In his book Women of Faith and Courage, Vance Christie writes the biographies of five women who changed Christian history: Susanna Wesley, Fanny Crosby, Catherine Booth, Mary Slessor, and Corrie ten Boom. Christie uses these remarkable women's lives to show the influence that faithfulness and devotion can have on the world. He hopes this influence will touch his readers, inspiring them to imitate these examples of faith and courage.
The book covers Susanna Wesley's challenging life as a woman in the man-dominated 17th century; Fanny Crosby's struggles as a blind woman in the 19th century; Catherine Booth's triumphs as one of the first influential female speakers; Mary Slessor's passion for the lost in Africa; and Corrie ten Boom's amazing testimony to the power of forgiveness even in Nazi concentration camps. Christie's story-telling method does not communicate the potential power of these stories. Although they are factually accurate and full of quotations from credible sources, the biographies (especially the first ones) at times feel like a disconnected flow of facts and events that are not effectively linked. Questionable word choices and confusing sentence structures also detract from the potency of these stories. Still, Christie is a pastor and an author specializing in missionary stories, and the substantial evidence he presents leaves little doubt as to the factual accuracy of his research.
Using other biographers' works and quotations from the profiled women themselves (speeches, journals, letters), Christie supports his account of the five women's lives with a wide variety of sources. At times it seems each woman is telling her own story and he is only compiling her quotations. It is sometimes unclear who is being quoted. There are quotation marks, but the words are not attributed to anyone. Over all, however, Christie presents five well-supported examples of lives that glorified God and drew others closer to Him.
As a whole, Women of Faith and Courage is a good book, but not a great one. Accurate and well-supported, it informs the reader and challenges him or her to live a life like those of Wesley, Crosby, Booth, Slessor, and ten Boom. The closing exhortation to leave our lives of compromise and follow whole-heartedly after Jesus offers a glimpse of how powerful the book could have been if the theme had been emphasized more strongly throughout the pages. Readers who appreciate factual biographies and are interested in the history of the modern Church will enjoy this book. Those who prefer exciting stories that are brightly and enthusiastically written would probably not like it quite as well. – Ellen Williamson, www.ChristianBookPreviews.com
Through some of the best-loved heroines of the Christian faith, God's glory is manifest as He accomplishes significant things through imperfect people. In Women of Faith readers discover the remarkable stories of Susanna Wesley, Fanny Crosby, Catherine Booth, Mary Slessor and Corrie ten Boom. Their lives spanned three centuries and their circumstances were each very different, but steadfast faith and courage is the constant resounding theme for each. In Women of Faith engaging narratives with rich historical detail reveal the uncommon faithfulness of these five women in evangelism, missions pioneering, ministries of compassion and the nurturing of their own families. Their giftedness, resilience and compassion shine through, modeling devotion to Christ and sacrificial service in His kingdom. Across the pages of this book, the legacy of these women lives on to inspire and instruct contemporary believers-in living all of life for the glory of God.