This book is a must-read for every Christian, which covers a wide period from the apostolic age to the church under Communism.
There are numerous excellent works on church history, like Philip Schaff’s eight volumes, or Andrew Miller’s three volumes, or Nick Needham’s four. Yet these may be too daunting for a first-time reader in church history. This little work will bridge the gap and hopefully lead on to the much larger works.
But why study the history of the church? As the foreword reminds us: it is his story – that is, God’s story. The Bible itself is the unfolding of God’s purposes in our world. Hebrews 11 reminds us that no Christian is an island: we stand on the shoulders of others gone before us, and we can learn much from them.
Another reason for studying the history of God’s working is that it thrills the heart. It takes us from our present circumstances into another world, and few things can be more exciting than that. It is also necessary to know church history to combat attacks on the Gospel message itself. If the attack comes: ‘that’s not what the early Christians believed’, and you are not sure, you are then silenced. While the Bible is our ultimate and final authority, we neglect church history to our peril.
The author has succeeded in providing a wonderful summary of the Western history of the church and this title comes highly recommended.