Why Church History Matters review ´ 3

Robert F. Rea ê 3 free download

Why Church History Matters review ´ 3 Â ❮PDF / Epub❯ ☆ Why Church History Matters Author Robert F. Rea – Gwairsoft.co.uk Does it matter how Christians in other times and places thought If the Bible alone is God's revelation why spend time studying church history Aren't history and tradition of a problem than a solutioBarriers to understanding and embracing the significance of the faith and practice of our spiritual forefathers In three parts he covers how Christians understand church tradition why it is beneficial to broaden our horizons of community and how tradition helps us understand ministry Rea not only skillfully explains why church history matters he shows why it should matter to u. In Why Church History Matters Dr Robert Rea provides an apologia to those who might want or have been taught to devalue Christian History at least Christian History beyond the founding of their own tradition I hope to write a much longer review for publication but here allow me to say a few words in praise and critiue of this bookBob Rea is my former Master's Supervisor my boss my friend and in many ways an early mentor Bob introduced me to a love of Christian history beyond the narrow things I desired to study His love of the history of the Way is evident in this book Some reviewers on sites such as this one note that this book does little for those already committed to studying the tTradition This is however intentional The purpose of the book is to convince those who currently devalue Christian history to value it To that end Dr Rea in the first part of the book gives background information on the meaning and meanings of words like Tradition tradition and traditions to various different Christian groups and how they should or can be understood today In the second part Rea goes on to describe why the study of Church History can be useful even to those who do not hold what might be called a High view of Tradition In the third part Rea goes on to give practical advice and examples of how the study of the Christian past can enrich and is necessary to Christian life in the presentRea does a masterful job making this a necessary book for all who devalue Christian history as necessary for present worship and study This book would also serve well for any introductory courses on Church History ensuring the students taking it that this discipline is neither dry nor irrelevant Rea could of course go deeper or come out on one side of various arguments that he brings up for instance what happens in the Eucharist but does not in order to appeal to a broader audience Eually Rea does not note that the use of certain practices from the past must at least reuire one to explain why the surrounding structure for those practices is not to be accepted For instance if one were to begin praying the divine hours following John Cassian and later Benedict's examples one would need to have a place for the Eucharist as it serves as the fount from which the divine hours flow Even bracketing out a fully fledged understanding of transubstantiation both Cassian and Benedict would have understood the Eucharist as being than a Zwinglian remembrance Nevertheless Rea's book is not intended to be a final word but a beginning C S Lewis says of his Mere Christianity that it is a hallway and the various doors leading off of it are the various Christian traditions It is not right says Lewis to remain in the hallway Rea's book serves as a similar hallway It is the hallway of the Christian path It is not only helpful but necessary in reminding and training us in the long history of Christianity but in the end we still must choose a room

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Does it matter how Christians in other times and places thought If the Bible alone is God's revelation why spend time studying church history Aren't history and tradition of a problem than a solution For many Christians who believe the Bible is the ultimate authority for faith and life uestions about Why Church eBook #240 the role and value of the church's traditions can be di. Why learn about church history This is particularly an important uestion for Christians committed to a biblical faith Isn't the Bible enough Isn't tradition a bad thing a kind of institutional legalism that takes us away from the heart of the gospel and the vitality of the early church in the book of ActsRobert F Rea meets these uestions head on in a book that I hope will see wide usage His basic argument is that when we ignore the thought and actions of Christians throughout history and from other cultures what we likely do is create a culturally captive Christianity that is a Christianized reflection of the culture in which we are embedded Only as we commune with the saints across history and culture and understand how they read and applied the Bible can our expression of Christianity sync with theirs and have a hope of being the startlingly fresh word the world needsRea begins with discussing tradition which he uses in the general sense as a synonym for Christian history church history or historical theologyp 29 He recognizes that tradition is necessary and inevitable while recognizing that particular traditions may be good or bad He then explores how tradition has been understood in relationship to scripture throughout the history of the church He begins by showing that in the early church scripture and tradition were compatible the clarification of the meaning of scripture by the early fathers and councils gave shape to orthodoxy He traces this through the Great Schism of 1054 and the issue of papal primacy the Reformation period and the heightened emphasis on scripture and subordination of tradition down through to the present and the renewed interest in some sectors of the church in patristics and the role of tradition in Christian understanding He then summarizes the role of tradition among the major current streams of the church What is significant for him is that tradition plays a role in all of these even though the relation of biblical authority ecclesial authority and tradition will be defined differentlyThe second part of his book looks at the expanding circles of inuiry that are necessary to explore as we talk about church history beginning with our immediate circle our congregation our faith tradition our shared theological outlook contrasting theologies other cultures and across the centuries He considers how our identity is shaped and modified as we expand our circles of interaction He emphasizes how the cloud of witnesses across the centuries give us models for living help us recognize false belief and help us confront persecution and difficult ethical choices We also practice accountability across the centuries both allowing prior formulations of biblical understanding and practice to critiue ours as well as sometimes engaging the beliefs and practices we think inadeuately reflected biblical faithfulness We both avoid past errors and learn from past responses to error Theologians from the past can mentor us filling in gaps helping us think in different categories and as we listen to the conversation across the centuries come to understand the consensus of the faithful where this existsIn his third section he explores the usefulness of tradition to biblical exegesis and proposes a model that incorporates not only the historical critical approaches we most commonly use but listens to how our contemporaries in our own and other cultures read scripture and how Christians through history have read scripture Hopefully these understandings agree but when they do not he raises the possibility of multiple levels of understanding which was certainly accepted by biblical writers as well as many of the early fathers Some may be critical of Rea here but what challenges me is that writers of the New Testament themselves sometimes interpreted scripture in other than historical critical waysHe concludes with exploring the uses of church history for systematic theology which must interact with both biblical and historical theology; spirituality drawing on the spiritual writers and formative traditions the church has learned from down the centuries He also considers other topics such as worship mission ethics compassion and Christian unity and how an understanding of church history can enrich and inform our efforts in each of these areasRea makes a good case here that biblical faithfulness may be enhanced rather than diminished as we study the scriptures with the saints across history and culture He provides examples throughout and resources at the end to help underscore his case Rea's book not only makes the study of church history appealing to those who would identify as Bible Christians; he also lays the groundwork for a vibrant Christianity that evades the shackles of cultural captivity and heals the schisms of the past

