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15th Annual Outreach Magazine Resource of the Year - Also Recommended in Theology 2017 The Gospel Coalition Book Award Jesus Creed Book of the Year 2017, Church History Protestant evangelicalism is in crisis. Today it is increasingly difficult for Protestants to identify what counts as distinctively Protestant, much less what counts as evangelical. As evangelicals increasingl 15th Annual Outreach Magazine Resource of the Year - Also Recommended in Theology 2017 The Gospel Coalition Book Award Jesus Creed Book of the Year 2017, Church History Protestant evangelicalism is in crisis. Today it is increasingly difficult for Protestants to identify what counts as distinctively Protestant, much less what counts as evangelical. As evangelicals increasingly lose contact with the churches and traditions descending from the Reformation, and as relations with Roman Catholicism continue to thaw, it becomes harder to explain why one should remain committed to the Reformation in the face of perceived deficits and theological challenges with the Protestant tradition. A common complaint about Protestant evangelicalism is its apparent disconnect from ancient Christianity. The antiquity and catholicity of Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy seem to outshine the relative novelty of the Reformation. Some evangelical churches appear to be uninterested in the ancient historical roots of their faith as well as being liturgically and doctrinally unstable. Many within evangelicalism seem to have accepted at face value the suggestion that the evangelical faith is no more than a threadbare descendant of ancient Christianity. The result is that a number of younger Protestants in recent years have abandoned evangelicalism, turning instead to practices and traditions that appear more rooted in the early church. In Search of Ancient Roots examines this phenomenon and places it within a wider historical context. Ken Stewart argues that the evangelical tradition in fact has a much healthier track record of interacting with Christian antiquity than it is usually given credit for. He surveys five centuries of Protestant engagement with the ancient church, showing that Christians belonging to the evangelical churches of the Reformation have consistently seen their faith as connected to early Christianity. Stewart explores areas of positive engagement, such as the Lord's Supper and biblical interpretation, as well as areas that raise concerns, such as monasticism. In Search of Ancient Roots shows that evangelicals need not view their tradition as impoverished or lacking deep roots in the tradition. Christian antiquity is the heritage of all orthodox Christians, and evangelicals have the resources in their history to claim their place at the ecumenical table.


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15th Annual Outreach Magazine Resource of the Year - Also Recommended in Theology 2017 The Gospel Coalition Book Award Jesus Creed Book of the Year 2017, Church History Protestant evangelicalism is in crisis. Today it is increasingly difficult for Protestants to identify what counts as distinctively Protestant, much less what counts as evangelical. As evangelicals increasingl 15th Annual Outreach Magazine Resource of the Year - Also Recommended in Theology 2017 The Gospel Coalition Book Award Jesus Creed Book of the Year 2017, Church History Protestant evangelicalism is in crisis. Today it is increasingly difficult for Protestants to identify what counts as distinctively Protestant, much less what counts as evangelical. As evangelicals increasingly lose contact with the churches and traditions descending from the Reformation, and as relations with Roman Catholicism continue to thaw, it becomes harder to explain why one should remain committed to the Reformation in the face of perceived deficits and theological challenges with the Protestant tradition. A common complaint about Protestant evangelicalism is its apparent disconnect from ancient Christianity. The antiquity and catholicity of Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy seem to outshine the relative novelty of the Reformation. Some evangelical churches appear to be uninterested in the ancient historical roots of their faith as well as being liturgically and doctrinally unstable. Many within evangelicalism seem to have accepted at face value the suggestion that the evangelical faith is no more than a threadbare descendant of ancient Christianity. The result is that a number of younger Protestants in recent years have abandoned evangelicalism, turning instead to practices and traditions that appear more rooted in the early church. In Search of Ancient Roots examines this phenomenon and places it within a wider historical context. Ken Stewart argues that the evangelical tradition in fact has a much healthier track record of interacting with Christian antiquity than it is usually given credit for. He surveys five centuries of Protestant engagement with the ancient church, showing that Christians belonging to the evangelical churches of the Reformation have consistently seen their faith as connected to early Christianity. Stewart explores areas of positive engagement, such as the Lord's Supper and biblical interpretation, as well as areas that raise concerns, such as monasticism. In Search of Ancient Roots shows that evangelicals need not view their tradition as impoverished or lacking deep roots in the tradition. Christian antiquity is the heritage of all orthodox Christians, and evangelicals have the resources in their history to claim their place at the ecumenical table.

