Thursday, November 11, 2010
Book Review: On This Day in Christian History by Robert J. Morgan
Although subtitled "saints, martyrs, and heroes", Morgan's brief glimpses into the history of Christianity also include rogues, cheats, and scoundrels who used Christ's name for their own gain. Morgan's daily stories include the full panoply (good and bad) of Christian history. November's entries include: Dietrich Bonhoeffer (pastor and martyr), Augustus Toplady (author of Rock of Ages), the Council of Constance (which reunited a divided papacy), John Bunyan (author of The Pilgrim's Progress) and James and Emily Gilmore (missionaries to China).
There's a story or profile for each day of the year, but Morgan does not present history sequentially, or even thematically. Instead, each story has a link to a particular date: June 17, the day Dwight Moody arrived in England for a fateful series of crusades; April 9, the beginning of the Azusa Street Revival; October 22, a day in 1844 when a large number of New Englanders believed the world would end. You'll find stories about outrageously bad popes, selfless missionaries, quarreling reformers, unlikely hymn writers, and ordinary people whose lives and witness influenced our history.
I admire Morgan's book for the breadth of history he attempts to cover. Sometimes there's only enough of the story to pique the reader's interest, but for history lovers or even the mildly curious On This Day provides food for thought and an accompanying Bible verse for meditation. Readers will definitely learn something new within these pages.
I recommend this book as a gift for Christian history lovers, pastors (sermon illustrations galore), or even yourself.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”