Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Review of The Story of Christianity by Justo L. Gonzalez

Author: Justo Gonzalez
Pages: 880
Publisher: Prince Press
Price: 15.99
Genre: History

Quick Summary:
Originally 2 volumes, this highly readable church history is now available in one volume. This book is an often required text book for church history classes at both the seminary and college level. Volume 1 covers from the churches beginnings up to the Protestant Reformation. Volume 2 covers from the Protestant Reformation up to modern times. Gonzalez also gives much needed attention to the expansion of Christianity into Central and South America.
What I Liked:
Many consider church history to be boring. Sadly, there are many “boring” church history books; the Story of Christianity is not one of them. Gonzalez writes in such a way to not only inform but make the stories come alive. He allows the reader to consider the difficulties and opportunities that the church had to reckon with at each stage of history. The reader is introduced to key historical figures within the church and in secular society. As you read through each section of church history you really have a feel for the social climate. Gonzalez is an excellent writer and a credible historian.
What I Disliked:
There are two minor things that keep this from being a 5 star book. The first is that Gonzalez at times will interject opinion. Of course every historian must make opinions at various points. The historian is often making an interpretive decision by including one story and not another. However, at times Gonzalez will raise issues or put forth an opinion that does not flow smoothly into the narrative. Secondly, the book does a great job of telling a story but often lacks chronology. Within each section Gonzalez is concerned with telling the story but sometimes as he looks at the story from various angles the chronology is lost.
Should You Buy It:
Even if this is not required for a class this would be a welcome addition to any home library. Studying church history is an important and much needed discipline. If you need a church history survey book there are few better than Gonzalez.  Buy it for only 15.99.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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