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Church History, Volume Two: From Pre-Reformation to the Present Day Hardcover – 16 Aug 2013

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 608 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan Main; First edition (16 Aug. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310257433
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310257431
  • Product Dimensions: 19.4 x 4.3 x 23.8 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,052,606 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Title: Church History Volume Two( From Pre-Reformation to the Present Day( The Rise and Growth of the Church in Its Cultural Intellectual and Politica) <>Binding: Hardcover <>Author: JohnD.Woodbridge <>Publisher: Zondervan

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 47 reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Solid Overview of the Pre-Reformation to the Present Day Period of Church History 7 Sept. 2013
By Michael C. Boling - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Other than some very academic church history texts often known to only Bible College or Seminary students, there is a seeming dearth of layman level church history books on the market today. Certainly there are some classic church history series available such as Philip Schaff's History of the Christian Church or perhaps Kenneth Lattourette's own multi-volume church history effort, not much other than history texts aimed at specific time periods is available. Professors John Woodbridge and Frank James in their book Church History Volume Two: From Pre-Reformation to the Present Day, provide an accessible and sufficiently thorough engagement of this period of church history.

This book is a follow up to Church History Volume One: From Christ to Pre-Reformation by Everett Ferguson, a valuable text in its own right. By continuing where Ferguson left off, Woodbridge and James take the reader on a journey from right before the time of the Reformation to the current day, addressing a number of key pivotal events and important characters that shaped Christendom as we know it today. Divided into 22 sections each engaging its respective time period and notable church leaders and movements, this book offers the reader with a valuable look into how the church moved from a time of Papal and Catholic dominancy to the multi-faceted nature of Evangelicalism of the current church climate. Additionally, Woodbridge and James engage something of great importance in the world today, that of the conflict between Christianity and Islam.

As one who enjoys matters of history yet is not what one would label as a "history buff", there are likely certain events and individuals Woodbridge and James left out of this text in favor of engaging other notable issues of church history. Given the sheer volume of incidents and characters which have served to bring us to where we are today, a church history text of this size and scope is not intended to mount a thorough and minute engagement of everything that could possibly be discussed. The more astute church historian will likely note this event or that person was left out, something this reader is not knowledgeable enough to have noticed. Again, the nature of such a text as this is not to cover everything, but to give a solid, purposeful, and salient overview of the time period that is under review, in this case from the Pre-Reformation to the present day.

Overall, this book is well laid out, full of illustrations, maps, charts that add a bit of life to the text as nothing is worse than a church history book with only page after page of text to read. Personally, I enjoy the illustrations as it provides the reader with an element of being able to visualize the life and times of the events and people they are reading about. Additionally, each chapter concludes with references for further study, always a valuable element of a great book. As one who is always on the hunt for books on various specific topics, having the ability to look up a certain period of church history and finding a list of additional books on that certain topic is extremely useful.

As I read through this book, I quickly became engaged in the time period of the Reformation, a period of church history of great importance given the likes of Martin Luther, John Calvin, and Ulrich Zwingli to include their lasting influence on not just church history, but the theological landscape for many years after their time on earth. Woodbridge and James cover that particular period in great detail and I found those sections of this book to be very engaging.

I also appreciated the section on the rise of the Fundamentalist movement and its conflict with Darwinism and the German critical scholars, something I have studied in great detail in Seminary. Woodbridge and James aptly covered this important period rightly focusing on the key players in that movement, namely Charles Finney, Friedrich Schleiermacher, Julius Wellhausen, the Princeton scholars such as Charles and Alexander Hodge and B. B. Warfield. The discussion of the development of references such as the Scofield Reference Bible and the Fundamentals, two important and influential products of the Fundamentalist movement and its reaction to liberalism and evolutionary thought was also quite useful and engaging.

For those who are interested in reading about the Pre-Reformation period to our current religious environment without having to wade through a multi-volume church history set, will find Church History Volume Two to be a valuable asset to their studies. Woodbridge and James do a very admirable job covering the relevant material without bogging down the reader into too many minute historical details. Individuals desiring to dig a little deeper need only to take advantage of the recommended reading list at the end of each chapter as well as the rather ample bibliography at the end of the book. I recommend this text as a useful resource to have, one that will serve the reader well anytime they are interested in reading a bit about a very important period of church history.

