Vintage Saints and Sinners

Karen Wright Marsh: 25 Christians Who Transformed My Faith

Vintage Saints and Sinners 
25 Christians Who Transformed My Faith
(IVP Books, 2017)

WHO: Karen Wright Marsh, executive director and cofounder of Theological Horizons.

SHE SAYS:“It’s my hope that by telling you some tales from the lives of vintage Christians—with their struggles, joys and revelations—and by opening up about the lessons I’ve learned, you’ll discover that God’s saving, guiding, transforming grace is here for you, as well.”

THE BIG IDEA:This candid summary of 25 followers of Jesus makes these people come off as very human, fellow strugglers, saints and sinners at once. What their lives teach—and what the author seeks to do as a result—will make you want to know more about them and what they did.

Organized into two sections—“Asking” and “Walking”—this book offers 25 interesting profiles of some well-known (C.S. Lewis, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Mother Teresa) and not-so-well-known (Howard Thurman, Fannie Lou Hamer, Sophie Scholl) Christians.
Interwoven with their stories is the author’s account of her spiritual journey thus far. She concludes by encouraging readers to walk with God where they are at, providing both a recommended reading list and a section dedicated to conversation starters.

“I’ve moved beyond seeing these people as inaccessible super-saints and have encountered them as perfect companions for a real-life pilgrimage. They are wise guides in the faith who have been this way before. Older brothers and sisters who urge me on, reassuring me with their own tales of travail and discovery.”

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“This book is not encyclopedic, but rather Karen Wright Marsh’s candid summary of 25 extrabiblical followers of Jesus. Each chapter gives a picture of why the person is famous and why they, like us, are also struggling sinners. Immediately she shows what effect that person’s life had on her and challenges us all to be so courageous. The lessons their lives teach will help us know ourselves better.”

Evaluated by Knute Larson, an Outreach consulting editor and a pastoral coach and teacher. He also is the pastor emeritus of The Chapel in Akron, Ohio, and editor of Pastorpedia, a monthly video and set of notes.