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Tradition, Scripture, and Interpretation: A Sourcebook of the Ancient Church (Evangelical Ressourcement: Ancient Sources for the Church's Future) [Paperback]

By D. H. Williams (Author)
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Item Specifications...

Pages   192
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.92" Width: 6.04" Height: 0.51"
Weight:   0.7 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Nov 1, 2006
Publisher   Baker Publishing Group
ISBN  0801031648  
EAN  9780801031649  

Availability  0 units.

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  Evangelicals and Tradition: The Formative Influence of the Early Church (Evangelical Ressourcement: Ancient Sources for the Church's Future)   $ 23.32   In Stock  

Item Description...
Introduces readers to the seminal, primary sources of Christian antiquity, focusing specifically on lesser-known texts from the first through sixth centuries.

Publishers Description
"Tradition, Scripture, and Interpretation" supplements a valuable series that helps modern church leaders return to the wisdom and insight of the early church fathers in order to apply their ancient understandings of Christian belief and practice to ministry in the twenty-first century.
This sourcebook gathers key writings from the first through sixth centuries on various topics of concern to the church yesterday and today. The writings are arranged thematically, and within each theme, chronologically, revealing how the Christian tradition on a given topic developed over time. The anthology begins with a chapter examining the close relationship between Scripture and tradition in the minds of early church leaders.

Buy Tradition, Scripture, and Interpretation: A Sourcebook of the Ancient Church (Evangelical Ressourcement: Ancient Sources for the Church's Future) by D. H. Williams from our Christian Books store - isbn: 9780801031649 & 0801031648

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More About D. H. Williams

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! D. H. Williams (Ph.D., University of Toronto) is professor of religion in patristics and historical theology at Baylor University. He is the author of Retrieving the Tradition and Renewing Evangelicalism and the editor of The Free Church and the Early Church.

D. H. Williams has an academic affiliation as follows - University of British Columbia University of Cambridge University of B.

D. H. Williams has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Evangelical Ressourcement

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Ecclesiological Traditioned Reason  Feb 3, 2010
Collection of Church Father sayings on Tradition, Scripture, and Baptism.

Anticipates many Postmodern ideas by urging, among other things, that Scripture be read in community and, to quote Alasdair MacIntyre, "traditioned reason." Of course, the Fathers would deny that all communities are equal! But no less would the Fathers urge an individualist "me and my bible" reading. Readings are framed by community (and in our discussion, the ultimate community--the Church) and "traditioned reason," which for the Church is the heritage of interpretation passed down by the Fathers.

On reading the Bible: Christ is the "inner logic" of the Bible (34). This helps modernist evangelicals (which includes Conservative calvinists!) make sense of Patristic and Medieval allegory. The Fathers (and St Paul, no less--cf 1 Corinthians 10 and Galatians 4) use allegory in almost a haphazard way. On a surface level reading, there seems no breaks on the interpretation. But most curiously, the more allegorical they were (possible exception of Origen), the more orthodox their reading. That is because "Christ" ties their reading together, and if your reading is Christocentric, even if it is wildly allegorical, it will be an orthodox reading.

The book is extremely useful. It gives a compendium of nice passages from the Fathers. And these passages are not artificial snippets (the bane of all compendiums). It begins with what the St Paul says about receiving the tradition and traces it through the Church fathers.

This book, while written by an evangelical and for evangelicals, poses a challenge to Evangelicals. Williams makes very clear that whatever the Fathers (and St Paul) meant by Tradition, they did not mean it was synonymous with Scripture and that once having a completed canon, it would no longer be necessary. In fact, most of the passages on Tradition in this book refute that very notion.

I would be interested in seeing how Williams dealt with the fact that these guys he praises also believed in Apostolic Succession. If we are to get back to the Fathers, and more power to everyone on that, and if we need to get back to "traditioned reason" and reading the Bible in light of the Church's teaching, and that teaching includes apostolic succession, how can Williams and Protestants (of which I myself am one) avoid joining churches that descend from Apostlic Succession?

Important Writings from the Begining of the Church  May 8, 2009
D.H. Williams' book Tradition, Scripture, and Interpretation provides the examples from the writings of the Church Fathers to support his argument made in Evangelicals and Tradition. Here Williams offers readers the opportunity to see for themselves the relationship between the church's tradition, Scripture and ministry. Williams gives readers a reliable guide to the writings of the early church in order to exhibit the important developments of the early church that illustrate its significance to evangelicals. Of the writings included in book, Williams writes, "In them lie the cornerstones of Christian authority for the church past and future."

Williams' book helps readers navigate the plethora of writings from the early church to gain an appreciation for their value. It is an excellent tool to kindle a passion among readers for the ministry and authority found in the traditions of the early church. His ultimate goal is to draw readers to the traditions of the early church in order to develop a more theologically and biblically literate contemporary Christian church.

Williams shows readers that the traditions of the church are wholly compatible and complementary to the charism sought in contemporary evangelicalism. Williams asserts throughout the book that the writings of the church Fathers are an essential ingredient in the practice of authentic Christianity. He recognizes the aversion that evangelicals hold toward the traditions of the church. This book is a process of taking readers by the hands and leading them through the deeply spiritual, pastoral and ecclesial writings of the Fathers. In the process, he helps readers to realize that the era of these writings occurred on the footsteps of Jesus, the apostles, Pentecost and the charismatic movement witnessed in Acts.

