My friend Emily, daughter of my poetic friend, Kitty, sent me this link yesterday, and I HAD to share it with you here. Janet Batchler (writer of Batman Forever), a friend of hers from a Christian screenwriter's group in Hollywood called Act One produced this amazing video of 2000 years of church history in a mere four minutes, all set to Billy Joel's "We Didn't Start the Fire." The song happens to be a very popular one in our household already, so the kids were eagerly watching it over my shoulder. I would LOVE to see the written lyrics just so I could catch the names and events a little easier.
Here's the blog on which the video is embedded. I tried to embed it here, but my computer behaved in a very wonky manner every time I tried it: Quoth the Maven: Church History in 4 Minutes. ENJOY!
For someone like me who is very intrigued by church history, this little video is a gem. I happen to think that the study of church history is sadly neglected among Protestants, evangelicals especially, who seem to think that the Christian Church began with Luther, thus ignoring 75% (or more) of the Church's history, and then only focusing on the Protestant events since 1517. My daughter is a high school senior this year, and she is studying Church History through a course with Sonlight Curriculum called Kingdom History. I only wish I had time to study it with her which was my original plan.
I have spent the last six years or so studying church history on my own, and here is a list of books I highly recommend. These books are very fair to all sides, relating events but not editorializing.
The Story of Christianity: 2,000 Years of Faith by Matthew A. Price & Michael Collins. Co-written by a Catholic and a Protestant, this book's lovely illustrations remind one of the Dorling Kindersley books. This book is the "spine" of the Sonlight Kingdom History program mentioned above. It's more of an overview than an in-depth study of church history.
Church History in Plain Language by Bruce L. Shelley. This books reads more like a novel than a history book -- I found it difficult to put down at times which is not always the case with history books. Again, very fair to both Catholics and Protestants although Shelley is one of the latter. I have an older version, but a newer edition includes the post-modern church and the mega-church phenomenon. It's an enjoyable read as well as an educational one.
The Story of Christianity: The Early Church to the Present Day by Justo L. Gonzalez. This one I've only read sections from, but it's the text of choice for the excellent church history course at the local seminary, Bethel Seminary. I've liked the portion I've read enough to recommend it without reservations as being balanced and very, very well-researched. It's scholarly in the best sense of the word.
The video above is a fun overview of church history, and an in-depth study can also be helpful. I'm glad that the church "the Maven" attends has been doing a series on the history of the church -- it's quite refreshing and much-needed, especially in evangelical circles.