Doctor of Leadership in Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

World full of God’s Love

Written by: on February 24, 2023

Tom Holland, the author of Dominion: The Making of the Western Mind, is a British writer who wrote novels and historical non-fiction books on topics of classical and medieval history. In Dominion, Tom analyzes the rise and impact of Christianity on the western world. He divides the book into three parts – Antiquity, Christendom, and Modernitas to bring historical perspective in a narrative writing style to explore “what it was that made Christianity so subversive and disruptive; how completely it came to saturate the mindset of Latin Christendom; and why, in a West that is often doubtful of religion’s claims, so many of its instincts remain – for good and ill – thoroughly Christian.”[1] The book is thick because Tom covers over 2000 years of history to point out the impact of Christianity on development of western civilization. He explains the modern western society “were not bred of classical antiquity, still less of ‘human nature’, but very distinctively of that civilizations’ Christian past.”[2]

I find his sudden personal realization and assertion on how our current western world is deeply rooted in Christianity very interesting. After many years, Tom came to conclude and saw his world filled with the historical impacts of Christianity. Tom first started writing novels on vampires, and it somehow led to writing non-fiction historical books, and somehow it changed his beliefs over the years to now find his faith in Christianity. Even though Tom was raised in the Church, his Christian faith grew dimmer as he grew up, but somehow his passion for history and research led him to find himself back at his Christian faith with a new set of the frame.[3] I thought that Tom Holland did a fascinating work on narrating the snapshots of history by telling a story. He writes in a way where the reader feels being there in that historical moment that many aren’t familiar with. It took a while for me to understand the significance of each chapter (I probably couldn’t do it without the help from Wikipedia because a date and a word weren’t enough to pick up which historical event he was writing about), and I appreciated his gifting in narrative writing. It was a very different way to engage with history and present history using a storytelling style.

Tom narratives over 2000 years of history in 500 pages by using stories. The stories are told through events, people reacting to the events, and the values they held at that time. The Jerusalem temple was destroyed in 63 BC, Paul was trying to fulfill his mission in 19 AD, the priest, Ramihrdus of Cambrai, was burned to death by an angry mob in 1076, and the city Leiden became full of abundance and temptation in 1620, and the chorus for all you need is love recorded in Abbey Road Studios in 1967. Over the years in our history all over the globe, history is taking place through events, people, and values. But it isn’t enough to hear and understand the details of events, people, and values, one must ask oneself, at the end of the day – What am I learning about myself, the world, and most importantly, God. The new learning about myself, the world, and God will bring the latest map and the frame of mind to navigate and lead the 21st century.

[1] Tom Holland, Dominion: The Making of the Western Mind (London: Abacus, 2020), xxiv.

[2] Ibid.

[3] https://www.patheos.com/blogs/unbelievable/2020/09/tom-holland-i-began-to-realise-that-actually-in-almost-every-way-i-am-christian/

About the Author


Jonathan Lee

President of Streamside Ministry Lead Pastor of EM @ San Jose Korean Presbyterian Church in Sunnyvale, CA

6 responses to “World full of God’s Love”

  1. mm Denise Johnson says:

    This post was a well-articulated summary of the text. I can appreciate the challenge of the large vocabulary. I am with you in the struggle.

  2. mm Eric Basye says:

    J – Sounds like a good book! I didn’t read it. So, knowing what you know now, would you read it again or encourage others to read it?

  3. Kayli Hillebrand says:

    Jonathan: I watched the lecture instead of reading this week. After going through it, I’d love to hear more about how you’ve experienced history being passed from one generation to another in the Korean and Korean-American cultures.

  4. mm Troy Rappold says:

    Great point at the end of your blog. We are getting a head full of knowledge with this program, but after we graduate we need to start applying all this wisdom. It isn’t enough just to read and learn, we have to put into action all the lessons and wisdom we have gained. Onward and upward we go after May 4th!

  5. mm Nicole Richardson says:

    Jonathan how do Holland’s stories inform your understanding of Christian faith? You have said in other blogs that it is important for Korean youth to understand history, what ways do Holland’s stories help you frame history for the youth?

  6. mm Roy Gruber says:

    Jonathan, thanks for you post. You reference how Holland shows the impact of Christianity on Western culture. As someone with roots in an Eastern culture, what would you attribute as the cause(s) of the great growth of Christian faith in South Korea. If understand it correctly, that did not happen over centuries but happened much more recently.

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