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Ancient-Future Faith: Rethinking Evangelicalism for a Postmodern World (Ancient Future) [Paperback]

By Robert E. Webber (Author)
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Item description for Ancient-Future Faith: Rethinking Evangelicalism for a Postmodern World (Ancient Future) by Robert E. Webber...

In a world marked by relativism, individualism, pluralism, and the transition from a modern to a postmodern worldview, evangelical Christians must find ways to re-present the historic faith. In his provocative new work, Ancient-Future Faith, Robert E. Webber contends that present-day evangelicalism is a product of modernity. Allegiance to modernity, he argues, must be relinquished to free evangelicals to become more consistently historic. Empowerment to function in our changing culture will be found by adapting the classical tradition to our postmodern time. Webber demonstrates the implications in the key areas of church, worship, spirituality, evangelism, nurture, and mission. Webber writes, The fundamental concern of Ancient-Future Faith is to find points of contact between classical Christianity and postmodern thought. Classical Christianity was shaped in a pagan and relativistic society much like our own. Classical Christianity was not an accomodation to paganism but an alternative practice of life. Christians in a postmodern world will succeed, not by watering down the faith, but by being a counter cultural community that invites people to be shaped by the story of Israel and Jesus. A substantial appendix explores the development of authority in the early church, an important issue for evangelicals in a society that shares many features with the Roman world of early Christians. Students, professors, pastors, and laypeople concerned with the church's effective response to a postmodern world will benefit from this paradigmatic volume. Informative tables and extensive bibliographies enhance the book's educational value.

Publishers Description
Paints a picture of the evangelical faith\u2019s future by showing how early church tradition provides the resources for answering today\u2019s postmodern generation.

Citations And Professional Reviews
Ancient-Future Faith: Rethinking Evangelicalism for a Postmodern World (Ancient Future) by Robert E. Webber has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
  • Library Journal - 11/01/1999 page 90
  • Publishers Weekly - 11/08/1999 page 62
  • Christianity Today - 03/01/2008 page 81

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Baker Academic
Pages   240
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.02" Width: 6.03" Height: 0.69"
Weight:   0.8 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Nov 1, 1999
Publisher   Baker Academic
Edition  Reprinted  
Series  Ancient Future  
ISBN  080106029X  
ISBN13  9780801060298  

Availability  0 units.

More About Robert E. Webber

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Robert E. Webber is Myers Professor of Ministry at Northern Seminary in Lombard, Illinois, and the president of the Institute for Worship Studies. He is the author of a number of books, including Ancient-Future Faith and The Younger Evangelicals.

Robert E. Webber lived in Wheaton, in the state of Illinois. Robert E. Webber was born in 1927 and died in 2007.

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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
5Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Protestantism > General
6Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Protestantism
7Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > Bible > General
8Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > Ecclesiology
9Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > General

Christian Product Categories
Books > Theology > Theology & Doctrine > General

Reviews - What do customers think about Ancient-Future Faith: Rethinking Evangelicalism for a Postmodern World?

Naive about the past.  Mar 3, 2005
I have read Webber's book for a class, and I generally was not impressed. His arguments for returning to the Ancient church (he defines from 100-600AD) I don't think hold up.

He thinks that the Ancient church is the solution to post-modernism, and he seems to naively present that period, as if it did not have any problems. But we know that it was full of debates on theology.

Can we also go back to the Ancient church? Even though some people call this period post-modern, we have not given up all the attributes of modern thinking. We are still highly critical thinkers. I am starting to think that hyper-modern is a better name for this period.

