With our current church history class in the Gathering on Sunday mornings I thought it might be helpful if I posted a couple of books for those of you wanting to learn more on church history.  Here is a list of some of my favorite more general and biographical works.  I love history of any kind so if you are looking for a book on a particular group or period or have questions about a particular book on church history then please make that known in the comments and I will help the best I can.

Works on Church History

Church History: An Essential Guide by Justo Gonzalez

At under 100 pages this is a must read for anyone wanting to become familiar with church history.  I would also recommend that pastors and seminarians read through this volume once a year as a quick and simple means of maintaining ones grasp of church history.  If you are looking to get your historical feet wet then this is where to start.

Turning Points: Decisive Moments in the History of Christianity by Mark A. Noll

This is serving as the primary source material for the class that Colby and I are teaching in the Gathering.  Noll takes critical points and persons in church history and explains their importance in a way that helps maintain the flow of the narrative and demonstrate the interconnectedness of these events.  This study has been my first reading of this book and I have really enjoyed it so far.  Any kind of history has the tendency to be overly complex for the average reader but this volume really avoids that by sticking to a few critical events and only the key persons involved in those events.

Biographical Works

Foundations of Grace: 1400 BC – AD 100 & Pillars of Grace: AD 100 – 1564 by Stephen J. Lawson

These two books break up biblical history and church history, up to the reformation, and each chapter focuses on a particular individual or group of individuals and gives you a brief biographical look into their life and times.  Steven is one of my favorite authors and despite being large volumes the chapter divisions make the content very digestible.

Meet the Puritans: With A Guide to Modern Reprints by Joel R. Beeke and Randall J. Pederson

This book basically amounts to an alphabetical listing of incredibly brief, usually three page, biographies of the puritans.  This volume is a great way to learn of and from the lives of these men.

The Swans are not Silent Series by John Piper

The Legacy of Sovereign Joy: God’s Triumphant Grace in the Lives of Augustine, Luther, and Calvin.  The Swans are not Silent Book One

The Hidden Smile of God: The Fruit of Affliction in the Lives of John Bunyan, William Cowper, and David Brainerd.  The Swans are not Silent Book Two

The Roots of Endurance: Invincible Perseverance in the Lives of John Newton, Charles Simeon, and William Wilberforce.  The Swans are not Silent Book Three

Contending For Our All: Defending Truth and Treasuring Christ in the Lives of Athanasius, John Owen, and J. Gresham Machen.  The Swans are not Silent Book Four

Filling Up the Afflictions of Christ: The Cost of Bringing the Gospel to the Nations in the Lives of William Tyndale, Adoniram Judson, and John Paton.  The Swans are not Silent Book Five

These five books are fantastic.  Piper gives excellent biographies and helps us to make application from the strengths and weaknesses of these men of God.  I would highly recommend that you check these out if you are interested in reading some good biographies.  The sermons upon which these volumes is based are also available for free at Desiring God.

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