Disclaimer: 12 Faithful Men: Portraits of Courageous Endurance in Pastoral Ministry, by Collin Hansen and Jeff Robinson, was provided by Baker Books. I received a free copy from the publisher. No review, positive or otherwise, was required—all opinions are my own.
When I got 12 Faithful Men, I thought it would be twelve stories of famous Christian people who courageously endured, as the title implies, through trials and suffering. And I was right, in a sense, but I wasn’t expecting the pastoral audience the book is clearly aimed for. This was a book written by pastors, for pastors, and so the “portraits” weren’t as detailed or as lengthy as I would have liked.
That being said, I did enjoy the stories of these 12 men. I ended up skipping a lot of the application and simply read about the 12 men, so it was a pretty quick read. Most of the people that Hansen and Robinson wrote about I had already known about, such as Paul, Jonathan Edwards, and John Newton, but some I had never heard about. I especially enjoyed the chapters on Janani Luwum, a Ugandan pastor, and Wang Ming-Dao, a Chinese pastor, because it gave me some insight into the trouble that brewed, and is possibly still brewing in Uganda (and Africa in general) and in China. I knew about Mao, but I didn’t know about Idi Amin, the “African Hitler,” who slaughtered thousands of his own people in his quest for power.
I really wasn’t expecting 12 Faithful Men to be as devotional as it was, so it was a little disappointing, but I did find the lives of the people inside interesting. I could also think of a few other people that the authors didn’t highlight that would have fit right in with the theme of the book, so I think there’s something to be said about endurance in suffering in religion in general, and Christianity in particular. There were some good things said about suffering and faith, too, though I did end up skimming a majority of that part when the authors directed it specifically towards pastors. The book really didn’t fulfill what I thought it would, but I did learn some things nevertheless.