My book and documentary series Epic: An Around-the-World Journey through Christian History are just about ready to ship! I was gratified to see the first review of the book come in from Midwest Book Review which kept it to a single sentence: “Nicely illustrated, ‘Epic: An Around-the-World Journey through Christian History’ provides an impressively informative, exceptionally well written, and thoroughly ‘reader friendly’ history of the Christian movement.” I appreciate that review because they precisely captured my great desire for the book: “A reader friendly history of the Christian movement.” I distributed pre-release copies to many people in my church and have been excited to hear of people reading it who don’t read much (and certainly don’t read church history much).
What is this project all about? I’m glad you asked. Here’s the text we use to describe it.
Each generation suffers from self-obsession, and we do well to keep one eye on the past, to consider not only where we wish to go, where we have been. Christianity has a long and storied past that testifies to God’s enduring grace, and even though so much of Christian history has passed away and many of its people and objects have been lost to time, a few precious relics and locations remain.
As we consider these objects with careful eyes and look at them in their historical context, we find the beginnings of a story. Through thirty-three carefully selected objects, author and pastor Tim Challies introduces readers to the history of Christianity in a unique and creative way. It’s a story that tells us what God is accomplishing in this world, whether through princes or peasants, triumph or trial. Each of these objects offers us a tangible link between the present and the past, between the Christians of the twenty-first century and the Christians who lived and died in centuries past.
In a few cases these objects are hidden away or in private collections, but more commonly they are there for all who wish to see them. Beginning with the relics of the earliest Christians, we journey through history to look at the importance of a peculiar scrawl of graffiti and the creedal significance of an otherwise unremarkable carving. We take a leap forward in time to consider the loving labor of monks and the martyrdom of Christians who called for reform long before the days of Luther. We look at pulpits and paintings and posters and pieces of machinery. And, of course, we look at books and the remains of books – for nothing has so charted and maintained the course of Christian history as its books.
If you do pre-order, there is some neat bonus material available which you can request at epicchristianhistory.com.