Tag Archives: Church History

The Story of Christianity: Volume 1 – Review

Story of ChristianityWhen I studied church history in seminary, the text that was assigned was The Story of Christianity: Volume 1 The Early Church to the Dawn of the Reformation by Justo L. González. I just recently reread this book as a part of my ongoing research.

I am reminded of what a tremendous resource this is. González is a tremendous scholar and he is equally a gifted writer. Church history can easily become a bog of names and dates that leaves the reader wanting to throw the book against the wall. But that is not the case with González.

González is able to get across the big story that provides the reader with everything they need to know but in a readable and accessible form. He traces out the major themes and introduces the important characters and yet it is somehow not overwhelming.

This first volume takes us from the beginning of Christianity to just before the reformation. That is quite the task, covering many centuries and seeing radical changes in the church. González is able to navigate these events by breaking down the history into sections such as: the early church, the imperial church, medieval Christianity and the beginnings of colonial Christianity.

There are more comprehensive church histories out there, but this is the introduction to church history that I recommend. It is the perfect place to start and to discover the eras that you want to learn more about.

 

Free Church History Courses

Online CoursesThere are plenty of problems with the internet but it can still be a blessing. This is especially true for the consuming of informations. Courses are often recorded and posted online for people to listen to for free.

I have compiled some courses on church history that you might find helpful. I will add more as I come across them. Enjoy!




Can Christians Do Critical Church History?

Church HistoryAs I work on this podcast about Christian history, one could challenge me on how appropriate it is for me to do this. Not only am I a Christian, but I’m a pastor as well. Doesn’t that bias disqualify me?

I have seen discussions questioning the ability of believers to do either biblical research or Christian history. A Christian will always defend what they believe and therefore cannot be impartial.

I’m not convinced that Christians are unable to do real church history. In fact, it has often been from within the church that the harshest criticism about the church has emerged.

Although I believe the Bible to be a reliable report about Jesus and the early church, I have no intention of ignoring the mistakes of the church.

Do I have a bias? Absolutely. I think that despite all its mistakes and failures that the church is something special. I wouldn’t be a pastor otherwise.

My bias will influence what I present in my podcast. But the same thing would happen if I was Jewish, Muslim, Mormon or atheist. I believe we need to own our bias.

My philosophy for historical research is to look for different perspectives. For example, when I get to the crusades, I will want to look beyond church accounts. I will want to look at modern secular treatments as well as Muslim interpretations of the events.

The presence of a bias does not disqualify something as valuable. It only means that we need to be aware of the bias and attempt to balance it with other perspectives as we are able.

My goal for this podcast is not to defend the actions of the church. Rather, I want to put the actions of the church in their historical context. Not only do I love the church, I also love history.

I hope that you will join me on this journey.

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