Saturday, November 6, 2010

Book Review: On This Day in Christian History

I was disappointed in this book. It wasn’t what I expected—it’s not really a daily devotional. As I read, I felt let down.

A devotional starts with a verse or two of Scripture then gives an anecdote or illustration to illuminate biblical truth. Devotionals in this book start with mini-biographies then have a somewhat loosely related Bible verse tacked on at the end. Verses are taken from the Contemporary English Version, one I don’t know much about and wasn’t comfortable with.

In the preface of the book, author Robert Morgan promises a story from an historical Christian’s life for every day that actually happened on the scheduled day of the reading. This is what drew me to read this book. What I found on each page, however, was a mini-biography: a person’s whole life summed up on one page. There was too much information, so the readings were dry and promised anecdotes were mostly lost. One interesting story from someone’s life showing biblical truth in action would have been so much more meaningful than a bombardment of random facts.

One other concern to me was the complete lack of source citations. Morgan makes a confusing statement about sources in the preface, saying that “Secondary sources are not always accurate, and whenever possible, I have tracked down details and verified facts.” But there’s no record of his research anywhere, no way to know what was verified or which details actually came from reliable sources.

I love history and enjoy daily devotionals, so the combination intrigued me. In this book, however, Morgan tried to squeeze in too much and ended up leaving the essential elements out.

I received this book from Thomas Nelson Publishers for review.
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