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Charismatic Gifts in the Early Church: An Exploration into the Gifts of the Spirit During the First Three Centuries of the Christian Church Paperback – December 1, 1984
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This scholarly--but by no means arid--study fills a deep need, for the church today often struggles to overcome its luke-warmness while failing to see the clear New Testament importance of the gifts of the Spirit for its daily life.
The church began as a "little band of fisherman [and evolved] over the centuries until it [became] one of the dominant features of the Greek and Latin world. The Church grew astonishingly in size, power, and influence." (p. 86) Part of the explanantion for this evangelism explosion was not strategic planning or better schools of training, but, as Kydd says, the presence of Jesus himself and the sending of the Holy Spirit.
Kydd offers irrefutable historical evidence that the gifts remained after the New Testament period as absolutely essential ingredients for the growth and life of the church.
This work belongs in every thinking Christian's library
Which brings me back to this humble effort. This book is the author's PhD. dissertation updated and revised as needed. As I have not read the original, the last is a supposition. However, there appears to be no editorial hand at work. Therefore, this is not the literary output of a Mommsen or Tuchman. This is a very straightforward analysis of the available writings of the early Church Fathers on the topic of the Holy Spirit. Systematically, into the third century CE, the author finds universal support for the positive and active presence of the Holy Spirit in all writings of the Fathers that pertain. This was significant revisionism at the time of its publication in 1984. And I doubt, that anyone can with cause challenge the author's evidence and his conclusions excluding his discussion of the nature of Montanism and it's relationship to Roman orthodoxy. This is an important piece of scholarship that can not be disregarded by any academic writing on the Holy Spirit and the early Church. Also, it is easily read by a lay person regardless of the awkward prose. This book is most highly recommended by me. I found it concisely enlightening.
This very brief book analyzes the theology and presence of Spiritual gifts in the Post-Apostolic era. Kydd examines the Didache, Tertullian, Justin Martyr and more.
While I would concede that the Spiritual Gifts became less prominent in the centuries following Pentecost, it was not due to a necessarily defined doctrine or understanding in the early church. The early church embraced and practiced the Spiritual gifts. This much is clear in this brief book by Ronald Kydd.
Kydd (1997) concludes his volume by declaring that Spiritual gifts played a prominent role in the first two centuries, "We have been able to come to a fairly clear conclusion...Throughout the first and second centuries, the gifts remained very important to the church".
Kydd traces the gifts decline in the third century,
"...in the first half of the third century, things change...It is clear that the importance granted to spiritual gifts was passing...The gifts just did not occupy the place in the life and thinking of the Church that they once had"
The question Kydd doesn't answer thoroughly is why the gifts declined. He does end his monograph by suggesting the following:
There came a point around A.D. 260 at which they no longer fitted in the highly organized, well-educated, wealthy, socially-powerful Christian communities. The Church did not lose its soul, but it did lose these special moments when God broke into the lives of men and women.
I would concur with Kydd's brief observation.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This resource is useful for my PhD research on tghe Holy Spirit and spiritual gifts, their theology, nature, number, uses and abuses..Published on March 11, 2013 by Amazon Customer
I enjoyed this book thoroughly! It covers the charismatic gifts of the Holy Spirit from after the time line of the Bible to about 350AD. Read morePublished on April 12, 2009 by The Dragon Reborn
I enjoyed this book.
I've often wondered why so many of the gifts disappeared from so much of the Church. Read more