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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
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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

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