Title: Early Christians Speak: Faith and Life in the First Three Centuries
Binding: Paper Back
Book Condition: New
Publisher: Abilene Christian University Press November 1999
0891120459 / 9780891120452
Seller ID: 146603
Sometimes we're compelled to present a book because its outstanding contributions outweigh its defects. The major defect here (in our eyes) is articulated in this way: ''All who strive to be New Testament Christians in the present age are in a way second-century Christians...We can never hope to reproduce the circumstances of the first century with its living apostolic witness, miraculous works of the Spirit, and specific historical setting...it is of value to see what that second-century church was... That will say something to us about our efforts in our derivative and secondary situation to be faithful to the first-century message'' (from the Introduction by Ferguson). This hearkening back to a golden age, this limiting of the ''living apostolic witness'' to the first century -- big problems for us. That being said, this is still a sterling anthology of early Christian texts illustrating baptism, the Eucharist, worship, prayer, church organization, the role of women, discipline, acts of mercy, and much more, followed in each chapter by excellent bibliographies. Indeed, Ferguson (it should be noted, one of the most eminent figures in contemporary patristic studies) follows the citation above with another that sums up the reasons for having and studying this book: ''The effort has been to make the sources available, to let the early Christians themselves speak.'' To this, and any such effort we say -- ''Amen.''