Resource Corner: Church History in Plain Language – Bruce L. Shelley

March 1, 2022

Two thousand years is a long time. That’s a lot of history. If you’ve ever wondered how the Church grew from a few followers of Jesus in Israel to a worldwide, culture-defining, transformational worldwide movement, then you should consider reading Bruce L. Shelley’s masterpiece: Church History in Plain Language.

I’ve read this book at least five times since I first came across it in 2014. Here’s why: as the title suggests, it covers the events of the church’s history in a way that everyday people like you and me can understand. It’s brilliant!

It’s a big, big book. The fifth edition is over 600 pages. And yet, it never feels hard going or heavy to read (in my opinion). Here are just a few of the questions the book covers:

– How was the Bible formed?
– How did Christianity become the prominent religion of the West?
– Where did Popes come from?
– Why did the Crusades happen?
– What was the Reformation and why is so important?
– How were the prominent denominations formed?

If you want to hear about events like the king who stood barefoot outside the Pope’s residence for three days in the snow in a desperate attempt for penance, or the corruption of the papal system (including a pre-teen Pope), or the enormous impact of Roman Emperor Constantine the Great on our faith, I’d encourage you to read this book. It’s outstanding.

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