30 review for In Search of Ancient Roots: The Christian Past and the Evangelical Identity Crisis

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jared

    Many Christians who have dabbled in Church History eventually run into the old adage coined by John Henry Newman: “To be deep in History is to cease to be Protestant.” Not so fast. That is essentially Kenneth J. Stewart’s argument in his work “In Search of Ancient Roots”. In this work the Covenant College historian, Kenneth J. Stewart, is seeking to add a historical context for an interesting phenomena occurring among younger Protestants. Many young Evangelicals are exiting their churches to retur Many Christians who have dabbled in Church History eventually run into the old adage coined by John Henry Newman: “To be deep in History is to cease to be Protestant.” Not so fast. That is essentially Kenneth J. Stewart’s argument in his work “In Search of Ancient Roots”. In this work the Covenant College historian, Kenneth J. Stewart, is seeking to add a historical context for an interesting phenomena occurring among younger Protestants. Many young Evangelicals are exiting their churches to return to the “true” church of Rome or its Greek/Russian cousin has historical precedent. He argues that Evangelical Protestantism is in a bit of an identity crisis. How can Evangelical Christianity argue for its own ties to a historic or ancient Christianity when it seems to lack a clear lineage before the year 1500 AD? Stewart uses detailed historical research to argue that not only does Evangelical Protestantism merely have a seat at the table as a faithful expression of Apostolic Christianity, but it is a faithful expression of the faith once for all delivered to the saints. He also tries to slam the door on many of the tweet-able remarks made towards Protestants in attempts to discredit their historical heritage. He also pastorally cautions young evangelicals from the common affliction of myopia who “are novices in any branch of the Christian family with which they are newly acquainted. This difficulty, when expressed in a different way, is that it is too easy to fall prey to an idealized notion of the Christian past” (174-175). Now I think its important to set the boundaries for what he is trying to do in this book. It is a history book. He is going to walk you through many historical figures, works and ideas. That is the beauty of the book though. In a time in which many Christians substitute hard earned study and research for quick-jabs in internet comment sections, his research is a drink of fresh cool water to those who are concerned for grounding their local church Christian expression in the history of the catholic (or universal) church. He argues that there have been many reoccurring “Evangelical” movements within the history of the church in which Christians have sought in the hardening of the “official” church to return to a true Christianity emphasizing conversion, the Gospel and holiness. He also argues that Christians throughout history have worked to ensure that they are grounding themselves within the supreme authority of Scripture. These two principles govern then how he sees Evangelical Protestantism as a faithful continuation of Christianity. So as an aside, if you disagree with his diagnosis of “true” Christianity, you are going to disagree with him about the conclusions. This work is not an exhaustive work of history (only at just over 280 pages). Nor is he explicitly critiquing Catholicism and Orthodoxy. He is arguing for a place of Protestantism at the table of the historic church. Since most of Protestantism’s main interactions have historically been with Roman Catholicism, those who are sensitive to the pull of Greek or Russian Orthodoxy will most likely feel left without much of a voice in the conversation. A few key takeaway for me in considering these types of issues is that he is making a distinction between Evangelical Protestantism and Evangelical Protestantism. The first is an Evangelical Protestantism is a faith which is tied to a historic confessionalism, such as expressed within Reformed churches and denominations. The latter type is an Evangelical Protestantism which is not explicitly tied to a historic expression in faith, confession or practice, such as non-denominational churches and seeker sensitive churches. He also argues that this is not a universal experience of Protestant churches, just North American ones. He cautions younger Christians from making the logical fallacy that your expression of an Evangelical Protestant church is an accurate representation of Evangelical Protestantism as a whole across the last 500 years. All in all, this is a work worth owning. This book is worth having on your bookshelf if you are: A Protestant disillusioned to current expressions of Evangelicalism which do not reflect a picture of Biblical Christianity. A Protestant or ex-Protestant who is heavily considering converting to Catholic or Orthodox Christianity and looking for an argument in favor of Protestant Christianity. A pastor or leader in the church who wants to be informed in the current Evangelical Exodus taking place to more “ancient” forms of Christianity. I received this book from IVP Publishers in exchange for my honest review.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Paul

    Does evangelical Christianity have ancient roots? Some voices have been quick to abandon the label and/or the movement, and to answer the question in the negative. This book exposes the shallow nature of such "de-conversions" and stands to contend for the recovery of a comprehensive understanding of evangelical Protestantism's heritage from the earliest centuries. Does evangelical Christianity have ancient roots? Some voices have been quick to abandon the label and/or the movement, and to answer the question in the negative. This book exposes the shallow nature of such "de-conversions" and stands to contend for the recovery of a comprehensive understanding of evangelical Protestantism's heritage from the earliest centuries.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Meagan

