Monday, April 12

Good News from Iraq

Not all the news coming out of Iraq is bad news. Alas, you could hardly tell that by the reporting of the major media. And it is not just that organizations like Servant Group International have been able to maintain and even expand the work of Christian education and outreach--certainly that is good news. But there is more. In the economy. In the rebuilding of the infrastructure. In the return of students to the universities. Even the military has good news despite the violent initiative of the Shia radicals in recent days. This past week the Houston Chronicle published an amazing letter from one of our soldiers serving on the front lines of the worst of the fighting with the U.S. Army's 16th Combat Engineer Battalion in Baghdad. If only the networks would broadcast stories like this! But then, for most of them, good news is no news.

After Acts

This Saturday, April 17, Servant Group International and King's Meadow will sponsor a conference at Christ Community Church in Franklin, TN focusing on the first century and a half of church history following the conclusion of the book of Acts. Who were the disciples of the Apostles? What did they do in their worship services? How did they reach out to their Pagan neighbors? How well did they coexist with the Roman authorities? What kinds of art, music, and literature did they create? Who were their greatest heroes? We'll cover all these topics and more.

The tapes of the sessions will be packaged for Sunday School classes, Bible studies, homeschoolers, and Christian Schools as unit studies--including lesson plans and reading lists. Even so, the subject is really too vast to cover in such a short space of time. Thus, I've created an abbreviated reading list for those who would like to go a little deeper.

For additional study of early church history:

Ted Byfield, ed., The Veil Is Torn: AD 30-70 (Christian History Project)
Ted Byfield, ed., A Pinch of Incense: AD 70-250 (Christian History Project)
Tim Dowley, ed., The History of Christianity (Fortress Press)
Paul Johnson, A History of Christianity (Penguin)
N.R. Needham, 2000 Years of Christ’s Power (Grace Publications)
Stephen Neill, A History of Christian Missions (Pelican)
Carolinne White, Early Christian Lives (Penguin)
G.A. Williamson, tr., Eusebius’ History of the Early Church (Penguin)

For additional study of imperial Roman history:

Edward Brooks, tr., Caesar’s Gallic War (MacKay)
John Buchan, Augustus (Hodder and Stoughton)
John Buchan, Julius Caesar (Daily Express)
Will Durant, Caesar and Christ (Simon and Schuster)
Edward Gibbon, The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire (Viking)
Michael Grant, Nero: Emperor in Revolt (American Heritage)
Michael Grant, The Roman Emperors (Barnes and Noble)

For additional study of the theological backgrounds:

Gustaf Aulen, Christus Victor (Macmillan)
Gustaf Aulen, The Faith of the Christian Church (Muhlenberg)
Raymond Brown, Antioch and Rome (Paulist)
F.F. Bruce, The New Testament Documents (IVP)
Douglas Jerrold, The Lie About the West (Sheed and Ward)
J.N.D. Kelly, Early Christian Doctrines (HarperCollins)
Philip Schaff, Principles of Protestantism (Mercersburg)
Alexander Schmemann, The Historical Road of Eastern Orthodoxy (SVS Press)

For additional study of first century worship:

Gregory Dix, The Shape of the Liturgy (Dacre Press)
Kendall Jones, Worship, Old and New (Presbyterian Herald)
Peter Leithart, From Silence to Song (Canon Press)
Jeffrey Meyers, The Lord’s Service (Canon Press)
Alexander Schmemann, For the Life of the World (SVS Press)
Herbert Tilton, First Century Worship: Reformed Antecedents (Grace)
Stephen Vollier, Worship in the Early Church (Krupps)
Robert Weber, Twenty Centuries of Christian Worship (Star Song)

For additional study of the Patristic writings:

J.B. Lightfoot and J.R. Hammer, ed., The Apostolic Fathers (Baker)
George Jackson, ed., The Apostolic Fathers (Appleton)
Jack Sparks, ed., The Apostolic Fathers (Light and Life)
Maxwell Staniforth, ed., Early Christian Writings (Dorset)
Philip Schaff, Creeds and Councils (Baker)
Philip Schaff, et al, ed., The Ante Nicene Fathers (Baker)
Lawrence Tammerlaine, The Words of the Fathers (Hartlene)
John Zwolle, The Patristics (Marks and Sons)

Lots to read. Lots to think about.

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