Author(s): Justo L. Gonzalex
This informative, interesting, and consistently readable narrative history brings alive the people, dramatic events, and ideas that shaped the first fifteen centuries of the church's life and thought - including major events outside of Europe, such as the Spanish and Portuguese conquest of the New World. Historian Justo Gonzalez shows how various social, political, and economic movements affected Christianity's internal growth. 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 history of the church, while showing all the characteristics of human history, is much more than the history of an institution or movement, Gonzalez stresses. It is a history of the deeds of the spirit in and through the men and women who have gone before in the faith. "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. This fascinating introduction to the panoramic history of Christianity is perfect for students and teachers of church history, pastors, and general readers.
"This crisp retelling of Christian history from the days of the apostles to the eve of the Reformation is filled with insight. Gonzalez excels in the brief character sketch. With economy of expression he is still able to define the significance and enliven the character of many great figures in the church's first 1500 years. An additional strength is the careful treatment of Christian expansion into Central and South America during the early modern era. This is a good book for introductory courses, for personal reading, and for adult education in the church."--Mark A. Noll, associate professor, Wheaton College