review Why Church History Matters

Why Church History MattersFficult to tackle But let's be honest even those of us who admit that church history is important are often too intimidated or busy to delve into it deeply And for students it is sometimes difficult to see how church history matters in practical ways for future vocations inside and outside the contemporary church In this wide ranging book veteran teacher Bob Rea tackles these. Does the study of church history really matter Being a church historian by training and having taught church history I have had to offer an answer to that uestion on many an occasion Students often come into a church history class with a predisposition against it Seminarians often see church history as course reuirement that is irrelevant to their future oriented call to ministry What can we learn from history except perhaps negative things With a progressive vision that marks both theologically conservative and theologically liberal folks they assume that we must know than our forebearers Of course I disagree with them and do my best to disabuse them of this notionIn this book Robert Rea a church historian affiliated with a seminarycollege in a branch of the Stone Campbell Movement offers his own apology for the study of Church History His target audience is what he calls Bible Focused Christians In other words conservative evangelicals who seek to follow the religion of scripture but who it seems I would concur from experience find little of value in the past Rea seeks to show how those within this movement would benefit from the interpretive and illustrative gifts of their spiritual ancestorsThe book is divided into three major sections Part 1 speaks to the way we understand tradition Here he offers his take on the definition of tradition shares how Christians have understood tradition down through the ages and then offers his take on how it is understood today noting the difference between those who hold to apostolic succession the idea that the current ministry of the church descends in an unbroken line from the apostles through the historic episcopate Roman Catholics Orthodox Anglican and those who do not affirm apostolic succession everyone else Part 2 focuses on what Rea calls expanding circles of inuiry In this section of the book the author seeks to show how the study of church history can help form spiritualChristian identity He notes that our circle of inuiry starts narrowly within the congregation and then the denominationmovement but suggests we would be enriched if we can see ourselves as the descendants of that Great Cloud of Witnesses with whom we share community by imbibing their works and witness This expanding circle of witnesses can provide accountability helping us see how our own visions and experiences match earlier Christians We can also see these Christians as our spiritual mentorsPart 3 responds to the ever present uestion of relevance After all why read history if it has no relevance to what we are doing now in the present Of course those of us who love history can read it for enjoyment but not everyone gets a kick out of reading about a group of 18th century high church Anglicans who separated themselves from the established church because of their political loyalties I'm speaking here of the Nonjurors my area of study For everyone else Robert Rea shows us how our spiritual ancestors can help us read scripture engage in ministry thorugh preaching spirituality worship ethics and Why does Church History matter Rea concludes that hit allows us to celebrate the body of Christ p 192 It does this by broadening our vision of the body to include not only those who share life with us in our congregations or even denominations but reaching out across the communion of saints Some caveats here I liked the book but recognize that I'm not the target audience The constant recitation of the phrase Bible focused Christians was distracting especially when I realized that I am no longer part of that community Though not a common occurrence the few mentions of liberalprogressive Christians were at times expressed through unfortunate stereotypes The audience is conservative evangelical for the most part who are struggling to make sense of the value of history While I recognize that Rea is speaking to this evangelical audience I was hoping he would connect his own journey into history with the often ahistorical nature of the Stone Campbell Movement Perhaps he didn't want to offend colleagues but our shared tradition has often discounted everything that existed beteween the first century to the enlightenment of Thomas and Alexander Campbell in the 19th century That would have been a useful case study It is a useful book though for those in the Mainline a similar but different book would be most helpful