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Evangelicals and Tradition: The Formative Influence of the Early Church (Evangelical Ressourcement: Ancient Sources for the Church's Future) Paperback – June 1, 2005


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Baker Academic; 1st, No Additional Printing Listed edition (June 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801027136
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801027130
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.3 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #113,519 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

D. H. Williams (Ph.D., University of Toronto) is professor of religion in patristics and historical theology at Baylor University. He is the author of Retrieving the Tradition and Renewing Evangelicalism and the editor of The Free Church and the Early Church.

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31 of 34 people found the following review helpful By matt on November 3, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
For those Protestants who have their reservations about the Christian tradition (largely quite "unProtestant") this book is for them. The author is himself a Baptist and an expert on both Church history and the Church Fathers. His goal is fourfold: 1) Demonstrate that Scripture and early tradition go hand in hand and that Scripture is part of tradition, given by the Church to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ correctly., 2) theology exists as a part of the worshipping community, and not as an abstraction. Without right worship, there is no right doctrine 3) our personal liberty in the Holy Spirit is a corporate liberty. That is, we exist as "members one of another" who cannot go off and "do our own thing" 4) the Protestant tradition must be reintegrated into the greater catholic tradition to properly understand itself and the Gospel. In short, the author doesn't try to make a Protestant into a Catholic, but to dispel the myths surrounding the Tradition to show the Protestant what it means to be a Christian in context.

I would recommend the author's other book, Retrieving the Tradition and Renewing Evangelicalism: A Primer for Suspicious Protestants and A High View of Scripture? The Authority of the Bible and the Formation of the New Testament Canon (Evangelical Ressourcement: Ancient Sources for the Church's Future). Please see my other reviews for similar books on similar topics, mostly geared to the conversation between Protestants, Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox. Changing Churches: An Orthodox, Catholic, and Lutheran Theological Conversation may be of interest as well.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By C. Stephans VINE VOICE on April 11, 2008
Format: Paperback
D. H. Williams asserts that today's evangelical Protestants ignore or reject the traditions of the early Christian church, and these traditions are essential to correct practices of Christianity individually and in community. He writes his book in response to a "new openness to hearing the tradition" among evangelicals. This openness represents an "extraordinary work of the Spirit in our time." (15) Williams identifies a core perception among evangelicals that pits tradition as a "competing authority" to Scripture. (16) The book serves as Williams' attempt to persuade readers that the traditions of the early church complement Scripture and support Biblical authority. He writes with a sense of urgency recognizing that Christianity divorced from the early church tradition is susceptible to errors and heresies.

He rejects any notion of conflict between the Holy Spirit inspiration and revelation witnessed in the gospel and the Christian tradition seen in the teachings and practices of the early church. He defends this role of the tradition as the "canon of tradition" which does not challenge the authority of Scripture or stifle the ministry of the Spirit but serves as a guide to the church. He suggests that "A true interpretation of Scripture would always lead one to the tradition." (56) The tradition, including creeds and writings of the Fathers, would implicitly or explicitly acknowledge the supremacy of the Bible. The patristic tradition is not presented as infallible or unified in its writings; however, Williams calls this period "foundational to the Christian faith in normative ways that no other period of the church's history can claim.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By matt on August 14, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I remember being raised to think that 'tradition' was equal to 'papist' back in my Lutheran days. For those Protestants who have their reservations about the Christian tradition (largely quite "unProtestant") this book is for them. The author is himself a Baptist and an expert on both Church history and the Church Fathers. His goal is fourfold: 1) Demonstrate that Scripture and early tradition go hand in hand and that Scripture is part of tradition, given by the Church to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ correctly., 2) theology exists as a part of the worshipping community, and not as an abstraction. Without right worship, there is no right doctrine 3) our personal liberty in the Holy Spirit is a corporate liberty. That is, we exist as "members one of another" who cannot go off and "do our own thing" 4) the Protestant tradition must be reintegrated into the greater catholic tradition to properly understand itself and the Gospel. In short, the author doesn't try to make a Protestant into a Catholic, but to dispel the myths surrounding the Tradition to show the Protestant what it means to be a Christian in context.

I would recommend the author's other book, Retrieving the Tradition and Renewing Evangelicalism: A Primer for Suspicious Protestants, more than this book, good as it is. Please see my other reviews for similar books on similar topics, mostly geared to the conversation between Protestants, Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox.

Don't get fooled into thinking that the past of the Church is murky and unknowable. There are very few unknowns about it, just read the sources and start doing your homework. Enjoy!
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