I'm over half way though Nick Needham's 2000 Years of Christ's Power Part One: The Age of the Early Church Fathers, Grace Publications, 2002 Revised Edition. Perversely, I started this projected five volume set at Part Two: The Middle Ages, 2000, followed by Part Three: Renaissance and Reformation, 2004 before reading Part One. Needham's aim is to provide an accessible history of the Church that is based on solid and accurate scholarship. Part Four will cover the period from the 17th century to the Enlightenment and and Part Five will bring the story up to date.
The whole series is a delight to read. The great characters of Church history are introduced, their views discussed and samples of their writing given. Needham is a convinced Reformed Baptist who writes with a rare generosity of spirit and fine historical sympathy. All Christians would benefit from reading this wonderful account of the history of the Church.
In Chapter 2 of Part One, we are introduced to "The Jesus Movement". It is here that Needham gives us the theological rationale behind his project:
'So, whichever period of Church history we are studying, it is always worth pausing and reminding ourselves of this: the entire history of the Christian Church is rooted in one central reality - the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. If Jesus of Nazareth had not risen, there would be no Church history. The rest of the story told in these pages flows out of the resurrection'. (p. 45) [Author's emphasis].
Indeed, Church history is resurrection history.