Ancient-Future Faith: Rethinking Evangelicalism for a Postmodern World
In a world marked by relativism, individualism, pluralism, and the transition from a modern to a postmodern worldview, evangelical Christians must find ways to re-present the historic faith.
In his provocative work, Ancient-Future Faith, Robert E. Webber contends that present-day evangelicalism is a product of modernity. Allegiance to modernity, he argues, must be relinquished to free evangelicals to become more consistently historic. Empowerment to function in our changing culture will be found by adapting the classical tradition to our postmodern time. Webber demonstrates the implications in the key areas of church, worship, spirituality, evangelism, nurture, and mission.
Webber writes, "The fundamental concern of Ancient-Future Faith is to find points of contact between classical Christianity and postmodern thought. Classical Christianity was shaped in a pagan and relativistic society much like our own. Classical Christianity was not an accommodation to paganism but an alternative practice of life. Christians in a postmodern world will succeed, not by watering down the faith, but by being a counter cultural community that invites people to be shaped by the story of Israel and Jesus."
A substantial appendix explores the development of authority in the early church, an important issue for evangelicals in a society that shares many features with the Roman world of early Christians.
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Praise for the Print Edition
The Agenda for Theology, which I attempted to set forth in 1979, is here being significantly extended by Robert Webber in 1999 in a way that is profoundly gratifying.
—Thomas C. Oden, professor of theology, Drew University
With his customary lucidity and catholicity, but in a way that cuts deeper than his earlier writings, Robert Webber substantiates the vision of an anciently-rooted and forward-looking evangelicalism that marks all of his work. Ancient-Future Faith works as a narrative-oriented Christian primer and as a road map to the promise of catholic evangelicalism. For the theologically inclined, it also works as a Gadamerian exercise in the fusion of theological horizons, showing how the Christus Victor Christocentrism of ancient Christianity might reshape the faith that Christians live and claim in a postmodern context. Webber shows what it means to take seriously the character of Christian testimony as Christ-following church-formed story.
—Gary Dorrien, author, The Remaking of Evangelical Theology
Here is a faith for our time that finds in the ancient traditions the power to speak to the postmodern world. This book amounts to an introduction to Christianity from the theme of Christus Victor. It draws from Webber’s own experience of growth as a hearer of God’s Word and is backed up with an impressive set of endnotes, charts, and bibliography.
—Clark H. Pinnock, professor of theology, McMaster Divinity College
This book makes an important contribution…as a call for theological renewal within evangelical churches. Webber provides a wealth of suggestions to help churches appropriate the heritage of 'classical Christianity' for use in contemporary settings…Webber correctly anticipates the inevitable questions about authority, Scripture, and tradition that his proposals will raise for evangelicals…Timely, practical, and persuasive.
With an obvious love for the writings of the church fathers, Webber weaves the ideals of classical Christianity with postmodern thought. The radical, countercultural faith of the early church is relevant to our faith.
- Title: Ancient-Future Faith: Rethinking Evangelicalism for a Postmodern World
- Author: Robert Webber
- Publisher: Baker
- Publication Date: 1999
- Pages: 240
About Robert E. Webber
Robert E. Webber was, at the time of his death, Myers Professor of Ministry at Northern Seminary in Lombard, Illinois, and served as the president of the Institute for Worship Studies in Orange Park, Florida. Over 30,000 people have attended his workshops, and he has authored over forty books on worship and the church, including the Complete Library of Christian Worship, available from Logos. He has also written Renew Your Worship and developed a complete audio and video series based on the book and its related workshops. Prior to his appointment at Northern Seminary, Webber taught at Wheaton College for thirty-two years as professor of theology. He has taught courses on the history, theology, and practice of worship and spirituality.