The Faith

Brian Moynahan is generally successful in his effort to summarize the incredibly complex variety of Christian faiths in just one book, but he does not strive to be objective and his book contains numerous inaccuracies and partial truths. Some errors are relatively minor such as his statement that John XXIII ascended to the Papacy in 1963, the year of his death, and not in 1958 when he actual became Pope. Brian Moynahan reveals a genuine antipathy toward Catholicism and many of its practices. He suggests that monks are inspired more by selfishness than by spirituality and he is exceedingly harsh in his comments on leading writers including Sts. Paul and Augustine.

Protestant churches do not seem much better with the notable exception of the Church of England. He is indeed quite unfair in his comments on early Lutherans and Huguenots whom he portrays as very intolerant and not as spiritual reformers. He spends a great deal of time describing Protestant martyrs executed during the relatively short reign the Catholic Queen Mary, whom he refers to as “Bloody Mary,” but he does not discuss in sufficient detail the large number of Catholic martyrs who were executed after Elizabeth I ascended the throne in 1559.

His analysis of Orthodox churches is not very clear and his discussion of Mormonism and Pentecostal faiths is equally superficial. For him, Mormons are merely people who used to be polygamists and Pentecostals are simply incomprehensible.

Brian Moynahan’s book is very well researched and well written, but it is not very objective. For this reason it is not a reliable reference work for those who wish to understand the complex diversity of Christian faiths.