The Historic Faith eBook Sale

ZA Blog on 2 years ago. Tagged under ,.

To quote author Justin S. Holcomb, “Obviously, Christianity did not begin when we were born… Today’s Christianity is directly affected by what earlier Christians chose to do and to believe.”

Want to explore what earlier Christians chose to do and believe? Here is an eBook sale for you: The Historic Faith eBook Sale.

Titles in this sale include:

Church History, Volume One: From Christ to the Pre-Reformation by Everett Ferguson is 71% off. View the table of contents. Historical Theology: An Introduction to Christian Doctrine by Gregg R. Allison is 71% off. View a sample. The New Testament in Antiquity: A Survey of the New Testament within Its Cultural Context by Gary M. Burge, Lynne H. Cohick, and Gene L. Green is 74% off. View a sample. Luis de Molina: The Life and Theology of the…

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Why Should I Know the History of Christianity? Here Are 5 Reasons

Jeremy Bouma on 2 years ago. Tagged under ,,,.

9780310536284_imageEdmund Burke famously said, “Those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it.”

Perhaps there is no more urgent task for the church today than heeding these words. Ian Shaw aims to help us.

In Christianity: The Biography Shaw charts the story of Christianity from its birth and infancy among a handful of followers of Jesus Christ, through its years of development into a global religious movement, spanning continents and cultures and transcending educational and social backgrounds. Here’s why:

Understanding and preparing for the future of the church requires opening the book of its past. The biography of Christianity has not been one of constant advance and progress. In times of growth Christians should not exult overmuch; in times of decline they should not despair. (3)

Burke and…

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New! 5 Online Courses Open for Enrollment Starting Today

ZA Blog on 2 years ago. Tagged under ,,,,,.


Today we’re announcing five new online courses, covering a variety of subjects, and taught by first-rate scholars.

Whether you want to learn more about the life of Paul for a Bible study, improve your preaching, or understand the most difficult moral dilemmas of our time, these course are the perfect place to start.

To celebrate, all new courses are $20 off! Take advantage of this introductory pricing to jump-start your learning.

Thinking Through Paul: A Survey of His Life, Letters, and Theology

Thinking Through Paul: A Survey of His Life, Letters, and Theology

taught by Todd Still and Bruce W. Longenecker

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10 New Online Courses Announced

ZA Blog on 2 years ago. Tagged under ,,,,,.


Whatever you want to learn—and however you desire to grow—we want to make sure there’s an online course for you.

That’s why, in addition to the online courses already available, we’re releasing ten new courses in the next few months:

Ancient Languages Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics, taught by Daniel Wallace Reading Biblical Greek, taught by Constantine R. Campbell Basics of Classical Syriac, taught by Steven C. Hallam Biblical Studies Galatians, taught by Thomas R. Schreiner The Message of the Prophets, taught by J. Daniel Hays The Torah Story, taught by Gary Schnittjer Thinking Through Paul, taught by Todd Still and Bruce W. Longenecker Church History Church History 2: From Pre-Reformation to the Present Day, taught by Frank A. James, III and John…

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Did the Early Church Practice Infant Baptism or Full Immersion?

ZA Blog on 2 years ago. Tagged under ,,.


It’s not hard to determine how the early church celebrated baptism.

You can find several accounts in writings from the early church, including Tertullian’s On Baptism and Hippolytus’ Apostolic Tradition. The Didache also helps us understand how baptism functioned in the life of the church.

Let’s take a look.

How baptisms were performed

Here’s how the process worked:

If someone wanted to be baptized, they first underwent a period of instruction and moral examination.  Because baptisms usually took place on Easter Sunday, this period of instruction happened during Lent.

On the Thursday before Easter, the person being baptized began a period of fasting, praying, confessing sin, and attending Scripture readings and instructions. Exorcisms were also performed, in order to banish demons from the person.

Then, early on Sunday morning—the day of…

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Constantine’s Conversion to Christianity: Was It Real? Does It Matter?

ZA Blog on 2 years ago. Tagged under ,,.


One of the major turning points in the history of the church was Constantine’s conversion to Christianity.

Some Christians consider Constantine a saint. Others treat him as a politician, who only used Christianity for political purposes. And still others believe Constantine’s conversion was sincere—but that he also used Christianity for his own gain.

Let’s take a deeper look at Constantine’s conversion—both the motives behind it and the effect it had on the church.

Who was Constantine?

Constantine was the first Christian emperor. His reign began in 306, and after a series of internal struggles, he consolidated his rule over the entire Roman Empire in 324. In addition to his successful military campaigns, Constantine made several administrative changes that established and extended his influence.

In the history of Christianity,…

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Extracurricular Activities 12.13.15—Pauline Studies Shift, Donald Bloesh’s Soteriology, & Sexual Assault

Jeremy Bouma on 4 years ago. Tagged under ,,,,,,,.


McKnight Examines Major Shift in Pauline Studies: New Perspective on Paul vs. Apocalyptic Paul

Since 1977 there has been a regular conversation among those who study the New Testament, especially those studying the theology of the apostle Paul. In 1977 E.P. Sanders published his magisterial Paul and Palestinian Judaism and unleashed forces at work (from G.F. Moore to K. Stendahl) to form what my own professor, James D.G. Dunn, called the “new perspective on Paul.”

