Wednesday, March 23, 2022

“Reign: The Church in the Middle Ages” by Luke H. Davis

Many of us have an image in our heads of what the Middle Ages were all about. At one time, we called the period the “Dark Ages,” the time following the end of the Roman Empire, when the civilized world was overrun by barbarians, culture collapsed, people were divided into serfs or nobles (with most becoming serfs), and life became nasty, brutish and short. Then came the Renaissance and the Enlightenment. 

Nothing is ever that simple. Many good things came from the period we call the Enlightenment, but so did the barbarism of the French Revolution. The Middle Ages were anything but a stagnant time, and that’s especially true for the church. 


Reign: The Church in the Middle Ages is the second book in the Risen Hope church history series by Luke Herron Davis. It is structured much like its immediate predecessor, Redemption: The Church in Ancient Times.  Aimed squarely at younger readers, it’s written in a lively, storytelling style that introduces the key people of the church for period that extended from the Fall of Rome to roughly the 1400s.


Included are stories about St. Benedict, St. Columba, Pope Gregory I, St. Anselm, St. Bernard, Peter Waldo, St Francis of Assisi, Stephen Langton, Thomas Aquinas, John Wycliffe, Julian of Norwich, and John Hus. David includes short vignettes of historical events that involved these people – the Crusades, the signing of the Magna Carta, the rise of the papacy and Islam, and more.


Luke H. Davis

While the intended audience is younger readers, even older readers can learn something from the book. I didn’t know, for example, the critical role Stephen Langton, archbishop of Canterbury, played in the writing of the Magna Carta and its signing by King John in 1215. The book is packed with “face files” like that.


Davis teaches at Westminster Christian Academy in St. Louis and chairs the Bible Department there. He’s also taught at schools in Louisiana, Florida, and Virginia. He describes himself as “Presbyterian body, Lutheran heart, Anglican blood, Orthodox spirit,” all of which have served him well in writing the Cameron Ballack mysteries. He has published three Ballack mysteries, Litany of Secrets (2013), The Broken Cross (2015), and A Shattered Peace (2017), and the first book of a new series, Joel: The Merivalkan Chronicles Book 1 (2017). He blogs at For Grace and Kingdom.


Reign is a collection of stories about key figures of the church, but it is also the history of the church from the fall of the Roman Empire to the first stirrings of reformation coming from men like John Wycliffe and John Hus. The period was an exciting time, full of upset, change, and the transformation of the church to a political powerhouse, along with the corruption that came with it.




Redemption: The Church in Ancient Times by Luke H. Davis.

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