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Products>Church History, Volume Two: From Pre-Reformation To The Present Day

Church History, Volume Two: From Pre-Reformation To The Present Day

, 2013
ISBN: 9780310527152

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Church history tells story of the greatest movement in world history. Yet, just as the biblical record of the people of God is the story of a mixed people with great acts of faith and great failures in sin and unfaithfulness, so is the history of the people who have made up the church for 2,000 years.

Frank A. James III and John D. Woodbridge’s Church History, vol. 2: From Pre-Reformation to the Present Day recounts these triumphs and struggles of the Christian movement from just before the Reformation to today. It offers a unique contextual view of how the Christian church spread and developed in the modern day. Woodbridge and James look closely at the integral link between the history of the world and that of the church, detailing the times, cultures, and events that influenced—and were influenced by—the church.

Don’t miss the companion volume by Everett Ferguson: Church History, Volume 1: From Christ to Pre-Reformation.

Resource Experts
  • Provides a balanced view of the church’s triumphs and struggles from the Reformation to today
  • Details the times, cultures, and events that influenced the modern Christian church
  • Covers 500 years of Christian history in the West, Africa, Asia, and Latin America
  • Examines the intellectual and social history of the church since the Reformation
  • European Christianity in an Age of Adversity, Renaissance, and Discovery (1300–1500)
  • The Renaissance and the Christian Faith
  • Luther’s Reformation: A Conscience Unbound
  • The Swiss Reformations: The Maturation of International Calvinism (Sixteenth Century)
  • Radicals and Rome: Responses to the Magisterial Reformation (Sixteenth Century)
  • Reformations in England: The Politics of Reform (Sixteenth Century)
  • Refining the Reformation: Theological Currents in the Seventeenth Century
  • Christianity in an Age of Fear, Crisis, and Exploration (Seventeenth Century)
  • Christianity and the Question of Authority (Seventeenth Century)
  • Christianity under Duress: The Age of Lights (1680–1789)
  • Christianity in the Age of Lights (1): The British Isles (1680–1789)
  • Christianity in the Age of Lights (2): The Kingdom of France (1680–1789)
  • Christianity in the Age of Lights (3): The Continent of Europe (1680–1789)
  • Christianity in an Age of Revolutions (1770–1848)
  • Adjusting to Modernization and Secularism: The Rise of Protestant Liberalism (1799–1919)
  • Nineteenth-Century Christianity in the British Isles: Renewal, Missions, and the Crisis of Faith
  • The Christian Churches on the European Continent (1814–1914)
  • Global Christianity: A Re-Centered Faith (Twentieth and Twenty-first Centuries)
  • Modern Theological Trajectories: Spiraling into the Third Millennium (Twentieth and Twenty-first Centuries)
  • Catholicism and Orthodoxy: Collision to Collegiality (Twentieth and Twenty-first Centuries)
  • Contemporary American Evangelicalism: Permutations and Progressions (Twentieth and Twenty-first Centuries)
  • Christianity and Islam: The Challenge of the Future (Twenty-first Century)

Top Highlights

“Medieval Europeans faced the serious problem of explaining the origin of evil within their world without making God its ultimate author.” (Volume 2, Page 31)

“For general purposes ‘Puritanism’ refers to an identifiable group of English Protestants from the period of Elizabeth I to the interregnum who embraced Reformed theology to a substantial degree and sought in various ways further to reform the Church of England.” (Volume 2, Page 265)

“Luther proposed fifteen articles to be discussed and was rather astonished that he and Zwingli quickly came to agreement on fourteen of the articles (dealing with topics such as the Trinity, infant baptism, and governmental authority) and even found common ground on much of the fifteenth. This final article concerned the Eucharist, and both men agreed in rejecting transubstantiation and Christ’s sacrifice in the mass. But neither Reformer would budge on the matter of Christ’s presence in the Eucharist. Luther insisted that Christ is really substantially present ‘in, with and under’ the elements, while Zwingli stressed that Christ’s body is in heaven at the right hand of the Father and therefore could not be really present in the Eucharist.” (Volume 2, Page 156)

“Despite Luther’s boldness, there was nothing in the Ninety-five Theses that rejected traditional Catholic doctrine. The posting of the theses was not an act of rebellion against the church, but the work of a responsible church theologian who was seeking to address what he perceived to be distortions of Catholic teaching. Luther’s concerns were fundamentally no different from Erasmus’s criticism of the church. He did not reject papal authority, the sacrament of penance, or the concept of indulgences. He did, however, stand firmly against exploitation of his congregants.” (Volume 2, Page 115)

There have only been a handful of church history survey texts written by evangelicals the past decade and Woodbridge and James’s work rivals any of these as far as content, readability, and faithfulness to the historic documents.


John D. Woodbridge is research professor of church history and history of Christian thought at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois, where he has taught since 1970. He was previously a senior editor of Christianity Today and is the author of numerous books, including A God-Sized Vision: Revival Stories that Stretch and Stir. He is also the coeditor, with D.A. Carson, of Scripture and Truth and Hermeneutics, Authority, and Canon. Woodbridge is the recipient of four Gold Medallion Awards.

Frank A. James III is the president of Biblical Seminary in Hatfield, Pennsylvania. Prior to taking his current post, he taught and served as president at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, FL, and served as provost and taught at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. Additionally, he has been on the teaching faculties of Villanova University and Westmont College, and was a visiting professor at the Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Studies at Oxford University.

James is the author or editor of numerous works on the Reformation and has been a consultant and script writer for a historical documentary film series. He is the author of Peter Martyr Vermigli and Predestination: The Augustinian Inheritance of an Italian Reformer and the professor for Logos Mobile Ed’s Introducing Church History I and II.


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  1. Mark A Rioux

    Mark A Rioux


  2. Aaron



  3. Anita Van Hal
  4. Floyd  Johnson

    Floyd Johnson


    The two volumes represent nearly 1400 pages of history written primarily as a textbook. Not though they may certainly have some devotional use, they have their primary role in the college or graduate school classroom. These books do not present a gentle introduction to church history, but are designed for the academic environment of a upper division college classroom or seminary. Given that the books are 550 and 850 pages each, it is expected that such a course would be offered over a two semester sequence. A couple of things stood out as I perused the book. The book is a well-documented description of church history – quoting primary sources when needed to help the reader understand the historical events being described. I appreciated the details included – many of which I had not heard before. The other standout feature of these texts is the wide margins they present – perfect for making notes or outlining as they are being read. Some of this space is taken up with quotations and images (all black and white), but there is plenty of space for personal comments as well. Electronic copies each have their own way of saving notes. Forty years ago I was privileged to sit under the teaching of John Woodbridge at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School – it was fun to again, virtually, sit under his tutelage as I made my way through Volume II of these texts. Actually, it was fun to sit under the tutelage of all three authors as I read through these texts. I had two concerns as I prepared this review. As I noted earlier, all images in both volumes were black and white (except for the book covers). Without hard copies, it is difficult to determine whether the PDFs that were provided for review represented the final copy (without color images?) or not. Color images would make the books more inviting to students and other readers. The indexes had not been completed prior to the preparation of the PDFs provided for review. Given the number of pages allocated for the index, this reviewer would expect that they might be thorough; but this cannot be verified with the material provided to me. Though not designed for the general reader, these two volumes would be a welcome addition to the collection of any student of church history – whether in or out of a classroom. It would be a privilege to have these works sitting on the shelf next to those of the church fathers, Luther, Calvin, and Wesley. With a completed index and color images, there would great value in having these two reference books available. ______________ This review is based on free electronic copies provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review. The opinions expressed are my own.