    This book was such a perfect foil for Ask for the Ancient Paths: Discovering What Church Is Meant to Be, a book I read earlier this month. While I enjoyed that read and found it clinically interesting, I found this to be much more well-rounded and rooted in tradition *and* history, not just the former. "In Search of Ancient Roots" is incredibly well researched (and filled with names I've frankly never heard of, haha), with a lengthy bibliography and helpful discussion questions at each chapter's This book was such a perfect foil for Ask for the Ancient Paths: Discovering What Church Is Meant to Be, a book I read earlier this month. While I enjoyed that read and found it clinically interesting, I found this to be much more well-rounded and rooted in tradition *and* history, not just the former. "In Search of Ancient Roots" is incredibly well researched (and filled with names I've frankly never heard of, haha), with a lengthy bibliography and helpful discussion questions at each chapter's end. It will challenge readers of any denomination to look at the whys and wherefores in addition to the "how." Sometimes I got a little lost in the weeds; the level of detail is truly astounding (in a good way), my brain could just only handle so much at that point. Another review mentioned how parts read "like a collection of Amazon.com book reviews," which made me LOL--because it's true! I felt the same at times. But I also appreciated that, as it spared me some effort of my own.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    Assesses why some protestants look East or to Rome for "historic" Christianity. Author argues well: "Evangelical Christianity is not the problem; evangelical Christianity that has severed its roots in early Christianity is the problem." Pro: Helpful in rooting the evangelical movement and its fundamental features in history and the historic church. Con: Too many chapters that read like a collection of Amazon.com book reviews. Assesses why some protestants look East or to Rome for "historic" Christianity. Author argues well: "Evangelical Christianity is not the problem; evangelical Christianity that has severed its roots in early Christianity is the problem." Pro: Helpful in rooting the evangelical movement and its fundamental features in history and the historic church. Con: Too many chapters that read like a collection of Amazon.com book reviews.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Michael Philliber

    “Evangelical Protestantism is not the problem; evangelical Protestantism that has severed its roots in early Christianity is a problem” (273). So concludes Kenneth J. Stewart, professor of theological studies at Covenant College in Lookout Mountain, Georgia, in his new 304 page hardback "In Search of Ancient Roots: The Christian Past and the Evangelical Identity Crisis." The author carefully and conscientiously presents his case in a way that is understandable for pastors, interested adults and “Evangelical Protestantism is not the problem; evangelical Protestantism that has severed its roots in early Christianity is a problem” (273). So concludes Kenneth J. Stewart, professor of theological studies at Covenant College in Lookout Mountain, Georgia, in his new 304 page hardback "In Search of Ancient Roots: The Christian Past and the Evangelical Identity Crisis." The author carefully and conscientiously presents his case in a way that is understandable for pastors, interested adults and those in the academy. “In Search of Ancient Roots” develops the idea that Protestantism, including Evangelicalism, has roots that run back through popular late medieval movements and the earlier Patristic and Christian eras. Stewart contends that early Protestantism “chose to present itself as embodying a return to the less encumbered doctrinal allegiances of the earliest centuries of the church” (63). The author shows clearly how the Reformers, and their theological descendants, drew from the earlier church fathers in challenging Roman Catholic abuses in their day. He gives numerous examples with regard to the Lord’s Supper and Baptism, as well as the Protestant displacement of the Apocryphal and Deuterocanonical books. He also exhibits that the Protestant teaching on justification has clear connections with earlier Christian theologians, and even had sympathetic supporters among several 16th Century Roman Catholic cardinals and clerics. “In Search of Ancient Roots” further demonstrates that contributing to many high-profile "Home to Rome" or "Home to Antioch" Protestant and Evangelical defections has been a 20th Century Evangelical identity crisis. The author argues that there are four factors that have subsidized this identity crisis. There is the “run-down” factor, where the initial momentum of the Reformation has begun to run down over the long years and changed environments. Also, larger portions of evangelical Christianity have pulled away from churches that have historical roots in the Reformation, which has unplugged many from the past. Next, there is a growing thaw in Protestant and Catholic relations. Finally, over the last one hundred years, evangelical Protestantism has dissociated itself from its long practice of “regularly drawing on the resources of the early church, assisted by the insights of the Reformation of the sixteenth century” in ways consistent with the supreme authority of Sacred Scripture (269). It’s from this cocktail of factors that a notion has been arising that sees Evangelical Protestantism as a rootless latecomer to Christianity. A further consequence has been that the resulting activism, pragmatism and doctrinal minimalism have left “large portions of the evangelical movement…especially vulnerable to what can only be called “faddishness”” (263). “In Search of Ancient Roots” gives good, solid reasons for Evangelical Protestantism to take heart; and to reacquaint ourselves with our roots in the “Great Tradition.” This volume would make an ideal addition to a college course on church history, and it is well suited for adult Christian Education classes in congregations. Pastors should take it up and pour over its pages. And if someone is thinking about returning “Home to Rome” or “Home to Antioch,” hand them a copy. I highly recommend this book. Thanks to IVP Academic for providing, upon my request, the free copy of the book used for this review. The assessments are mine given without restrictions or requirements (as per Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255).

