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Turning Points, 4th Edition

Decisive Moments in the History of Christianity

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Now in its fourth edition, this bestselling textbook (over 125,000 copies sold) isolates key events that provide a framework for understanding the history of Christianity. The book presents Christianity as a worldwide phenomenon rather than just a Western experience.

This popular textbook is organized around 14 key moments in church history, providing contemporary Christians with a fuller understanding of God as he has revealed his purpose through the centuries. The new edition includes a new preface, updates throughout the book, revised "further readings" for each chapter, new sidebar content, and study questions. It also more thoroughly highlights the importance of women in Christian history and the impact of world Christianity.

Turning Points is well suited to introductory courses on the history of Christianity as well as study groups in churches. Additional resources for instructors are available through Textbook eSources.

Preface to the Fourth Edition
Introduction: The Idea of Turning Points and Reasons for Studying
the History of Christianity

1. The Church Pushed Out on Its Own: The Fall of Jerusalem (70)
2. Realities of Empire: The Council of Nicaea (325)
3. Doctrine, Politics, and Life in the Word: The Council of Chalcedon (451)
4. The Monastic Rescue of the Church: Benedict's Rule (530)
5. The Culmination of Christendom: The Coronation of Charlemagne

6. Division between East and West: The Great Schism (1054)
7. The Beginnings of Protestantism: The Diet of Worms (1521)
8. Church and Nation: The English Act of Supremacy (1534)
9. Catholic Reform and Worldwide Outreach: The Founding of the
Jesuits (1540)

10. The New Piety: The Conversion of the Wesleys (1738)
11. Discontents of the Modern West: The French Revolution (1789)
12. A Faith for All the World: The Edinburgh Missionary Conference

13. Mobilizing for the Future: The Second Vatican Council (1962-65)
and the Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization (1974)

Afterword: The Character of Christianity and the Search for
Turning Points

Study Questions


"Twenty-five years after it first appeared, Turning Points is a classic study of the church's story, and all the more useful now in this revised and attractive new edition. The narrative force of each chapter brims with gratitude, humility, and imagination. A wonderful book to read--and recommend!"

Timothy George, Distinguished Professor of Divinity, Beeson Divinity School of Samford University

"Deft and clear, reliable and informative, Noll, Komline, and Kantzer Komline are the guides you need to learn the church history we all should know. From ecumenical councils to medieval monasticism to the modern Lausanne Covenant, they expertly tread well-worn paths even as they remind us to look in new directions."

Beth Allison Barr, James Vardaman Professor of History, Baylor University

"A classic is now (somehow!) even better. Incorporating insights from the latest work in the field, this new edition of Turning Points comes with even more attention to the pivotal role of women and to the global origins and development of the faith. You simply won't find a better introduction to the history of Christianity."

Heath W. Carter, associate professor of American Christianity, Princeton Theological Seminary

"Turning Points is a magnificent, well-written, and resourceful survey of many of the major moments in the history of Christianity. This edition's inclusion of more voices of women whose lives and works have contributed to the formation and expansion of Christianity is a significant improvement."

Victor I. Ezigbo, professor of theology and world Christianity, Bethel University

"Mark Noll's Turning Points, now in its fourth edition, continues to be my preferred resource for guiding students through the rich and vast story of Christian history from a faith perspective. These latest updates enhance and ensure the ongoing impact of this useful textbook for a new generation of students."

Jennifer Powell McNutt, Franklin S. Dyrness Associate Professor of Biblical and Theological Studies, Wheaton College

"Clear and accessible but also thoughtful and nuanced, this fourth edition is a welcome arrival for both students and teachers of church history. I heartily recommend this book to all readers looking for a succinct, approachable, and still substantial treatment of church history. This book will not only inform but also form readers with the kinds of questions and answers it raises and provides."

Helen Rhee, professor of religious studies, Westmont College

"I have taught a survey of church history for over three decades now, and with each passing year I become more and more convinced that the best approach to studying the global church across the centuries is the one pioneered in Turning Points. This fourth edition has been improved in thoughtful ways and brought thoroughly up-to-date. Mark A. Noll, David Komline, and Han-luen Kantzer Komline are a threefold cord of tremendous scholarly strength."

Timothy Larsen, McManis Professor of Christian Thought, Wheaton College

"General readers interested in the history of Christianity--and especially Christian readers seeking a fuller understanding of their tradition--will welcome this new, enriched, updated version of Mark Noll's classic work, enhanced by the contributions of David Komline and Han-luen Kantzer Komline. May this fourth edition find even more appreciative readers than the first three!"

Brad S. Gregory, Henkels Family College Professor of History, University of Notre Dame

The Authors

  1. Mark A. Noll

    Mark A. Noll

    Mark A. Noll (PhD, Vanderbilt University) is research professor of history at Regent College in Vancouver, British Columbia, and professor of history emeritus at the University of Notre Dame. He is the author or coauthor of dozens of books, including...

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  2. David Komline

    David Komline

    David Komline (PhD, University of Notre Dame) is associate professor of church history at Western Theological Seminary in Holland, Michigan.

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  3. Han-luen Kantzer Komline

    Han-luen Kantzer Komline

    Han-luen Kantzer Komline (PhD, University of Notre Dame) is associate professor of church history and theology at Western Theological Seminary.

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