Church History: Annotated Bibliography


Major References

Gonzalez, Justo L. (1985): The story of Christianity, 2 volumes.

      This is perhaps the best introduction to the study of church history. Each chapter contains a clear theme, with concise summaries of important historical events as well as major philosophical or theological contributions of major historical figures.

Schaff, Philip (1892): History of the Christian church. [click here to download]

      This is the most important classic on church history. It contains 8 long volumes, with lots of details and superb analyses on all important historical events as well as theological development. Unfortunately, it is unfinished and covers only up to Reformation.


Other References

Berkhof, Louis (1937): The history of Christian doctrines.

      This is a classic on the history of doctrines, tracing how orthodox doctrines were agreed on by the church since the church was founded.

Cairns, Earle E. (1981): Christianity through the centuries: a history of the Christian church.

      Besides Gonzalez’s book, this is another excellent introduction to the study of church history. Its inclusion of insightful analyses makes the book a valuable supplemental resource.

Douglas, J.D., ed. (1974): The new international dictionary of the Christian church.

      This is an excellent reference book for important individuals and movements in church history.

Dowley, Tim, ed. (1977): Eerdmans’ handbook to the history of Christianity.

      This is a collection of articles by various authors on important topics in church history. Because of the wide variation in authorship, the book is more useful as a dictionary-type reference.

Elwell, Walter A., ed. (1984); Evangelical dictionary of theology.

      This is an excellent reference book for the development of thological topics in church history.

Enns, Paul (1989): The Moody handbook of theology.

      This contains short and precise articles on a wide range of theological movements and theologians. However, some of the author’s evaluations are based subjectively on his Calvinist dispensationalist training.

Hannah, John D. (2000): The Kregel pictorial guide to church history.

      This is a short outline and an excellent overview. It contains an excellent chart for historical events, maps and photos.

Lane, Tony (1984): Harper’s concise book of Christian faith.

      This is an excellent book summarizing major individuals and movements in church history. It includes balanced evaluations and direct quotes from original documents.

Latourette, Kenneth Scott (1953,1975): A history of Christianity, 2 volumes.

      This is a classic on church history, containing analysis of the historical events and their impacts. However, it contains less details on the development of theological thoughts.


From the Web [click here to download]

Bacon, Leonard Woolsey (1897): A history of American Christianity.

      This records the origin and the development of Christianity in the United States up to the 19th century.

Bertrand, Louis (1920?): Saint Augustine.

      The writer was a French Catholic writer and novelist, elected to the French Academy. It reads like a novel.

Blunt, John Henry (1877): A key to the knowledge of church history (Ancient).

      This is an outline of events up to the Reformation. It contains topics not found in other books.

Christian History Institute (2000?): Century-by-century through church history.

      This lists major events in church history, about 10-20 events per century, with short commentaries.

Christianity Today (2005): 131 Christians everyone should know.

      This includes short descriptions (2 to 3 pages each) of 131 famous Christians in history, 10-11 persons in each of 13 groups, including theologians, pastors, missionaries, scholars/scientists, martyrs, etc.

Eubanks, Gary (2000?): Church history: A Biblical view.

      This contains brief introductions of the major themes in church history with short discussions and lists of questions on the material in each chapter.

Fox, John (1554): Book of martyrs.

      This is a classic, written in the age of Reformation, containing descriptions of famous martyrs in history.

Hutton, William Holden (1906): The church and the Barbarians: being an outline of the history of the church from A.D. 461 to A.D. 1003.

      This is a thematic outline of the medieval church.

Killen, William Dool (1859): The ancient church: its history, doctrine, worship, and constitution, traced for the first three hundred years.

      This describes the people, the doctrines, and practices of the early church in great details.

Koestlin, Julius (1881): Life of Luther.

      This is the story of Martin Luther with great details.

LaPorte, Jean (1982): The role of women in early Christianity.

      This uses historical sources to trace the role of women in early church. The analysis is occasionally controversial but generally quite balanced.

MacCaffrey, James (1914): History of the Catholic Church from the Renaissance to the French Revolution.

      This represents the Catholic viewpoint of the Reformation and the struggles afterwards.

Robertson, J.C. (1904): Sketches of church history, from AD 33 to the Reformation.

      This contains short sketches of important individuals and events.

Smith, Preserved (1920): The age of the Reformation.

      This is an objective and impassive study of the Reformation. It is extensively referenced and well-organized.

Venables, Edmund (1890?): The life of John Bunyan.

      This is the story of John Bunyan in a narrative form.


Modern Theology

Bloesch, Donald G. (1988): The future of evangelical Christianity.

      This defines what evangelicalism is and explains how evangelicalism is manifested in different aspects in today’s church.

Catherwood, Christopher (1985): Five evangelical leaders.

      This is an excellent concise biographical study of 5 leaders of modern evangelicalism: John Stott, Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Francis Schaeffer, James I. Packer, and Billy Graham.

Elwell, Walter A. (1993): Handbook of evangelical theologians.

      This is an excellent thematic study of the theological contributionsof 33 evangelical theologians in the 19th and 20th centuries. Many are still active in the field of theology, such as Stott, Packer, Bloesch, Oden, Erickson, McGrath.

Keely, Robin, ed. (1985): The quiet revolution, the story of a living faith around the world.

      The is a description and an analysis of modern developments in the church.

Mead, Frank S. (1980): Handbook of denominations in the United States.

      This introduces briefly all different denominations in the United States, including short historical background and beliefs.

Oden, Thomas C. (2003): The rebirth of orthodoxy.

      This describes an optimistic trend in today’s church: the return to orthodox beliefs. This is demonstated by evidences that the author finds in different churches.