History Without Context

Book Review: On This Day in Christian History: 365 Amazing and Inspiring Stories about Saints, Martyrs, and Heroes, by Robert J. Morgan

I received this book from Thomas Nelson’s Booksneeze review program and high hopes that it might be a creative tool for daily devotions. The creative twist here is that the story or event explained on each day actually took place on that day sometime in the past. For the right person, this daily devotional might be helpful and encouraging. The events and stories are well written, brief, and in most cases, interesting. A pastor or teacher might even find some of them to be useful in illustrating sermons or biblical lessons. Yet, I would hesitate to recommend it to my friends – it comes up short in several ways (in my humble opinion).

  • While well written, the stories seem to have a randomness and a lack of enough context so that the reader can truly grasp the import of each event.
  • Missing too is any theological context. Each vignette is presented without evaluation, almost as if there were no distinctions in theology. The Roman Catholic church, reformed churches, early fathers, puritans, evangelicals and the like are all treated equally without any comment. Politically correct if one wants to sell books, but frustrating. There seems to be little insight or comment about true Christianity and political Christianity, or cultural Christianity.
  • As a daily devotional, it seems weak as well. While each entry contains a verse from the Contemporary English Version of the Bible, it seems to be more of an afterthought than an attempt to engage the reader with the truth of Scripture as it relates to the historical vignette.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com <http://BookSneeze.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.


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