CHURCH HISTORY 101: THE HIGHLIGHTS OF TWENTY CENTURIES, by Sinclair B. Ferguson, Joel R. Beeke, and Michael A. G. Haykin

Published on May 27, 2016 by Joshua Centanni

Reformation Heritage Books, 2016 | 112 pages

What a delightful gem this is, and what an important niche it fills! As the title implies, this little book is designed especially for readers new to the study of church history (although I suspect that older students of church history will enjoy it even more!) and provides a brief survey of the high points of the church’s first 20 centuries. Each of the 20 chapters takes up the next century in successive order, Each chapter is very brief – about 4 small-size pages. And each insightfully highlights in “big picture” summary the events most important to the church in that century. From the apostolic age to our own lifetime the church’s story is told in broadest strokes.


From the book’s Preface

“This introduction to church history—a few pages for each century—was first drawn from Sinclair Ferguson’s pulpit ministry, then revised by Joel R. Beeke and Michael A. G. Haykin and their respective assistants, Ray Lanning and Coleman Ford…. Given the brevity of these [chapters], the reader will understand that hundreds of important names and events in church history must be omitted. What is recorded will shed light on how Christ has gathered His church, by His Word and Spirit, over the past two thousand years, despite the sins and errors of many theo­logians and churches.”


Table of Contents

First Century: Apostolic Foundations
Second Century: The Church of Martyrs and Confessors
Third Century: Persecution and Heresy; Origen and Tertullian
Fourth Century: The Beginnings of the Christian Empire
Fifth Century: The City of God and the City of Man
Sixth Century: Justinian, Benedict, and the Conversion of the Scots
Seventh Century: Gregory the Great and the Rise of Islam
Eighth Century: The Iconoclastic Controversy
Ninth Century: Struggle for Power in the Church; Ratramnus and Gottschalk
Tenth Century: The Dark Ages
Eleventh Century: The Great Schism; Anselm of Canterbury
Twelfth Century: The Crusades, Abelard, Lombard, and the Waldenses
Thirteenth Century: Francis of Assisi and Thomas Aquinas
Fourteenth Century: The Church’s Babylonian Captivity and John Wycliffe
Fifteenth Century: The Renaissance, Huss, Savonarola, and Groote
Sixteenth Century: Luther, Calvin, and the Reformation
Seventeenth Century: Reforming the Church in England
Eighteenth Century: The Great Awakening
Nineteenth Century: Beginnings of Modern Theology and Kingdom Builders
Twentieth Century: The Age of Paradoxes

A delightful read, an excellent resource, and a wonderful place to begin the study of the church’s history. And perhaps the seedbed of a popular 20-lesson series for Sunday School! Very highly recommended!

Fred G. Zaspel

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Church History 101

Reformation Heritage Books, 2016 | 112 pages

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