Webber is more interested in the practices after the NT was written, than he is about thinking about the church as it is described in the NT. Yes the church in Acts and the Epistles was in flux trying to find it's way, but wouldn't Paul be more better to read and thought about, than the people and structures after the apostles? What ever happened to confidence in scripture? Surely it is more trustworthy than the Ancient church.
A Must Read!!  Feb 26, 2005
If you read one book by Robert Webber. This is the place to begin. If you want to take a look into the future of the christian church through the past this is the book to read. This book came along just in time for myself. A good way to rediscover or discover spirituality. Everything Webber has to say is worth pondering and considering. Please Read!!
Well Done Book, yet...  Jan 15, 2005
I enjoyed Robert Webber's book and have enjoyed hearing him speak as well. At a recent speaking engagement he echoed my own concern over the "fate" of the church in America. So much "commodification" has happened in the church that one wonders if anyone knows what it truly means to be "ecclesia"? Although I agree with much of what he says and am part of a liturgical church (The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod which utilizes the church calendar and has had a strong emphasis on liturgy - - - the church body which Webber received his doctorate from), my question is are we truly called to "change" the church in order to meet the people where they are at?
I agree with his assessments yet I question the reasonings behind doing it. Do we begin to emphasize certain things to the demise of others, just because the culture would be more "prone" to come to the church? Or does the church remain faithful to its calling despite the changing tides of culture?
Our self-centered culture always asks the question "What does this mean for me?", and this has been a active question in the church for sometime. I believe the question that we should be asking is how does God give meaning to me, or what do I mean to God? Our focus needs to be off of ourselves and onto the Lord of the cosmos.
In simple words...  Oct 20, 2002
This book has all ready been splendidly reviewed, but I felt I may have a few things to note. The author is a professor, and the book is written as such. People seeking "warm fuzzies" from reading a book about rediscovering classical Christianity are not going to find it here. They will instead find a powerful look at the way that classical Christianity can be drawn upon to reenergize the church, specifically the evangelical church, and make it a more dynamic force in the world as the body of Christ. Very highly recommended.
Highly relevant and insightful  Jun 28, 2002
I found this book exciting and easy to read. The reason is that Webber connects the ethic and doctrine of the ancient Church to the postmodern world. The situations are quite similar. Webber, a conservative Baptist turned evangelical Episcopalian, argues that the history of the Church consists of different paradigms. Each paradigm is a different expression of the faith, relevant for the time, but inadequate for later generations. Thus, while reformation theology of Sola Scriptura was necessary to counteract the excesses of the later Middle Ages, for the postmodern (and for the early) Church it doesn't work very well (it has led to 1000s of denominations). Webber has some very helpful tables comparing beliefs of different paradigms.

Webber correctly observes that postmodern people are more diverse, less concerned about minor doctrinal differences, and more symbolic. This coincides with new scientific theories that posit a dynamic, non-Newtonian universe. So how can we find authority and meaning? The answer is classical Christianity. Enlightenment rationalism doesn't work anymore, as relativity destroys any idea of objectivity, so theology must be done in the context of the Christian community, the Church, as it was in early Christianity. The Church provides the interpretive authority of the Bible through the creeds. However, this authority is broad, and is something that Catholics, Orthodox, and (most) Protestants share in common (see Vincent of Lerins' canon). As in the early Church, Jesus is the ultimate focal point of the Church, and apostolic tradition and the Bible point to him.

Webber makes use of the "Christus Victor" model of the Atonement. This is the predominant theory of the Atonement expounded by the early Church. This theory says that Jesus, in his Incarnation, death, resurrection, and teachings, conquered evil. It is holistic, rather than narrowing down "when" Christ saved us, such as at the Crucifixion. Thus there is room for unity and mystery in the doctrine, just as in the early Church.

Ultimately, as Modernity dies, Webber advocates a return to the early church of the Fathers. Thus the Church needs to be less individualistic, unified by the creeds, symbolic, sacramental, and arts oriented. However, Webber doesn't want postmodern values to *shape* the Church (e.g. when the Church is a business or side-show), but rather that the Church must be able to convey its basic truth in the postmodern world. Webber is simply advocating what many are already doing: rediscovering the riches of ancient Christianity, dismissed by many enlightenment-era Christians as "outdated" (liberals), or "irrelevant to faith" (fundamentalists). The era of Classical Christianity, when major doctrines were shaped, ethics were worked out, and the canon closed, is neither outdated nor irrelevant.


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