History represents an amazing story of the redemption of mankind in which the sovereign Lord is seen to be advancing His purposes toward His pre-ordained and pre-determined end. Having begun His work in the Garden, and having advanced His purposes through His chosen people, Israel, He is now sovereignly working in His Church to bring about nothing less than the Kingdom of God on Earth. The study of Church history is not always pretty but it is always fascinating—especially when viewed in light of the whole irresistibly advancing cause of Christ. Our study will yield a roster of men and women of spectacular courage and conviction, as well as those of cowardly and compromising character. It is at once a story of great personal sacrifice for the glory of God and of personal ambition for the sake of selfish interests. Yet, through it all, God graciously elevates common and flawed individuals to places of extraordinary influence and for purposes far in excess of what their own human abilities would justify.