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A Dictionary of Early Christian Beliefs Hardcover – January 1, 2005
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""A Dictionary of Early Christian Beliefs " is the best overall introduction to the ante-Nicene fathers in print, and is perfect for group study! The ultimate Sunday school reference work.--www.AmericanVision.org
About the Author
David W. Bercot, an Anglican priest and an attorney, graduated from Stephen F. Austin State University and Baylor University School of Law. He is the author of Will the Real Heretics Please Stand Up and is a member of the North American Patristics Society.
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Top Customer Reviews
The doctrines that the early church held may surprise many today...overall, they wouldn't serve in the army if it meant killing, they believed in free-will, and they accepted the apocrypha, at least as useful reading. Even if one does not accept their interpretation, it is still useful to know what the people who lived closest to Christ thought and believed. It is truly an excellent reference guide I would never be without. I personally get my theology from the Bible and the interpretations of it provided by the Church fathers.
There may be some who will not like what the Father's teach, but that is to be expected. A vast majority of Evangelical churches in America do not conform either in principle or in practice to what these godly men taught. I think that stauch Calvinist's will be the most disturbed by their writings because the Early Church Fathers were unequivocally more supportive of the view that mankind can and must respond to God. Furthermore, they did not teach unconditional election, perseverance of the saints, limited atonement, or irresistable grace. In fact, it was the Gnostics who held views similar to those expressed above. The response by most will be that these men just fell into error and didn't understand the gospel, but then the question must be asked, why do individuals who lived 1,500 years after the Apostles understand it better than the Fathers did? I do not mention Augustine because his views are not those of traditional 5 point Calvinists, and therefore the view followed by many is not Augustine's view but that of the Reformers.
Buy this work if you interested in discovering what the Early Fathers believed, and use it as an introduction and guide to further study of their writings. It is by no means an exhaustive study of the entire corpus of their literature, but is a great starting point for introductory study.