FRIEND who noticed my reading habits asked, "Why would anyone want to study theology by reading A Bunch of Dead Guys? Shouldn't you focus mostly on current works, or risk becoming an irrelevant theological fossil?"
My answer: the truth about God is timeless. The last infallible book of theology was written nearly two thousand years ago. In theology, if it's new, it probably isn't true.
The best of the men featured here knew that. Though they are dead, they still speak (cf. Heb. 11:4). Scripture was their supreme rule of faith. Their theological line of descent is clearly traceable from the Reformers, to Augustine, to the Apostle Paul, to Isaiah, to Abrahamall the way back to the first promise God made to Adam in the Garden (Gen. 3:15).
The entrance is at the top center of the map. Watch your step, though. As you walk through The Hall of Church History, if you veer too far to the right or to the left, you'll encounter people whose tendency has been to enshrine tradition over Scripture, or to pursue what is innovative and novel at the expense of what is sure and steadfast.
These dark corners of The Hall of Church history can be interesting and informative. But we encourage guests to spend most of their time in the central hall, which takes you from the Church Fathers, through the Medieval Churchmen, down a narrow, treasure-filled hallway devoted to the Puritan and Reformed writers, to the more recent stalwarts of the faith. We have named this corridor "Berean Hall," in honor of those noble recipients of the apostolic message, who "received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so" (Acts 17:11).
Some Other Worthwhile Church History Sites
Church History Timeline
Clay McKinney's ordered list of significant events in church history.
Church History Timeline
An informative and useful timeline from Jeremy and Rebecca Tredway.
Chronology of Christianity (1AD-Present)
A helpful timeline from the Catholic perspective, focusing largely on the reigns of various popes and emperors.
A Timeline of Church History
A brief but helpful annotated graphic overview of church history from the Eastern Orthodox perspective.
Notes on Church History
An exhaustive annotated timeline of the key events in church history from an Eastern Orthodox perspective, compiled by R. Grant Jones.
The Ecole Initiative
One of the pioneer church history sites on the World Wide Web.
Christian History Institute
A wide-ranging collection of interesting items related to church history.
Sketches of Church History: From AD 33 to the Reformation
A book written in 1904 by the late Rev. J. C Robertson, M.A., Canon Of Canterbury.
Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church
Born in Switzerland, Schaff studied in Germany (at Tübingen, Halle and Berlin). He later went to the United States, where he taught seminary and wrote prolifically. His theological perspective was strongly influenced by Edward Pusey and the Tractarian movement. He embraced high sacramentalism and a modified (quasi-Romanist) perspective of justification. His peculiar doctrinal perspective (known as "The Mercersburg Theology") colors—and in places badly muddies—his account of the Protestant Reformation, but overall, this is one of the most comprehensive and insightful church histories ever written.
Church History Study Helps
Articles of varying quality and value, covering an eclectic range of topics that will interest church history buffs.