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Why read Church History?

By J. Philip Arthur
May 2016 | Review by Joseph Hewitt
  • Publisher: Banner of Truth Trust
  • ISBN: 978-1-84871-527-1
  • Pages: 24
  • Price: 1.50
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Book Review

This booklet is a masterly answer to this topical question. It is enhanced on its cover by four historical references — to Paul, Luther, George Whitefield and C. H. Spurgeon. Phil Arthur has an excellently trained mind and can write or speak with few words but in a judicious manner. His words often leave his audience feeling challenged.

What he has written here is irrefutable. He loves church history and has been consulted about historical details by other authors whose works we value and await in the near future.

Every Christian should know something of the past. We should all know our Old Testament as well as our New Testament, and we should know about the Reformation in our own country, as well as in Europe.

Phil Arthur answers his question under a number of titles. He declares his life-long passion for the subject, before asserting, ‘The Bible teaches a doctrine of history’. He then helpfully instructs us on ‘Pitfalls to avoid’. A section called ‘Tracing the footsteps of God’ follows.

Today, our context is so different from that of the past. With a degree of arrogance, we can undervalue it and the heroic labours of great men and women who were clearly raised up by God. This is seen under the title ‘Feeling at home in a strange land’, and is followed by ‘Walking with giants’.

Towards the end of his wise advice, Arthur helps us with ‘Getting started in church history’, and then writing on ‘General history’, before ending with unreserved praise for a number of biographies.

I unhesitatingly recommend this booklet, prayerful that we may all read more and become better teachers of others, in the spirit of 2 Timothy 2:2.

Joseph Hewitt

Holland-on-Sea

 

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