Christianity at the Crossroads: How the Second Century Shaped the Future of the Church
Michael J. Kruger 2018
About the Author
Michael J. Kruger (PhD, University of Edinburgh) is President and the Samuel C. Patterson Professor of New Testament at Reformed Theological Seminary, Charlotte, NC, and the author of a number of books and articles on early Christianity. He is one of the leading scholars today in the study of the origins of the New Testament, particularly the development of the New Testament canon and the transmission of the New Testament text. He is the author of numerous books including The Gospel of the Savior (Brill, 2005), The Heresy of Orthodoxy (Crossway, 2010, with Andreas Köstenberger), Canon Revisited (Crossway, 2012), and The Question of Canon (IVP, 2013). He is also the editor of A Biblical-Theological Introduction to the New Testament (Crossway, 2016), and co-editor of The Early Text of the New Testament (Oxford, 2012), and Gospel Fragments (Oxford, 2009).
About the Book
The Gospel Coalition’s Book of the Year
Christianity in the twenty-first century is a global phenomenon. But in the second century, its future was not at all certain.
Initially Christianity possessed little social or cultural influence and found itself fighting for its life. While apostolic tradition was emerging as a “rule of faith,” factions contested the nature of the gospel, and pagan philosophers found its claims scandalous. And while its pathway was tenuous, Christianity was forming structures of leadership and worship, and a core of apostolic texts was emerging as authoritative. But it was the challenges, obstacles, and transitions faced by Christians in the second century that, in many ways, would determine the future of the church for the next two millennia. It was a time when Christianity stood at a crossroads.
Michael Kruger’s introductory survey examines how Christianity took root in the second century, how it battled to stay true to the vision of the apostles, and how it developed in ways that would shape both the church and Western culture over the next two thousand years. Christianity at the Crossroads provides an accessible and informative look at the complex and foundational issues faced by an infant church still trying to determine its identity. The church’s response to the issues of heresy and orthodoxy, the development of the canon, and the transmission of the Christian Scriptures not only determined its survival, but determined the kind of church it would be for generations to come.
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“This is a good introduction and overview of Christianity in the second century, which was a crucial period of growth, opposition, and development of doctrines and practices. Readable and informed, Kruger’s book is a recommended choice for course readings and for individuals seeking to know more about early Christianity.”
— Larry W. Hurtado, professor emeritus of New Testament language, literature, and theology, School of Divinity (New College), University of Edinburgh
“Many scholars of early Christianity are pushing beyond the New Testament era, into the second century; however, the complexity of issues magnifies due to the intersection of such a diverse expression of Christian groups interpreting biblical texts and developing their approaches to theology and society. With Christianity at the Crossroads, Michael Kruger provides an orientation to the diversity of groups, texts, and practices that students and scholars of Christian origins will find invaluable. He summarizes the best of contemporary research about second-century Christianity and provides robust bibliographies for further study. This is definitely a book I wish I had a decade ago, when I began my work in this area.”
— Ben C. Blackwell, assistant professor of Christianity, Houston Baptist University