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Worshiping with the Church Fathers Paperback – December 25, 2009


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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Hall has accomplished an important task for Protestants and Evangelicals by bringing these complex and beautiful texts to light. . . . From cover to cover it is an invitationto consider the beauty and insight of the early Christian tradition of prayer and practice. The richness of the likes of Gregory of Nyssa, Augustine, and John Cassian reach out to any reader--academic, pastoral, or lay." (Joshua Brockway, Brethren Life & Thought, Summer and Fall 2010)

"A specialist on the early church, Hall provides an excellent, readable overview of the worship of the early church." (Ron Sider, Prism, 2010)

"In Worshiping With the Church Fathers, Hall helps us understand sacraments, prayers, and disciplines and their meaning for the early Church fathers, giving us important keys to enriching our contemporary worship. We gain a sense of history and our connection to the past believers who make up 'a great cloud of witnesses,' plus our worship vocabulary and practice is expanded and deepened." (Worship Leader Magazine, October 2010)

"In recent years, more and more evangelicals who are looking for spiritual depth and congregational vitality have started to explore the thought and practice of the early church. Christopher Hall is a wise, experienced guide through the twists and turns of this often strange and unfamiliar territory. This volume provides a clear, readable exposition of what the leading church fathers understood about baptism, the Lord's Supper, prayer and spiritual disciplines. A special strength of this book is that Hall explains the biblical and theological reasoning used by the fathers as they developed their approaches. This book is essential reading for pastors, lay leaders and students who are looking for a reliable introduction to the spirituality of the early church." (Jeffrey P. Greenman, associate dean of biblical and theological studies and professor of Christian ethics, Wheaton College)

"Christopher Hall helps us to read the church fathers contextually and not anachronistically. At the same time he manages to incorporate his own life experiences of worship in ways that make the book deeply personal as all prayer life must be. The result is a rich treasure trove of the prayers of the church." (James M. Houston, founding principal of Regent College, Vancouver, and Emeritus Professor of Spiritual Theology)

"Christopher Hall's wonderful introduction to prayer and worship in the early church will not only draw you closer to the church fathers--it will draw you closer to God." (Lauren F. Winner, Duke Divinity School, author of Girl Meets God)

"In the end Christopher Hall has not written a book about the early fathers' views on worship and prayer. Instead, with expertise and humility, he invites us to join an ongoing conversation with Christian siblings who centuries ago reflected on distractions in prayer, self-deception, passions and other concerns central to the Christian life. Chris has mined the ancient resources, uncovered the gems, and set them in a context that makes them highly accessible for consideration by Protestant evangelicals (of which he is one) and all others in the Christian family who want to deepen their understanding and practice of worship and prayer. You won't want to read this book hurriedly as if you were gulping down spiritual junk food. Feast on a richly laden table as you slowly savor each bit of insight and advice from those who have come before us." (Dennis Okholm, professor of theology, Azusa Pacific University, and author of Monk Habits for Everyday People)

"Many of us who are stumbling to find our way faithfully have looked back to ancient wisdom for direction. Whether we realize it at first, we need guides to navigate these strange landscapes and to discover the treasures they offer for our time. Chris Hall has been such a guide for me. This new volume on worship is a classic example of his ability to help Antony and Augustine, Cassian and Tertullian, speak to us today. Follow Dr. Hall's lead and receive the gifts of this living tradition." (Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, author, speaker and new monastic (jonathanwilsonhartgrove.com))

About the Author

Christopher A. Hall is chancellor of Eastern University and dean of the Templeton Honors College. He is also associate editor of the Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 280 pages
  • Publisher: IVP Academic (December 25, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 083083866X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0830838660
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #750,905 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By J. Lonas on March 5, 2010
Format: Paperback
As 21st century Christians, we tend to think that our ways of "doing church" are either 1) the same as those of believers through the ages, or 2) somehow better than early Church practices. Most of us try very carefully to match our practices to Scripture, but 2,000 years of cultural baggage affects our understanding of what it means to worship the Lord in Spirit and in Truth.

