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Turning Points: Decisive Moments in the History of Christianity [Paperback]

By Mark A. Noll (Author)
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Item description for Turning Points: Decisive Moments in the History of Christianity by Mark A. Noll...

Take a panoramic journey through the rich heritage of our faith. You'll learn about the decisive moments of the last 2,000 years---from the fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 to the rise of Pentecostalism in the church today. With new study questions, this makes a great resource for pastors, teachers, and students.

Publishers Description
Evangelicalism\u2019s premier historian provides a general introduction to church history.

From Publishers Weekly
Based on his substantial experience teaching the history of Christianity at Wheaton College, Noll has organized the formidable body of material that must be included in any historical survey of Christianity around 12 turning points: the destruction of Jerusalem (70); the Council of Nicea (325); the Council of Chalcedon (451); the Benedictine Rule (540); the coronation of Charlemagne (800); the Great Schism (1054); the Diet of Worms (1521); the English Act of Supremacy (1534); the founding of the Jesuits (1534); the conversion of John Wesley (1738); the French Revolution (1789-1799); and the Edinburgh Missionary Conference (1910). Noll's introduction includes a cogent argument for his approach as well as a candid recognition that any selection of turning points will exclude important events with equally valid claims as turning points. Noll's treatment of the material is evenhanded, engaging and illuminating. This will be a useful text for readers seeking a historical framework within which to understand their Christian faith. (Nov.)

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Baker Academic
Pages   352
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.88" Width: 5.89" Height: 0.87"
Weight:   1.04 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Feb 1, 2001
Publisher   Baker Publishing Group
Edition  Reprinted  
ISBN  080106211X  
ISBN13  9780801062117  

Availability  0 units.

More About Mark A. Noll

Mark A. Noll Mark A. Noll (born 1946) is a historian specializing in the history of Christianity in the United States. He holds the position of Francis A. McAnaney Professor of History at the University of Notre Dame. Noll himself is a Reformed evangelical Christian, and in 2005 was named by Time Magazine as one of the twenty-five most influential evangelicals in America.

Noll is a graduate of Wheaton College, Illinois (B.A, English), the University of Iowa (M.A., English), Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (M.A., Church History and Theology), and Vanderbilt University (Ph.D, History of Christianity). Before coming to Notre Dame he was on the faculty at Wheaton College, Illinois for twenty-seven years, where he taught in the departments of History and Theology as McManis Professor of Christian Thought. While at Wheaton, Noll also co-founded (with Nathan Hatch) and directed the Institute for the Study of American Evangelicals.

Noll is a prolific author and many of his books have earned considerable acclaim within the academic community. In particular, The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind, a book about anti-intellectual tendencies within the American evangelical movement, was widely covered in both religious and secular publications. He was awarded a National Humanities Medal in the Oval Office by President George W. Bush in 2006.

Noll, along with other historians such as George Marsden, Nathan O. Hatch, and David Bebbington, has greatly contributed to the world's understanding of evangelical convictions and attitudes, past and present. He has caused many scholars and lay people to realize more deeply the complications inherent in the question, "Is America a Christian nation?" In 1994, he co-signed Evangelicals and Catholics Together, an ecumenical document that expressed the need for greater cooperation between Evangelical and Catholic leaders in the United States.

Since the Fall of 2006, Noll has been a faculty member in Department of History at Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana. He replaced the retiring George Marsden as Notre Dame's Francis A. McAnaney Professor of History.Noll stated that the move to Notre Dame has allowed him to concentrate on fewer subjects than his duties at Wheaton had allowed.

Mark A. Noll currently resides in the state of Illinois. Mark A. Noll was born in 1946.

Mark A. Noll has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Calvin Institute of Christian Worship Liturgical Studies
  2. History of Evangelicalism
  3. IVP Classics
  4. Library of Religious Biography
  5. Steven and Janice Brose Lectures in the Civil War Era
  6. Turning South: Christian Scholars in an Age of World Christianit
  7. Very Short Introductions

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Church History > General

Christian Product Categories
Books > Church & Ministry > Church Life > Church History

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Reviews - What do customers think about Turning Points: Decisive Moments in the History of Christianity?

A Useful & Edifying Book  Feb 14, 2007
Noll's book is well worth the cost and the time to read. It is a fine resource for teaching in the local church or for individual study. Written in plain prose with adequate explanation of the technical theological terms that must be considered, it is easily accessible by the average reader today. If for nothing else, this book will acquaint or re-acquaint us with the importance of doctrines, Evangelical piety no matter in what tradition it is found, and how the world can be changed. It is implicitly, a call to return to our roots.

