Michael Woodhead


Diarmaid MacCulloch
Ambrose Video Publishing
Christian History, Christianity

Diarmaid MacCulloch and his crew have done a remarkable job in distilling three thousand years of Christianity into six hours of personalized, evocative, interesting, and thought-provoking viewing (this is a DVD series). Indeed, as the liner notes aver, this set reveals "the true origins of Christianity" and "what it means to be a Christian".

Episode 1 - The First Christianity looks at the faith's humble beginnings and how it spread as far away as China where evidence of the early Christians can be found, if not readily seen

Episode 2 - Catholicism: the Unpredictable Rise of Rome shows how Christianity went from the poor and humble in the Middle East to the rich and powerful in Rome and beyond

Episode 3 - Orthodoxy: From Empire to Empire chronicles the spread of orthodox Christianity from the eastern Roman Empire to the steppes of Russia, and its survival from the attacks of both Muslims and Christian Crusaders

Episode 4 - Reformation: The Individual Before God introduces the rise of Protestantism with the introduction of the faith-shaking ideas of Martin Luther and Ulrich Zwingli, and how communities such as those of the Amish came to be

Episode 5 - Protestantism: The Evangelical Explosion traces the history of the evangelical movement and its belief that the individual can stand in a "direct emotional relationship with God". Christianity soon became a 'marketable' commodity, particularly in America, and later moved across the ocean to Asia where it was embraced by David Yonggi Cho and his Korean Pentecostal prosperity movement

Episode 6 - God in the Dock borrows its title from C S Lewis' book, and looks at the future of Christianity -- will it survive the onslaught of modernism, skepticism and doubt, or will it adapt once again in order to survive. The episode covers not only the two world wars, but also the troubling questions of gay relationships within the church

As I said previously, I found this to be a fascinating and thought-provoking look at the history of the faith that I adhere to, but a belief which has also raised a lot of questions in my own heart and mind. Certainly it doesn't answer all those questions, but it does help me on my continued search for the answers.

This is a series anyone with an interest in Christianity would find interesting.