Academic journal article Anglican and Episcopal History

Exploring Church History

Academic journal article Anglican and Episcopal History

Exploring Church History

Article excerpt

Exploring Church History. By Derek Cooper. (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2014, Pp. x + 164. $19.00.)

The Foundations for Learning series published by Fortress Press beginning in 2014, is a series of basic primers for first-year seminary students or those who think seminary may be in their ftiture. The books could also be used as resources for adult education in general, given the range of topics covered, such as this volume on church history, and additional volumes on ministry, theology, theological writing, etc. In length and in scope the series reminds me of the latest Church Teaching Series published by Cowley. The author of Exploring Church History, Derek Cooper, teaches at Biblical Seminary in Hatfield, Pennsylvania, and has produced an overall engaging volume.

The book is divided into three parts: "Why we study church history," or purpose; "What we study in church history," or content; and lasdy, "How we study church history," or method. Cooper argues that the study of church history is important for four reasons. Because the church is our family, and the study of its history allows us to learn from past mistakes are the first two reasons. Followed by the need for perspective and, lasdy, because the study of the church contributes to faithfulness in the midst of a changing world.

Exploring Church History has several assets. First, the design of the book highlights the global nature of Christianity, to the extent that a reader would gain a glimpse of the faithful in the regions where Christians are most numerous and growing the fastest, Asia and Africa, as well as in North America, Latin America, Oceana, and the Middle East. For each region Cooper selects a symbol which gives the reader insights into Christianity in that region, for instance, the image of the icon for Christianity in Egypt, or the image of a cloak for Latin American Christianity. …

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