Church History in Plain Language

  • by Bruce L. Shelley
  • Narrated by Adam Verner
  • 21 hrs and 43 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

With more than 315,000 print copies sold, this is the story of the church for today's listeners. Dr. Bruce Shelley makes church history come alive in this classic audiobook that has become not only the first choice of many laypeople and church leaders but the standard text in many college classrooms.
What separates Dr. Shelley's work from others is its clarity of language and organization. It treats history as the story of people, and the result is that history reads like a story, almost as dramatic and moving as a novel. Yet there is no fiction here. Dr. Shelley was a respected scholar whose work was painstakingly researched and carefully crafted for historical accuracy.
The fourth edition of Shelley's classic one-volume history of the church brings the story of Christianity into the 21st century. This latest edition, now an audiobook and revised by R.L. Hatchett, contains information concerning Gnosticism and its ongoing relevance, the theology of the early church and Reformation, and most extensively, the rapid global extension and transformation of Christianity since 1900.
Unless otherwise specified, all Scripture quotations are from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible. © 1946, 1952, 1971, 1973 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA. Used by permission. Scripture quotations marked NRSV are from the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible. © 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A. All rights reserved. Scripture quotations marked NIV are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. The “NIV” and “New International Version” are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica, Inc.™


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Flippant, bias, disappointing.

What would have made Church History in Plain Language better?

The fundamental reason I cannot support this book is that the author often demonstrates a flippant and biased attitude toward certain characters and events in history. For instance, on the section dealing with the Nestorian Controversy, the historian makes Nestorius out to be a sympathetic character regrettably slighted by a bullying church. There are many other instances like this, where the historian does not take into account the psychological attitudes of each culture; but instead appears to be writing from a modernist, single-culturaist, and anti-Catholic-Church point of view, giving little consideration to the psychosocial conditions of disparate cultures, practices and norms. This is the seed of his bias remarks. This history might be in plain language, but for me, the historian is too close-minded and thoughtless.

What could Bruce L. Shelley have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

I would rather read / listen to a history wherein the historian works harder at being objective. I would also rather enjoy a history wherein the historian takes into account the psychosocial and psychological attitudes of each culture. I would prefer a history wherein the historian demonstrates open-mindedness through objective comments.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

This is perhaps the most irksome part of the listening experience. The narrator continually mispronounces names and events. But he does have mostly enjoyable diction.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Frustration and disappointment.

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- Becket

Good but some issues in content.

I enjoyed the way this book captured the story of many important figures in church history. I took some issue with his description of the Church in the Roman world. My schooling is in classics and at times I believe he misrepresented the ancient world and the early church.
Also I took issue with his treatment of Martin Luther. He shoehorns Luther's thought and teaching into a modern American Evangelical context of thinking and doesn't treat Luther's deep commitment to the Sacraments and the roots of his Theological thought.
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- Hayden Folks

Book Details

  • Release Date: 12-03-2013
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio