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Church History In Plain Language Paperback – Dec 2 2008


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson Publishers-Study Books; Third Edition edition (Dec 2 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0718025539
  • ISBN-13: 978-0718025533
  • Product Dimensions: 22.9 x 15.3 x 3.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 689 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #283,888 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Dr. Bruce Shelley was Senior Professor of Church History and Historical Theology at Denver Theological Seminary. He held the M.Div. degree from Fuller Theological Seminary and Ph.D. from the University of Iowa. Among his previous publications are The Church: God's People; Evangelicalism in America; and The Cross and the Flame.


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Nick Osborne on Feb. 14 2012
Format: Paperback
This one volume compendium of church history lives up to its name: it is written in plain, very readable language. Shelley has a knack for weaving stories around people and personalities--not just dates and events--and the result is a very engaging single volume of history that is, at times, as engrossing a page-turner as any novel. Shelley's goal in writing this book is to heal the 'historical amnesia' from which many Christians today suffer (p. xv). He reminds us that throughout Scripture, from the Exodus to the Eucharist, we are commanded to remember. But what to remember? 2,000 years of church history could easily fill a library. Shelley's desire is to focus on the permanent rather than the passing fad (p. xvi). Thus, he is admittedly selective in what events to address and what to pass by.

The book is divided by epochs, that is, 'ages' of Jesus and the Apostles; Catholic Christianity; Christian Roman Empire; Christian Middle Ages; Reformation; Reason and Revival; Progress; and Ideologies. Unfortunately, due to his selection biases, as the Church goes through its schisms, Shelley tends to focus on West over East, then Protestant over Catholic. This is not to say that the other streams of tradition are never mentioned again, but the massive majority of limelight after AD 1500 (about half the book) goes to Protestantism, and once the Americas come on the scene, American and British Protestantism. Further, although he picks and chooses events to suit his narrative, there is little mention of the Pentecostal Movement and Charismatic Renewal of the 20th century that transformed the face of the world-wide church. So although this is an excellent one volume compendium of church history, it is understandably (given the fact that it is only one volume) weak in certain areas.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By C. Kajorinne on April 13 2009
Format: Paperback
This text was required for one of my college courses and I loved reading it. I had a different book for the second half of the course and hated that one. This book is by far the best book on Church History that I have come across. I would recommend this to college students and anyone who desires to know more about the details of the church's history. Easy to read, far from boring, and gives a more down-to-earth account of what happened throughout history in the life of the church.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Joshua J. Duffy on May 24 2010
Format: Paperback
If you don't know anything about church history, then this is a great book to start with. I knew little about the history of Christianity before reading this book, and it got me studying everything I can on the subject! A fascinating read
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My wife and I are both reading this book and enjoy the information. We are not in a class and do not need to write a book report but the book taught us how the present church has came into this century with the truth of the gospel message. God is faithful and preserved His message and we can trust Him. It was a great experience for us. We are glad that it was in everyday language.
Chalmers Wirth
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By LBF on Dec 4 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It is difficult to know how to rate this bizarre book. On the one hand, you can make the case that the author does a decent enough job until the 1700s or so, although the unstintingly male-dominated language had me scratching my head; I had to keep checking the publication date. Who writes like this in 2008? Things fall apart completely when Shelley tries to make sense of the complexities of modern-day global Christianity. While I can respect theologically conservative thinking and belief, Shelley simply caricatures more liberal theologians, and can't seem to distinguish between liberal, human-rights based social policy and orthodox theology. He ignores the fact that it is quite possible for someone to be conservative theologically and still support basic human rights (which, I would argue, is exactly what Jesus Christ did and calls us to do today). I was pressed into writing this review at the point where Shelley uncritically references Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson as voices for "educating" and "mobilizing" Christians, presumably against those Christians who had succombed to the age of "self-expression" and were "intent upon emphasizing feelings and affections". Overall, I was terribly disappointed by book whose foreward claims that students find it "accessible, educational, and enjoyable."
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