I received this book for free from Zondervan Books for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Good but could be better 9 Sept. 2013
By Donny Friederichsen - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I received a free copy of Church History, Volume 2 for the purpose of reviewing it.

Woodbridge and James do a fair job of presenting the facts. I deeply appreciated their desire to present the facts of history as objectively as possible. They make it clear from the Preface that "God works through sinners to accomplish his good purposes." With this statement we know that no mere man can be presented as the "hero" of history nor has there been a "golden age" when the church has finally gotten it right. We have been, are, and will continue to be sinners in deep need of God's grace. I see this as a strength of the text. It can be a temptation to idolize one particular movement, personality, or age. The authors go to lengths to avoid this. However, the weakness of this approach is that not all topics need to be addressed this way, and the ability to give true impartiality is a razor's edge. For example, it seems that the authors set up the discussion of women's roles in ministry in the 20th century to slant toward an egalitarian view. True balance can be difficult to achieve and present. While Woodbridge and James seems to strive for this, they do not always succeed.

The authors do a fair job in covering a vast amount of history in 800 pages. Depth and nuance must be jettisoned for the sake of brevity. The "For Further Study" section at the end of each chapter should serve as a great resources for those wishing to research a particular issue more in depth (thought those sections could be much more in depth). As a survey text book, there will be significant features skipped or passed over. This is inevitable. But on the whole this volume does what it says it will do. It also fills a real void in Christian publishing. There are few solid choices for current text books that cover from pre-Reformation to present day (I was impressed by how "present day" it is. The text includes the election of Pope Francis and brief biography).

However, there were some disappointing gaps and omissions. The authors give scant attention to the Great Awakening and the Second Great Awakening. They are largely subsumed under Chapter 16 which deals with 19th Century Christianity in the British Isles. While the United States in the late 18th century was only recently liberated from British rule, it would be a stretch politically and geographically to categorize it under the "British Isles." The modern student of Church History misses a great deal if these periods of American history are not covered.
Also, there seems to be a general Euro-centric slant in the volume. American church history only seems to be displayed with respect to the 20th and 21st centuries. The discussion on the rise of Protestant Liberalism could have been vividly portrayed through the Briggs-Warfield debates on the authority and inspiration of Scripture.

Apart from the content, the book is handsome. The setting and layout is nice. I appreciate the sturdy paper and wide margins for notes. This would be particularly helpful if using the text in a classroom setting. I was disappointed with the construction of the book. Upon opening it I found the binding in the index broken. If I were a student carrying this volume to class on a regular basis, the back cover would separate from the book in no time. I would assume this is an isolated issue. Had I purchased this book, I would be returning it for replacement. I expect better from Zondervan in the construction of books. Incidentally, upon receiving the book I thumbed through the pages and my eyes landed on a quote from Al Mohler (page 821). I was a little disappointed to see that his name was misspelled in the text box ("Moehler").

Overall, this is a good volume. Those areas in which it lacks seem to largely be due to space constraints. I would recommend this volume (and the companion Volume 1 by Everett Ferguson). Both are comprehensive, clear, and well done volumes. But this book must be taken as only a jumping off point.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
From a different perspective... 1 Oct. 2013
By westernways - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition
I received a copy of this book in return for writing my opinion in a review.

Several of the other reviewers have discussed the basics of the book's content, but I wanted to chime in on what I think is the best feature that no one (that I noticed) has commented on - TextbookPlus. This may be a known resource to some, or even most, but I was unaware of it. We homeschool, and my oldest child is studying Church History this year. When I had the opportunity to enter for a chance to get this volume, I thought "why not?" since it tied in with what we were studying. Well, obviously I was one of the lucky winners, and when I received the book I opened it up and saw the splash page for TextbookPlus. They had me at "free resources"...

