I love reading church history And while this wasn t any where near my favorite book on Church History that would be The Story of Christianity by Justo Gonzalez Both volumes are FANTASTIC this could be a great book to give someone who wants to dive into church history and yet doesn t want to commit to a big book as most church history books seem to be The best part of this book is he focuses on 12 or so major events in the history of the church So even the moderate observer will come away knowing about the biggies like Nicea, the Great Schism, Reformation Day, and the Act of Supremacy I d encourage the reader to skim where one is feeling bogged down There are chapters I struggled through, and others I couldn t put down Overall a quality resource. Though it s not as specifical and influential as Noll s The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind, nor a vital provocation like The Civil War as Theological Crisis, Mark A Noll s survey of church history, Turning Points, is still quite good, just in a quieter way It s a good book and an excellent place to start if you re new to church history.So far as the audiobook goes, James Anderson Foster does a fine job as reader. This is great as a reference book, but not really for a cover to cover read Informative but very dry. The adult Sunday School class at our church worked through this book back in the fall, as part of a celebration of the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation I bought the book, then promptly had back to back colds and missed almost all the classes, so I decided to work my way through it this year It was a good overview of some of the major developments in the history of Christianity and not just Reformed Protestant Christianity , and I appreciated how readable it was on the whole, even if it was a little dry at times I do wish there d been about the history of Christianity outside of the Western world, but for a quick survey of the history of the church, it was quite decent 3.5 out of 5 stars, rounded up for being informative without being boring. I found this to be amongst the best of the books I have read on this topic, and I have read a few this year I would attribute this primarily to the book s accessibility Most of the volumes I have read or seen on the history of the Church appear to be college textbooks As such, well, they kind of make for dry reading This is sad because most Christians then justifiably choose not to become aware of their family history, thus becoming a people without roots Even sad is that it leaves the Church open to be manipulated by those with various sectarian or heretical axes to grind Often this is executed by means of naive fantasies about the early Church that are used to justify division or stories taken out of context of injustices suffered that are calculated to make the blood boil with the same divisive goal Books such as Turning Points stand to strengthen the Church by reconnecting her to her roots One quickly gets the sense that very few of the challenges the Church faces today have not been faced in the past One can easily appropriate many of these lessons learned either positively or negatively from the past and apply them to contemporary challenges One also gets the sense that God has guided His Church in ways that we in all of our postmodern wisdom would not When we today, in broad general swipes attack the various manifestations of the Church throughout its history, be they Orthodox, Catholic, or Protestant, we attack God s sovereignty and the wisdom of His work In the history of the Church, one can see our legacy as an unbroken tapestry that exists within the bounds of the cloth orthodoxy proceeding forward by the guidance of the Holy Spirit with unexpected color and diversity The story on the cloth always manages to transcend the drops of black from the self inflicted wounds that arise out of our mysterious state of being, as Luther put so well, a people that are simultaneously justified and yet sinners Even now as the Church moves its center of balance away from the west and is appropriated by cultures in Asia and Africa, its color and diversity continues to explode in new vibrancies that carry the story forward within the bounds of orthodoxy while amazingly finding a kind of unity in its diversity that does not spill off of the cloth Anyway read the book It s all there. Touches on important milestones in the history of Christianity insightful, informative and easy to read. In This Popular Introduction To Church History, Now In Its Third Edition, Mark Noll Isolates Key Events That Provide A Framework For Understanding The History Of Christianity The Book Presents Christianity As A Worldwide Phenomenon Rather Than Just A Western Experience Now Organized Around Fourteen Key Moments In Church History, This Well Received Text Provides Contemporary Christians With A Fuller Understanding Of God As He Has Revealed His Purpose Through The Centuries This New Edition Includes A New Preface Updates Throughout The Book Revised Further Readings For Each Chapter And Two New Chapters, Including One Spotlighting Vatican II And Lausanne As Turning Points Of The Recent Past Students In Academic Settings And Church Adult Education Contexts Will Benefit From This One Semester Survey Of Christian History The second of Mark Noll s books that I ve read, and again I was impressed The author takes a methodical, objective walk through nearly 2000 years of Christian history, highlighting a dozen key events such as the Council of Nicea standardization of the Biblical text , coronation of Charlemagne ascendency of Christianity as civilization itself in western europe , the French Revolution struggle between enlightenment thinking and religious traditional power Add to this the Counter Reformation, schism between Eastern and Western Christian churches, and the Edinburgh Missionary Conference in 1910.I don t see how anyone could come away from this book without a new consideration for how religious faith and government society have been deeply intertwined This is most clear in the west, as that s the focus of this book Though it makes one wonder if this isn t a common or natural development in other cultures, too At various times in our history, what we broadly call christianity has also been used to form the infrastructure of civilization and government When secular alternatives to the functional needs of society were developed, the church lost part of what it was doing often with ensuing conflict It SHOULD be leading back to a religious faith that is personal, and unencumbered by social functions, but I m not sure that s really happening.The other unavoidable conclusion from this book is that Christianity, at least as an institution, is far from unchanging It s not a constant Though it may have a real truth at is core I believe so where it can work at a personal faith level , when built up into an organization, society, or government it s clear that it has done nothing BUT change during the past two millennia That s a useful confirmation for me, because it means that anything that s done in the name of christianity as an organization or tradition should be scrutinized It s often not the immutable truth that its proponents suggest We need to think critically, pray fervently, and decide for ourselves.Hmm, I guess this review turned into a soapbox somewhere along the way. The textbook for a Church History subject I m teaching A balanced, readable, interesting single volume survey The selection of 13 turning point events from 2000 years of church history is a great device Noll has managed to present a reasonably satisfying treatment of the subject in only 330 pages, whilst also keeping the significance of each event constantly in view Well presented as an introductory textbook with photos, select quotations from primary sources, each chapter starting with a hymn and finishing with a prayer from the period under discussion, good further reading lists and even a set of study questions Noll s balanced approach is the basic strength of the book he speaks from an evangelical perspective whilst treating other traditions objectively Highly recommended as an introduction to the topic. First church history book I ever read Some interesting socio economic explanations for why people did x.
The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind , a book about the anti intellectual tendencies within the American evangelical movement, was featured in a cover story in the popular American literary and cultural magazine, Atlantic Monthly He was awarded a National Humanities Medal in the Oval Office by President George W Bush in 2006.
- 356 pages
- Turning Points: Decisive Moments in the History of Christianity
- Mark A. Noll
- 21 January 2018 Mark A. Noll