Church History in Plain Language (old)

Church History in Plain Language (old)

by Bruce L. Shelley
3rd Edition, ©2008, ISBN: 9780718025533
Trade Paperback, 532 pages
Current Retail Price: $29.99
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Many Christians can't answer basic questions about their faith: Why dothey believe church doctrine? Where do doctrines even come from? What arechurch doctrines? Do all Christians believe the same thing? Should they? Bruce Shelley answers these questions by following the fascinating story of Church history from the Apostles to the 21st century.

Church History in Plain Languageis exactly what its title suggests. Don't be intimidated by its 500 pages: the story is long, but it's highly readable. The narrative is presented as a complex whole rather than isolated events, so readers get a sense of cause and effect, the reasons behind events and actions, and the way doctrine is often formed as a reaction to opposing ideas.

Chapters aren't too long, and at the end of each is a list of resources for further study. Several indexes help readers find people, movements, events, etc. easily, and timelines provide context. In its third edition, Church History in Plain Language was originally intended as a college textbook, but its audience has broadened significantly.

Shelley is Protestant, but he discusses each orthodox denomination and sect with equanimity. He also shows how God's hand has moved in the history of His people, guiding them to glorify Himself even when they're rebellious. Like all good church histories, this one is unashamedly Christocentric, making its study beneficial from a spiritual as well as an intellectual standpoint.

This is one of the most up-to-date Church history books around. The new edition includes the spread of Christianity in the 21st century, the rise of Roman Catholocism, the problem of Islam, and the effect of the Internet on faith and religion. If you want to deepen your understanding of your faith this is an excellent choice, and one likely to be a standard for laypeople for years to come.

Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he is a husband and father, teaches adult Sunday school in his Presbyterian congregation, and likes weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur.Read more of his reviews here.

Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he's a husband and father who loves church, good food, and weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur. Read more of his reviews here.
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