Church History is one of those subjects that many feel inadequate to comprehend, remember, and use in Christian ministry. Unless one is a history buff, church history texts are often difficult to enjoy reading, and are often not typeset or designed to be memorable or useable. In short, they are quickly forgettable.
Zondervan’s two-volume church history set combines a church history and historical theology approach to walk readers through both the major events of the church and the development of doctrine since the time of the apostles. Skimming through the volumes, I found succinct, yet in-depth, progression through the centuries. Since volume one is less than 600 pages, the discussion of topics is compressed. Volume two tops out over 800 pages, but for volumes on church history, these are manageable lengths. This is what makes this set valuable for pastors and others in practical ministry that want to refresh and maintain their knowledge of church history. Both the content and the design are conducive to learning and retaining important.
The first volume, Church History: From Christ to the Pre-Reformation (2nd ed., Zondervan, 2013), is written by Everett Ferguson and covers the apostolic period to the Medieval Age. The second volume, Church History: From Pre-Reformation to the Present Day (Zondervan, 2013) is written by John Woodbridge and Frank James picks up in 1300 A.D. with European Christianity in an age of “Adversity, Renaissance, and Discovery”. The quality of these volumes are exceptional. These titans of church history write from decades of experience and knowledge, and this set will be well worth the money spent on them.