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Will the Real Heretics Please Stand Up: A New Look at Today's Evangelical Church in the Light of Early Christianity Paperback – December, 1989
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Bercot, who is also a lawyer, takes the reader on a very stimulating journey in which we meet Polycarp (who was personally discipled by the apostle John) and other second-century witnesses. -- The Plough, April, 1990
Perhaps the single most important thing the book did for me was to introduce me in an unforgettable way to the early Christian writings. ...However, the author, David Bercot, does more than introduce the reader to the early Christians and their writings he advances a powerful and persuasive argument as to why we should take the early Christians and their writings seriously. This argument is basically similar to saying that the further upstream you go, the purer the waters should be. He makes a convincing case that these early Christian writers were in the best possible position to interpret and understand what the inspired writers had in mind when they wrote the New Testament. After all, some of these early Christian leaders were co-workers with the apostles and knew them personally. It is logical that they had a real advantage over us who read the Bible after nearly 2,000 years. -- Family Life, October, 1989
To say this book packs a jolt is an understatement. Bercot doesn't point fingers; he just tells it like it is, and no book other than Snyder's The Problem of Wineskins has affected my thinking of the church more than this one. This book has my highest recommendations. -- The Obligator, August, 1989
We've heard it all before. The church's decline began when Constantine named Christianity the religion of the Roman Empire. David Bercot recounts all this and more. He is deeply concerned with the church's lack of spirituality. He is upset that the church has adopted worldly standards of success rapid growth and wealth. He is right in feeling and expressing these concerns. And he expresses them well. -- Bookstore Journal, November, 1989
From the Back Cover
But this is not primarily a history book. It's a fresh, creative look at the problems facing the church today and the solution to those problems. It's a call for today's church to return to the simple holiness, unfailing love, and patient cross-bearing of the early Christians.
Will The Real Heretics Please Stand Up combines sound scholarship with a free-flowing, readable style designed for contemporary laypersons. If you're looking for superficial solutions to today's problems or a restatement of traditional answers, you will need to look elsewhere. This provocative book confronts traditional answers and challenges you to a deeper walk with God the walk of the early Christians.
More About the Author
Although he enjoyed the fellowship at the church he was attending, it seemed to Bercot that some of the doctrines popularly taught by evangelicals--such as unconditional eternal security and their endorsement of war--contradicted the plain words of Scripture. When he questioned various ministers about these matters, he was told that the evangelical teaching on these doctrines was the "historical faith." Bercot certainly didn't want to put his own personal interpretations over the historical faith. Yet, he wasn't going to just take other people's word for it that these doctrines were truly the historical faith.
Bercot realized that the only way he could verify the historical faith was to read all of the existing writings of the early Christians who lived within a century or two after the apostles. So he purchased a set of the Ante-Nicene Fathers (which contain nearly all of the existing writings from Christians who wrote prior to the Council of Nicaea in A.D. 325.) During 1985, he cut back his law practice as needed to devote the whole year to reading these ancient writings. These early Christian writings confirmed Bercot's views on eternal security and war. However, he was surprised to learn that most of the early Christian beliefs were different from his own beliefs--not only on theology but on lifestyle as well. Yet, when he went back and read the New Testament again, he realized that everything they taught was right there in the New Testament. But his preconceptions had blinded him to the plain language of Scripture.
Bercot immediately began sharing what he had discovered about the historical faith with various Christian friends. Soon these friends encouraged him to write a book about what he had discovered and how Christianity looked when it was still young. Bercot eventually followed up on their suggestion, and he wrote the book, "Will the Real Heretics Please Stand Up," which was published in 1989. That book contrasts early Christianity with modern Christianity.
Since then, Bercot has written a number of other books pertaining to early Christianity and committed Christian discipleship. He purposefully writes in a reader-friendly, conversational style, eschewing a more academic approach. As he said at one conference, "Scholars have had all of this information for centuries, and they have essentially done nothing with it. My goal is to get this information across to the average man or woman in the pews."
Bercot married Deborah Hart Darragh in 1972. They have three children and make their home in the Amberson Valley in Pennsylvania. On his personal website, www.davidbercot.com, Bercot has posted pictures of the beautiful Amberson Valley.
Top Customer Reviews
In the beginning section of the book, he fleshes out the vision of the Christians who were instructed by the Apostles, and those who were trained by them in turn. He quotes from their writings and gives you footnotes to follow. Their discipleship was so noble and rugged, I was immediately enthralled by them. They were filled with fire, and pursued the beauty of holiness by ascetic struggle (there was no 'easy-believism' or 'health and wealth' movements in the early Church). He details how the Church before Constantine (before A.D.325) lived out it's life of discipleship, and compares it to present-day movements.
The middle section details some central doctrines that the early Church universally believed.Read more ›
What really convicted me was how different my brand of Christianity is from that of the earliest followers of the Apostles and their Spiritual descendants. For instance, Bercot notes how the Early Church believed that Jesus' teachings in the Synoptic gospels were literal. Sure, they understood that Jesus wasn't commanding us to literally pluck out our eyes, but many parts of Jesus' teaching that they understood literally, todays Christian community has watered down or spiritualized to accomodate our 21st century mentality. For example, how many believe that Jesus really wanted us to sell everything that we own and follow Him? I know of no church that teaches such a doctrine and if one were to teach this they would probably be regarded as strange, bizarre and out of their mind. Yet, this is exactly how the Early Church understood Jesus' message and this is what compelled Cyprian, the great 3rd century bishop of Carthage, to liquidate his vast fortune and follow Jesus with everything that he had.Read more ›
As for those reviewers who think he did not go far enough, or missed certain points, His second book "Common Sense" and over 30 audio tapes, cover all of those areas and many, many others.
My Prayer is that all who proclaim to Follow Jesus, will Make him Lord (not just savior) and DO his will. "Why do you call me 'Lord, Lord'and do not do what I say?" Luke 6:46
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Recommended for the Christian that wants to know what is what. Stop being spoon fed and dig a little deeper. This book will get you thinking and praying.Published 2 months ago by Science Educator
very good it help us to becareful what is going on with different domination that come from different teaching
and it befuddled people 's beliefs and teaching need to look at... Read more
Great to instill and cement biblical conviction from extra-biblical sources and compare today's religion to the early Christians.Published 10 months ago by minnyjc:)