In Worship with the Church Fathers (part of a four-part series on patristic teachings), Eastern University chancellor Christopher Hall digs into the writings of early Christian leaders (Ambrose, Athanasius, Augustine, Clement, Cyril, Irenaeus, John Chrysostom, John of Damascus, Justin Martyr, Tertullian, and others) to lay out something of an "early Church theology of worship," drawing important themes and principles that modern believers would do well to understand and apply.

Hall grounds his discussion on worship in the early Church's understanding of sacramentalism--that is, the use of physical elements to represent spiritual realities. He points out that the Church fathers used the Latin word "sacramentum" to translate the Greek word mysterion, which the New Testament writers used to describe the deep truths of the faith that transcend comprehension. The fathers, Hall states, passionately pursued the sacraments, seeing them as the opposite of dualism and Gnostic heresy. They saw them as reminders that God's creation was important to Him, and viewed the symbolism of worship as a crucial continuation of the principle of the incarnation.

Hall devotes particular attention to the practice and significance of baptism (in which the water represents the cleansing and life-giving of the Spirit), the eucharist, prayer, and spiritual discipline (i.e. fasting, silence, etc.).
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26 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey Holton on January 6, 2010
Format: Paperback
"Worshiping With The Church Fathers" is probably not a book the average everyday Christian is going to read but there is no reason they shouldn't. It will, however, appeal to the curious thinker and Ancient Church history buff like myself. Author Christopher Hall is the Chancellor of Eastern University near Philadelphia, PA and has written a very well documented and informed book that looks at the ancient practices of worship among the early church fathers. To the average reader this may sound like a dry and boring read but Hall doesn't just spew out facts and information, he challenges the reader to look at early worship practices and see how they can be applied in modern day living of the Christian today.

This book is divided into three topical sections which include the Sacraments, Prayer and Discipline. Within these topics there are sub categories which include baptism, the Lord's supper, The Lord's Prayer, roadblocks to prayer and many others. What has been insightful to me in the section on baptism is his section on infant baptism and the early churches view of this practice. This has been one area in which I struggle and it was interesting to see how the early father's viewed it. The second part of the book which is on prayer is probably the most applicable part to the book. It looks at various aspects to prayer like praying the Psalms, distractions in prayer, unanswered prayer, fixed times for prayer and the four key elements of prayer (supplication, intercession, thanksgiving and confession). The closing section on discipline gives the reader a glimpse of Athanasius's biography of Anthony and some of the ideas and practices that came out of the monastic communities.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Joel L. Watts VINE VOICE on June 7, 2010
Format: Paperback
Christopher Hall follows his two previous books with a powerful third, topping his other two with deeply powerful insights into forgotten Christian writers - forgotten to the Evangelical world - bridging a gap that is desperately needed between modern Christianity and those greats of the past.

There are no long-winded sermons, dusty facts, or theological interpretations. Instead, Hall connects the Fathers with their own words, sometimes with his insights by experience, producing a text that gives the Christian steady reading while he or she explores what the Fathers believed. Starting with the Eucharist and Baptism, he doesn't argue for sacramentalism, but shows how the Fathers lived the communication of Grace, a tradition handed down time and time again, by various writers, producing a strong focus in the Christian life. Moving into prayer, he shares with the reader his challenges in presenting a better understanding of prayer, something that he struggles with himself. Finally, he ends with individual discipline. This book is thoroughly engaging to the theologian, Church Historian, but most and best of all, every Christian.

In a time when we `fit' God into our lives, Hall reminds us of the Fathers and their life led in Christ. He brings home not theological arguments, nor denominational, but draws the reader into Christian historical theology. He seeks to answer the tough questions on prayer with how the Father's did so. He brings in Augustine, Chrysostom, Clement of Alexandria, Origen and numerous others, but he ties these great writers to himself, and thus to us, by sharing his personal experience, such as the sacramentalism he received from his Uncle Bob.
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