A Pinch of Incense A.D. 70 to 250 From the Fall of Jeruasalem to the Decian Persecution (The Christians the First Two Thousand Years, Second) Hardcover – 2002
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Most readers of this book will find themselves on foreign ground. In the first volume of this series, they had been at home. They knew the players and they knew the roles they played because the first book mostly furnished a historical background for the New Testament.
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Throughout this fascinating history, the accounts of early church martyrs is told with compassion and candor. These accounts are sometimes difficult to read and troubling, for they include such cruelty as is hard to imagine in today's world (though increasingly seen with the spread of radical Islam). However, they are part of our history as the body of Christ, and must be understood if the whole of church history is to be understood. And they have much to teach us and challenge us as believers today.
The methodical presentation of the Roman emperors -- and how they ascended to their position -- is absorbing and fascinating. The editing, combined with copious photos, commissioned artwork, maps and sidebars, make this a living history, replete with personality, tragedy, vindication, redemption, trial, sweetness and through it all, the Light of the World. The sweeping impact of Christianity is emphasized, but with such an intimate tone that the reader is drawn into the story as though reading a novel, only better. I've never had a "coffee table book" that I couldn't put down, but this is the case. I wish I'd started reading with the first in the series. However, I've wasted no time in collecting the entire series for my family. They will be a treasured collection in our library, and useful for homeschooling our children when they are old enough to understand and absorb the story.
An incredible amount of work has gone into this book, for which I as a Christian am most grateful.