The Patient Ferment of the Early Church: The Improbable Rise of Christianity in the Roman Empire
How and why did the early church grow in its first four centuries, despite conflict and persecution? In this unique historical study Alan Kreider challenges traditional understandings of the rise of Christianity, showing that patience - not strategies or evangelism...
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How and why did the early church grow in its first four centuries, despite conflict and persecution? In this unique historical study Alan Kreider challenges traditional understandings of the rise of Christianity, showing that patience - not strategies or evangelism - spread the faith.
:How and why did the early church grow in the first four hundred years despite disincentives, harassment, and occasional persecution? In this unique historical study, veteran scholar Alan Kreider delivers the fruit of a lifetime of study as he tells the amazing story of the spread of Christianity in the Roman Empire. Challenging traditional understandings, Kreider contends the church grew because the virtue of patience was of central importance in the life and witness of the early Christians. They wrote about patience, not evangelism, and reflected on prayer, catechesis, and worship, yet the church grew--not by specific strategies but by patient ferment.
Alan Kreider (Ph.D., Harvard University) is Emeritus Professor of Church History and Mission at Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary
For 26 years, Alan and Eleanor, his wife, were mission workers in England, where they transformed the London Mennonite Centre into a teaching and resource center on Christian discipleship in the Anabaptist tradition, urban mission, and conflict mediation.
While in England, Alan served as director of the Centre for the Study of Christianity and Culture at Regent's Park College, Oxford University; as an itinerant preacher and speaker; and as a teacher at Oxford University and the University of Manchester.
Upon their return to the U.S. in 2000, Alan and Eleanor became mission educators for Mennonite Mission Network, an assignment that took them to England and Australia in 2005 as well as to churches and communities across North America. Alan served as an adjunct member of the AMBS faculty beginning in 1997, and became associate professor in 2004.
He is the author of The Change of Conversion and the Origin of Christendom: Christian Mission and Modern Culture and Worship and Mission After Christendom.
- :<b>contents<br></b>introduction<br>1. The Improbable Growth Of The Church<br>2. The Good Of Patience<br>3. From Pagan To Christian: Push And Pull<br>4. Ferment: Individual Christians As Agents Of Growth<br>5. Ferment: Communities As Cultures Of Patience<br>6. Forming The Habitus: Catechesis And Baptism<br>7. Forming The Habitus: Worship<br>8. &quot;wise Doves&quot; In The <i>didascalia Apostolorum</i>: A Moving Picture<br>9. Constantine And The Transformation Of Patience<br>10. Afterword: Augustine And Patience<br>index