The debate has been with us for more than two decades, but that conversation is now radically shifting.

The old perspective Paul vs. the new perspective Paul is now over. The new debate will be between the new perspective Paul vs. the apocalyptic Paul.

Carlos Bovell on Inerrancy, Historical Criticism, and Slippery Slopes

It’s very hard for inerrantists to change…

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Extracurricular Activities 12.6.14 — History & Providence, Early Church Art, and Evangelical Academic Publishing

Jeremy Bouma on 4 years ago. Tagged under ,,,,,,,,.


Ben Witherington Reflects on Five Factors which Changed Church History

Scholars have often debated why it is that the church of Constantine’s period looks so very different in various respects from the earliest church. What were the factors which led to the change or transformation of the early Christian movement, so that by the time we get to Constantine and thereafter the roles of men and women in the church have changed, and indeed the church becomes much more like an OT institution than one like what we find in the letters in the NT itself? While it would be possible to mention many factors which led to significant changes in the church, it is possible to isolate five major ones.

Justin Taylor Asks, “Should Christian Historians Appeal to Providence in Their Interpretations?”

Although Christian historians may disagree among…

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Quiz: Test Your Church History

ZA Blog on 5 years ago. Tagged under ,,,,,.


How did this famous reformer meet his unfortunate end?


You'll discover that story — plus a few more surprises — when you take this brief quiz on church history, created by Frank A. James III (co-author of Church History, Volume 2) and Emily Varner (


If you can't see it above, view the quiz here.

To compare your answers to those of your peers, click the "See Previous Responses" link at the end of the quiz.

Learn more about church history from Frank A. James III and John Woodbridge in their new book Church History, Volume 2: From Pre-Reformation to the Present Day.


Church History, Volume 2

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Why Study Church History? John Woodbridge Gives an Answer

Jeremy Bouma on 5 years ago. Tagged under ,.

This question often reflects what Church historian Timothy George has called the imperialism of the present. We 21st century Christians often believe that current, modern, present ideas about God and interpretations of Scripture deserve to trump those from the past.

Thus how earlier believers have interpreted Scripture and understood the Christian faith is not only ignored, but actively overcome. And part of the resulting fallout is a belief that studying Church history is a pointless waste of time.

I've been there myself. As a young evangelical reacting to my conservative upbringing, I was quick to latch onto the latest theological morsels falling off the shelves of post-evangelicalism. Yet what I needed wasn't to reimagine the Christian faith for the present day, but to rediscover it from past days.

We need the historic Church, we need to study Church history. And John…

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“Church History, vol 2: From Pre-Reformation to the Present Day” Review Giveaway

Jeremy Bouma on 5 years ago. Tagged under ,.

**UPDATE 8/30/13: Thanks to everyone who was interested in reviewing and rating this book! Congratulations to the following 25 people who were the winners in our random selection:

Erick Loh, Luke Geraty, Jim West, Jorge Roa, John Wiley, David A Booth, Craig Falvo, Paul Schultz, Christopher Nyland, Donny Friederichsen, Keith McKenzie, Nate Claiborne, Brian Hohmeier, Stephen Fulmer, Bill Mazey, Hau Tzeng Au Yeong, Warren Kelly, Daniel Thompson, Jacob Van Sickle, Bruce Shauger, Christopher Kerr, Leslie Kay Vail, John Yi, Paul A. Nierengarten, and Scott Elliott.

You will receive your review copy in the next 1-2 weeks. We look forward to hearing your thoughts on the book, so be sure to leave a comment here when you are finished!

9780310257431If you have…

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The Bible Has Always Existed Alongside the Newspaper: John Woodbridge and Frank James III on Church History in Historical Context

Jeremy Bouma on 5 years ago. Tagged under ,,.

In a 1963 Time Magazine story featuring Karl Barth, it was reported that Barth encouraged young theologians "to take your Bible and take your newspaper, and read both." This encouragement makes sense considering Barth's own contextual sensibilities.

It makes sense for another reason, too: the Church has always existed alongside History. Cultural forces are constantly either helping or hurting how the Church reads and interprets the Bible. There has always been a surrounding historical context that's influenced the Church's "words about God."

This is one of the reasons why I valued my Master of Theology program in historical theology. Grasping the historical context for the iterative development of Christian theology shed new light on how we've received what we believe. It's also one of the reasons why I love the second volume of Church History: From Pre-Reformation to the Present Day by John Woodbridge and Frank James III.

Throughout this engaging resource, the authors masterfully weave the riveting, gripping tale of the historical development of Christian theology by exploiting and exploring the full historical context that surrounded its development. It's one of the reasons I agree with Woodbridge that Church history is anything but boring!

Today I wish to zoom in on one era that helped give rise to Christian theology: the Renaissance. Roger Olson has said that the story of Christian theology is the story of Christian reflection on the nature of salvation. My hope in such zooming is that we will be mindful of how our own historical context is shaping—and perhaps reshaping—our own reflections in the 21st century.

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