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Book Reviews > Church History > Exploring Church History

Ray VanNeste

Ray VanNeste
Director of the RC Ryan Center for Biblical Studies and Assistant Professor of Christian Studies

Exploring Church History
James P. Eckman
Details: 2002, Crossway Books, Amazon.comISBN: 158134368X
Posted: March 4, 2003


In this day when more and more is being published, there is a need for short books which summarize succinctly and well key issues especially for the non-specialist. This is especially true in church history since our churches typically have so little historical awareness. For these reasons I was attracted to Eckman’s book and I was not disappointed. In 12 brief chapters he covers the history of the church from the apostles to the modern era. Furthermore, he writes engagingly and is fair and charitable, pointing out both positives and negatives of most movements and individuals. In a work of this size, inevitably there must be many decisions about what to leave out or what to simply mention in passing. Such decisions will never please everyone. This reviewer wondered at the failure to mention the SBC in the discussion of the explosion of missions and recent church history.

Nevertheless, this is an excellent resource and would be great to use in a Sunday School class or small group. Indeed, study questions are included apparently for just such use. I hope to pass it on to many and will continue to use it as a quick reference. May we have more of such well written summaries so that our churches might learn and grow.

Ray Van Neste

Union University

This review originally appeared in The Southern Baptist Journal of Theology, Winter 2002.