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The Story of Christianity, Vol. 2: The Reformation to the Present Day Paperback – December 7, 2010

4.6 out of 5 stars 128 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

This highly informative, narrative history covers the events, persons, external influences, and formative ideas of Christian history. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Back Cover

Beginning with the Protestant Reformation of the sixteenth century, this fully revised and updated second volume of The Story of Christianity continues the marvelous history of the world's largest religion. Award-winning historian Justo Gonzalez bring to life the people, dramatic events, and theological debates that have shaped Protestantism, Catholicism, and Orthodoxy. From the monk Martin Luther, who dared to stand up to a corrupt pope, to the surprising spread and growing vitality of today's church in Africa, Asia, and South America, The Story of Christianity offers a complete and up-to-date retelling of this amazing history.

With new information on the important contributions of women to church history as well as the latest information on Christianity in developing countries, Gonzalez's richly textured study discusses the changes and directions of the church up to the twenty-first century. The Story of Christianity covers such recent occurrences as the fall of the Soviet Union and the return of the Russian Orthodox Church; feminist, Africa-American, and Third-World theologies; the scandals and controversies facing the reign of Pope Benedict XVI; interfaith dialogue; and the movement toward unity of all Christian churches. This revised and updated edition of The Story of Christianity concludes with a thoughtful look at the major issues and debates facing Christianity today.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 560 pages
  • Publisher: HarperOne; 2nd edition (December 7, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061855898
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061855894
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.5 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (128 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #10,709 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By FrKurt Messick HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on January 25, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In another text ('The Changing Shape of Church History'), Justo Gonzalez writes about the shift away from a Eurocentric focus on the history of Christianity to a recognition that Christianity is a global phenomenon, not just due to Western missionary activity, but rather has been since its earliest day. Gonzalez keeps this global perspective in mind in his two volume narrative history, 'The Story of Christianity'.

Gonzalez' presentation of the Reformation period concentrates on significant people, primarily Martin Luther, Ulrich Zwingli, and John Calvin, bringing in other people as appropriate (Tetzel, various popes, etc.). However, Gonzalez does not confine himself to a 'story of great men' approach, combine the history of ideas, events, and institutions together with the biographical narratives of the people involved. Gonzalez is also the author of a three-volume history of Christian thought, and draws material from that series into this more general church history text.

Gonzalez' approach to the Reformation includes the standard Luther/Zwingli/Calvin triad, with information about the reformations in Britain, the Benelux (Low) countries, France, Anabaptists, and influences in the Catholic church. Gonzalez uses the term `Catholic Reformation' rather than Counter-Reformation, for as he states, `the Catholic Reformation was well under way when Luther was still a young boy.' Gonzalez highlights some earlier controversies that influenced Luther (Hus and others), as well as so-called `minor' actors in the unfolding historical events. This is standard for Gonzalez - he addresses the major events and people while incorporating a good deal of information about the influences and people that normally do not get `topping billing' in historical narratives.
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Format: Paperback
As a new believer, I had a lot of questions about how and why doctrine came about. I've been very interested in apologetics, particularly the push and pull between fundamental Christianity and the scientific community. Mr. Gonzalez presented a perfect resource for familiarizing myself with the history of the church. It could easily be used as a textbook for a college class, but it doesn't read like one. Wonderfully thorough and very well-written.
I HIGHLY recommend this for anyone wanting to learn about the history of the church. Every Christian should study this to an extent, if for no other reason than to see that challenges to our faith are nothing new. There's definitely nothing new under the sun:)
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I am not a theology student, I simply wanted to know more about how the church has developed over time. This book is perfect for someone like me: it gives the overall picture, with enough details to grasp the issues, but not so many that we get bogged down and lose track of the overall storyline; I am making notes of books or historical characters that I want to look at more closely later on, after getting the big picture, but for now, the story itself is fascinating. This book (both volumes of it) truly is "The Story of Christianity", and I'm finding that it's pulling together everything I thought I knew about western history from the start of the current era until now. I no longer see how anyone can really understand western history, without having a clear idea of the strand of Christianity from the beginning until now.

The book is rigorous enough for a serious theology student, but also readable by someone like me, who simply wants to learn more about this subject.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a fantastic volume for studying the history of the western church, particularly the development of Protestantism alongside of the Catholic church. This book, however, is NOT the same edition as the paperback as one may believe. A quick review of the table of contents reveals that the paperback contains additional material, though both are listed as 2nd Edition.

BE ADVISED: there are significant differences. If you require a specific text, especially for academic work, consider the paperback edition, linked below.

The Story of Christianity, Vol. 2: The Reformation to the Present Day
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A lot of of good history is covered, and I like that he pulls in perspectives from different cultures and movements within Christianity. Definitely a good overview of Christian history which remains largely unbiased until he covers the modern era.

By the last few chapters, the author makes it very clear that his view of a "healthy" Christianity involves an emphasis on ecumenicism, liberation theology, "contextualized theology," and missions, which he defines in economic terms more so than theological or salvific. He clearly has a Marxian view of the Christian message, with an anti-colonial and anti-imperialist theme throughout. His portrayal of conservative evangelicals in the 20th century is as biased as the traditional narrative he critiques. In fact, our introduction to the movement begins with an image of a Klan rally, as if the KKK were a mainstream movement within modern evangelicalism.

As I said, his editorial does not become heavy-handed until that latter quarter of the book. If you can enjoy the breadth of history he offers, and extract the bias, then it's a very informative book that's very well written. Or, if you already agree with his views, then you'll find his narrative all the more appealing and inspirational. However, if you can't stand "progressive" political correctness, then don't buy this book.
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