Top 10 Books - Church History
The following is a list of some recommendations in church history, offered in no particular order. It is far from exhaustive, but provides many trustworthy options.
The Church History
Often called the “Father of Church History,” Eusebius chronicled the rise of Christianity from the time of Christ to the reign of Constantine. Although not spanning the 2,000+ years of Christian history, a worthwhile and necessary read for serious students of church history.
Church History in Plain Language
I received this book as a gift from a friend a couple of years ago. It is expansive, covering the wider spectrum of church history, but also engaging and easy-to-understand. Provides a great overview. I wish that I also read this in seminary.
The Story of Christianity, Vol. 1
This was required reading during my seminary church history studies. Like the Shelley book above, it is expansive but also accessible. Volume 1 covers the early church up to the Protestant Reformation. I’ve read through both volumes a couple of times over the years.
The Story of Christianity, Vol. 2
This volume covers the Protestant Reformation through present day, and does so with the same accessibility as the first.
The Church in History
This is a solid work for beginning students of church history, even those in high school. It isn’t as expansive as others, but is highly readable; doesn’t get bogged down on secondary events or issues; and features discussion questions. I used this text as a tutor in church history at a classical Christian study center.
A History of Christianity, Vol. 1
Kenneth Scott Latourette
Not for the timid, Latourette’s detailed and expansive history is designed for academics and especially curious and dedicated laypersons. This volume covers the early church through 1500 AD (just prior to the Protestant Reformation). I’ve used this work on several occasions, largely to provide more detailed accountings of events and persons described in other works.
A History of Christianity, Vol 2
Kenneth Scott Latourette
This is the continuation of Latourette’s expert work, covering the Protestant Reformation through the modern period.
Introduction to the History of Christianity
This work serves as a textbook in many settings, and provides a helpful overview of church history. Although from a Lutheran perspective, it can be enjoyed by a broader readership. Features many illustrations and other helpful resources beyond those offered by most other church histories.
Turning Points: Decisive Moments in the History of Christianity
As the title suggests, this book provides a brisk survey of church history, but with reference to what we might call the “tent poles” of the story - not the entire canvas. Even so, this is a worthwhile read - perhaps especially for those looking for more of the highlights than the play-by-play.
Church History 101: The HighLights of Twenty Centuries
Sinclair Ferguson, Joel Beeke, & Michael Haykin
This brief book is an entry-level survey of church history, a good first “flyover” for those surveying the subject for the first time.