Christianity is the most populous faith on the planet. Yet it has many competitors.
Some of these competing belief systems have displayed terrific energy in recent years and witnessed a growth in following as a result. One of the factors that has helped this is found among the millions of people who claim allegiance to the Christian faith, which now encompasses a bewildering diversity of belief and practice. The lack of fundamental agreement has encouraged the growth of these competing systems of belief.
You see, the competitors of Christianity are not only those religions that reject the claims of Christ – but also those that either dilute his teachings or choose only those they deem attractive.
Dr. James McGoldrick examines the major challenges to biblical belief that appeared in the early years of the church. He then traces how they have stayed alive, though with new names, gaining acceptance in the 21st century. In most areas of contemporary theological debate people think they are exploring new ideas – Dr. McGoldrick shows that they aren’t.
The encouraging factor is that the message of Christ, despite coming under assault from many angles, continues to advance stronger than ever. Here is a vigorous and illuminating defense of Christian belief that shows how ceaseless attacks on the faith of the church have been rebuffed in the past – and can be today.
James E. McGoldrick (PhD, West Virginia University) is Professor of Church History at Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary. Visit his faculty page here.
“This concise, readable book makes plain the blessings of studying church history and the perils of neglecting it. It could be used profitably for group study.”
– New Horizons, Denominational Magazine of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church
“singles out four heretical positions adopted in the early church and traces with care the way in which the various views developed, and how they have resurfaced time and again… easy to read.”
– Allan Harman, Research Professor of Old Testament, Presbyterian Theological College (Melbourne, Australia
“draws provocative, daring lines from the ancient errors of the Ebionites, Montanism, Arianism, and Pelagianism to the contemporary errors that plague the theology and/or practical teachings of Roman Catholicism, Mormonism, Unitarianism, Universalism, Arminianism, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Christian Science, fundamentalism, and various charismatic movements …makes for a fascinating read.”
– Joel R. Beeke, President, Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary (Grand Rapids, Michigan)