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Is ‘newer’ really ‘better’? We often assume so, but if we do treat the past as inferior we will ignore the legacy of history, and thus will find ourselves stranded on the tiny desert island of our own moment in time.In particular, this applies to Christian theology, which should be thought, and lived, corporately by the church down through the ages.
The remedy to ‘chronological snobbery’ is, as C. S. Lewis put it, ‘to keep the clean sea breeze of the centuries blowing through our minds’. Such is the motivation behind Michael Reeves’ introduction to a selection of influential or significant Christian theologians.
This accessible and informative volume covers the Apostolic Fathers, Justin Martyr and Irenaeus, Athanasius, Augustine, Anselm and Aquinas. Each chapter begins with a brief biography and some background, then surveys each theologian’s major work or works, gives a timeline for historical context, and ends with guidance for further reading.
‘High school history bored many students to tears. Their idea of visiting the past is like a trip to Chernobyl – grim, and possibly life–threatening! A big mistake when that past is full of insight, and the guide is Michael Reeves. This fascinating volume covers the massive influence of great thinkers, apologists and ‘death wish’ martyrs like ‘food for wild beasts’ Ignatius, the courageous alleged murderer and ‘black dwarf’ Athanasius, the fat friendly giant Aquinas, and the planet–sized mind of Augustine of Hippo, who all faced the challenges we face. Reeves breathes life into dead men, with historic writing that’s about as good as it gets – full of interest, burningly relevant, and totally scinitillating. Modern Christians need to re–discover their roots, if only to prevent them poisoning the church’s new shoots with ancient heresies. This is as good an introduction the reader could find. Ignorance is not bliss. Let Reeves tell you why.’ – Greg Haslam, Westminster Chapel, London
‘Someone has suggested that history only repeats itself is because no–one bothered to listen the first time around. Mike Reeves invites us to listen to our Christian history and to learn from it. He tells the stories with energy and humour – the book is a delight to read – and he introduces us to great thinkers who faced questions and problems uncannily like our own, and who found answers in the Scriptures that we would do well to reflect on. This is an important book, wonderfully written, that every thoughtful Christian will enjoy, and will benefit greatly from.’ – Steve Holmes, Senior Lecturer in Theology, University of St Andrews
‘Today, evangelical Christians too often read the Bible as if it had just dropped out of heaven, with little or no appreciation of church history. Michael Reeves offers a good corrective to this with his very readable introduction to many of the key figures and works of the early Church.’ – Tony Lane, London School of Theology
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