Friday, December 31, 2010

Book Review: On This Day in Christian History by Robert J. Morgan

On This Day in Christian History is a collection of stories about various "saints, martyrs, and heroes" throughout church history. As its title suggests, each story is told on a date relevant to the event and/or character (i.e. birth, death, sermon preached, imprisonment, etc.). Robert Morgan also selects a relevant verse or two from Scripture to be read following each day's story, one for each day of the year. Additionally, there is an index of selected topics at the conclusion of the book which some readers may find beneficial.

In reading On This Day in Christian History, I learned something about myself: I do not do well with snippets. What I mean is, I, personally, do not enjoy reading a short, isolated devotion on some aspect of history. This book seemed a bit disjointed (and at times, redundant) to me. Perhaps it is because I have a limited understanding of Christian history and so, have difficulty placing individual devotions into the "bigger picture."

That being said, there is nothing expressly wrong with this book. Robert Morgan freely quotes the individuals of whom he writes and frequently makes use of primary sources (though lacking documentation). It reminds me of a textbook approach to history. I did not find the writing style “inspiring” as the subtitle suggested one would. However, my family visited for the holiday season, and my dad enjoyed reading the book each morning while he was here.

In sum, if you like a condensed, matter-of-fact telling, you will probably like On This Day in Christian History. It is clear, concise, and somewhat informative. As for me, I think I'll stick with a chronological approach in the future.

*Many thanks to Thomas Nelson for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion!

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