Of all the various theological disciplines in the Church today; arguably one of the most neglected is church history. Church history I would argue is one of the most important theological disciplines after biblical and systematic theology. I view church history as this important because it helps Christians understand how the faith once and for all delivered to the saints was passed on to generation after generation. The story of church history is not just fascinating but a true story of God working in and through His people for His glory as His Gospel advances both in head and heart across the globe. Awhile back Everett Ferguson wrote Church History Volume One From Christ to Pre-Reformation: The Rise and Growth of the Church in Its Cultural, Intellectual and Political Context.
As the title of the book suggests the book looks at the growth of Christianity from the early Church to the thirteen century. The author writes from the perspective that “church history is the story of the greatest community the world has known and the greatest movement in world history. It is a human story of a divinely called people who wanted to live by a divine revelation. These are people who have struggled with the meaning of the greatest event in history, the coming of the Son of God” (25).
What I appreciated the most about this volume is it is church history at its finest—namely showing the various movements, and theological controversies that helped shape the Church to be what it is today. This is a significant achievement as I’ve read church history books that were dull and boring. Rather than this Church History Volume 1 is engaging and will help those new to church history understand the shape of the early church up to the 13th century. Given that church history is neglected and even under emphasized in my opinion in Bible college and seminary—this volume will serve as a helpful resource to Bible college, seminary students and even the serious lay person wanting to know more about the history of the Church. I encourage you to pick up this highly accessible resource on church history for in doing so you will come to learn how God has worked in and through His people from the early church to the thirteen century.Understanding where the people of God have come from is an important part of what is required today to be faithful to biblical orthodoxy. Challenges to the faith are never new—they are rather the same old issues being replayed over and over again throughout history. This is why this volume on church history is important because it accurately tells the story of church history and does so in an accessible way.
Authors: Everett Ferguson
Publisher: Zondervan (2005)
I received this for free from Zondervan Press book review program for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”