Sunday, June 15, 2014
Know the Heretics by Justin Holcomb
Some of you reading this review may have grown up knowing a little bit about Protestant church history. But, many of you probably have a story similar to mine, where you knew virtually nothing. Because my life, as that of so many others, can be extremely busy, I don't have a lot of time to read massive volumes on the history of the church. And that is one of the reasons I did like the new book by Justin Holcomb called "Know the Heretics" which I received free through the book review program for bloggers, available at www.booklookbloggers.com.
As of this post, Justin Holcomb is presently is an episcopal priest and a professor of Theology and Christian Thought at both Gordon-Cromwell Theological Seminary and Reformed Theological Seminary. "Know the Heretics" is part of a series of books in the "Know" series, of which he has also contributed "Know the Creeds and Councils". As I mentioned earlier, I did not know a lot about the heretics that are often cited from church history and this book was a good, simple, concise look into their lives and un-Christian teachings.\
So if you're not familiar with the names Marcion, Arius, Pelagius and Sabellius (to name just a few) you're not alone. This book will help you to learn parts of early church history in an easy to read manner. The chapters are fairly short and highlight the major thoughts the individual advocated. Included at the end of each chapter are discussion questions and recommendations for further reading. I did find a it a little bit dry at times, but the author does his best to convey the history behind the heresy without complicating the issues as much as possible.
From this book, I took away a few important things. One of those is that there really is nothing new under the sun. Many of the same heresies of hundreds of years ago resurface today in modern vernacular. Second, I recognized that those that don't know history can be destined to repeat it. Though this is not necessarily a subject that you'll feel inspired to read, it is needed for believers in Christian churches everywhere to know those who have tried to undermine the faith and to be equipped to defend it when the same errors arise again, even if they are clothed in modern garments.