This book was purchased for a small group Bible study. Dr. Jones presents church history in a way that provides the reader with an easy to comprehend understanding of what our early church fathers and mothers went through to preserve our rich theological heritage. For the average layperson, this overview will provides excellent understanding. Some of the reviewers evidently expected a doctoral thesis on Christian history. That is not the intent of this book. To those people, I would recommend Justo Gonzalez's 2 volume set "The Story of Christianity" and R. Ward Holder's "Crisis and Renewal, The Era of the Reformations." In fact, Dr. Jones states in his own review that this book was written in his early ministry days for his own church parishioners. I am using this combined with the slides and DVD available in the kit.
Timothy Paul Jones, PhD wrote a colorful and well organized 224 page guide book. Each lesson takes a specific period of time and lists events, names, and terms every Christian should know. I have to admit history is not easy for me, it was never my favorite subject, but Dr. Jones book has taught me more history of my faith than any other course. The book has an abundance of photos and paintings for each period. Timelines, key concepts, quotes from Church founders and links to information on the web fill the pages of this resource book. "In case you are confused" "Did you know?" insert boxes are filled with explanations and fun facts that liven up the pages. History can be dry, but this book is a pleasure to pick up over and over again. A variety of learning activities from crossword puzzles to fill in the blank will help participants remember key facts. Resources to lead the study are in the back of the book. Rose Publishing provided this kit for my unbiased review.
Outstanding and gorgeous work on Christian history
January 25, 2014
I found this to be an outstanding introduction to Church history. The gorgeous full-color illustrations on magazine grade paper really made history come to life, getting to see places, illustrations of people from centuries ago, and archaeological artifacts I was reading about simultaneously. The fantastic writing also made it a book that was exciting and hard to put down! (Yes, I never thought I would say this about a history book). Unlike another reviewer, I felt the language was appropriate for a wide variety of audiences; (saying this as a college graduate). The author comes from a Biblically conservative perspective, which I value. Highly recommended!
I must say, having read Jones's book, most of us will gain more insight into church history than we have taken time to study before. It's a good way to finally get into something long neglected.
So what's so difficult? It's not the content, but the slick pages and small font that make this book very difficult to read without using much light, then tilting to avoid the glare. I assume these were the publisher's salesmanship ideas.
As for content, the book is written on about an eighth grade level, with the text too often interrupted by pronunciation helps and corny quips from the author - apparently trying to lighten the heaviness of history. It is a great style for our microwave society, with limited time and lack of interest in digging deep. I feel sure the author is capable of much deeper work - which, on the other hand, could leave us falling asleep.
Among the positive aspects of the book, it does give an accurate and interesting, however brief, view of church history which may stimulate the reader to find more detailed accounts from deeper writings. The idea of making available a brief readable history of Christianity (compared to a respected seven volume work, for example) is admirable and needed. The overview, opening each chapter and the website suggestions for more information are helpful. The slick artwork is of limited value. I would recommend the book for those with little desire for getting more than an overview of Christian history, preferring a kind of "church history light." Most of us will come away with a better picture of the past than we had before reading this small volume. I'd like to see us all get at least this much insight.