We Have A Story…
As Christians our faith is not in a church or a culture or a tradition but in Jesus Christ. By his death and resurrection we have new life and by the work of God’s Holy Spirit we have power for victory in this life.
But we recognize that we learn about Jesus (who he is, what he has done, what he will do) from the Bible. Additionally, in conjunction with reason and experience, a large part of what shapes our understanding of the Bible is tradition (church history). For that reason, this past Sunday (10/27) we talked about how we got the Bible and a bit about church history as we begin our study of the Gospel of Mark.
As much as I love history, it was not my goal to teach a history class. I hope and pray that I will brought the Good News of Jesus to any lost or hurting soul in the room and the word of God to nourish our Christian souls as we live out our faith.
That being said, I really believe that knowledge is power! So I am including here a recommended list of books on the history of the Christian faith which I believe can be helpful and useful. Amazon links included in the book titles.
I haven’t read this book but it comes recommended and it’s on my “to read” list. The Bible didn’t just appear out of nowhere, nor was it “just the most entertaining version of the story”. Dr. Jones lays out the history of how we got the 66 books that make up the Bible and the books that were left out.
This book is a modern classic. I read it in college and it does a great job of bringing a general story of the Christian faith that is accessible to everyone.
I’m currently reading this book so don’t hold it against me if he says something silly in the last few chapters but Dr. Noll’s history came highly recommended and I have found it both highly readable and highly beneficial. The chapter on the establishment of the Biblical Cannon was foundational for the first sermon in our study of the Gospel of Mark.
A More Specific History…
This book was written by my friend Pastor Brian Hotrum, who serves our sister church in Sweet Home, Oregon. It’s the story of our denomination but it’s also the story of God’s work among the German-speaking people of America. While almost all of our churches are English speaking now, all of our churches used to be either fully German speaking or bi-lingual. In fact, Faith on Hill was probably a bi-lingual German/English church when it started.
This is a book that I have read two or three times. It’s the story of how the gospel of Jesus went east from Jerusalem to the eastern ends of the Earth including the rule of Ghengis Khan and the Island of Japan long before European contact.
I haven’t read this book yet, but I will. Just as with the history of German-speaking christians like the Evangelical Church, the history of the Black Church in America is often overlooked in favor of the story of Christianity as experienced by Protestant, English-speaking white Christians. This book came recommended to me by serval different pastors.