  6. 5 out of 5

    Ethan

    It would seem like a book exploring the Christian past and the Evangelical identity crisis. The book is actually a member of the Reformed camp engaged in apologetics for the Protestant Reformation and its current standing. Throughout the book the greatest concession is that study in early Christianity was too neglected for about a century until recently. Otherwise the author is attempting to burnish the bonafides of historic Protestantism in an attempt to warn people away from Roman Catholicism an It would seem like a book exploring the Christian past and the Evangelical identity crisis. The book is actually a member of the Reformed camp engaged in apologetics for the Protestant Reformation and its current standing. Throughout the book the greatest concession is that study in early Christianity was too neglected for about a century until recently. Otherwise the author is attempting to burnish the bonafides of historic Protestantism in an attempt to warn people away from Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy. He also would not think much of the Restoration Movement and its impulse, of which I am quite convicted, so there's my bias showing. It's not as if I disagree with him much in substance about concerns regarding any move toward Rome or Constantinople; nevertheless, it's evident throughout that the author's main purpose is to attempt to make much out of a little. He does show the interest maintained in Protestantism regarding early Christianity throughout the years and shows how many attempted to argue the historicity of justification by faith only. But the arguments are quite narrow and not altogether convincing: in terms of justification by faith only, his main beef is that the Catholics overstated their argument. But overstating the argument doesn't justify the opposing argument, and the evidence remains quite little regarding any major emphasis on justification by faith only before Luther. The author has a whole chapter devoted to what seems to be a strong interest of his, John Henry Newman; it tends to be more of a chronicle of all the interpretations on Newman more than anything else. Yes, the answer is not to run to Rome or Constantinople. But running to Geneva or Wittenberg is just as specious. I would encourage everyone to run to Jerusalem. **--galley received as part of early review program

  7. 4 out of 5

    Seth

    Stewart lays out the problems many younger evangelicals grapple with as they explore more historically rooted Christian traditions, namely Roman Catholicism and the Eastern (in America, mostly Antioch) Orthodox Churches. The answer according to Stewart, is not abandoning evangelicalism, but reclaiming the catholic spirit within evangelical Protestantism's past. Very well done book. I appreciated especially the closing chapters focusing more deeply on justification and the papacy. Would recommend Stewart lays out the problems many younger evangelicals grapple with as they explore more historically rooted Christian traditions, namely Roman Catholicism and the Eastern (in America, mostly Antioch) Orthodox Churches. The answer according to Stewart, is not abandoning evangelicalism, but reclaiming the catholic spirit within evangelical Protestantism's past. Very well done book. I appreciated especially the closing chapters focusing more deeply on justification and the papacy. Would recommend to every Christian interested in church history.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Alex Stroshine

