“Do you believe we are now living in a post-Christian era? Does the Christianity you observe really begin, for example, with Martin Luther, John Calvin, The Great Awakening, Second Great Awakening, Billy Sunday, Billy Graham or some other historical figure? Is your experience with God similar with those believers at and after the time of the apostles?
These perplexing questions will be addressed in an Early Church History discussion and study group starting February 22, 2018. One evening per month, over five months, you will have an opportunity to hear presentations about the life and growth of the early church. As a participant, you will study the writings of the Apostolic Fathers and engage with Church History Scholars such as Regina Boisclair, PhD Cardinal Newman Chair at APU, and Fr. Vasili Hillhouse of Holy Transfiguration Greek Orthodox Church. The sessions will be moderated by Chris Thompson, Church Visits writer/blogger, and co-moderated by Heidi Marlowe, lay monastic of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church.
Trevin Wax, prominent pastor and religion author, writing in “3 Reasons Why I Quote the Church Fathers When I Preach, says “church history is a treasure box, not a map. We err if we look to the past in order to chart the precise path of faithfulness for the future. We are marching to Zion, not retreating to Constantinople or Geneva. For this reason, we should look to the past in order to retrieve the resources we need in order to fortify and renew our faith in the present as we discern with wisdom and prudence the way forward. This is how we best honor those who have gone before us: learning from both their strengths and also their sins, and praying that we will be faithful today. As the primary teaching pastor at my church, I quote regularly from the church fathers when I preach. I don’t do so in every sermon, but my congregation is now familiar with names like Augustine, Chrysostom, Ambrose, and Athanasius.”
If shining a light into our shared heritage (and possibly shaking our own lethargy) by tackling the history and writings of the early church sounds appealing to you, consider joining us for five months of reading, learning and discussing the years from the crucifixion of Christ (AD 33) to the Council of Chalcedon (AD 451). The age of the apostles ended at the end of the first century. From the start of the second century (AD 100) to the reformers, approximately AD 1500, a period of over 1,400 years of church history transpired which are rarely or never heard about in many religious communities. The purpose of this 5-month study group is to shine light into the early development of the Christian faith.
Please indicate your interest in joining us by responding YES to firstname.lastname@example.org Detailed information will be sent you. There will be a modest fee covering meeting facilities at APU and course materials. Each participant will also need to purchase an inexpensive volume: “Early Christian Writings: The Apostolic Fathers” (ISBN-13: 978-0140444759)