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Evangelism In The Early Church [Paperback]

By Michael Green (Author)
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Item description for Evangelism In The Early Church by Michael Green...

A fascinating book that will be read with profit all around the world,"---Christianity Today. By what avenues did the early Christians spread their faith, and how can we apply their lessons today? Carefully researched and quoting frequently from primary sources, this is a modern classic.

Publishers Description
Now a modern classic, Michael Green's Evangelism in the Early Church provides a comprehensive look at the ways the first Christians -- from the New Testament period up until the middle of the third century -- worked to spread the good news to the rest of the world. In describing life in the early church, Green explores crucial aspects of the evangelistic task that have direct relevance for similar work today, including methods, motives, and strategies. He assesses the strengths and weaknesses of the evangelistic approaches used by the earliest Christians, and he also considers the obstacles to evangelism, using outreach to Gentiles and to Jews as examples of differing contexts for proclamation. Carefully researched and frequently quoting primary sources from the early church, this book will both show contemporary readers what can be learned from the past and help renew their own evangelistic vision.

Citations And Professional Reviews
Evangelism In The Early Church by Michael Green has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
  • Reference and Research Bk News - 08/01/2006 page 29

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
Pages   474
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.48" Width: 5.38" Height: 0.97"
Weight:   1.17 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jun 1, 2004
Publisher   Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
Edition  Revised  
ISBN  0802827683  
ISBN13  9780802827685  

Availability  0 units.

More About Michael Green

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Michael Green is a senior research fellow at Wycliffe Hall, a college within Oxford University in England. He is also an evangelist, a Bible teacher, and the author of more than sixty books, including The Message of Matthew and Asian Tigers for Christ. Green was formerly on staff at Regent College in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. His biography has recently been published in the UK by HarperCollins.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Church History > General
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Church History
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Evangelism > General
4Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Evangelism

Christian Product Categories
Books > Church & Ministry > Church Life > Evangelism & Outreach

Reviews - What do customers think about Evangelism In The Early Church?

an enthusiastic book about evangalism in the early church  Sep 18, 2006
"Evangelism in the Early Church" by Michael Green has just been reissued, and no wonder. In a field that is usually as dry as sticks, Green is quite enthusiastic about his subject.

Green makes many of the usuual points: "that probably no period in the history of the world was better suited to receive" (p 14) the gospel due to the ease of travel and the peace. That Greek was the common language, a huge advantage for the early church. And that the Jews had backed a winner in Julius Caesar, thus winning impressive privileges which the Christians initially took advantage of.

But not for long. All too soon it was being argued that Christians "constituted a tertium genus, a third type of person in the world alongside Romans and Jews" (p 47).

In fact, Christians were at a huge disadvantage when trying to convert the pagans. Christians were hated and persecuted. They were urged by their fellow Christians to give up everything that the other people around them most enjoyed--the games, the plays, the pagan festivals. It is a miracle that Christianity won.

Green clearly admires the great love that so many of the early Christians felt for Jesus. So will you.

One very small caveat: Green argues that the subapostolic church misrepresented the gospel, although not, perhaps, as greatly as Harnack and others have suggested. "Ignatius claims that the coming of Jesus has put an end to magic, one must sorrowfully confess that in some areas of the church it introduced a new sort of majic' (p 166) such as Ignatius saying, "The Eucharist is the 'medicine of immortality..." (p 166).

What, I wonder is any different from the claims about the Eucharist in the 2nd century than in the 1st? What about Paul 1 Cor. 11:23-29 saying that that you must receive the Eucharist worthily or you may earn death. Also 1 Cor. 10:16, the Didache, John 6:35-71. Also from 110 AD Ignatius:The heretics abstain from the Eucharist...because they do not confess that the Eucharist the flesh of our savior Jesus Christ" Letter to Smyraeans.

Still, this is one small difference I had in an otherwise wonderful book.
Great book  Sep 1, 2005
I haven't finished it yet but this is a great historical and biblical account of Evangelism in the Early Church. It brings you back to the bare and pure simplicity of what all believers have been called to do. This is an absolute must for any disciple.
quite exhaustive and exhausting!  May 8, 2002
Evangelism in the Early Church was a good book. I really learned a lot about evangelism that was done by the early Christians. It was in many ways, much like we do evangelism today. We were not the innovators, as we would like to think. Evangelism practice is a very old tradition. Green shows us the different elements of evangelism as practiced by the early church: pathways, obstacles, evangel, conversion, evangelists, methods, motives, and strategy.
Evangelism was quite a lengthy book - 280, not counting the notes section. It was a bit longer than it should have been. It was quite exhaustive and sometimes exhausting, for it had a lot of detail. Sometimes the detail seemed unnecessary. What is exceptional about this book is its many primary sources. The early Christian fathers and their direct biographers are quoted to add support. It also gives us a first-hand glimpse of their own experiences.
The purpose of this book is not really to encourage evangelism or missions, but rather is a good history book that tells us what our spiritual fathers went through. Although the ideals of evangelism remains the same, we are in far different situations and settings. God, in his providence, perfectly set the stage for the gospel to be spread rapidly in the first century. The Pax Romana, the influence of the Greek culture and lingua franca, and the inroads Judaism had already made, prepared the ground for the gospel to be planted. Of course, they also encountered obstacles like we have never experienced. It was a world-wide hatred towards Christianity. It is almost surprising how Christians ever survived the persecutions of the first two centuries. They were hated by Jews and Gentiles alike, but these are the people they sought after, and died evangelizing to.
Truly, the blood of the many martyrs watered the soil for the gospel. Being a Christian was not a "cool" thing. A person had to make a stand in the midst of persecution to proclaim his Christian faith. Green gives many such examples, ranging from apostles, to students, to children, to husbands, wives, to slaves and freedmen, officials, theologians, and wandering missionaries. Methods of evangelism was just as varied, from synagogue preaching to open air evangelism, prophecy, personal testimonies, home evangelism, one-on-one, visitations, and literature. However, large public gatherings was not a method they employed. That was difficult to do in the midst of persecution, and such gatherings were illegal in the Roman Empire. Yet, in view of today's result of "nominal Christiandom," perhaps such large public gatherings is not such a good idea.
I was quite surprised to read about the large role exorcisms, prophecy, and miracles played in the early church. I disagree with Green's definition of "prophecy ," and he seems to indicate that there was revelatory prophecy in the early church even after the canon is closed! Green also comments that such miracles and exorcisms were prevalent in early church evangelism much as they are practiced in the mission field today, where there is no scripture in the native language. Green seems to imply that where there is no inscripturated Word present, God continues to reveal himself by supernatural, revelatory means.
The greatest difference between early Christian evangelism and today is not of methods but in the quality of Christianity, not due to the gospel, but due to the Christians who bear the gospel. Today, we see evangelism as an optional activity of the Christian, a special program of the church or para-church. It is meant for those who are "called" to such evangelical ministry, or for those who are already positioned as ministers, pastors, missionaries, elders, deacons, or even Bible study teachers. However, in the early church, evangelism was correctly understood as the duty of every Christian. It was the everyday Christian who went out proclaiming the word of God. It was the everyday worker who died a martyrs' death. Every Christian recognized the seriousness of the issue - every soul without Christ would go to hell. Thus, they employed every strategy they could think of to persuade man. Perhaps today, we may criticize a few of their practices, and even rightly critique some of their views on the sacraments, yet let us bow our head in shame in light of the zeal they had in proclaiming the gospel of Christ.
It is through God's sovereign work through these early "fearless" Christians that the gospel has spread all over the world today. We are forever indebted to these early Christians, and Green shows us what they did to deserve such honor.

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