    Many contemporary evangelicals are dissatisfied with the form of Christianity they grew up in. They bemoan the lowest common denominator ethos of seeker-sensitive churches, the utter unawareness of the Church's past, the crass commercialization of what had once been reverent, the conformity to pop culture that rejects classical, challenging aesthetics. Disenchanted, more thoughtful evangelicals leave Protestantism for Eastern Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism (one thinks of Jaroslav Pelikan, Peter Many contemporary evangelicals are dissatisfied with the form of Christianity they grew up in. They bemoan the lowest common denominator ethos of seeker-sensitive churches, the utter unawareness of the Church's past, the crass commercialization of what had once been reverent, the conformity to pop culture that rejects classical, challenging aesthetics. Disenchanted, more thoughtful evangelicals leave Protestantism for Eastern Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism (one thinks of Jaroslav Pelikan, Peter E. Gillquist, Duane Pederson, and Hank Hanegraaff crossing the Bosporus and Thomas Howard, Ross Douthat, and R.R. Reno crossing the Tiber), though this is still a trickle compared to the waves of Catholics converting to evangelical Christianity; still, in my opinion, those leaving Protestantism for Rome and Constantinople do so for more sophisticated, intellectual reasons compared to Catholics-turned-evangelicals who when asked about their conversions say, "I didn't understand the Mass, my old faith wasn't practical to my daily life" - these are a far cry from a theological investigation into the Eucharist. In an attempt to persuade disgruntled evangelicals to remain in the Protestant fold, Kenneth J. Stewart offers "In Search of Ancient Roots: The Christian Past and the Evangelical Identity Crisis." As previous reviewers have remarked, the book is a mixed bag; some chapters are more compelling than others. I will highlight a few of my favourite points that Stewart makes. Stewart admits that many evangelicals today are ignorant of the Christian past. There is little interest among certain evangelicals for understanding ecclesiology, the sacraments, Purgatory, and other key Christian doctrines (just as long as the worship music is good). But Stewart pleads that evangelical ignorance of the past is not normative of orthodox Protestantism. He asserts that those who leave Protestantism (here he has in mind the memoirs of notable ex-evangelicals such as Howard) are only responding to their OWN personal experiences of Protestantism and not to historic Protestantism which indeed has throughout its span kept classical Christianity at the forefront (p. 72, 74). Stewart makes this case in several ways. One of the most compelling arguments for me personally is that the first Reformers were able to break with Rome despite being raised and formed in the Catholic Church (see especially Martin Luther and Martin Bucer). The Reformers, following the influence of humanism, sought to go back to the original sources ("Ad fontes!") and the original languages (around 1397, Greek scholars began arriving in Western Europe where the ability to read Greek had been largely lost, although there were some Latin translations of Greek writings, p. 92-93) they were more experienced with the Bible's original languages and the writings of the early church fathers than their Catholic counterparts who relied heavily on medieval scholastics (p. 62-64). It was partly by diligently examining Scripture in its original languages, rather than Latin, that the Reformers came to break with Rome. Although today’s evangelicals are often ignorant of the church fathers, Bucer, John Calvin, and the other Reformers were well-versed in patristic writings (Calvin was fond of Bernard of Clairvaux’s work). Another example of Protestant attention to the past is the long legacy of Protestants who have championed patristic studies (this is addressed well in chapter 5). In particular, one thinks of the venerable Philip Schaff, who supervised the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers set. Additionally, Stewart points to David F. Wright as another careful scholar of early Christianity (one could also add "paleo-orthodox" theologians such as Thomas C. Oden [editor of the Ancient Christian Commentary series, itself a testament to evangelical appreciation of the Church Fathers], Christopher Hall, D.H. Williams, Geoffrey Wainwright, and others). Stewart notes that (more snarkier) Catholics are prone to quote Cardinal John Henry Newman's aphorism, "To be deep in history is to cease to be Protestant." Interestingly, Stewart reveals that though Newman is championed as arguably the most important Catholic convert of the 19th century, during his day the Catholic authorities were wary of him; in particular, his celebrated "Essay in the Development of Christian Doctrine" caused concern among Catholics in the 1800s and would only gain substantial support in the 20th century. The Roman Catholicism of Newman's day preferred to insist that there had been no significant change in doctrine over the centuries; in this way, Catholicism during this period was similar to Protestantism which believed that doctrine, if it developed, developed NEGATIVELY away from established, immaculate doctrine (p. 64-65). Robert Rainy and James Orr, two Protestant theologians (who also became interlocutors of Newman's proposals of doctrinal development), shifted Protestants away from believing that ALL doctrinal development was negative and towards the stance that some fuller understanding of doctrine had been attained over time (p. 67-68). As Stewart explains the differences in doctrinal understanding among Catholics and Protestants, "The difference between these two altered conceptions is that while Roman Catholicism has come to accept that theological advance has gone forward beyond what may be DIRECTLY supported from the Scriptures, evangelical Protestantism has accepted only that theological advance encompasses a fuller and more sensitive interpretation of what the Scriptures in fact support" (p. 68). I will pause here and comment that one of Stewart's great gifts and accomplishments in this book is in introducing readers to older, less well-known Protestant thinkers who critiqued more famous opponents; in this case, Orr's "The Progress of Dogma" as a Protestant response to Newman's essay (I have heard that J.I. Packer recommends this book by Orr for disillusioned Protestants feeling the tug of Rome and Constantinople). Historic Protestantism has capably been able to respond to Catholic challenges (I will note here that Catholicism is addressed far more than Orthodoxy). Newman is further critiqued in that Stewart asserts there are in fact TWO Newmans. The English convert is today well-regarded by his fellow Catholics who tend to not acknowledge the unease he caused in his day over the development of doctrine (he also was deeply suspicious of papal infallibility). Although his "Apologia Pro Vita Sua" is hailed as a classic of spiritual autobiography, Stewart notes that in a later "Autobiographical Memoir," Newman expunged his gratitude to his evangelical heritage that had appeared in the earlier book. Newman was careful to construct a respectable legacy for himself that quietly eroded the controversial reputation that dogged him in the mid-1800s (p. 188). Orthodox and Catholic believers see in their communions the safety of stability. Indeed, though I could never convert to either of these traditions, there is part of me that appreciates the long and thoughtful arguments that these churches have put forward in defense of sexual ethics and human life (even if I also think some of these longstanding arguments, such as the prohibition of women's ordination to the priesthood, do not reflect the true biblical stance). Yet I also speak of stability in the age of Pope Francis, who has caused many conservative Catholics to wring their hands at his off-the-cuff (even if pastorally-charged) comments (see his desire to open up communion to the divorced). Stewart suggests that all Christian traditions have been open to change and innovation based upon context; the early Mediterranean culture in which the early Church emerged is much different from the medieval European village and the suburbs of modern North America (p. 53-54). Another example is that the bishop of Rome did not always enjoy the power and prestige that he began to wield as the Roman Empire started to crumble and the pentarchy began to collapse and that some popes were chosen by the emperor rather than the Holy Spirit. Stewart asserts that many converts to Orthodoxy and Catholicism look to the second century as determinative whereas historically the Church has looked to the first FIVE centuries (p. 87-88). Additionally, supporters of the "nouvelle theologie" of the mid-20th century interestingly looked to the early Church fathers for guidance whereas their opponents insisted that they should instead rely upon the medieval scholastics for doctrinal clarity (indeed, some proponents of the "nouvelle theologie," such as Yves Congar and Henri de Lubac, were censured by their fellow Catholics, p. 93). As I expressed above, this book has ups and downs, with some chapters being stronger than others. At times the book doesn't flow well as a whole but seems to be a pragmatically-driven response to various trends among disillusioned evangelicals. There are some errors, such as mistaking dates (p. 211) and names (Thomas F. Oden rather than Thomas C. Oden). Just this semester at chapel at Regent College I heard a sermon that suggested that the apostles were WRONG to choose Matthias to replace Judas Iscariot as the Holy Spirit had not yet been given and the selection process was based upon drawing lots. Stewart mentions this revisionist interpretation of the biblical event on pp. 146-49 as he discusses G. Campbell Morgan and F.F. Bruce but he doesn't actually EXPLAIN why such revisionist interpretation is incorrect. I had feared that this would be a thinly-veiled apologetic for Calvinism in the early Church. It was not. I would recommend this book to evangelicals considering leaving Protestantism behind for the Bosporus and the Tiber; I doubt it will prove convincing enough to prevent many departures (at times it reads like a "Gotcha!" book against Orthodox and Catholic converts), but it at least sets forth a strong case that historic orthodox Protestantism does not, in fact, neglect the Church's past but has traditionally held it in high esteem, if only disillusioned Protestants would look.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Vanjr

