Interest in the ways of the early church has never been more intense. What did early Christians believe about the divinity of Christ? What were the beliefs of those who sat at the feet of Jesus’ disciples? Now, for the first time, a unique dictionary has been developed to allow easy access to the ancient material and furnish ready answers to these questions and others like them. David W. Bercot has painstakingly combed the writings of these early church leaders and categorized the heart of their thinking into more than 700 theological, moral, and historical topics to create A Dictionary of Early Christian Beliefs. Wonderfully suited for devotional or thematic study as well as sermon illustration, this resource offers a window into the world of the early church and affords a special opportunity to examine topically the thoughts of students of the original apostles, as well as other great lights in the life of the early church.
“As a result, the early Christians often had to quote Scriptures from memory, which meant they sometimes misquoted a verse or two.” (Page xi)
“It is therefore of no advantage to persons after the end of life, even if they do good works now, if they do not have faith.” (Page 576)
“To drink the blood of Jesus is to become partaker of the Lord’s immortality.… As wine is blended with” (Page 252)
“many, such as Clement of Rome and Polycarp, personally knew the apostles of Jesus. They” (Page vii)
“The Father Himself placed upon Christ the burden of our iniquities. He gave His own Son as a ransom for us: the holy one for the transgressors, the blameless One for the wicked.… For what other thing was capable of covering our sins than His righteousness?… O sweet exchange! O unsearchable operation! O benefits surpassing all expectation! That the wickedness of many should be hid in a single righteous One, and that the righteousness of One should justify many transgressors.” (Page 42)
The book begins with a “Who’s Who” listing of the ante-Nicene Fathers whose comments are included throughout this reference tool. The section lists not only their names but also what they are remembered for, when they lived, and how to pronounce their names. “How to Use This Dictionary” at the beginning is useful too...it is good to have a handy resource on what [the church fathers] believed and said.
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.
Have you ever wondered what those of the first two centuries believed on different issues? This work allows you to look up doctrines and topics...This is one of those works that won’t just sit on your shelf. It is worth having and worth referring to often.
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.