The Primitive Church: Studied with Special Reference to the Origins of the Christian Ministry: the Hewett Lectures, 1928

The Primitive Church: Studied with Special Reference to the Origins of the Christian Ministry: the Hewett Lectures, 1928

The Primitive Church: Studied with Special Reference to the Origins of the Christian Ministry: the Hewett Lectures, 1928

The Primitive Church: Studied with Special Reference to the Origins of the Christian Ministry: the Hewett Lectures, 1928

Excerpt

When I first began to read Theology more than thirty years ago, I found Church History so dull -- especially after reading Greek and Roman history for 'Greats' -- that I dropped the subject, and offered for examination Textual Criticism instead. I discovered later what the matter was; it was not that 'Church' history was dull, but that what was then presented to me as such was not really history. Whether the present volume is dull, or even history, it will be for others to pronounce. I only know that I have enjoyed the writing of it -- the hue and cry after new discovery, the following up of hitherto unnoticed clues, the delimitation of conflicting tendencies, envisaging the interaction between personality and circumstance in testing situations, noting the intermittent ironies emergent in all things human.

The special reference to the Origins of the Christian Ministry was due in the first place to the importance of that topic in relation to the present-day discussion of Christian Reunion. But as my investigations led me to detect the existence of a far greater diversity and variegation in primitive Christianity than is commonly recognised, I came to see in the study of Primitive Church Order the most convenient skeleton, so to speak, round which to form the living body of early church history. It led me also to a fresh survey of the surviving literature of the first hundred years of Christianity -- including the New Testament - as a result of which I seemed to see the several documents in a new way. Each had its special place in the development . . .

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