Home. Quotes Piquantes. Personal. Shorter Writings. My Books.

Book Review

Evangelicals and TraditionWe're against tradition...aren't we?

Many evangelicals and charismatics are returning to the Catholic and Orthodox churches because they sense they have lost contact with their historical roots as Christians. It is far better, this book argues, to recognise the value of the 'tradition' established in the Patristic period—the first six centuries of the Christian era—without giving up the insights that the Holy Spirit has revealed in more recent centuries.

It will make you think, and perhaps make you look more charitably at, for example, the ancient creeds. It is Evangelicals And Tradition by D.H. Williams (Paternoster, 2005, ISBN 1-84227-386-8). Subtitle: The formative influences of the early church.

Before Christians had a Bible of Old and New Testaments, they had the apostolic tradition.  (p5)

The tradition is the various incarnations of the Christian faith articulated during the first five or six centuries… The apostolic and patristic tradition is foundational to the Christian faith in normative ways that no other period of the church's history can claim.  (p22)

Nothing about the patristic process of canonisation should be perceived as a threat to the unique place of Scripture's authority… Evangelicals need to hear that not only Scripture but also the tradition was superintended by the work of God's Spirit.  (p29)

The Scripture-only principle is no guarantee for establishing Christian truth, nor is it immune to pious and well-intentioned believers whose use and presentation of the Bible hold little connection to historic Christianity, for the Scripture-only principle could and did backfire on its adherents in the form of heretical doctrine.  (p66)

In their quest to reach culture, evangelical congregations have come to reflect the cultural preferences of their audiences: anti-institutional, informal, nondogmatic, therapeutic, and unaware of the difference between tolerance and moral confusion.  (p138)

The anti-Catholic polemics and revisionist histories that have marked Protestant apologetic literature for the last three centuries have not been successful either in discrediting the RC Church or in unifying Protestants. The appeal to the Bible as the only infallible rule, stripped of its historical packaging of church and tradition, has not established a more certain or harmonious interpretation.  (p139)

The canons of faith and text erected in the patristic period provide a kind of doctrinal, liturgical, and practical hallway into which the 'rooms' of Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, and Protestantism open. In this hallway, we may meet and discover some common ground.  (p140)

Previous. Next.

Buy hard copy

Buy for Kindle

(not available)

Evangelicals and Tradition

Go to top of page for Twitter and Facebook buttons >>>