Church History 1
by Everett Ferguson
Everett Ferguson is the professor emeritus of Bible and distinguished scholar-in-residence at Abilene Christian University in Abilene, Texas. Ferguson is a well-respected church historian, and this book will nicely complement his early book entitled Backgrounds of Early Christianity. Ferguson defined church history as “the study of the history of God’s people in Christ, a theological claim, or, speaking more neutrally, of those who have wanted to be God’s people in Christ.” This book covers the history of the church from the time of Christ to the beginning of the fourteenth century.
This book is a solid historical treatment of the beginning and progression of the New Testament church. Ferguson does a good job laying the foundation in the first few chapters, discussing the world of the New Testament writers, the life of Jesus Christ, and the ministry of the disciples of Jesus Christ. He also does a good job introducing his readers to extra-biblical, or non-canonical, writings from the first and second century (the third chapter was particularly interesting).
One of my favorite chapters was chapter five, where Ferguson discussed early church heresies. I think it is fascinating to look at some of the earliest challenges to orthodoxy and how the early church responded to these challenges. I also found the information on the canonization of Scripture, the rise of the church in Rome, and the church councils fascinating. History buffs, especially church history buffs, will enjoy this book.
One of the dangers of writing a church history book is that it can tend to be dry. I read Ferguson’s Backgrounds of Early Christianity for a New Testament class in seminary, and it was tough to read at times. This book, however, is not dry or difficult to read. It is written in a very clear and engaging manner, and I truly enjoyed reading this book. Scholars and those interested in church history should definitely purchase this book for their library. I whole-heartedly recommend this book!