Thursday, April 3, 2008

Rootless without Tradition

Sherman 's post on To Each His Own. struck a resonance in me because I have always felt that Protestantism in general and Evangelicalism is particular has been truncated by the throwing away of two thousand years of church history. This is especially true of the period of the early church, often defined as the church until the 5th century.

Recently I have been reading D.H. Williams (2005) Evangelicals and Traditions (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic). Williams is professor of religion in patristics and historical theology at Baylor University.

In this book, Williams argues convincingly that the apostolic and patristic traditions have contributed significantly to the development of the catholic (small c) church. The word catholic church means the whole church and encompass all of God's people. The biblical image for catholic is the body of Christ, the people of God, and the temple of the Holy Spirit.

Williams who is himself from the free church tradition, nevertheless felt that the distancing and downgrading by the Reformers of church traditions has actually made the Reformation rootless. He cited John Wesley as the first to realise this and reincorporate some of the traditions into the Methodism movement.

Here are some of Williams' suggested links for Patristic Studies


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