The Wheaton Theology conference from 2007 now has its papers published in Ancient Faith for the Church’s Future. There are two ways to look at this book — either chp by chp in a series of posts or by sketching what what the conference did in general. I’ll do the latter.
The catholicity of the faith is a major feature of these papers and, in particular, the papers revolve around a French concept — ressourcement. This approach to theology, deriving from such notables as Henri de Lubac and Yves Congar as well as Hans Urs van Balthasar (the greatest name for a theologian ever), believes the writings of the early fathers are a remarkable source for renewal in the church today. So, the papers seek those sources out for fresh insights and renewal for the church today … and, as I’ve said on this blog many times, the days when evangelicals can skip from the NT to the Reformation are over. This book shows just how far into the catholicity of the Church evangelicals have gone. In other words, this book is an attempt at evangelical Protestant ressourcement.
There are thirteen papers published here and I can only whet your appetite to read this book yourself:
1. Chris Hall on tradition, authority and magisterium.
2. Brian Daley on the Bible and tradition.
3. DH Williams on reading the patristics honestly.
4. Michael Graves on the pagan background of patristic study methods.
5. Peter Leithart on preaching the Bible christologically and the four-fold method.
6. Nick Perrin on Irenaeus and Lyotard and heresies.
7. Christine Pohl on hospitality.
8. George Kalantzis on Chrysostom’s homilies.
9. Alan Kreider on evangelism.
10. John Witvliet on ancient liturgy.
11. Paul Kim on atonement.
12. Steve Long on Augustinian realism.
And, drum roll, Jason Byassee on the emerging movement’s use of patristics.
Well, I have to say this: Tony Jones’ plenary address was cut from publication. I have said my piece on it, but it was not a good decision — sure, it calls into question the ressourcement approach, and critical discussions always need an alternative.