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The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Reformation and Protestantism Paperback – February 1, 2002

15 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Series: The Complete Idiot's Guide
  • Paperback: 408 pages
  • Publisher: Alpha; 1st edition (February 20, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0028642708
  • ISBN-13: 978-0028642703
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 0.9 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #941,799 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By D. Bach on February 8, 2003
Format: Paperback
I found this book to be an engaging and interesting overview of events that constitute the roots of today's protestant "church". It provided me with a framework from which much "church" history can be understood. It includes Apostle Paul, papal history, Anabaptists and relationships between protestant denominations. Although lightweight in many areas, it covers a wide range of church history, which makes it very readable. Many topics may not go into as much depth as you like but there is enough to identify interest. This lack of depth is what makes the book so readable, never becoming bogged down in uninteresting topics, it keeps moving while providing stepping stones for additional reading.
What I did not like about the book is its tendency to deviate from a mostly chronological presentation. I found this was particularly annoying in the first several chapters. Later, I got use to it. There are "Protestant Pearls" (quotes) thrown throughout the book. Literally, they seem to have been thrown, having no relationship to the text. I think they should have been presented in the context of the relevant text. I would liken it to getting blips within a documentary movie have no bearing on the current scene. I found them distracting, breaking the flow so to speak. I adjusted by reading the "pearls" separately or when reviewing previously read text.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 22, 2002
Format: Paperback
If you liked Complete Idiot's Guide to The Bible, then you'll like this one. I've known Jim Bell from his well-known Christian books, so I'm glad to see the Idiot's people have picked up one of the best for their religion books. He really breaks down what Protestants believe and why in an easy to understand way that doesn't make you feel stupid. I'm going to use this in my Bible class over the summer.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Jerry Hampton on August 25, 2004
Format: Paperback
Overall, this book provides an excellent introduction to the history of Christianity in general and the Protestant Reformation in particular. The first 20 chapters that cover the period from the dawn of Christiantiy through 19-th century Europe are written extraordinarily well. I thorougly enjoyed reading this portion of the book. Unfortunately, the style and quality of the book change abruptly beginning with Chapter 21 through to the end - and the change is definitely for the worse. That portion of the book covers the impact of the Protestant Reformation on North America. Since there are two authors, it appears to me that the work was divvied up between them, with one of them writing the bulk of the book and the other writing the last few chapters. Unfortunately, the editor has done a very poor job of ensuring a consistent style and quality throughout. In summary: I highly recommend the first 20 chapters, but if you are particularly interested in reading about the impact of Protestantism on America, don't be surprised if you are disappointed.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 18, 2004
Format: Paperback
This is a wonderful book which explains the development of Christianity from the death of Jesus, right up to the present time. I expected to mainly find Martin Luther expounded upon, but have learned from this book that he was only one of many many reformers. An excellent source of information , written with a touch of humor and much spiritual insight and depth of explaination.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Bluebird on April 11, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I heartily dislike the title but the information between the book's covers is very helpful in understanding the big picture of the Reformation. It's a good reference book and one I highly recommend.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Cw Stevenson on November 2, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
When we seem to be in a time of religious demagogues shouting about how the world is "going to hell" this book is very refreshing. It is fact based, easy to read and well designed. It is a well written and appropriate for all ages. The information is referenced and easy to locate. For those who think they know their denomination/religion and/or the protestant bible this is a must read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Patrick J. Tiernan on September 22, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have discovered more information in this book than any other history of the Reformation and Protestantism books that I have read. Loved it, thank you.
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Format: Paperback
I am not certain that this is the "best" book on the Reformation, but I am sure that it holds a wealth of wisdom. I did not read it from beginning to ending (it really didn't seem to follow an order that worked doing it that way), but rather have kept it in my library to use as a resource when looking up specific topics.

At the same time, the early history of the church itself can be very helpful for someone who doesn't know a lot about this area, and who might need a complete course. If so, this lighthearted (at times) can give good insight into the way the church grew into the way it is today.

A quick caution if you use it more as a reference book. Terms are defined the first time they are used, and so words like "diet" and "bull" might be confusing. Sadly, the book does not include a glossary, so you are on your own in this area.
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