In this popular introduction to church history, now in its third edition, Mark Noll isolates key events that provide a framework for understanding the history of Christianity. The book presents Christianity as a worldwide phenomenon rather than just a Western experience.
Now organized around fourteen key moments in church history, this well-received text provides contemporary Christians with a fuller understanding of God as he has revealed his purpose through the centuries. This new edition includes a new preface; updates throughout the book; revised "further readings" for each chapter; and two new chapters, including one spotlighting Vatican II and Lausanne as turning points of the recent past.
Students in academic settings and church adult education contexts will benefit from this one-semester survey of Christian history.
Mark A. Noll (PhD, Vanderbilt University) is the Francis A. McAnaney Professor of History at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana. He is one of the nation's most distinguished practitioners of American religious history and is the author of dozens of books in this field, including America's God: From Jonathan Edwards to Abraham Lincoln and The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind.
If Mark Noll's Turning Points gets the attention it deserves, it will contribute immeasurably to a turning point in the struggle for Christian unity within a principled diversity. As an introduction to the history of Christianity, it is fresh and illuminating. As a criticism of the churches, it is historically sound and scrupulously fair. As a statement of core beliefs, responsibilities, and tasks, it is penetrating and constructive. This book speaks eloquently to Catholics and Eastern Orthodox as readily as it does to Protestants.
-Eugene D. Genovese
This book majors in what is major, giving the reader a fine sense of what has happened, and it does so with care, precision, and respect for the past which is Noll's trademark.
-David F. Wells,
Distinguished Senior Research Professor, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary
Noll's treatment of the material is evenhanded, engaging, and illuminating. This will be a useful text for readers seeking a historical framework within which to understand their Christian faith.
"Instructive and interesting.
Baptist History and Heritage
An informative and inspiring survey of the history of Christianity designed for the general reader...A thoughtful introduction to the two millennia of Christian history.
-Richard V. Pierard,
The depth to which Noll's research takes the reader is unmatched...Even the casual reader--or the one who needs a refresher course--quickly enters into the purposes behind the turning points...Reading this book may bring a turning point in your love for church history.
An interesting overview of the whole of church history.
-Herman C. Hanko,
Protestant Reformed Theological Journal
This book is a popular, but never unscholarly, study of important transitions in the history of the Christian Church. Turning Points is the product of a seasoned Christian historian that may be read with profit and delight by any intelligent Christian or by a critical historian. . . . Noll's book is a splendid example of fine scholarship embedded in deep Christian piety. It will profit those seeking continuing education in churches and those who sit in academic classrooms.
-Jacob P. Ellens,
In a little more than three hundred pages, Noll has pulled off a historical tour de force, giving his readers a sense of the overall story of Christianity while neither getting bogged down in the details, nor resorting to oversimplification...This book is] very helpful in introducing beginning students to the broad sweep of historical events. More knowledgeable students will enjoy it as well, as they ponder the reasons for Noll's choices and his assessment of the events he describes. This book belongs in every church library. I also recommend it highly to pastors and other church professionals as a refresher concerning aspects of the Christian past that are still highly relevant to mission and ministry today.
-Donald L. Huber,
Trinity Seminary Review
Anyone interested in exploring the 2,000 year history of the Christian faith would be well advised to add this delightful gem to their personal library. While certainly not exhaustive, it is an excellent place to begin.
-Heinz G. Dschankilic,
Baptist Review of Theology
A readable work using an approach that may 'hook' readers more easily than other surveys. Its novelty, in fact, may attract some who have read other surverys and found them unsatisfying. Certainly it succeeds in introducing readers to the major events in church history, and it excels in demonstrating the connectedness of events and movements.
Mark Noll's survey of key movements in the two millennia of Christianity is well written and judiciously selected. The book is designed for the relative newcomer to church history and would be an interesting read for the oft cited 'educated person in the pew'...One does have to admire the sweep of the book as an introduction to church history...A fair and interesting historical survey, attempting to do right by all brands of Christians.
An interesting and readable approach to Christian history...The method is a fascinating way of approaching history, especially for the lay reader...This is a rewarding volume, written in a relatively popular tone and adapted to a believing community studying the past as its only family history and its resource for a faith filled and reconciling future.
-Jeffrey Gros, FSC,
United Methodist Reporter
This book is by no means only for clergy or the lovers of history. Combined with a study guide, this book allows all readers who begin to understand the rich, if not always pleasant, history that all Christians share. With original texts weaved through the book, readers will have the opportunity to travel through time and experience the voices of our past. This is a valuable text for any who work in the church, want to grow deeper in understanding their faith, or are striving to continue to learn and grow in the path that God is laying before them. Most important however, is that Noll has again reminded us that the church 'survives by the mercy of God, not because of the wisdom, purity, or consistent faithfulness of Christians.' A lesson well learned in our changing times.
-Mark E. Mast,
Drawing on his years of teaching experience in and out of the college classroom, Noll has produced a superb work which effectively meets the challenge of introducing the history of Christianity...Of the many books available to the beginner in Church history, Noll's work should be near the top of one's list. He has presented accurately a nearly two-millennia history in a manner both interesting and memorable...Whether you are a beginner or one with a better understanding of Church history, you will enjoy and benefit from time spent with this work.
-Thomas J. Marinello,
"A breezy survey of church history punctuated by dramatic climaxes. This is an immensely enjoyable book. The style is relaxed and accessible, the perspective is balanced.
"For the average church member, this book is perhaps the best introduction to the history of Christianity currently available.....This would make a valuable adult elective.