This book was born out of the author's deep conviction that today's Christians can benefit enormously from learning what God has done in the past. In every century since the first, the Almighty has been at work and believers can trace his footsteps by studying the way that Christians of a previous generation faced the challenges that confronted them. It is intended that this will be the second in a series of four volumes, which will cover the History of the Church from the earliest days up till modern times. Pastors and preachers will undoubtedly gain much from this series, and those who already have an interest in Church History will find the four books useful additions to their library. Nevertheless, the series is written in a style that will appeal to the non-specialist and any modern Christian will find it challenging and stimulating to be introduced to men and women who loved and served the same Savior that he loves and serves. This volume deals with the Middle Ages, and includes the stories of great missionaries such as Boniface and the brothers Cyril and Methodius, outstanding theologians like Anselm of Canterbury and Gregory Palamas, spiritual giants like Simeon the New Theologian and Bernard of Clairvaux, and 'reformers before the Reformation ' like John Wycliffe and John Huss.
Needham has done an excellent job with this 4-book series of giving his readers a big-picture of Church History. He does not cover material at great depth, but deals with the major characters, issues, and events that have shaped the history of the Christian church in enough detail to leave his readers with a good idea of how they each fit together in space and time.
The first book is concerned with the period of the Church Fathers; the second, the Middle Ages (including the foundation and early character of Islam); the third, the Reformation; and the fourth, the Post-reformation to the Modern age.
Needham correctly believes that Christians today can learn and profit from the lessons of the past: the battles that have already been fought, the issues that have already been debated, the leaders who have come before us, etc. And he is able to present all this information in a manner that leaves Christians excited about the great work Christ has done through His church, from the first century through to our own day.