Inspiring faith

Heroes of the faithBook | Heroes of the faith | Roland Ashby

Review by Nigel Tapp

Many Christians can readily point to people whose lives have inspired their own faith journey.

And Melbourne author Roland Ashby has gathered the stories of 55 men and women who have inspired the faith of others in his latest book.

Those profiled range from the familiar – such as former US president Abraham Lincoln, South African bishop Desmond Tutu, author CS Lewis, poet John Donne, composer JS Bach, Mother Teresa and theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer – to the less well known.

The second category includes monk, writer, poet and prophet Thomas Merton, Melbourne-based Bible scholar Leon Morris (who did much to promote women in ministry), Ethiopian missionary worker Dr Catherine Hamlin, pioneering Aboriginal priest Gumbuli Wurramara and British evangelist John Stott.

While the latter may not enjoy the name recognition of the former their stories are nonetheless inspiring.

In fact, I found the stories of previously unknown heroes of the faith in Australia particularly interesting.

One of the real joys of this book comes in the calibre of people Ashby gathered as profilers, many of whom would be regarded rightly as people who had inspired the faith of others.

This group includes World Vision Australia CEO Tim Costello, the late Bishop Barbara Darling – the first woman to be appointed an Anglican bishop in Victoria and only the second in Australia – and writer Christopher Bantick.

Cleverly, Ashby has managed to keep each profile to a vignette covering closer to a few hundred words than the thousands which can often exist in profiles.

This approach provides a taste of the life and teachings of the profiled party and allows the reader to go away and learn more about the subject and their work should they wish.

Ashby adopted a similar style in his previous book, A faith to live by, which profiled 25 Christian leaders he had interviewed.

In both cases, it works well.

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