This is going to be quite a long book review — probably the longest I have written. To spare you having to read the full text if you are not so-inclined, I will ruin any sense of expectation by giving in advance my general impressions of this book.
History of Christianity Early Church and ecumenical councils Main articles: EphesusAsia Minor. The Monastery of St.
Matthewlocated atop Mount Alfaf in northern Iraqis recognized as one of the oldest Christian monasteries in existence. Other religious influences of early Christianity are Zoroastrianism and Gnosticism. According to the New TestamentChristians were from the beginning subject to persecution by some Jewish and Roman religious authorities.
This involved punishments, including death, for Christians such as Stephen [Acts 7: From the yearChristian teachers began to produce theological and apologetic works aimed at defending the faith.
These authors are known as the Church Fathersand study of them is called patristics. It penetrated into the country from at least the third century but may have been present even earlier. At that point, Christianity was still a minority belief comprising perhaps only five percent of the Roman population.
Mark the Evangelist is claimed to have started the Church of Alexandria in about AD 43; various later churches and denominations claim this as their own legacy including the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria.
In terms of prosperity and cultural life, the Byzantine Empire was one of the peaks in Christian history and Christian civilization and Constantinople remained the leading city of the Christian world in size, wealth and culture. While Arianists instituted the death penalty for practicing pagans see Massacre of Verden as examplewhat would later become Catholicism also spread among the Hungariansthe Germanic the Celticthe Baltic and some Slavic peoples.
Christianity has been an important part of the shaping of Western civilizationat least since the 4th century. Benedict set out his Monastic Ruleestablishing a system of regulations for the foundation and running of monasteries. In the 7th century Muslims conquered Syria including JerusalemNorth Africa and Spain, converting some of the Christian population to Islamand placing the rest under a separate legal status.
Part of the Muslims' success was due to the exhaustion of the Byzantine Empire in its decades long conflict with Persia. Pope Gregory the Great dramatically reformed ecclesiastical structure and administration. The Second Ecumenical Council of Nicaea finally pronounced in favor of icons.
The traditional medieval universities —evolved from Catholic and Protestant church schools—then established specialized academic structures for properly educating greater numbers of students as professionals.
The two principal mendicant movements were the Franciscans  and the Dominicans  founded by St. Both orders made significant contributions to the development of the great universities of Europe. Another new order were the Cistercianswhose large isolated monasteries spearheaded the settlement of former wilderness areas.
In this period church building and ecclesiastical architecture reached new heights, culminating in the orders of Romanesque and Gothic architecture and the building of the great European cathedrals.
The Crusades ultimately failed to stifle Islamic aggression and even contributed to Christian enmity with the sacking of Constantinople during the Fourth Crusade. These two churches disagree on a number of administrative, liturgical and doctrinal issues, most notably papal primacy of jurisdiction.
However, the Catholic Church has achieved union with various smaller eastern churches. In the thirteenth century a new emphasis on Jesus' suffering, exemplified by the Franciscans' preaching, had the consequence of turning worshippers' attention towards Jews, on whom Christians had placed the blame for Jesus' death.
Christianity's limited tolerance of Jews was not new—Augustine of Hippo had said that Jews should not be allowed to enjoy the citizenship that Christians took for granted—but the growing antipathy towards Jews was a factor that led to the expulsion of Jews from England inthe first of many such expulsions in Europe.
European wars of religion The 15th-century Renaissance brought about a renewed interest in ancient and classical learning.
Another major schism, the Reformationresulted in the splintering of the Western Christendom into several branches. These challenges developed into the movement called Protestantismwhich repudiated the primacy of the popethe role of tradition, the seven sacraments and other doctrines and practices.
Beginning inthe monasteries throughout England, Wales and Ireland were dissolved. Their activity brought about the Radical Reformationwhich gave birth to various Anabaptist denominations.
During the following centuries, competition between Catholicism and Protestantism became deeply entangled with political struggles among European states. Partly from missionary zeal, but under the impetus of colonial expansion by the European powers, Christianity spread to the Americas, Oceania, East Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.
Throughout Europe, the divides caused by the Reformation led to outbreaks of religious violence and the establishment of separate state churches in Europe. Lutheranism spread into northern, central and eastern parts of present-day Germany, Livonia and Scandinavia.
Anglicanism was established in England in Calvinism and its varieties such as Presbyterianism were introduced in Scotlandthe NetherlandsHungarySwitzerland and France. Arminianism gained followers in the Netherlands and Frisia. Ultimately, these differences led to the outbreak of conflicts in which religion played a key factor.
These events intensified the Christian debate on persecution and toleration.Later this summer a group of Christian writers will meet in St Louis for the Revoice Conference, an event that seeks to make a place for “gay, lesbian, same-sex attracted, and other LGBT Christians” in the conservative traditions of the Christian Church.
These Christians all affirm the. The sacraments are rituals in which material elements such as bread, wine, water, and oil serve as visible symbols of an invisible grace conveyed to recipients. sacraments A saint is a holy person (Latin, sanctus).
His generous orthodoxy will not be a biblical orthodoxy for it does not begin and end with Scripture. He does not weigh each and every doctrine or experience by the Word of God. In his concluding chapter he tells us “To be a Christian in a generously orthodox way is not to claim to have truth captured, stuffed and mounted on the wall.”.
Christianity addresses the historical figure of Jesus Christ against the background of, and while seeking to remain faithful to, the experience of one God.
It has consistently rejected polytheism and atheism. A second element of the faith tradition of Christianity, with rare exceptions, is a plan of salvation or redemption. That is to say, the believers in the .
Later this summer a group of Christian writers will meet in St Louis for the Revoice Conference, an event that seeks to make a place for “gay, lesbian, same-sex attracted, and other LGBT Christians” in the conservative traditions of the Christian Church.
These Christians all affirm the. Christianity addresses the historical figure of Jesus Christ against the background of, and while seeking to remain faithful to, the experience of one God.
It has consistently rejected polytheism and atheism. A second element of the faith tradition of Christianity, with rare exceptions, is a plan of salvation or redemption.
That is to say, the believers in the church picture themselves as in a plight from which .