Church History: The Church, the Falling Away, and the Restoration



Book: Church History: The Church, the Falling Away, and the Restoration

Author: Donald Townsley

Publisher: Gospel Armory Publishing, 2019

ISBN-13: 978-1942036395

ISBN-10: 1942036396

Related website(s): (publisher)

Language level: 1

(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing and/or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing and/or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)

Recommended reading level: Teens and adults

Rating: ***** 5 stars

(5 stars=EXCELLENT; 4 stars=GOOD; 3 stars=FAIR; 2 stars=POOR; 1 star=VERY POOR; no stars=NOT RECOMMENDED)

Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker

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Townsley, Donald.  Church History: The Church, the Falling Away, and the Restoration  (Published in 2019 by Gospel Armory Publishing, Bowling Green, KY).  Donald Townsley (1931-2013) was a preacher of the gospel of Christ who devoted himself to that work for over fifty years.  I do not recall ever meeting or hearing him, but I was familiar with his name and read much of his writings.  In Church History, Townsley outlines the history of the church, departures from the faith that led to the formation of various denominations, and attempts at reformation and later restoration. Special emphasis is given to the Restoration Movement and various issues that impacted churches of Christ in the twentieth century.

There are eleven chapters in the book.  The first discusses the establishment and characteristics of Christ’s church.  The next two survey the great falling away which resulted in the development of the Roman Catholic Church and the Reformation which brought into existence the major Protestant denominations.  Parts Four through Eight chronicle the Restoration Movement from its beginnings in North Carolina and New England, through the days of Barton W. Stone and Alexander Campbell, down to the digression which produced the Christian Church and the Disciples of Christ.  Two further sections deal with the Churches of Christ and their problems from 1900 to 1989.  A final chapter explains what “The Restoration of New Testament Christianity” really means.

This book is not an exhaustive treatise but an outline.  However, it would provide a good basis for a Bible class or even a homeschool study of religious history.  A knowledge of church history is important because it helps us to understand the origin of the various denominations and present-day conditions in the religious world. It also helps us to have a greater appreciation for the Lord’s church as revealed in the New Testament.  And it serves as a warning against the introduction of innovations and errors, no matter how innocent and insignificant they may appear.  Townsley’s concise volume is a valuable reference work for anyone interested in a history of the church, the falling away, and the restoration.

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