stories are concise and go into just enough detail to keep the reader from getting boring and keep their attention. Each person described is known for their inventions, contributions to medicine, or how they changed the thinking and beliefs of their time. Most are not as well known about their walk with Christ. Some started their walk with Jesus at an early age; some came to know Christ and His forgiveness of sin later. But each one strived to emulate Jesus in their pursuit of peace, understanding and in helping their fellow man. While I am not a big biography fan, this is one book I really enjoyed reading and will keep on my shelf. Check it out. You might just learn something new. This book was provided by Baker Books for review without compensation.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Candice

    I read and enjoy Christian literature so that was the surprising part for me when reading this book. What surprised me the most is how much I enjoyed each chapter. It didn't feel as if I was reading a history textbook or a religious doctrine. This was beautifully written and it flowed seemlessly with some autobiographical connections from the author. It taught me more about the lives of some of the historical figures that I knew a bit about and also about the lives of people I didn't know much a I read and enjoy Christian literature so that was the surprising part for me when reading this book. What surprised me the most is how much I enjoyed each chapter. It didn't feel as if I was reading a history textbook or a religious doctrine. This was beautifully written and it flowed seemlessly with some autobiographical connections from the author. It taught me more about the lives of some of the historical figures that I knew a bit about and also about the lives of people I didn't know much about. Christobal's writing style is beautiful and easy to read. This easily could have come across as "preachy" or boring but it didn't. I am glad that I read it. If you want to know more about some of our historical figures and their views of Christianity, then pick this up.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Pono Akina

    This was one of the greatest books about Christianity I have read, besides the Standard Works (Old and New Testament, Book of Mormon, and Pearl of Great Price). The book is about ten people of history that have been influenced by God and the knowledge of Jesus Christ. They use his guidance to become prolific historical figures of our time. From a US President, Abraham Lincoln, to possibly the richest man to ever live, John D. Rockefeller Sr., this book describes how we can use Christ in our life This was one of the greatest books about Christianity I have read, besides the Standard Works (Old and New Testament, Book of Mormon, and Pearl of Great Price). The book is about ten people of history that have been influenced by God and the knowledge of Jesus Christ. They use his guidance to become prolific historical figures of our time. From a US President, Abraham Lincoln, to possibly the richest man to ever live, John D. Rockefeller Sr., this book describes how we can use Christ in our life to achieve happiness, success, and peace in this world. Love this book and I recommend reading this no matter who you are, what race or religious background you come from.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Carol Lee

    In choosing this book, I was curious as to what people would be included besides the ones mentioned and some surprised me. I was glad to see many names that I recognized in the book and how many came about their faith. It is always great see influential people living their faith. This book is a great encouragement especially in today's world as it gives hope that influential people can still let their faith be know weather they are bold or just having it a part of their everyday life. This is a In choosing this book, I was curious as to what people would be included besides the ones mentioned and some surprised me. I was glad to see many names that I recognized in the book and how many came about their faith. It is always great see influential people living their faith. This book is a great encouragement especially in today's world as it gives hope that influential people can still let their faith be know weather they are bold or just having it a part of their everyday life. This is a great read and can be read in sections when you have time. I received a copy of this book to read and review from the publisher.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Karen Hadley

    The book is packed full of information about 11 individuals and their relationship with God. It is very interesting and I learned so much about these individuals. Also, it reminds me that their are people from the past, here in the present and in the future that have untold stories of how God works in their lives. A remarkable read that you will enjoy. Blessings, Karen Hadley www.karenhadley.blogspot.com The book is packed full of information about 11 individuals and their relationship with God. It is very interesting and I learned so much about these individuals. Also, it reminds me that their are people from the past, here in the present and in the future that have untold stories of how God works in their lives. A remarkable read that you will enjoy. Blessings, Karen Hadley www.karenhadley.blogspot.com

  28. 4 out of 5

    Margie

    "The inspiring faith of men and women who changed the world." Interesting. Could see this being an interesting "required" read for a serious high school student. Hmm? "The inspiring faith of men and women who changed the world." Interesting. Could see this being an interesting "required" read for a serious high school student. Hmm?

  29. 5 out of 5

    Michelle Olms

    Great book

  30. 5 out of 5

    Lynn

  31. 5 out of 5

    Frederick Rotzien

  32. 5 out of 5

    Daryl Moad

  33. 4 out of 5

    Mary

  34. 5 out of 5

    Micielle

  35. 5 out of 5

    Sheri L.

  36. 5 out of 5

    Cori

  37. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl Bradley

  38. 4 out of 5

    Randy M.

  39. 5 out of 5

    Ms. Reader

  40. 4 out of 5

    Kim Myers

  41. 5 out of 5

    Sheba Hall

  42. 4 out of 5

    Jayme

  43. 5 out of 5

    Jackie Morris

  44. 5 out of 5

    Dianne

  45. 4 out of 5

    Roxanne

  46. 5 out of 5

    Tamra LeValley

  47. 4 out of 5

    Liz

  48. 4 out of 5

    Janice

  49. 4 out of 5

    Bethany

  50. 5 out of 5

    Kathy Heare Watts

  51. 5 out of 5

    Terry Pearson

  52. 4 out of 5

    Pam

  53. 4 out of 5

    Joanne

  54. 4 out of 5

    Gail

  55. 5 out of 5

    Carol McFarlane

  56. 4 out of 5

    Diana Petty-stone

  57. 4 out of 5

    Brooke

  58. 4 out of 5

    Pat Eells

  59. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

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