Where can a Christian turn to learn about the history of the church for the first time?
I would start with the series of biographies that John Piper has done in his “Swans Are Not Silent” series. All of the following are fairly brief, and pull out the practical outworking well. He typically covers 3 people in each book and most of them are less than 200 pages long. Kindle deal here.
- The Hidden Smile of God (Bunyan, Cowper, Brainard)
- Contending for Our All (Athanasius, Owen, Machen)
- Filling Up the Afflictions of Christ (Tyndale, Judson, Patton)
- The Roots of Endurance (Newton, Simeon, Wilberforce)
- The Legacy of Sovereign Joy (Augustine, Luther, Calvin)
- Seeing Beauty and Saying Beautifully (Lewis, Herbert, Whitefield)
General Church History – With these, you could read them all the way through, or just chapters you are interested in.
- Church History in Plain Language (560 pgs)
- Turning Points: Decisive Moments in the History of Christianity (368 pgs) - fairly academic.
- Church History: An Essential Guide (95 pgs)
- Christian History Made Easy (220 pgs)
- One Year of Christian History – Daily historical/devotional readings.
- The 100 Most Important Events in Christian History (200 pgs)
- 131 Christians Everyone Should Know (320 pgs)
- History of Christianity DVD (Six 30 minute sessions)
- Getting to Know the Church Fathers (300 pgs)
- The Unquenchable Flame (200 pgs)
- The Reformation (160 pgs)
- Luther DVD
- Stephen Nichols has written several short and accessible biographies.
- The Excellency of Christ – sermon by Jonathan Edwards I mentioned
That should get you started ;)! Here is my attempt to cover all of church history in an hour.