Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Review of Church History in Plain Language by Bruce Shelley

Author: Bruce Shelley

Pages: 544 pgs

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Price: 19.79

Genre: Church History

Quick Summary:

Church History in Plain Language is just that; a history of the church written in plain language. Dr. Shelley writes church history as a compelling story of real people with real struggles. The book is broken up into eight parts (each a great age of the church). The history in this volume seems to end with the globalization of the mid 1990’s. This book has been reprinted numerous times with three editions and is often a standard text in college classrooms.

What I Liked:

Dr. Shelley manages to write about church history in a plain and compelling fashion. As an historian does he makes decisions about certain events but he seems to do this often while being fair to every side of the issue. This book would be easy enough for a junior high student to read but compelling enough for a seminary student to enjoy. Dr. Shelley (who passed away recently) is one of the better historians the church has produced and this book is a masterpiece for overviews of Western church history.

What I Disliked:

As is the case many times this would be better termed Western Church History in Plain Language. There is very little in here about Eastern Orthodoxy, the rise of Christianity in the East, etc. Fortunately there are many newer volumes that are beginning to tackle the difficulties of Eastern Church History.

Should You Buy It?

I think every Christian (and even unbelievers) could benefit from this edition. This and Justo Gonzalez’s The Story of Christianity are on the same level. Sometimes you can find older editions of this book for cheaper and not much has changed in the newer editions. It’d be worth your time and money to track down a copy of this book .

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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