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The Story of Christianity: The Early Church to the Present Day Hardcover – 1999
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Both volumes now now combined into one: Volume 1, The Early Church to the Dawn of the Reformation and Volume 2, The Reformation to the Present Day. In Volume 1 "Gonzalez skillfully weaves in relevant details from the lives of prominent figures from the Apostles to John Wycliffe, tracing out core theological issues and developments as reflected in the lives and struggles of leading thinkers within the various traditions of the church. The Story of Christianity demonstrates at each point what new challenges and opportunities faced the church and how Christians struggled with the various options open to them, thereby shaping the future direction of the church".... In Volume 2 "The interpretive overview of The Story of Christianity includes a thorough and timely analysis of the growth and maturation of Christianity, including events in Europe, the United States, and Latin America - the latter an area too often neglected in church histories, yet increasingly vital to an understanding of Christianity's historical development, present situation, and future options" . (excerpts from back cover)
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Top customer reviews
The Story of Christianity is just that - a story. Gonzales has written an engaging textbook that traces Christianity's history from the early church to the present day. Yes, this book is long. It's historical. Like all textbooks, it drags in certain places.
But Gonzales rarely delves into unnecessary details. His restraint keeps the book moving, but he wisely includes certain short stories or events that keep the narrative fresh.
The Story of Christianity is a seminary textbook that I have truly enjoyed. Gonzales does an admirable job of making church history interesting and accessible for seminary students. He is also fair. It must be difficult for a historian to keep his prejudices from influencing his work too much. But Gonzales does well, despite a few places where his theological outlook comes to the forefront. (Example? Gonzales seems to see the World Council of Churches of the 20th century as the pinnacle of Christian success.)
Gonzales succeeds in hitting all the highlights of Christian history - an impressive feat considering the outward geographical expansion of Christianity. Sometimes he tries to fit too much history into one chapter. The narrative becomes confusing at times, but this confusion is sometimes brought about by the confusion of the times (The story of the Reformation in the Low Countries, for example.)
Overall, The Story of Christianity is a fine piece of work. I suspect that like other good church history books, this one will be in print for many decades to come.