Way back in July of 2019 I wrote this book review, I hope it will be a blessing today for any who missed it!
Hello again, beloved, I hope this post finds you all doing well! I have another historical book to review today, The Church History by Eusebius, as I mentioned last week. This, like with the writings of Josephus, is not light reading. It’s also not dull, or difficult to read, but in many ways is a page turner. The Church History was written in the fourth century, and details the the first few centuries of the church after Christ was ressurected. There are portions of the book that will fill the believer with great rejoicing, however the majority of the book is much like reading Foxe’s Book of Martyres. The fruitfal, yet dangerous, decades for the generations of Christians after the disciples were gone home, passed with persecution unlike that of today. The book does not center around persectuion, although Eusebius takes time to carefully name those who faced it manfully, he also addresses many other needful topics. He talks about heretics, church order, and leaders in different areas throughout the centuries up until his time. It is also true that Eusebius is the best source of information on the Counsel of Nicea, as he was there himself.
The author, Eusebius of Caesarea, or Pamphili as he was also known by, lived from 263 AD to 339 AD, and was born in southern Israel. Recall, dear ones, that the Counsel of Nicea happened in 325, in response to Arius the Alexandian priest we discussed here. Eusebius’ life was spent in the heated discussion of Arius’ herecy, the Nicean rulings, and the time of Athanasius against the world. While he is certainly not an unbias examiner of the Counsel of Nicea, his extant works are the most detailed. He sided with those who believed the wording chosen by Athanasius’ side was too ambiguous, while all except two members of the councel sided against Athanasius and for Arius. I actually find that this middle ground makes Eusebius not only the most detailed, but the most likely to accurately depect both sides of the debate. However, in the end, the declerations of the counsel would falter, Arianism would grow in popularity, and the church would swing back and forth between heresy and truth for several decades. Those decades would ibclude the remainder of Eusebius’ life. This explains why he felt it so important to write down the history of what the church had done, believed, taught, and accomplshed up until his time.
Eusebius is careful to quote from many other writers throughout his ten book collection on church history. Unfortunately, many of the texts he quotes from are no longer extant, leaving The Church History with a glimpse at what a wealth of doctrine and truth the early church actually had. In these books, which is collected together to make one large book, you will read of men and women who were saved from paganism, who stood fast against persecution and heresy. You’ll also read of the leaders who fell, of those who bowed their knee to Ceaser, and of those who rose up in hatred against the Church. You’ll read varies bits of what life was like in the early church, what truths they stood on, how they conducted themselves, and even the inner debate Eusebius had over the book of Revelation. I recommend this book for all believers, especially those learned, or teaching, church history. You can find it in it’s kindle version here, pdf here, free audio version here, and paperback here. The Church History by Eusebius is in the public domain, so it can be downloaded and printed, which I recommend if you’ve got the ink. As always beloved brethren, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.