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John Strickland’s Four-Volume Series: Paradise and Utopia: The Rise and Fall of What the West Once Was
The first volume, The Age of Paradise: Christendom from Pentecost to the First Millennium (2019), tells the history of the West when it was still joined closely to the East—that is, to the culture of the early Church and Byzantium. At the heart of this story is the early Church’s “culture of paradise,” an experience of the world in which the kingdom of heaven was tangible and familiar. Drawing not only on worship and theology but statecraft and the arts, The Age of Paradise reveals the remarkably affirmative character Western culture once had under the influence of Christianity.
The second book, The Age of Division: Christendom from the Great Schism to the Protestant Reformation (2020), continues the story beyond the fateful separation of West from East—the Great Schism of 1054—and follows efforts by the papacy to impose a thorough-going reform of Western Christendom. In addition to improving the spiritual quality of church life, the Papal Reformation also unleashed other forces including the crusades and, more indirectly but tragically, a penitential piety that slowly eroded the place of paradise within Western culture. The sixteenth-century Protestant Reformation continued the process of transformation begun by the papacy in the eleventh century and, in very significant ways, brought it to an end.
The third book, The Age of Utopia: Christendom from the Renaissance to the Russian Revolution (2021), leads the reader through six of the West’s most creative centuries, passing beneath ceilings painted by Michelangelo into libraries frequented by Karl Marx. It explains how, between the Italian Renaissance and the Russian Revolution, secular humanism displaced traditional Christianity to become the source of modern culture. The result was some of the most illustrious music, science, philosophy, and literature ever produced. But the cultural “reorientation” from paradise to utopia—from an experience of the kingdom of heaven to one bound exclusively by this world—all but eradicated the traditional culture of the West, leaving it at the beginning of the twentieth century without roots in anything transcendent.
The final volume, The Age of Nihilism: Christendom from the Great War to the Culture Wars (2022), shows how the “specter of nihilism” appeared in the West at the end of the nineteenth century, the very moment secularism seemed triumphant. A self-styled “antichrist” named Friedrich Nietzsche and an obstinately Christian Fyodor Dostoevsky both offered ominous visions of what the West would become if “God is dead” and any moral act thus becomes permissible. Though total warfare seemed to confirm such predictions, a project arose in its wake to rebuild utopia with secular ideologies that, in the case of Nazism, opened the abyss even further. Communism and liberalism were left after the Second World War to compete for ultimate preeminence, but both would ultimately fail to replace the lost transcendence of the West’s deep first-millennium past. As the twenty-first century opened, utopia was as elusive as ever, and a culture of paradise once again beckoned to a civilization exhausted by centuries of secularism.
The history of Christendom is a long story, and it requires four distinct volumes to tell it. Each book stands alone and can be read without the others, though the effect of reading them in sequence will be greater.
Muslim: What You Need to Know about the World’s Fastest-Growing Religion
by Hank Hanegraaff
Is Islam a peaceful and tolerant religion? Islam is not a religion in the sanitized Western sense. It is, in contrast, an all-encompassing sociopolitical legal matrix that has bred a worldview antagonistic to anything but itself. While there may be millions of peaceful and tolerant Muslims, many of them our neighbors, Islam itself is hardly peaceful and tolerant. Islam is the only significant religious system in history with a sociopolitical structure of laws that mandate violence against the infidel—thus, the grave specter of global Islamic jihadism exacting genocide and ever-multiplying terrorist attacks throughout the world. Hank not only outlines the problems in accessible and memorable fashion but moves toward potential solutions in the clash of civilizations.
The Apocalypse Code: Find Out What the Bible Really Says About the End Times…and Why It Matters Today by Hank Hanegraaff
Hank shows that the key to understanding the last book of the Bible is all the other books of the Bible — not current events or recent history. Hank offers sane answers to very controversial questions: What does it mean to take the book of Revelation (and the rest of the Bible) literally? Who are the “Antichrist” and the “Great Whore of Babylon,” and what is the real meaning of “666”? Will the Lord Jesus come back secretly and silently to rapture His church? How does our view of the end times change the way we think about the crisis in the Middle East? Are two-thirds of all Jews really headed for an apocalyptic holocaust?
Truth Matters, Life Matters More: The Unexpected Beauty of an Authentic Christian Life by Hank Hanegraaff
Is there more to the Christian life than what you’re currently experiencing? Hank has dedicated his life to defending truth because truth matters. However, his life and ministry were radically transformed by this three-word phrase: life matters more. After explicating the essentials of the Christian faith in a memorable way to equip listeners to communicate Christian truth, Hank explains why life matters more and how we can experience the height of human existence—union with God. Simply put, the map is not the territory. The menu is not the meal. We cheat ourselves of unadulterated union with Christ when we elevate the message above the Messenger.
The War on Western Civilization: Everything You Need to Know about the Cult of Wokeism
Special Double (80 pages) Final Print Issue of the Christian Research Journal
Essays include “The Woke Revolution” by Hank Hanegraaff; “Gender Ideology’s Attack on Our Humanity” by Jay W. Richards; “Three Dogmas of Wokeism: The Path to Authoritarianism” by Noelle Mering; “Critical Race Theory: An Introduction and Critique” by Douglas Groothuis; “The Inner and Outer Man: How Historical Christian Anthropology Addresses Transgenderism” by Benjamin Cabe; “How to Keep Your Job without Losing Your Soul: A Survival Guide for Diversity Training” by John Ferrer; “Christian Parenting and the Peril of Public School Education” by Matthew M. Kennedy, and more!