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If you’ve ever wanted an informed but short and accessible fly-over view of church history, Church History Made Easy by Timothy Paul Jones is a great introduction. Dr. Jones is an energetic, engaging, and informed teacher. I’ve been enjoying it. It will help you avoid the functional narrative that treats church history as only having three acts: (1) Jesus and Paul, (2) Calvin and Luther, (3) Billy Graham and John Stott.

If you want to go through it with a small group or a Sunday School class, there’s a 12-session DVD with leader’s guide as well as a participant’s guide. There’s also a complete kit which contains the following:

  • Leader pack with the DVD of twelve 30-minute video sessions and PDF files for promotional posters, fliers, handouts, bulletin inserts, and banners for you to print.
  • One printed leader guide + PDF of the leader guide.
  • One printed participant guide with session outlines, discussion questions, definitions, and time lines. Buy an additional participant guide for each person.
  • One copy of the award-winning Christian History Made Easy book. This full-color, 224-page book by Timothy Paul Jones tells additional stories that shaped Christian history.
  • One CD-ROM containing the fully illustrated 100-slide Christian History Made Easy PowerPoint presentation to give the leader optional material such as additional images and information to go deeper into popular events and people.

You can watch the first half-hour segment below:


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3 thoughts on “Church History Made Easy”

  1. Brandon Vogt says:

    I’m glad you dismiss the unfortunate reduction of Christian history to three periods, especially three skewed way more to the present than the past.

    But looking at this book’s Amazon page, 6 of the 7 leaders he notes as “key people in Christian history” are from the 16th century or later. That doesn’t bode well in my mind.

    1. Benjamin Galan says:

      Hey, Brandon, I’m one of the editors who worked on this book. I just wanted to clarify that the book deals in great detail with the ancient and medieval church history. Thge author highlights many important people from those periods (seven of twelve chapters deal with those two periods).

      Also, and just to clarify, the title of the book is “Christian History Made Easy,” and it really deals with Christian history from the earliest time to the contemporary church. So, be assured that the book gives a fair presentation to the ancient church and give it a try… I think you’ll enjoy the reading experience. Peace!

      Benjamin

  2. dd says:

    Just to follow up on Brandon’s and Benjamin’s comments, seems to me that where most evangelical-oriented church history books go wrong (possibly to include Mr. Jones’ book) is using an overly selective and biased filter, hedging toward certain periods and certain individuals, and more importantly, not interacting with the belief systems that helped to shape certain periods.

    Case in point: as a reviewer on Amazon points out about Mr. Jones’ book, the book simply does not engage core beliefs prominent in the early church, namely:

    1) that early Christians believed that the bread and wine of the Eucharist literally became the flesh and blood of Christ and that it was viewed as the sacrifice (oblation) of the Church

    2) that the bishops and presbyters of the church were viewed as the legitimate successors of the apostles

    3) that unity with your local bishop was of the utmost importance; those in schism with the one church were viewed as existing outside of the faith

    4) they believed in baptismal regeneration; one was born again through water baptism for the forgiveness of sins and the anointing with the Holy Spirit

    5) that infant baptism was not a late innovation but rather was understood to be a practice handed down from the apostles

    6) that the relics of martyrs were preserved and venerated

    7) that from the beginning of the second century, the church was referred to as the catholic church to distinguish it from the various heretical sects

    8) the view of Mary as the Theotokos (Mother of God) and related Marian beliefs such as her perpetual virginity (to which both Luther and Calvin subscribed)

    9) that accounts of the miraculous (healings, demonic oppression, “hearing” from God) were ubiquitous across the early years of the church

    etc.

    I am not proposing that such beliefs are theologically correct, but it seems to me that without engaging such patterns of beliefs, we are painting an overly simplistic black and white portrait of an otherwise colorful and rich church history, warts and all.

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Justin Taylor, PhD


Justin Taylor is executive vice president of book publishing and book publisher for Crossway and blogs at Between Two Worlds. You can follow him on Twitter.

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