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Thursday, December 13, 2012

Church History: An Essential Guide by Justo L. González

Church History: An Essential Guide
by Justo L. González

Product Details
  1. Paperback: 95 pages
  2. Publisher: Abingdon Press
  3. Date Published:1996
Point: Christianity has led a long and varied past. Understanding the big picture of this past will help us to appreciate and critique our present.

Path: González gives the big picture through summaries and generalizations. The book begins with an overview which is used as the outline for the rest of the book.
He has divided the book into nine chapters: 1) Ancient Church 2) Christian Empire 3) Early Middle Ages 4) High Point of the Middle Ages 5) Late Middle Ages 6) Conquest and Reformation 7) 17th-18th Centuries 8) 19th Century 9) 20th Century and the End of Modernity.

Sources: An accomplished church historian, González bases his work on the studies and works he has written over the years.
He also includes a list of recommended reading after each chapter, very helpful if you are just beginning to get into church history.

Agreement: I appreciate this little book for what it attempts to do - give a broad overview. I believe there is benefit in seeing the big picture before, during, and after an in-depth study. For this reason I plan on reading this book again, even though I have read other books by González and am currently in Church History in Plain Language, 3rd Edition. I would also pass this book along to someone interested in church history but didn't know where to start.

You should not buy this book if you are looking for a definitive work on church history (even the possibility that something like this exists is ridiculous). Don't buy this if you hate generalizations.
One thing that I noticed was the amount of formatting and spelling errors in my kindle copy. I would expect Abingdon to do a better job. It was annoying, but did not force me to quit reading.

Personal App: The Church has baggage. Don't accept everything that has been historically believed. Study it out and compare it with Scripture.

3.5 out of 5

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Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. (Philippians 3:8)