Everett Ferguson’s textbook of Church history, covering the first 14 centuries of the Church, thoroughly and clearly introduces the reader to characters, issues, and events within Church history. Although there remain questions by the end of the book, he continuously focuses on the historical-theological issues as it regards various characters and major events. For questions to remain, though, is reasonable because it is a textbook designed for university students.
One of the most beneficial aspects of the book is its effectiveness as a textbook. This previous semester, Church History: From Christ to Pre-Reformation was my textbook for an independent study class. Through it, I was able to familiarize myself with various theological issues and political power struggles through the evolution of the Church. Although it was a challenging read, often requiring the reader to connect ideas from one chapter to a previous explanation/basis found in another chapter, it was nonetheless beneficial and informative.
Although he successfully provides a historical framework, as is his stated goal (25), Ferguson could have done one thing to improve the reading experience: more clearly mark why certain things were significant within the historical context. Although he does do this, explanation is generally included within a flowing historical presentation. As one not well read in Church history, this made in challenging is attempting to understand what the primary points were.
In conclusion, Everett Ferguson’s Church History is a fantastic introduction to the historical community called “the Church”. His discussion and openness about the multitude of elements within Church history shape a solid historical framework by which readers may operate from in the future, in whatever direction he/she chooses.