As "evangelicals" face future challenges, many are turning back to the ancient church for inspiration. But these ancient-future approaches remain diverse and sometimes even at odds with one another. This volume demonstrates and analyzes the complexity of such contemporary church-early church engagements. Six scholars share diverse insights from the Patristic period, including lessons on evangelism and discipleship, community formation and maintenance, use of the "rule of faith," the preaching of social ethics, responses to cultural opposition, and Christological development. The volume closes with two critical responses, from confessional Lutheran and Baptist perspectives. These collected essays will remind contemporary readers of the importance of a reflective and responsible ressourcement of Patristic wisdom.
I had the privilege to write chapter 2, "Learning from Patristic Evangelism and Discipleship," in which I consider some forms of early church evangelism (public preaching, personal testimonies, martyrdom) as well as some values for proclaiming the Good News (holistic ministry, Christians being integrated members of society, suffering). Regarding discipleship, I look briefly at how catechesis (pre-baptismal instruction) and monasteries served as teaching strategies. Following these reflections, some points of recovery for the modern church are offered.
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