Introducing Early Church History


When I first attended seminary, I had little knowledge of church history, and little understanding of why it might matter.

My church history professor, Dr. Michael Haykin, changed that. Nobody can listen to Dr. Haykin talk about church history without feeling his excitement about this field of study. I began to learn more, but I still felt like I was only beginning to understand the subject.

More recently, we’ve seen an explosion of books that make the subject of church history more accessible. But I’m still concerned that we don’t know enough, and that we’re living as if the church was invented in the 1980s, with only a few key events (like the Reformation) in our minds from the past two thousand years of the church.

Perry Edwards has written a book called Introduction to Early Church History: The First 500 Years to help us.

Edwards is pastor of Living Way Baptist Fellowship in Chipman, New Brunswick, Canada. He’s served as a lecturer for Carey Outreach Ministries for the past seventeen years. He’s taught courses on the early church and Reformation history in several different countries around the world.

His new book is an accessible and interesting introduction to early church history. I enjoyed talking to him about his new book on the Gospel for Life podcast.

This would be a great book to pick up for a church library, or to use as the basis for a course in your church. It would also make a good gift to anyone who wants to learn more about the history of the early church.

You can listen to the podcast episode below, or find The Gospel for Life podcast on your favorite podcast app.

Key Ideas

  • We need church history to understand the theology of the church.
  • As we face increasing persecution, we can learn from how early Christians faced opposition, persecution, and even martyrdom.
  • The early church addressed many of the issues we face today.
  • Pastors can and should teach church history within the church.


"The church didn't begin in the 16th century, but sometimes I think we have that impression as evangelicals."

"We're not reading the Bible in a vacuum. We're not in the first century reading the Bible for the first time. We're reading it on the shoulders of those who have come before us."

“I'm gripped by reading the stories of these early monks, and it causes me to think deeply and ponder and question my own commitment to the Lord. Have I given up everything for Jesus? What does that look like?”

“Satan is not a very creative guy. He's always doing the same stuff over and over and over and over again. It seems to me it's the same heresies.”

Books mentioned:


Download a PDF transcript of this episode.

Darryl Dash

Darryl Dash

I'm a grateful husband, father, oupa, and pastor of Grace Fellowship Church Don Mills. I love learning, writing, and encouraging. I'm on a lifelong quest to become a humble, gracious old man.
Toronto, Canada