Every Christian, absolutely every Christian, should have some basic knowledge of the history of his faith. He does not need to be a historical scholar, but rather an informed believer. The question becomes from where does one draw that knowledge?
You could scour the internet and peruse a countless number of websites trying to piece together a cognitive history of the faith. But that would be time consuming and surely a bit frustrating. Not to mention who would you trust?
Or you could get into your possession this book: A History of Christianity: An Introductory Survey by Joseph Early Jr. Dr. Early is associate professor of religion in the School of Theology at Campbellsville University. He has a Ph.D. from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and has dedicated his scholarly research to the field of Christian history.
Dr. Early has provided a concise (if you consider 504 pages concise) history of the Christian faith that includes, within the 504 pages, endnotes, an invaluable bibliography for further research, a name index and a subject index. It is all a believer needs to get a grasp on the history of his faith.
A History of Christianity is a time travel experience from the time Jesus was born right up to the 21st century. Early begins with a chapter entitled “Jesus and the World into Which He Was Born” that starts us off at day one. He then guides us to the Reformation providing insight into how the Catholic Church gradually distorted the true faith. Three chapters then direct us through the development of the Reformation focusing on the major personalities. Dr. Early steers us through the next 500 plus years right to the 21st century.
This book serves two primary purposes. First it provides the believer with the basics of Christian history and second it should certainly whet the appetite of the historically inclined to do further reading on the subject.
The volume is a masterpiece of succinct history and should be in the library of every Christian. It is a must read for every Christian.
Disclosure: This book was provided to me by B&H Academic Publishing for a fair and honest review.