Christianity at the Crossroads, How the Second Century Shaped the Future of the Church by Michael J. Kruger, Downers Grove, IL: Intervarsity, 2018, 256 pp.
Christianity at the Crossroads is a well-written and interesting book; scholarly, but also accessible on a popular level. In it Michael Kruger explains important 2nd century church developments, proceeding topic-by-topic rather than chronologically. In so doing, he brings much to light in this relatively overlooked age of transitions; explaining what is known, often from just minor details in the writings of both Christians and their Roman, Jewish, and Gnostic opponents.
Though I’ve read many of the extant primary sources from the 2nd century church period, I still learned a lot from this book. While Kruger isn’t say anything groundbreakingly new, he has produced an expert summary and analysis of what is known today about that era. Against enemies both ancient (Marcion, Montanus, etc.) and modern (Pagels, Ehrman, etc.) he gives excellent arguments for the existence of a core orthodox, Jesus-worshipping, and originally plural-elder led 2nd century church using a core canon of New Testament books.
I particularly liked the section on the “rule of faith” (p. 136 ff.), a sort of informal creed based on a creation-fall-redemption paradigm in the writings of a number of early Christian writers.
This volume is worth recommending as an introduction to studies in the early church.