Seven Summits in Church History

Augustine. Luther. Calvin.

Hubmaier. Edwards. Carey. Henry.

Some of the richest spiritual lessons have come to me by way of great biographies. Jason has chosen seven fascinating, critically important figures and distilled some of their most important contributions to our faith and life. It’s a delight to read. 

–J.D. Greear, Pastor of The Summit Church, author of Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart and Gospel

In Seven Summits, Jason G. Duesing gives a brief introduction to major figures in the history of Christianity for churches and all readers.

The history of Christianity is like that of a great mountain range, with immense length comprised of peaks and valleys, enduring both stormy and prosperous weather. Certain figures in this history have risen to high peaks and represent significant moments in theological development. These figures are the hinge for major swings in the expansion of Christian thought.

Duesing offers a quick, yet insightful introduction to seven of the highest peaks worth climbing in church history. His biographical summaries include Augustine, Luther, Calvin, Hubmaier, Edwards, Carey, and Henry. By examining the peaks of Christian history in these seven figures, this book engages several key issues without overwhelming the reader.

It is brief but packed with pertinent information any student of history should know.

Seven Summits in Church History
Jason G. Duesing
Rainer Publishing, 2016
132 pages

Available today at Amazon from Rainer Publishing.

What People Are Saying About Seven Summits in Church History

For those intimidated by church history, or for those who want to learn more but don’t know where to start, this little book may be just what you need. Dr. Duesing offers a user-friendly introduction to seven sinners saved by grace who shaped the life of the church in significant ways. Think of those mini theological biographies as enticing appetizers designed to whet your reading appetite for more!

Justin Taylor, Vice President of Book Publishing at Crossway and he blogs at Between Two Worlds—hosted by The Gospel Coalition.

Jason Duesing’s Seven Summits in Church History delivers serious Christian history in a crisp, lively format. I recommend it to anyone wanting a reliable introduction to the history of Christianity, from the perspective of some of its greatest minds, from Augustine to Jonathan Edwards and more.

Thomas S. Kidd, Professor of History, Baylor University

Studying the history of the Church is vital to Christian life but often viewed as a daunting endeavor. With short, concise chapters on seven major figures in the history of the Church, Jason Duesing has produced an incredibly helpful book for the everyday Christian looking to explore Church History.

Kevin Peck, Lead Pastor at The Austin Stone Community Church, Austin, Texas

Jason Duesing has done it again! He has shown the importance of Christian history by giving us these succinct and accurate vignettes of seven of the most important figures among the people of God—from St. Augustine to Carl F.H. Henry. A great primer in Christian biography.

Timothy George, founding dean of Beeson Divinity School of Samford University and general editor of the Reformation Commentary on Scripture.

Every movement needs heroes. Evangelicals stand to gain wisdom and perspective by standing on the mountaintops of church history and looking at our current setting in light of what God has done in the past. In this book, Jason Duesing provides an introductory guide to important figures in church history. This is a book that is both insightful and accessible and will serve to whet your appetite for further study.

Trevin Wax, Managing Editor of The Gospel Project, author of Clear Winter Nights, Gospel-Centered Teaching, and Counterfeit Gospels

If anybody’s looking for a tantalizing appetizer for the big world of church history, this little book on 7 of the heaviest hitters can’t be beat.

Jared C. Wilson, Managing Editor of For the Church, author of Gospel Deeps, Gospel Wakefulness, and The Story of Everything.

This is an excellent tool for the novice to the history of Christianity and also a great reminder for more advanced students that God changes history through people.

Michael A. G. Haykin, Professor of Church History, Southern Seminary.

You can purchase Seven Summits here.

For updates and more information follow Seven Summits on Twitter at @7SummitsHistory or take a look at the Seven Summits Facebook page.

