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Christianity Through the Centuries: A History of the Christian Church

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  336 ratings  ·  28 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
Unknown Binding, 507 pages
Published January 1st 1981 by Zondervan Publishing Company
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Adam Calvert
Jan 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 Bringe
Jan 15, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 31, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book had some good information, had lots of dry spots, and had some quite heretical views especially toward the end.
Tyler Collins
I read this book for my Church History courses under Dr. Randy Cloud. While I learned a lot from Cairns' treatment of Church History, I have three major criticisms of this book.

The first is more superficial: Cairns' charts are not helpful. They make little sense and could be designed in a much more understandable way.

Secondly: It is very obvious when reading that Cairns comes from a strongly evangelical perspective. He is quick to point out the flaws in other Christian traditions and not one t
Thomas Freeman
Jan 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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 our u
Jonathan Woodward
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.
Jul 09, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Nathan Vani
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ted Rohe
Jan 11, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Gerald Thomson
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
Jan 26, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Rock Rockwell
Oct 07, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Nathan Parker
Jul 20, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Mark Notestine
Jul 14, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Barry Black
I read this book in College for Church History 1 and Church History 2.
Good overview of Church history. I would actually give it a 3.5 rather than a 3.
Leaves out a great deal about the Inquisition and how the Roman Catholic church
persecuted Bible Believers.

Aug 30, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: br-christianity
A nice textbook-style telling of church history from a somewhat conservative perspective.
Feb 25, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good overview of the history of the church.
Talbot Course: Reformation and Modern Theology

A solid look at the history of Christianity. It reads like a history textbook because it is one.
G.M. Burrow
Didn't leave a brilliant taste in my mouth.
Jan 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
College level overview of the history of the church. Written in an easy style. Really good for a quick reference near the desk.
Charlie Johnson
From a very protestant perspective.
Feb 15, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Kinda boring.
Jan 05, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Bob Collins
Mar 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A classic college text - Church history from a conservative evangelical point of view. Takes the reader up to the 1950's.
Brian Kelly
Aug 21, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love Church history books. This is the best one I've read. Great information, very well presented and easy to follow & remember ...more
Timothy Shapley
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Earle E. Cairns, professor emeritus of Wheaton College, is a graduate of Presbyterian Theological Seminary at Omaha (Th.B.) and the University of Nebraska (Ph.D.). He is a member of the American Society of Church History, the American Historical Association, and the Conference on Faith and History. He taught at Wheaton for thirty-five years and was department chairman for much of that time. He was ...more

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