    I ordered this book when it first came out as I have been interested in the topic of Orthodox church, its history and how it relates to the the Evangelical movement in which I was raised. In some ways I was looking for answers to some of the contentions of the Orthodox church as laid out in Timothy Ware's book. This book really does not address many of those issues. I was a little disappointed in chapters dealing with issues such as the Lord's Supper where it dealt with a what many would conside I ordered this book when it first came out as I have been interested in the topic of Orthodox church, its history and how it relates to the the Evangelical movement in which I was raised. In some ways I was looking for answers to some of the contentions of the Orthodox church as laid out in Timothy Ware's book. This book really does not address many of those issues. I was a little disappointed in chapters dealing with issues such as the Lord's Supper where it dealt with a what many would consider a trivial issue (frequency) rather than a good comparison of the doctrine of the two different movements. There is also a good bit of comparison between mainstream Protestantism and Catholic material which really is less focused on Evangelical Protestantism. For me the highlight of this book was a good number of resources from historic texts that are not well known by our current generation. Chapter 5 in particular gave me a mother lode of texts that I want to explore. The 3 star rating is (in my way of evaluating books not a bad rating. If the book is really bad I do not finish it. A 5 star I try to reserve for the absolute pinnacle of writing and four is outstanding. I consider a 3 good and this book is probably 3.5 or so. (Note I really should have a nice Gaussian distribution of my ratings, but I really am shifted to the right as I tend to really enjoy the books I read-mainly due to pre reading selection bias).

