Thursday, November 18, 2010

Book Review: On this Day in Christian History

Book review: This Day in Christian History by Robert J. Morgan

My next book for Booksneeze is On This Day in Christian History by Robert J. Morgan.

On This Day in Christian History: 365 Amazing and Inspiring Stories about Saints, Martyrs and Heroes

This book is given in the format of a daily devotional book. There are 365 short stories from the past 2000 years of church history. There are a few historical people, such as Martin Luther, that are mentioned more than once, but for the most part, there is wide diversity in the stories mentioned.

Now, certainly, there is no possible way for any of these one-page synopses to cover the full detail of each life presented. For example, Dietrich Bonheoffer's life is summarized and presented on November 9th, the anniversary of infamous Night of Broken Glass in Germany, when Hitler truly uncovered his evil intentions towards the Jews and Germany. I've just finished Eric Metaxas' biography of Bonhoeffer, and can assure you it takes more than a page to cover his impact on the church at large.

However, as an introduction to the vast scope of Christian History, this is a good start. There is also no whitewashing of history in this book. The author has chosen stories that show both the good and bad moments in the history of the church, although he has definitely picked more of the good moments than the bad.

An observation to note is that, as it is really not possible to present history without commentary, Morgan's viewpoint on the Protestant Reformation is obvious, as well as a willingness to be critical of those moments and people over the past 2000 years that he does not feel carried the name of Christ well. I would say that I find myself generally in agreement with him, although some in the Catholic tradition may not find some of those moments as inspirational.

I would also recommend that this book is not just good for a devotional use, but for any one desiring to have a daily reminder of all that has gone before us as Believers today. The short introductions to individuals and events would fit excellently with a school, homeschool, or church setting. I'm seeing it as a great resource to assign more in-depth study to students from!

I know I've recently reviewed another devotional book that was also good, and this one is as well. Especially for the history lover in your life. Well, if they're too much of a history lover, it will be a bit of a “devotional book fail” for them as it was for me. I couldn't imagine only reading one page a day, so I read the whole thing. Next year, I'll take it a day at time!


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