@ivpacademic – Stop, Elaborate, and Listen, Joel’s back and he’s got a brand new invention

Icon depicting the First Council of Nicaea.
This guys wrote more than just a creed

Yesterday, I tweeted to arguably one of the finest publishers known to the human race. Indeed, not since Moses has a publisher been this highly regarded. Anyway, I am preparing for a series of Sunday School lessons (I think) meant to introduce the class to early Christianity.

One of the finest series on Church history is the series by ]]. There is no taking away from this series, but my tweet yesterday suggested that IVP-Academic could take their extensive commentaries and the such from the early Christians an the Reformation and make my life simpler. This is what I would like to see.

Split the series something like Pelikan as done into five eras. Take the writings from the known and the unknown (and this is a great feat of IVP, that they have rescued the names and works of the unknown – seriously, look at their Ancient Christian Commentary series) and make volumes for era writings. No subject in particular for each volume, just writings from each era, although I wouldn’t object to having the writings under the headings.

For instance, in the first section, from the time of the New Testament to the sixth century, writings from people like Ignatius and the like would be molded to fit into the certain subjects, such as the Trinity. From Ignatius to Tertullian to Cyril and the like, readers would get to see how such doctrines developed and were used. Say, the Trinity, baptism, the sacraments, etc… Would be great to see how early one the deity of Christ was affirmed.

And so on as other issues emerge — such as classical .

These era-readers (phonetically, we might need to reconsider this slang) would serve well for devotionals as well as mapping out trajectories (so you, know, multiple audiences). For me, it would help in introducing others to Christian thinking for the past 2000 years without having to use numerous books and the like. Each book would feature key thinkers of the era on key issues of the era. I would take the first book and read what the early Church thought on the Trinity or Scripture or Predestination without digging through history books or having to have entire works in front of me.

You Might Also Like

6 Replies to “@ivpacademic – Stop, Elaborate, and Listen, Joel’s back and he’s got a brand new invention”

  1. Joel, — If you are thinking about this subject for your SS class you might take a look at “The Man of Light” by Stanley A. Fry. I just finished reading it and it is written in very plain English for people like me. It basically is asking what we know and what we don’t know of the actual events within the early church and then develops a personal theology based on the facts as he understands them. One may have theological differences with the author but yet find it easy to understand and instructive. I would like to hear what you think of the book.

    1. I’ll look into it, Skid, but his basing work on Q is a little blasphemous since this Document doesn’t exist.

      For me, I was looking for something of a reader – long passages of early writings.

  2. He does put a lot of emphasis on the “sayings of Q” but I believe he is not saying that Q was an existing book but rather the stories of Jesus that were being passed around by the earliest followers that could have been collected but more likely were told and retold in many cells until they were collected many years later. This seems a likely scenario to me but as he says it is one of the things that we don’t know.

    1. and I guess that’s where I have a problem. We, 2000 years hence, decide to do way with 2000 years of Church history. The earliest writings – 1 Clement, Barnabbas, Ignatius – point to a lot more than what he has determined.

  3. But I hope you can agree that the early Fathers had many points of disagreement and a large percentage were sent packing and most of their writings destroyed, leaving us with unanswered questions to this day.

    1. no, not really. I can’t really buy into this ideological cynicism. While we know of things lost and some shun, we have a rather remarkable collection of writings preserved by a pretty good trajectory of thought, reaching back to the earliest Christians.

      I think many of our unanswered questions are due in large part to asking the wrong questions. For instance, people still insist on taking the gospels as historial record and get roundly upset when we can’t. They were never meant to be take as such. But, before the Gospels, we have Paul and we have James and I’d argue 1 Peter. During the writing of the Gospels we have other words, like 1 Clement, and the such, that validate much what the theological trajectory.

      I think theologically, we run into major issues if we decide that we can no longer trust 2000 years of Church History, but decide we today are best to determine both questions and answers.

Leave a Reply, Please!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.