Reviews of Seven Summits:

(Feb 2016) Books at a Glance by Cody Glen Barnhart

(Apr 2016) Evangelicals Now by Michael A. G. Haykin

(April 2016) LifeWay Pastors by Mark Dance

(April 2016) Hobbits and Handkercheifs by Joe Garner

(Aug 2016) Themelios 41:2 by Michael A. G. Haykin

(Spring 2016) SWJT 58:2 by W. Madison Grace II

Seven Summits Series Posts:

He Put More Life in Us than 500 Trumpets: The Colorful John Knox

The year 2014 marks the 500th anniversary of the birth of the colorful leader of the Reformation in Scotland, John Knox (c.1514-1572). Many have dubbed him the father of English Puritanism and perhaps, as I agree with that assessment, I will write more on that aspect in the future. However, today while preparing for my Church History course this Spring, I came across this description of Knox along with a famous quote that captures his charisma and influence:

Like so many great men, he was physically small, but his broad shoulders warned of strength, and his stern visage announced certitude and demanded authority. Black hair, narrow forehead, dense eyebrows, penetrating eyes, intrusive nose, full cheeks, large mouth, thick lips, long beard, long finders–here were incarnate devotion and will to power. A man of fanatical energy, who like to preach two or three times a week for two or three hours at a time, and, in addition, governed public affairs and private lives–no wonder that ‘in twenty-four hours I have not four free to natural rest.’ His courage was tempered with timely timidity; he had the good sense to flee from imminent death; he was accused of urging Protestants to perilous revolution in England and Scotland while himself remaining at Geneva or Dieppe; yet he faced a hundred dangers, denounced the corrupt Northumberland to his face, and would later proclaim democracy to a queen. No money could buy him. He thought or claimed that his voice was the voice of God. Many accepted his claim, and hailed him as a divine oracle; hence when he spoke, said an English ambassador, ‘he put more life in us than 500 trumpets blustering in our ears.’

–Will Durant, The Story of Civilization, Part VI: The Reformation (1957), 610. Durant’s citation of the Knox quote is taken from James Anthony Froude, History of England, Vol. 1 (1863), 368. For more on Durant and his work see Dan Norton, “A Symphony of History: Will Durant’s The Story of Civilization,” in The Objective Standard 6:1 (Spring 2011).

The mention of 500 trumpets comes originally from a significant collection of manuscripts from Sir Robert Bruce Cotton (1571-1631) held in British Library. Within that collection there is a letter from English Ambassador Thomas Randolph to Secretary of State William Cecil during September 1561, a month after Mary I’s visit to Scotland. (Cotton MS Caligula B. X, 69). See a published version of the letter in Thomas Wright, ed. Queen Elizabeth and Her Times, Vol. 1 (1838), 71-74. The quote reads: “Were your Honour exhorteth us to stowtenes, I assure you the voyce of one man is able in one hower to putt more lyf in us then five hundred trompettes contynually blusteringe in our eares.”

For an enjoyable short biography of Knox, see D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones & Iain H. Murray, John Knox and the Reformation (2011).


Reformator (de) [refɔrˈma:to:ɐ̯, -ˈto:rɪn, pl -ˈto:rən] NOUN m (f) = Reformer

On the week of Reformation Day, I include below links to a few of my recent articles on the life and thought of the Reformator of all Reformators, Martin Luther.

Seven Summits: Martin Luther

On October 31, 1517, he posted his 95 Theses on the door of the church in Wittenberg hoping for a debate but realizing that likely none would materialize. To Luther’s surprise, the Theses were soon translated into German and within weeks were reproduced and read widely. Consequently, Luther was thrust into a situation that required him to develop his views on the “need for reformation” …

Martin Luther’s Umbrella

In a simple image of an umbrella, Luther conveys imputation, propitiation, and substitution. All fifty-dollar theological terms to be sure, but truly priceless biblical truths that give hope both those in Christ and those still outside of Christ …

Footnotes on a Freeman: Thoughts of the Theologian Formerly Known as Martin Luther

As Martin Marty explains: As if to mark a turn in his vocation, he signed his letter no longer Martinus Ludher or Luder but Luther, just as sometimes in writing to colleagues he now dipped into Latin for a pun, calling himself Eleutherius. Like Jacob who received the new name Israel, Luther with such usage gave himself a name that meant “the free one” …

Photo Credit: Reformators by Cranach (1536)