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  • Bullies and Saints

  • An Honest Look at the Good and Evil of Christian History
  • By: John Dickson
  • Narrated by: John Dickson
  • Length: 13 hrs and 23 mins
  • 4.8 out of 5 stars (90 ratings)

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Bullies and Saints

By: John Dickson
Narrated by: John Dickson
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Publisher's Summary

Is the world better off without Christianity?

Combining narrative with keen critique of contemporary debates, author and historian John Dickson gives an honest account of 2,000 years of Christian history that helps us understand what Christianity is and what it's meant to be.

To say that the Christian Church has an "image problem" doesn't quite capture it. From the Crusades and the Inquisition to the racism and abuse present in today's Church--both in Catholic and Protestant traditions--the institution that Christ established on earth has a lot to answer for. But the Church has also had moments throughout history when it has been in tune with Jesus' teachings - from the rise of charity to the invention of hospitals.

For defenders of the faith, it's important to be able to recognize the good and bad in the church's history and be inspired to live aligned with Christ. For skeptics, this book is a thought-provoking introduction to the idea that Christianity is, despite all, an essential foundation of our civilization.

Bullies and Saints will take you on a big-picture journey from the Sermon on the Mount to the modern church:

  • Giving contextual accounts of infamous chapters of Christian history, such as the Crusades, and acknowledging their darkness.
  • Outlining the great movements of the faith and defending its heroes and saints, some of whom are not commonly recognized.
  • Examining the Church beside the teachings and life of Jesus and how it has succeeded in its mission to imitate Christ.
©2021 John Dickson (P)2021 Zondervan

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  • shk
  • 26-02-2023

Thought provoking. Well read

This book gives an overview of the history of Christianity and the good and evil that has associated with this religion. I have enjoyed listening to it. In particular, I have found the final chapters very thought-provoking, I will recommend this book to my friends.

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such a good listen

so helpful in understanding the realities of the past and buy us of many in a world today, without dodging the unchristian ways that many have lived

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Enlightening reading.

I was always a Christian admitting to the church's guilt and bad reputation. now I know a bit better.

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Definitely worth your time

The documentary, ‘For the Love of God’, was my introduction to John Dickson, and it was a significant experience. ‘Bullies and Saints’ is an excellent deeper resource to dive into following that production. I learned things about church history that I didn’t know, and was equipped with a deeper understanding of many of the key moments of church history where the church was ‘out of tune’ of Jesus’ original melody for the church. Dickson takes moments to highlight the great contributions of the church over the centuries while also not shying away from the uglier, heartbreaking times of dissonance and the resulting controversies.
I also appreciate that the recording is done by Dickson - always nice to hear the author’s own delivery.
100% worth having a read/giving a listen.

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a frank, honest account

Brought me close to tears of despair at times, but the beautiful melody plays on.

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Jesus’ Humility and Integrity - Fundamentals for God’s people and Institutions

An excellent and fruitful read presented with real humility and integrity! I am very grateful to John Dickson who has sort to critically and helpfully with outstanding research to give us an exceptional contribution in this area. I found his summaries of great tracts of history really engaging and informative. I would also have urged John to include briefly a section about the contribution of the Irish, assuming there was some, to the the continuation of Western Christianity in the midst of upheaval following ‘the fall of Rome’. What ‘bullies and saints’ were present in this part of the world at that time. I recommend this readable and wonderful resource to the everyday thoughtful believer as well as Pastors, Priests, Church and Youth Workers and really anyone who wants to seriously know some truth in our world full of misnomer and falsehood. Again a special for me.

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Excellent read for all about the history of the church

Fantastic book where Dickson evenhandedly evaluate the good, the bad and the ugly in church history. Christian or not, you will be surprised and challenged by how Christians have acted in the name of Jesus. And of course, the book is far the better for being read by John Dickson himself. Can’t recommend the book more highly!!

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An honest account of Church history

I enjoyed but was challenged by John's account of Christian action in history. I found myself resonating with those who sought the good of others - singing the melody of Christ. At the same time I was saddened by those who abused their power to achieve what might have been considered good outcomes. Yet, I was challenged, have I done this myself? This book challenged my humility and made me want to ensure I wasn't caught up in my own view that thinks I know better than others and will forcefully put my view across.

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Great insights into historic Christianity

Well researched and insightful overview of the good the bad and the ugly parts of Christianity. Really worth getting to understand that no generation of Christians gave it right and we must keep going back to the source to express true faith in Jesus

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Insight for all

Dr John Dickson has written a brilliant book here. It’s historically accurate, even handed and unflinching its look at historic Christianity’s influence and practice. Christian’s will find pause and cause for humility and a powerful reminder of the need to live more in accord with the “beautiful melody” of their beliefs. Atheists will be presented with a more accurate rendering of Church history where the author doesn’t pull punches in presenting the worst of Christianity. Overall it’s restored my faith in Christianity’s message while reminding me of how tragically the church has failed at times to live it out.

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