Subscribe now

5 Minutes in Church History: An Introduction to the Stories of God’s Faithfulness in the History of the Church

By Stephen J Nichols
August 2020 | Review by David Cox
  • Publisher: Reformation Trust Publishing
  • ISBN: 978-1-64289-131-7
  • Pages: 154
  • Price: £7.99
Buy this book »

Book Review

What a breath of fresh air this book is! Stephen Nichols has given us 40 vignettes from church history that are brief enough to be digested over a bowl of cereal.

The book doesn’t aim to be a beginner’s guide to church history; for example, it doesn’t seek to explain the theological flashpoints of the Reformation. The stories do cover the sweep of the last 2,000 years, but what makes them interesting is that they aren’t about the usual suspects, or even the most significant turning points for evangelicals.

Instead, the camera zooms in on often overlooked events, such as the 1545 Walloons’ Confession of Faith, or Benjamin Franklin’s response to George Whitefield’s preaching. Nichols often homes in on possessions or buildings, such as the story of David Brainerd’s otter-skin bound Hebrew Bible, which is still held by Princeton University. I suspect this partly explains why the book piqued my interest. The Christian book market is saturated with biographies of the big names, but here I was given a whirlwind tour of church history and exposed to little-known stories and individuals

There are moments when the accuracy of the book’s subtitle is stretched, such as the chapter about the architecture of cathedrals, or the description of Renaissance artist Raphael’s Stanza della Segnatura. But it is nonetheless a fascinating and informative read.

David Cox

Nelson, South Wales

Book Reviews

Read our latest book reviews

Star RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar Rating
Why Should I Trust the Bible?

We should trust the Bible, says Timothy Paul Jones, because it is ‘grounded in the words of a man who died and rose again’ (p.111). Jones’s basic presupposition is this: ‘If we live in a world where it is possible…

See all book reviews
Star RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar Rating
The Pastor’s Life: Practical Wisdom from the Puritans
Matthew D Haste & Shane W Parker

This book highlights ‘some of the many lessons that today’s pastors can learn from the Puritans’ (p.151). As such it is aimed at pastors, but the lessons are really for anyone who is a Christian leader. The opening chapter provides…

Star RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar Rating
The Misted World of Genesis One
Michael L. Drake

There have been so many books on the creation chapters of Genesis that there have to be compelling reasons to recommend another addition. When I started to read Michael Drake’s book, I must admit that, from my knowledge of the…

Star RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar Rating
Pray Big: Learn to Pray Like an Apostle
Alistair Begg

Of the making of books on prayer there seems to be no end. That fact probably reflects the need that almost of all of us feel for more help in this vitally important area of our Christian lives The problem,…