Church History in Plain Language: Updated 2nd Edition and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Trade in your item
Get a $3.00
Gift Card.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Church History in Plain Language, 3rd Edition Paperback – December 2, 2008


See all 3 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Paperback
"Please retry"
$18.35 $13.79

NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Image
Looking for the Audiobook Edition?
Tell us that you'd like this title to be produced as an audiobook, and we'll alert our colleagues at Audible.com. If you are the author or rights holder, let Audible help you produce the audiobook: Learn more at ACX.com.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson; 3rd edition (December 2, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0718025539
  • ISBN-13: 978-0718025533
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (104 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #51,787 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

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.

Customer Reviews

Well written, and easy to read.
Ginger
I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to further his understanding in Christianity.
Serious Christian
This book presents early church history and a wonderful and considerate language.
Robert Pechacek

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

36 of 37 people found the following review helpful By T. Blake on May 18, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I purchased this book for a class. I expected the class to be a very long list of dates and names and... very boring. This book helped make the class very enjoyable. Needless to say, this book is NOT a very long and boring list of whatever. I don't feel like the book made me any type of Church History scholar, but that isn't its intent. It's a great introduction, very enjoyable and readable.

There are 49 short chapters, covering seven "The Age of": Jesus and the Apostles, Catholic Christianity, the Christian Roman Empire, the Christian Middle Ages, the Reformation, Reason and Revival, Progress, and Ideologies. The book is a pinch over 500 pages.

Shelley believes that "clarity is the first law of learning" and so, instead of inundating the reader with dates, names, events, etc., he gets to the plot of the story rather than to every single detail. He writes in his prologue, "Taking this 'issues' approach admittedly leaves plenty of gaps in the story. Some readers will wonder why certain important people or events are not included. But this approach has the advantage of showing to the layperson the contemporary significance of church history. Many of today's issues are not unique. They have a link with the past." And this is where I think Shelley's genius comes out. The question everyone asks in a history course is, "What has this got to do with life NOW?" Shelley answers that. He writes in such a way that the reader immediately sees the connections between what has happened and what is happening. One purpose of the book is to show that church history is relevant and I think it does that very well.

I recommend the book as an introductory reader for other Church History students.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By J. Oakes on April 1, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I read most of the older reviews on here before purchasing this book. Overall, it was a good read. It gave a good overview of the history of Christianity, from Christ's life to the turn of the 21st century. Shelley covers Christianity's rise and spread systematically, covering challenges to the church and the church's response in all different ages, from Gnosticism to post-modernism. He also ties the history of the church to the history of the parts of the world the church is found in; as a result, I ended up with a better understanding of 'secular' history, as I read how the church interacted with governments and important people to influence world history. One of the nice features of this book is that, at the end of each chapter, there are recommendations of books to read for further study on that chapter's topics.

As noted in other reviews, of course, this book has its faults. First of all, the author's tone toward the Roman Catholic church in general, but especially after the rise of popes in the late fifth century, is disapproving at best and hostile at worst (I say this as a life-long Protestant). However, this tone changes considerably once he reaches the post-WWII era and the Vatican II council, which he frames as the Catholic Church coming out of its Counter-reformation fortress. Secondly, the eastern churches are barely mentioned after the church council age. Russian Orthodoxy, for example, is mentioned in a passing paragraph, then ignored until the author describes the rise of communism in the 20th century. I would hope that, in a 4th edition of this book, Shelley would neutralize his tone toward the historical Catholic church, and add more information regarding the church in the East.

All in all, I am glad to have read this book. Even with its faults, I would recommend this book to someone who has not previously studied Christian history.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Brian Sun on July 7, 2011
Format: Paperback
Church History in Plain Language provides one really, really amazing thing: perspective.

In the midst of this "movement" and that "movement" in the church and in the world today, it was refreshing for my soul to grasp the reality of Jesus' kingdom throughout the past two thousand years.

I recommend this for every Christian (really) because we must know the Story that we've entered into as the people of God.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By M. Goodlin on July 27, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Very readable - once I got started, this book kept me reading. Fascinating history of the church. I found out why there are Sunni and Shiite muslims, why the crusade happened, why the Inquisition was carried out. In perspective, these events made more sense. I like this book very much. Interesting and not boring at all.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By 1970Thunder on December 25, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I purchased this book for a church study. It really is church history in plain language. It reads easily. Everything is explained well; you don't need to be a theologian to understand all the concepts presented.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Judith Donnelson on November 20, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book talks about the history of the Christian Church from the time of Christ until the present: The councils, the contracts, the proclamations, the movements and variations on doctrine, etc. It is overwhelmingly filled with facts and dates, as one would expect,however It is very informational, enjoyable and easy reading (with a little humor injected here and there.) I have learned more about the background and tenets of my faith from this book than in my 35 years as a Christian!
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Joel Radford on May 4, 2011
Format: Paperback
Church history is an important subject because it teaches you how to worship God appropriately. The most important church history text, the Bible, shows us this again and again. But what about the history of God's church after the canon of Scripture is closed? Does it teach us anything?

For the last two thousand years God has continued to work in the lives of his people and studying this 'recent' church history continues to teach us how to worship God appropriately. The modern heresies that encourage us to dishonour God's name have all reared their ugly heads before and been wrestled with by our older brothers and sisters. And through a study of their lives and their teachings we can be well-equipped to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints.

But where does one begin in studying church history? Shelley's 'Church history in plain language' is just one introduction to church history among many. Why would I recommend Shelley above others?

Firstly the book was designed for the lay reader and is an easy and enjoyable to read.

Secondly the book covers the period from 6BC-1996. Many church histories will concentrate on one period (e.g. early church, reformation etc) and few do much with the 20th century - whereas Shelly tries to give a quick taste of all major events throughout church history.

Thirdly, as the book is a shallow overview of such a large period, Shelley provides suggestions for further reading at the end of each chapter to use for deeper reading if the reader is craving more.

Shelley in his prologue claims that 'many Christians today suffer from historical amnesia'. If that is you, try a healthy dose of Shelley's book as an antidote to your amnesia.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Customer Images

Most Recent Customer Reviews