These writings are what helped early Christians interpret the apostles' teachings and translate them into liturgy, community, cultural practicalities and ecclesiology.

Williams writes to Christians of the Reformation's mantra of sola scriptura. He demonstrates through the book that the idea of Scripture alone determining doctrine and practice would have been a foreign concept to the early church. Williams walks readers through the process of the Bible coming out of the life of the Christian community as it listened to God's word and sought to realize it and pass it on faithfully. The Scripture was not read or taught by Christians apart from the tradition of the church, as it was demonstrated in the Rule of Faith, baptismal confessions and conciliar creeds. Outside of the tradition of the church, the Scriptures were interpreted differently by those promoting heresies based on teachings contradicted by the apostolic teachings. The church's tradition actually shaped the Biblical canon, as it discerned Scripture from other worldly writings. Williams teaches, "Like streams coming out of the same spring, "the tradition and the Bible, represented by the work of the Holy Spirit in the church were realized only in the presence of each other." (19)

By introducing evangelicals to the early church tradition, Williams is implying that early church's expectations of Christians apply to Christians of all time. The idea that a Christian could live a life indistinguishable for non-Christians in the culture seems anathema to the church Fathers of the patristic era. There is an stated and implied responsibility in their writings to study Scripture, participate in the Lord's Supper, contribute to the Christian community, respect the church's authority and to serve the body of Christ. There is no sign of cheap grace, mental assent or easy-believism among the Fathers.

Williams shows that in the Father's writings are the keys to how the church started from nothing to spread throughout the world while combating severe opposition and heresies on every side. It is astonishing that the Western Church has neglected these writings. Williams' book presents the writings with helpful commentary, and I think will effectively transform readers' views of the church's tradition.

Craig Stephans, author of Shakespeare On Spirituality: Life-Changing Wisdom from Shakespeare's Plays

No false dichotomies  Feb 6, 2008
With extensive use of writings from the early church fathers, Dr. Williams takes us into the church's approach to scripture through the interpretive lense of apostolic tradition. This, in itself, is not at all surprising since the writings of the early church fathers team with such "insight." What is surprising is that this text was written by and for the evangelical "bible alone" Christians who deny apostolic tradition as a necessary presupposition for biblical interpretation. This insight coming from such a distinguished professor is refreshing and enlightening in the direction that evangelical thought may be going.

The texts included in this work demonstrate clearly that tradition and scripture are not a dichotomy between two authorities. Dr. Williams' deep insight is that indeed they are necessary parts of a whole. Scripture is part of that all encompassing apostolic tradition that has been handed down to us from the beginning. The scriptures belong to the church and can only be interpreted through the church's authority and tradition. The church is the pillar and foundation of truth that determines the meaning of scripture from the context of what the church has always taught from the beginning. Any other approach to scriptural interpretation must be suspect.

Dr. Williams approaches this topic with extensive use of writings from the church fathers and very short summary commentaries on a few of those texts. The short commentary is always insightful and enlightening and always bringing us back to the context of the historical early church. Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant Christians alike will find the work instructive and rich with historical context. This is an important and invaluable resource for any library of patristics or early church history. Very well done and very highly recommended.
standing on the shoulders of giants  Jul 19, 2007
I am continually impressed and enlightened by Williams' approach to the tradition of the Roman and Eastern Christian communions as a way to build bridges for Protestants to better understand and appropriate their own often unacknowledged theological foundations. The past really does matter, and there are no theological wheels that need to be reinvented.

I purposely do not say "patristic tradition", although it is a perfectly adequate term in the proper context, since that would imply that it is somehow "out there" and we can just latch onto it without also participating in the liturgy and sacramental life which all of the Fathers accepted as normative and necessary. A strong argument can be made that thinking otherwise would be to fundamentally misunderstand the very heritage that this book is trying to promote and sustain, but you may see my other reviews for that discussion (basically, saying you feel French doesn't make you French, and to feel connected to the past doesn't actually connect you to its living present reality, to paraphrase Schaeffer). There is more to it than an intellectual assent. That said, this primer is a fantastic way to start thinking about why the past matters if you are a Christian of any denominational persuasion, and why a serious student of theology cannot assume that what forms the Christian tradition is merely a byproduct of people sitting down and reading their bibles that magically appeared in their midst, without any reference to the Tradition of the Church out of which those very same scriptures were written and interpreted. Everything the Church Fathers wrote is not of the same worth or quality, but you may certainly find a straight line of continuity there concerning worship and doctrine, as they go hand in hand.

To start off with this book is great, and the rest of Williams' works are fantastic and highly recommended. Just don't forget the liturgical context and theology behind that context when you read the Fathers.

The following books may also be of interest.

Reading Scripture With the Church Fathers

Christus Victor: An Historical Study of the Three Main Types of the Idea of Atonement

The Relevance of the Fathers

By What Authority?: An Evangelical Discovers Catholic Tradition

Common Ground: An Introduction to Eastern Christianity for the American Christian

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