N R NEEDHAM
It is intended that this will be the second in a series of four volumes, which will cover the History of the Church from the earliest days up till modern times. Pastors and preachers will undoubtedly gain much from this series, and those who already have an interest in Church History will find the four books useful additions to their library. Nevertheless, the series is written in a style that will appeal to the non-specialist and any modern Christian will find it challenging and stimulating to be introduced to men and women who loved and served the same Savior that he loves and serves. This volume deals with the Middle Ages, and includes the stories of great missionaries such as Boniface and the brothers Cyril and Methodius, outstanding theologians like Anselm of Canterbury and Gregory Palamas, spiritual giants like Simeon the New Theologian and Bernard of Clairvaux, and ‘reformers before the Reformation’ like John Wyclif and John Huss.
The Middle Ages were dubbed the ‘Dark Ages’ almost before they had begun to draw to a close. Ever since then, they have continued to be seen as a time of hardship and oppression, full of popes and crusades. In the second volume of 2,000 Years of Christ’s Power, another side of the Middle Ages shines through though: The continual workings of Christ as He built His kingdom through figures such as Thomas a Kempis and John Wycliffe, who lived and struggled during these centuries. This was far from a period of stagnation; rather it was the fire from which the Reformation was kindled.
What makes the books so useful is that in a non-technical (but not simplistic) way, they bring out the main story line of the history of the church through the centuries. But in addition, and most helpfully, each chapter concludes with a selection of writings (translated of course!) from people discussed in the chapter. This means that we are not only told what certain people believed, but we are able to read some of their actual writings — and this is often extremely illuminating. (Martin K. Bussey ~ Lecturer in theology, Africa International University, Kenya)
It is a brave historian who tackles the extremely challenging task of writing the 2,000-year history of the Church. Well, Nick Needham has more than risen to the challenge. This eagerly-awaited fourth volume has been well worth the wait and, not to pressure our brother scholar, we now look forward to the concluding volume! (Michael A. G. Haykin ~ Professor of Church History and Biblical Spirituality, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky)
For many years now I have said: if you want a thorough, learned but accessible and well-written history of the church, read Nick Needham’s 2,000 Years of Christ’s Power. Now, with the fourth volume finally available, Christians have an excellent resource for improving their knowledge of the history of their faith. Highly recommended. (Carl R. Trueman ~ Paul Woolley Professor of Historical Theology and Church History, Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
Nick Needham’s volumes on church history explain everything that someone new to the subject might not understand. At the same time, they achieve a depth of detail to interest those who already know something of the subject. We use them as standard texts at LTS and look forward eagerly to forthcoming volumes. (Robert Strivens ~ Principal, London Seminary, London)