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Evangelism in the Early Church Paperback – May 17, 2004

4.4 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Now a modern classic, Michael Green's "Evangelism in the Early Church provides a comprehensive look at the ways the first Christians -- from the New Testament period up until the middle of the third century -- worked to spread the good news to the rest of the world.

In describing life in the early church, Green explores crucial aspects of the evangelistic task that have direct relevance for similar work today, including methods, motives, and strategies. He assesses the strengths and weaknesses of the evangelistic approaches used by the earliest Christians, and he also considers the obstacles to evangelism, using outreach to Gentiles and to Jews as examples of differing contexts for proclamation. Carefully researched and frequently quoting primary sources from the early church, this book will both show contemporary readers what can be learned from the past and help renew their own evangelistic vision.

About the Author

Michael Green, one of the world's leading evangelists, iscurrently Senior Research Fellow at Wycliffe Hall inOxford, England. Prior to that he has been Principal ofSt. John's College in Nottingham, Rector of St. Aldate'sChurch in Oxford, Professor of Evangelism at Regent Collegein Vancouver, British Columbia, and Senior Advisor of theArchbishops of Canterbury and York on Evangelism. Inaddition to teaching at Wycliffe, he maintains a world-widespeaking and writing ministry.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 474 pages
  • Publisher: Eerdmans; Revised ed. edition (May 17, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802827683
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802827685
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 1 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #472,382 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Evangelism in the Early Church was a good book. I really learned a lot about evangelism that was done by the early Christians. It was in many ways, much like we do evangelism today. We were not the innovators, as we would like to think. Evangelism practice is a very old tradition. Green shows us the different elements of evangelism as practiced by the early church: pathways, obstacles, evangel, conversion, evangelists, methods, motives, and strategy.
Evangelism was quite a lengthy book - 280, not counting the notes section. It was a bit longer than it should have been. It was quite exhaustive and sometimes exhausting, for it had a lot of detail. Sometimes the detail seemed unnecessary. What is exceptional about this book is its many primary sources. The early Christian fathers and their direct biographers are quoted to add support. It also gives us a first-hand glimpse of their own experiences.
The purpose of this book is not really to encourage evangelism or missions, but rather is a good history book that tells us what our spiritual fathers went through. Although the ideals of evangelism remains the same, we are in far different situations and settings. God, in his providence, perfectly set the stage for the gospel to be spread rapidly in the first century. The Pax Romana, the influence of the Greek culture and lingua franca, and the inroads Judaism had already made, prepared the ground for the gospel to be planted. Of course, they also encountered obstacles like we have never experienced. It was a world-wide hatred towards Christianity. It is almost surprising how Christians ever survived the persecutions of the first two centuries. They were hated by Jews and Gentiles alike, but these are the people they sought after, and died evangelizing to.
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Format: Paperback
You will find no other book like this on the market right now. Green does an incredable job at looking at the early church at multiple angles. The secondary material he uses to study what the church was like, how it was viewed both inside and outside the church, and many other angles is pretty amazing - I had to keep one thumb in the end notes so I could refer to them often.
I am a person that doesn't just want to know linearly what is happening, but wants to know the whole picture - what is happening around an event - this book for sure does this.
Green covers such angles as evanglism to the gentiles (which is rich with very applicable things to our present day), evangelism to Jews, Motives/Methods/and Strategy of Evangelism, and more including a very interesting chapter on the Obsticles of evangelism.

Enjoy this well done book.
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Format: Paperback
Michael Green's book makes some good implications for missionary praxis today. By looking at the history of Green's analysis of evangelism in its first two hundred years after Pentecost, missiologists can draw comparisons between the background of the first two centuries and the modern situation. Because Green's book is not an attempt to "give a comprehensive account of the mission of the Church in the broad sense" (p. 8), comparisons are limited to those issues related to practical evangelism.

Green begins his book with a highlight of the 1990s as a decade that should have been a golden time of evangelism. However, he shows how the existentialism of the mid-twentieth century led to post-modernism and deconstructionism with their emphases on evangelism as a personal process for discovering God and a high value on relationships. This is somewhat like the background he describes for the first two centuries in Rome. If there is complexity in spreading the gospel in modern society, there is encouragement in looking at the obstacles faced by the Jewish and Graeco-Roman cultures. Green believes that although the strategies and tactics of early Christians were not "particularly remarkable, what was remarkable was their conviction, their passion and their determination to act as Christ's embassy to a rebel world, whatever the consequences" (p. 23). Green posits that these characteristics should be the foundation for our present day evangelism efforts as well.

He emphasizes the three elements that allowed a pathway for facilitating the gospel in the first century. The Pax Romana gave an open door for easy movement throughout the Roman Empire. Greek Culture, expressed in a widely disseminated language, gave a structure to presenting the gospel within a single world-view.
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Well written and well documented expose on the kickoff of Christianity in the first century. Great perspectives, things I had never thought about, and things I never knew about the culture at that time. If you are well read in the Gospels and Church Epistles, and are trying to ramp up your impact as Christian today, you will greatly appreciate this book. It should be a companion manual for the practical Christian as they study the New Testament. I especially appreciate how the author recognizes and emphasizes the centrality and importance of Jesus, who he was then, and who he is to us now.
The academians (?) can spout and sputter their hair-splitting conjecture based on their opinion of this text or that, but "it don't take no genius to confess Jesus as Lord and believe God raised him from the dead." It is written with the simple motive of helping the reader to strengthen themselves in the Lord.
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