I went to the website, but I wasn't sure that I would be able to sign up as an instructor to gain access to the study guide and other teaching materials. However, after exchanging some emails with Zondervan staff, they assured me it wouldn't be a problem (and it wasn't). I was able to access a nice Instructor Manual (pdf), which was well over 100 pages. This was full of good chapter summaries and numerous hyperlinks to websites for further study. They even have mid-term and final exams for downloading and use (Word doc). There are also other teaching resources available, such as slide decks (PowerPoint) for each chapter. I plan to use these instructor helps over the course of teaching from the book to supplement our existing textbook list.

This will be a good addition to our school library as a textbook or a reference guide.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
An informative yet dry survey history of the church from the 14th century through the modern era 7 Dec. 2013
By Scott Schiefelbein - Published on
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
"Church History: Volume II" sums up this book quite nicely - authors John Woodbridge and Frank James III, both high-powered church/theological academics - state that the book's first goal "is to provide an academically responsible engagement with the facts of history as best we can determine them." The authors met that goal - "Church History" is a focused, comprehensive, sober examination of the history of the Christian church, free from poetry, free from hyperbole, and respectful of the historians' inherent limitations when taking on such a massive subject.

In other words, this book is light years removed from the best-selling, glossy, intellectually shallow "feel good Christian" books that seem to dominate bookstore shelves.

A massive book, clocking in at nearly 900 pages (including index), Volume II starts with the massive upheavals of the 14th century in Europe - the Black Death, the Renaissance, etc. - and working up through the modern era and the current conflicts with Islam - Volume II is a classic survey text. It covers all the big points, but it does so with a nearly ruthless economy. Diarmaid MacCulloch's masterwork, "The Reformation," is a bigger, more dense book about a period of history that receives four chapters (about 150 pages) of analysis in "Volume II." So think of this as a teaser - if you took Western Civ as a college freshman, you'll be familiar with this type of book.

Survey texts are a challenge to review. They cover so much turf that fascinating characters and events can receive only a brief review. The writing is always scholarly, which usually translates as "dry," and Volume II is no exception. But you have to be fair - in a survey text the authors do not have the time for the in-depth developments that make for fascinating writing.

As they sang in "Smokey and the Bandit," we have a long way to go and a short time to get there. That's fine if you're speeding across the south with a truckload of stolen beer, but less desirable when writing about the history of the church.

But we must judge "Church History: Volume II" against what it tries to do, and what it does it does very well. Topics get a good exploration and the authors do spend the time necessary to expand on themes and draw connections. The authors also try, with varying degrees of success, to expand the book's focus beyond Europe. The writing is objective and the church is allowed to have some warts . . . something not always found in a church history.

If you know a young scholar who is interested in exploring the church or anyone who is serious about exploring church history, you could do a lot worse than giving them this book. It does what it does well, despite the obstacles its goals have placed before it.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Excellent textbook on Church History 21 Nov. 2013
By William D. Curnutt - Published on
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This textbook is comprehensive, complete and well laid out. Here are the things I liked about it;

1. The wide margins give you space to make notes
2. The hardback volume is put together very well and I believe will withstand lots of wear and tear
3. Zondervan's web site for Professor's and students is wonderful. There are lots of additional items to be had at the site.
4. The content is excellent. The writing is good.
5. The two authors are well known, excellent academics with a good track record. You can trust their research and writing

The things I didn't like;

1. It's a textbook :) It's history :) So, at times it is facts, names, places and just a bit boring and dry
2. Zondervan's web site for additional items is not open to the general population. You have to enter the name of your institution. So if you are not with a well known school you don't get access.

This book is very good. Please note it is the second volume of a set on church history. So, you need to have volume one as well if you want a complete comprehensive history.

This book will take you time to read. It is not a quick, easy, I can get my education quickly. It is a textbook! Thus, you have to put work into the reading to be sure that you get the most out of it. Take notes, scribble in the margins, write short reviews for yourself of each chapter, oh and don't forget, outline the chapter in your own words, it will help you learn.

This book is really good.

Here is my disclaimer, I haven't finished the whole book yet. I was on a time crunch to get a review done, so I have read about 50% of the book. I went to the points in history that most interested me first and read those, I was not disappointed.

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