21 Church History Leaders
When Augustine handed over the leadership of his church in AD 426, his successor was so overwhelmed by a sense of inadequacy that he declared, “The swan is silent,” fearing the spiritual giant’s voice would be lost in time. But for 1,600 years Augustine has not been silent—and neither have the men who faithfully trumpeted the cause of Christ after him.
21 Servants of Sovereign Joy by John Piper compiles all 7 volumes in his Swans Are Not Silent series, and explores the lives of Christians who have inspired every generation of believers toward a greater passion for God. Focusing on 21 leaders from church history, this book offers a close look at the course of their individual lives and their impact on our own spirituality today.
By studying these 21 “swans,” Piper says:
They have strengthened my hand in the work of the ministry again and again. They have helped me feel that I was part of something much bigger than myself or my century. They have showed me that the worst of times are not the last of times, and they made the promise visible that God works all things for our good. They have modeled courage and perseverance in the face of withering opposition. They have helped me set my face to the cause of truth and love and world evangelization. They have revived my love for Christ’s church. They have reinforced my resolve to be a faithful husband and father. They have stirred me up to care about seeing and savoring the beauty of God. They inspired the effort to speak that beauty in a way that it doesn’t bore. They quickened a love for Christian camaraderie in the greatest Cause in the world. And they did all this—and more—in a way that caused me to rejoice in the Lord and be glad I was in his sway and his service.
What does Augustine mean to us now? What is there about his life and work that still speaks to the Christian life today?
Luther and the Reformers looked to the church fathers and were shaped by them.
According to Herman Bavinck, the very understanding of history itself was transformed by Christianity.