Every pastor, teacher, and Christian homeschooler should own and read How Christianity Changed the World (formerly titled Under the Influence) by Dr. Alvin J. Schmidt. Schmidt arranges his historical survey by topic first, and then arranges the material by chronology. He covers subjects as varied as individuals, sanctity of human life, sexuality, treatment of women, compassion, health care, education, the view of work, science, the law, slavery, art, architecture, music, and literature.
The author had three goals in mind when he wrote the book: first, he wanted to correct the appalling absence of modern studies on the influence of Christianity on the world; second, he wanted this material to be available for the average reader; third, he wished to counter those in the media who discredit or minimize the impact of Christianity.
Although he largely credits Christianity, Schmidt does not gloss over its failures. When he deals with those failures, he analyzes why we failed.
Though a retired professor of sociology and a pastor, Schmidt writes in a readable, at times compelling, style. Though I found a few topics a little dry, several chapters fascinated my husband and me as we read it aloud--we sometimes hated to put the book down. Juniors and seniors in high school should be able to read the book comfortably or with a little challenge, while college students and professionals can benefit from its practical approach as a reference or as a textbook. How Christianity Changed the World is a scholarly overview without being pedantic or stuffy. Schmidt includes illustrations, an index, and questions for discussion. The first edition lacked the discussion questions.
Educators in Christian schools or homeschools could use this book as a textbook or have students read selected chapters.
As a former homeschooler, I asked my adult sons which books most influenced them from our homeschooling. After the Bible, they listed Paul Johnson's writings, Russell Kirk's The Roots of American Order, Francis Schaeffer's How Should We Then Live?, and Charles Colson's How Now Shall We Live?. Had How Christianity Changed the World been available during their homeschooling years, I have no doubt they would have included it. We considered it so important that we bought our sons copies for their families. -- Debbie W. Wilson, Christian Book Previews.com
Western civilization is becoming increasingly pluralistic,secularized, and biblically illiterate. Many people todayhave little sense of how their lives have benefited fromChristianity’s influence, often viewing the church withhostility or resentment.How Christianity Changed the World is a topicallyarranged Christian history for Christians and non-Christians. Grounded in solid research and written in apopular style, this book is both a helpful apologetic toolin talking with unbelievers and a source of evidence forwhy Christianity deserves credit for many of the humane, social, scientific, and cultural advances in theWestern world in the last two thousand years.Photographs, timelines, and charts enhance eachchapter.This edition features questions for reflection anddiscussion for each chapter.