Charts of Modern and Postmodern Church History

By John D. Hannah
Grand Rapids : Zondervan (2004). 160 Pages.

Reviewed by Dr. Larry Pettegrew
17.1 (Spring 2006) : 120-121

As the author remarks in the introduction to this series of charts, “The value of history has fallen on difficult times in contemporary culture. Postmoderns have demonstrated a tendency to disregard the past as a useless and even debilitating relic, something akin to unwanted dreams and painful experiences” (11). This book is dedicated to helping correct this regrettable situation, even in evangelical churches.

The author is department chairman and distinguished professor of historical theology at Dallas Theological Seminary. The book is actually book three in a three-part series on church history—the previous two dealing with ancient and medieval church history, and the Reformation and Enlightenment church history.

This series of charts is divided into three sections: The National Period of American Church History; The Modern Period of American Church History; and The Postmodern Period of Church History. There are a total of 133 charts, diagrams, maps, and explanatory captions. The book includes, for example, such charts as “Developments Within Nineteenth-Century American Theology”; “The Birth of Modern Missions Movement”; “The Theology of Jehovah’s Witnesses”; “The History of American Evangelicalism”; “Liberal Theology and Evangelical Theology: A Comparison”; “The History of the Charismatic Movements in America”; “The Church Growth Movement”; and “Postmodernism and Authority.”

Included with the book is a CD-ROM PowerPoint presentation that makes the charts all the more valuable. The teacher is thus enabled to use the book to see the charts at an easy glance, and then choose the particular charts that will help his PowerPoint presentation.

The book is highly recommended as an excellent way to help teachers in Sunday School classes, Bible institutes, colleges, and seminaries communicate more precisely the facts and insights of church history.