But learning about these courageous people and their eras made me want to put it all in historical context. Dr. Saxon suggested The Story of Christianity by Justo L. Gonzalez – and I can add my enthusiastic endorsement to this recommendation.
I recently finished Volume 1: The Early Church to the Dawn of the Reformation. In it, Dr. Gonzalez takes the reader from Christianity’s early days in 1st century Palestine through the upheavals of the Renaissance, then crosses the Atlantic to describe the early days of colonial Christianity. Every step of the way, he presents Christianity's theological and ecclesiastic development in the context of major events in world history.
What’s more, Dr. Gonzalez does it all in highly readable and compelling language. In fact, while I was reading it, I often woke up at 2 or 3 a.m. and, instead of turning over to slumber on, got up to read another chapter or two.
These middle-of-the-night reading binges have actually become a recurring problem with all of the books the Saxons have recommended. Right now, it’s To the Golden Shore, the story of 19th century missionary Adoniram Judson, that’s keeping me up at night.
One of these days I’m going to have to pick up some boring modern novel in order to get a good night’s sleep. But first, I really need to get ahold of Volume 2: The Story of Christianity, and maybe Fearless Pilgrim, Faith Cook’s reputedly stellar biography of John Bunyan, and then perhaps her books on Selina, Countess of Huntingdon, and on various hymn writers …