  10. 4 out of 5

    Coyle

    "This isn’t the kind of book that I thought it would be (which just shows you that I didn’t read the back cover before diving in). I had expected an apologetic for why Protestantism is true and Roman Catholicism (and to a lesser extent, Eastern Orthodoxy) are heretical. And to be sure there’s some of that (especially in the last three chapters). But by and large this book is a response to the reasons prominent Evangelicals have apostasized combined with some historical reasons why such apostasy "This isn’t the kind of book that I thought it would be (which just shows you that I didn’t read the back cover before diving in). I had expected an apologetic for why Protestantism is true and Roman Catholicism (and to a lesser extent, Eastern Orthodoxy) are heretical. And to be sure there’s some of that (especially in the last three chapters). But by and large this book is a response to the reasons prominent Evangelicals have apostasized combined with some historical reasons why such apostasy is unnecessary." Read more at http://www.patheos.com/blogs/schaeffe...

  11. 5 out of 5

    Ivan

    Excellent book!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jared Hiebert

    If your looking for a book, one of many around these days, that seeks to defend the truth of Protestantism against the 'terrible errors' of Roman Catholicism, then this book is not for you. What this book is should interest pastors as they reflect on the multitude of movements that seem to pop up within North American evangelicalism. Stewart seeks to demonstrate two things. First, there have always been evangelical type movements in the church. Second, we need to pay attention to the past in ord If your looking for a book, one of many around these days, that seeks to defend the truth of Protestantism against the 'terrible errors' of Roman Catholicism, then this book is not for you. What this book is should interest pastors as they reflect on the multitude of movements that seem to pop up within North American evangelicalism. Stewart seeks to demonstrate two things. First, there have always been evangelical type movements in the church. Second, we need to pay attention to the past in order to build the church in the present and the future. This is the strongest of the two parts of the work. As to the second thesis, this book offers both constructive ways of accomplishing what he advocates as well as setting boundaries to make sure that we do not go too far, and thus make similar errors as the church has made in the past. This book is a welcome combination of scholarly work and practical thinking. Stewart has provided us with a number of important things to think about (chapters 13-15) -how should evangelicals think about the pope?; is our thinking about justification by faith historically faithful?; how do we appeal to those young people who desire a deeper church experience than what most evangelical churches offer? Those who read this book will benefit in two ways. First, they will develop an understanding of evangelicalism and Protestantism that they probably had not thought about. Second, reflecting along with Stewart on the questions noted above.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Peter Grier

    A must-read for anyone who lives and works in settings where they engage with those of Roman Catholic belief or those who think that Newman's critique of the protestant church may just be right: "to be deep in history is to cease to be protestant" Prof Stewart gives great confidence that evangelical belief can be rooted in history, from the scriptures, from early church and through to present day. Defeating the myths of the lack of evangelical engagement with early church belief, he gives stimulat A must-read for anyone who lives and works in settings where they engage with those of Roman Catholic belief or those who think that Newman's critique of the protestant church may just be right: "to be deep in history is to cease to be protestant" Prof Stewart gives great confidence that evangelical belief can be rooted in history, from the scriptures, from early church and through to present day. Defeating the myths of the lack of evangelical engagement with early church belief, he gives stimulating summaries of various doctrines at the heart of evangelical belief, and who has held them over the years and reasons why folk may have thought otherwise. The author writes persuasively but showing a great understanding of the topic and a fair representation of most views within the book. I've always struggled with church history, but this book made me want to look into these things more. I found myself not always agreeing with some smaller parts but none-the-less stimulated and very much more confident in the history of Christian belief over the centuries. For some thoughts on why to read it from an Irish context: https://aljabr7.wordpress.com/2018/07...

  14. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    This book was refreshing. A historically nuanced critique of the evangelicals-fleeing-to-Rome-and-Constantinople narrative. Often, he argues, disaffected evangelicals have a shallow foundation in the historic Protestant tradition, and thus are at a double remove from the Reformers' (and many evangelicals', until relatively recently) own lively engagement with the Fathers. When they do leave, they often have a romanticized/simplified view of the ancient church and its connection to their adoptive This book was refreshing. A historically nuanced critique of the evangelicals-fleeing-to-Rome-and-Constantinople narrative. Often, he argues, disaffected evangelicals have a shallow foundation in the historic Protestant tradition, and thus are at a double remove from the Reformers' (and many evangelicals', until relatively recently) own lively engagement with the Fathers. When they do leave, they often have a romanticized/simplified view of the ancient church and its connection to their adoptive tradition. Not all the chapters are equally engaging, and I didn't agree with everything, but there are some interesting (and overdue) challenges thrown down throughout.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jamie Moore

