Collecting key writings from early church fathers, this valuable sourcebook is arranged thematically and chronologically---revealing how Christian thought on various issues developed. Indispensable for those who want to understand more about the close relationship between Scripture and the first ecclesiastical traditions, it helps leaders today connect with the wisdom of the past. 176 pages, softcover from Baker.
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Customer Reviews for Tradition, Scripture, and Interpretation: A Sourcebook of the Ancient Church
Review 1 for Tradition, Scripture, and Interpretation: A Sourcebook of the Ancient Church
Date:October 3, 2008
Having previously read William's "Evangelicals and Tradition," I was interested in this book as a concise "reader" of patristic history, and was not disappointed. Having been schooled at a Christian college that did not discuss in any detail the history of the church before the Reformation, I have been intrigued by the rich history of the church and the traditions, particularly the first five centuries. There is a significant gap in most Evangelical's education about the church, and we are poorer for lacking the teaching of the creeds and apostolic tradition. Additionally, much of what the church is doing today does not follow the teaching of the apostles, who are the foundation of the church. Much weight is given today to subjective feelings and programs that people like, rather than understanding orthodox Christian faith and living that out. Williams follows the historical path of the Early Fathers as they wrestled with how to interpret scripture, to reject heresies, and grow the body of "the one holy catholic and apostolic church" (catholic as in those things held by all the churches, not "Roman Catholic"). Williams clarifies the ground rules the early church laid down (later affirmed by most of the Reformers), based on the apostles teachings, on scriptural interpretation, the use of allegory (an entire chapter of readings), as well as literal, moral, and spiritual senses. Again and again, the early church affirmed that the faith and scriptural interpretation was by the scriptures first, and the catholic tradition second, and that the two cannot be separated.William's book is an excellent resource and introduction into the thinking of the early church. Each chapter is filled with extensive quotes from the early church fathers and limited commentary by Williams. Highly recommended!