Noll's major contribution in this work however, may very well be how he demonstrates to us that crucial turning points in the progress of history are often the consequence of intense, penetrating debate concerning rather precise and difficult concepts. These debates may be acrimonius and there may be many dark episodes that accompany them, but Noll's synopsis makes us realize just how vital those debates are, even when so accompanied. We often consider the ancient thinkers as being somewhat primitive because their technology was not as advanced as ours. A survey of history such as this will quickly disabuse us of this notion and cause us to reflect upon the paucity of such thinking around us now as was evidenced in these debates.

I highly recommend reading the book. It would be good to pay attention to the names and dates but the real teaching, for me, is that we moderns need to get back to thinking deep thoughts about our time and place as these men and women did in theirs.
Excellent introduction to the history of the church/theology  Jun 12, 2006
This book was used for a class I took last year on the history of Christian theology, and I greatly enjoyed this book. Noll manages to take 2000 years of history and center it around 12 major turning points, interweaving ideas and events around these points. He makes it very readable to someone who had not studies the subject before, and presents a new perpective on a number of issues to those who have studied this before. I found it to be a very enjoyable book.

The only complaint I have about this book is the lack of discussion of the 20th century. Barth, Lewis, Vatican II, etc. hardly get mentioned. He really should have dealt with this some. As it is, he brings us up to about 1910 or so then leaves us with only a vague and fuzzy vision of where the church has gone from there.

Overall grade: A
History! - A God of History?  May 29, 2006
Christians believe that God is a God of history. Events, councils, decisions, all involving people, are part of God's continuing revelation through history.

This book allows the reader to see Christianity's history since the fall of Jerusalem in 70 C.E. with the pushing of the early church from its Jewish roots into the surrounding Roman world to events that are occurring around us today.

Christians who do not know their Christian heritage since the New Testament times including the struggles and debates that bring us to where we are today should read this book.

Included "turning points" in this book are as Luther and what we now call the Reformation. There are endless numbers of books with 300 to 600 pages available to read and learn about Luther and the Reformation. If, however, you want to learn of the Reformation and other chosen turning points with their beginnings, issues, and consequences in about 20 pages per topic, this is your book.

Noll brings over 13 turning points in the history of Christianity to his book in 20 page segments. The turning points are placed in full context of surrounding, influencing forces such as government, wars, economics, languages, theology, church maturity, Christian zeal, personalities, etc.

He closes with "turns" that are occurring today and what Christianity might look like in the future.
Tedious, Meandering, but Worth the Effort  May 2, 2006
Noll identifies twelve "turning points" in the history of Christianity, times at which the faith struck off in a distinctly different direction from that which it had been traveling. He seeks to set forth the significance of each turning point and set it in its proper place in the broad sweep of history.

You cannot argue with his first few choices, although he seems to read more consequence into the events than may be warranted. The fall of Jerusalem was indeed a watershed event, but Noll sees its significance in the formation of canon, clergy, and creed. These three things formed after the fall, and would have formed quite differently but for the fall, but were not the direct result of the fall. The main significance of the fall is that it freed Christianity from its status as a sect of Judaism. Until Jerusalem fell, the premier church of Christianity was the Jerusalem Church. The Jerusalem Church considered itself a sect of Judaism. Until the death of the Jerusalem Church, all Christians everywhere would feel constrained to follow its lead.

One must wonder whether it was the Council of Nicaea or the Battle of the Milvian Bridge that was the second turning point in Christian history. Nevertheless, the Nicene Creed's significance cannot be overstated.

The next turning point, the Council of Chalcedon, "settled" Christ's nature. Although there is still disagreement among various Christian denominations, most still adhere to the doctrine of Christ hammered out at Chalcedon.

Later "turning points" are more debatable. Charlemagne's coronation may or may not have laid the foundation for Christendom. You could make an excellent case for the proposition that we have Constantine, not Charlemagne, to thank for Christendom.

Some "turning points" aren't so much turning points as symptoms of greater movements within Christian history. The English Act of Supremacy, which was basically an act of convenience for an heirless king, was more symptom than turning point, as were the French Revolution and the ministry of Wesley. Noll makes this amply clear in the chapters devoted to those "turning points."

His most intriguing chapter is the last, as he maps out the survival of Christianity under Communist repression and the explosion of Christianity in Africa and South America. This last phenomenon goes far to set at naught the arguments of those who see Christianity as irrelevant in the postmodern world.
Highly readable  Jan 21, 2006
This book shows Christian history from 12 different turning points, which is an excellent approach to the subject. Highly readable by the average person (you don't have to be a scholar, historian, or theologian). I highly recommend it. I also believe that understanding these turning points help in understanding Christian faith and how it fits with the present day, including relations with Muslims, and relations between Protestants and Catholics.

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