    Extremely helpful book written from a Reformed perspective and exploring the links of modern evangelicalism to the Church fathers and before. Demonstrates that contrary to the claims of Roman Catholicism, the distinctive beliefs of evangelicalism, such as justification by faith alone, is not a modern development beginning with the Reformation, but have deep roots, even within RC itself. Very important work establishing a solid foundation for evangelical churches.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Filip Sylwestrowicz

    Stewart's book responds to the identity crisis experienced by young evangelicals who often convert to Roman Catholicism or Eastern Orthodoxy in search for historical rootedness. He argues convincingly that one can find historical rootedness remaining an evangelical. This book lays out helpful principles for interacting with the Christian past in thoughtful way. More o my blog: https://fsylwestrowicz.com/book-thoug... Stewart's book responds to the identity crisis experienced by young evangelicals who often convert to Roman Catholicism or Eastern Orthodoxy in search for historical rootedness. He argues convincingly that one can find historical rootedness remaining an evangelical. This book lays out helpful principles for interacting with the Christian past in thoughtful way. More o my blog: https://fsylwestrowicz.com/book-thoug...

  17. 5 out of 5

    Paul Gibson

    This book provided a solid background of church history and I walked away from this reading feeling a stronger urge to understand the historical foundations of evangelicalism. Ultimately, In Search of Ancient Roots helped me increase my desire to see evangelicalism’s strong Biblical foundation reclaimed and divorced from its current polluted depictions.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Garrett Sculthorpe

    Author provides good breadth on contemporary issues in Evangelicalism’s relationship with Rome and the East. His last few pages of questions to evangelicals regarding their church are spot on. But, most chapters read as a typical blog post with common high-level Protestant/catholic polemics and not much depth. The many citations are helpful.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Karl

    Doesn't define Evangelicalism, unclear who the audience is, never discusses recent heterodox movements in the Evangelical church that are pushing ex-Evangelicals to consider swimming east to Rome or Constantinople. Doesn't define Evangelicalism, unclear who the audience is, never discusses recent heterodox movements in the Evangelical church that are pushing ex-Evangelicals to consider swimming east to Rome or Constantinople.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Barry

    Maybe I’ll write a brief review when I get a minute, but for now I’ll refer you to these: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... Maybe I’ll write a brief review when I get a minute, but for now I’ll refer you to these: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...

  21. 4 out of 5

    Davede

    Author didn’t seem to know anything about Orthodoxy, often mischaracterizing its arguments, lumping it together with Catholicism when not appropriate, or totally neglecting to engage in the arguments or perspective it has on a particular topic. His reverence for the original Protestant reformers also clouds his judgement in evaluating their use of the Church Fathers to support their claims. They obviously cherry-picked quotes from the Fathers to counteract Catholic claims, and pulled out of not- Author didn’t seem to know anything about Orthodoxy, often mischaracterizing its arguments, lumping it together with Catholicism when not appropriate, or totally neglecting to engage in the arguments or perspective it has on a particular topic. His reverence for the original Protestant reformers also clouds his judgement in evaluating their use of the Church Fathers to support their claims. They obviously cherry-picked quotes from the Fathers to counteract Catholic claims, and pulled out of not-exactly-thin air the idea of Sola Scriptura to develop a whole new system of soteriology. While this strategy was effective at condemning Catholicism as to where it had strayed from the True Faith, it didn’t actually engage with the roots of Holy Tradition. Thus, it was not en-wisened thereby, nor does it convincingly argue against Orthodoxy, in contradiction to the author’s claims.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Alexander Proudfoot

    Excellent and timely book. Evangelicals are leaving their assemblies by the droves to join the horrific heresies of Rome. Is it a matter of theological conviction? Stewart's answers are insightful and scientific, not merely conjectural. Certainly a book worthy of recommending. Also particularly fascinating what the section on early Scottish Presbyterian practices regarding the Lords Supper. Excellent and timely book. Evangelicals are leaving their assemblies by the droves to join the horrific heresies of Rome. Is it a matter of theological conviction? Stewart's answers are insightful and scientific, not merely conjectural. Certainly a book worthy of recommending. Also particularly fascinating what the section on early Scottish Presbyterian practices regarding the Lords Supper.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Andrew Stout

  24. 4 out of 5

    Ike Reeder

  25. 5 out of 5

    Travis Lowe

  26. 4 out of 5

    Richard Coombs

  27. 4 out of 5

    Lindsay Gustafson

  28. 5 out of 5

    Singingpenguin

  29. 4 out of 5

    Robert Fry

  30. 5 out of 5

    Chris Rohde

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