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Church history in plain language by Bruce L.…

Church history in plain language (edition 2008)

by Bruce L. Shelley

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2,050144,744 (3.94)9
Title:Church history in plain language
Authors:Bruce L. Shelley
Info:Dallas, Tex. : Word Pub., c2008.
Collections:Your library
Tags:Academic, Church History

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Christian Theology in Plain Language by Bruce L. Shelley



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This book is part of my collection that really focuses in on Biblical Commentary more than anything else (including some well known authors in the theological world). All of these books haven't been read cover to cover, but I've spent a lot of time with them and they've been helpful in guiding me through difficult passages (or if I desire to dig deeper). ( )
  justagirlwithabook | Jul 31, 2018 |
I'm not against apologetics books.
I'm not against Church history books written unashamedly from the Christian POV.
I'm not even against shameless mixing of the two.
I like books written in plain language.

I like good books.

This one is not. Neither is in in plain language. This is a bad book, the language is above all boring to death. What the book lacks in style, it has in abundance in bad history and pitiful apologetics. I can't understand how anyone could have read it, even on assignment. ( )
  igorterleg | Jan 24, 2016 |
Worthy reading. Only the end was too fast, too much information too condensed. ( )
  leandrod | Feb 10, 2015 |
While it was highly readable and interesting enough for me to quickly cover the 500 pages, I was disappointed in the author's tone. I felt much more like I was reading the work of a Christian than a historian due to the value judgments that existed between the lines of this supposed work of history. While all historians have their own backgrounds and points of view, I expect historians to do their best to prevent their preexisting ideas and values from interfering with the presentation of facts and analytical, researched arguments. For example, it was jarring whenever Shelley used "we" language. At the end of his chapter on the Crusades, he says, "Unfortunately the popes never held two basic truths that we must never forget..." Here, the "we" reads like an assumption on the author's part that his readers share his Christian faith. Throughout the later chapters, the author is also unable to conceal his skepticism or even disdain of secularization and liberalization--again, rather than discussing these social forces from a historian's perspective, he allows his perspective as a Christian (and as a particular kind of Christian, since Christians are not all the same) to creep in.

It was also difficult, in reading the 1996 version, to excuse some of the outdated language. In particular, it was frustrating to read the sections describing "savage" or "brutal" Native American tribes. I would hope that a more recent edition would take into account more recent scholarship, or just sheer appropriateness and human respect, with regard to non-Western groups discussed in the book.

There's also a frustrating lack of women discussed in the book. I was hoping to get Jane Addams thrown in for the Social Gospel chapters, but alas, no mention. Almost more frustrating than the lack of particular women mentioned was the male-centric language in general. For example, in the section about missionaries, the author discusses the role of "missionaries and their wives", as if the women were not also missionaries.

Finally, it was confusing to me that there was not one mention of Mormons. Given that there were whole chapters on Vatican II and the Religious Right, I would have thought that the Mormons would have at least a mention in 500 pages.

Overall, I'm glad I read it. I certainly learned some new information, and was able to contextualize some prior knowledge, and also had the interesting sociological experience of reading what I considered to be a flawed history book, particularly if reviewers elsewhere on the Internet are correct in saying that this book is widely read by students preparing for life in ministry. ( )
  erin4 | Oct 15, 2014 |
Church History in Plain Language by Bruce L. Shelley (?)
  journeyguy | Apr 2, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0849938619, Paperback)

It's about time that someone wrote church history that tells about people, not just about "eras" and "ages." Church History in Plain Language taps the roots of our Christian family tree. It combines authoritative research with a captivating style to bring our heritage home to us.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:51 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

With more than 315,000 copies sold, this is the story of the church for today's readers. The fourth edition of Shelley's classic one-volume history of the church brings the story of Christianity into the twenty-first century. This latest edition of the book takes a close look at the rapid growth of evangelical and Pentecostal Christianity in the southern hemisphere, addresses the decline in traditional mainline denominations, examines the influence of technology on the spread of the gospel, and discusses how Christianity intersects with other religions in countries all over the world.… (more)

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