Mark Husbands and Jeffrey P. Greenman bring together select essays from the 2007 Wheaton Theology Conference, Ancient Faith for the Church's Future demonstrates the vitality and significance of the early church for contemporary Christian witness and practice.
These fourteen essays provide for a significant evangelical ressourcement by considering the importance of the thought and practice of the patristic church especially for:
Fresh and forward-looking, this book leads the way toward a deeply rooted church that points beyond contemporary evangelical accommodation to civil religion, privatism and enlightenment methodologies toward its true vocation to bear vital witness to God's present and coming kingdom.
“This is Emergent’s genius, I think: its willingness to experiment liturgically and practically. I do not use the word genius lightly—these folks have been steeped in the best practices of evangelicals, their christocentrism, their love of Scripture, their passion for worship and outreach and activism. Now, in an experimental manner, they are deconstructing some of the barricades evangelicals customarily place around the things they cherish to see what happens. Emergent is evangelicalism with the guardrails off. And some of the results are simply brilliant.” (Page 257)
“For these writers and for other leaders of the ancient church, hospitality was an important practice for transcending the status boundaries of the surrounding culture and for working through issues of recognition and respect. It was crucial to meeting human needs—especially the physical needs of impoverished believers—and it made sense in the economy of God.” (Page 149)
“A third attraction was the Christians’ common life as resident aliens” (Page 174)
“A second attraction was the distinctive behavior of the Christians” (Page 172)
“Overarching our entire discussion thus far is what I have coined the pneumatological arc of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit inspired the apostles to interpret authoritatively the meaning of Christ’s work and person. We now possess this authoritative interpretation in the canonical documents of the New Testament. The guidance, protection and enlivening of the Spirit did not cease, however, with the passing away of the apostolic generation. The Holy Spirit has continued to guide the church as it interprets and incarnates the meaning of these unique texts, a process that now spans hundreds of years and is grounded in the cluster of practices and beliefs contained in the church’s rule of faith (regula fidei) and great tradition.” (Page 38)
Mark Husbands (Ph.D., University of St. Michael's College) is Leonard and Marjorie Maas Associate Professor of Reformed Theology at Hope College. He has also taught at Wheaton College, Wheaton, Illinois, and at Tyndale College and Seminary and Sheridan College in Toronto. While a Master’s student at Wycliffe College at the Toronto School of Theology, he was senior editor of Prolegomena, an academic journal in theology.
Jeffery P. Greenman (Ph.D., University of Virginia) is Associate Dean of Biblical and Theological Studies and Professor of Christian Ethics at Wheaton College, Wheaton, Illinois.