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Christianity Through the Centuries: A History of the Christian Church

3.71  ·  Rating Details  ·  225 Ratings  ·  25 Reviews
The third edition of Christianity Through the Centuries brings the reader up-to-date by discussing events and developments in the church into the 1990s. This edition has been redesigned with new typography and greatly improved graphics to increase clarity, accessibility, and usefulness. - New chapters examine recent trends and developments (expanding the last section from ...more
Hardcover, 560 pages
Published November 19th 1996 by Zondervan
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The History of Christian Thought by Jonathan HillTurning Points by Mark A. NollMere Christianity by C.S. LewisInstitutes of the Christian Religion, 2 Vols by John CalvinHow Should We Then Live? The Rise and Decline of Western Thou... by Francis A. Schaeffer
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Adam T Calvert
Jun 15, 2011 Adam T Calvert rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
In this book Dr. Cairns has skillfully crafted a brilliant and accessible survey of the history of the Christian Church from its inception all the way up to the present day (latest ed. 1996). His writing is engaging, helpful, and honest.

Obviously with a survey book, no one can include all the details of any significant person, event, or movement. But Dr. Cairns does a wonderful job (as any historian would do) of selecting which things to include and which things the reader can do without.

The boo
Peter B.
Feb 01, 2013 Peter B. rated it liked it
Shelves: history
This was a helpful overview of the church history of the last two thousand years in textbook format. I appreciate the book recommendations that are scattered throughout the book for further study. The author comes from a reformed-evangelical perspective, which I appreciate, although he is also sympathetic to premillennialism and egalitarianism, which I don't appreciate. But over all, I have a better understanding of Christian history as a whole and a greater recognition of my smallness in the wh ...more
Terrence Daugherty
This really isn't a bad book at all for the purpose it served. My Church History professor used this as a text book and it was more than adequate.

I know some recent reviewers did not like the lack of depth, but being that this isn't a manifold tome of Church & Christian history, no one should really complain. The book was only meant to be an overview; not an in-depth and comprehensive work. If you want that then look elsewhere.

Cairns paid attention to certain details that are crucial for o
Thomas Freeman
Mar 28, 2011 Thomas Freeman rated it it was amazing
This is the classic! Highly recommended. I found myself relying heavily on this book to look up details that other books might hint at. I found the layout a bit challenging at times. But the index helped to make up for this. Some events are covered in multiple chapters but with a different focus for each. They were not "inconsistent" but just not holistic. This would require me to jump around to gain a complete picture of some events.

The book has great charts, good writing and has been updated t
Nathan Vani
Jun 05, 2015 Nathan Vani rated it it was ok
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Jonathan Woodward
Oct 24, 2012 Jonathan Woodward rated it it was amazing
This was just a great, great exposition of church history. It's not as detailed as it can be, but I'm afraid if it were more detailed it would be over the top. This is a great book to read along side "Turning Points" by Noll. If you're interested in church history, you ought to give this one your shelf space.
Aug 22, 2007 Chad rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: people interested in church history
This being a general overview of church history from the time of Acts to "present day", (mid 1990's), it is not a good read if one is looking for detailed accouts of any given movement or event during the covered timespan. The book does give the reader the basic flow of the church's origins, to the height of papal power, the reformation, the expansion into the new world, and why the church is the way it is today. The final chapters are some persoanl conclusions of where the chruch is headed both ...more
Jan 11, 2011 Vangelicmonk rated it liked it
Shelves: churchhistory
I had read most of this book for a seminary class and I picked it up recently to finish it. It is a bit outdated book published in 1996 in its third revision, but it still has insight as it looks at the history of the church. Moreover, it is interesting to read about its views of the direction of the church, its current/future problems etc. It does help to have that perspective. This book isn't as in depth or well written as say Roger Olsen's book on church history (which I read for the same cla ...more
Nathan Parker
Jul 20, 2015 Nathan Parker rated it really liked it
This book is a solid overview of Church History. I does makes for an excellent textbook for an entry level Church History course. The author does a fine job going through the various periods of both early and later church history.
Charlie Johnson
Jul 10, 2015 Charlie Johnson rated it it was ok
From a very protestant perspective.
Gerald Thomson
Mar 05, 2012 Gerald Thomson rated it liked it
A great overview of the church since the time of Christ. Truly only touches the surface, but provides the highlights as well as analysis as to what the various moves of the church has meant. You will definitely want to delve into some of the topics in more depth through other sources. Very interesting history when looking at today’s debate about the separation of church and state. It truly puts the issue in perspective when you see what those who came to America were running away from where a tr ...more
Jun 08, 2009 Nathaniel rated it it was ok
I have read this book from the reformation forward and something about it never really sat right with me. I just chalked it up to it feeling too much like a text book, which I hate. This book came up in conversation with a friend the other day and he helped me realize that this is terrible writing, and after a second review, I realized that this was what was bothering me before. Cairns writing is just not good. There are other histories the read better and don't feel like a text book.
Sep 14, 2015 Travis rated it liked it
Shelves: br-christianity
A nice textbook-style telling of church history from a somewhat conservative perspective.
Bob Collins
Mar 30, 2014 Bob Collins rated it it was amazing
A classic college text - Church history from a conservative evangelical point of view. Takes the reader up to the 1950's.
Rock Rockwell
Oct 10, 2007 Rock Rockwell rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
A really good read if you like history, want to see how Christianity is woven in history (councils, leaders, denominational offshoots, etc.). Cairns is not deep, but moves quickly through out this book but provides the essential information at each stage of history. Good for High School history classes.
Mark Notestine
Jul 14, 2013 Mark Notestine rated it really liked it
Shelves: history-church
Enjoyable and easy to read survey of church history that I would recommend to anyone interested in the subject. A little too light on the ancient/early church like many surveys; this shortcoming can be addressed through books such as "The Early Church" by Henry Chadwick.
May 17, 2007 Don rated it really liked it
Talbot Course: Reformation and Modern Theology

A solid look at the history of Christianity. It reads like a history textbook because it is one.
Apr 19, 2009 Thomas rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
Didn't have to read it all and probably never will. It is very dry but very concise. Good book to reference in the future.
Jan 12, 2011 Cbarrett rated it it was amazing
College level overview of the history of the church. Written in an easy style. Really good for a quick reference near the desk.
Brian Kelly
Aug 21, 2012 Brian Kelly rated it really liked it
I love Church history books. This is the best one I've read. Great information, very well presented and easy to follow & remember
Jul 26, 2014 Shawn rated it liked it
Shelves: history
This was a really good work on the history of the church.
Gwen Burrow
Mar 31, 2014 Gwen Burrow rated it liked it
Shelves: history, theology
Didn't leave a brilliant taste in my mouth.
Feb 25, 2011 Jeff rated it really liked it
Good overview of the history of the church.
Jul 11, 2008 Nathan rated it really liked it
Shelves: textbooks
Thorough! Great Information!
Feb 15, 2011 Noah rated it liked it
Kinda boring.
Gary Johnson
Gary Johnson marked it as to-read
May 24, 2016
Informalist rated it really liked it
May 06, 2016
Erik Gidewall
Erik Gidewall rated it really liked it
May 02, 2016
Heather marked it as to-read
Apr 13, 2016
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Tae Seok marked it as to-read
Apr 11, 2016
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