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The Patient Ferment of the Early Church: The Improbable Rise of Christianity in the Roman Empire

The Patient Ferment of the Early Church: The Improbable Rise of Christianity in the Roman Empire

by Alan Kreider


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How and why did the early church grow in the first four hundred years despite disincentives, harassment, and occasional persecution? In this unique historical study, veteran scholar Alan Kreider delivers the fruit of a lifetime of study as he tells the amazing story of the spread of Christianity in the Roman Empire. Challenging traditional understandings, Kreider contends the church grew because the virtue of patience was of central importance in the life and witness of the early Christians. They wrote about patience, not evangelism, and reflected on prayer, catechesis, and worship, yet the church grew—not by specific strategies but by patient ferment.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780801048494
Publisher: Baker Publishing Group
Publication date: 03/29/2016
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 247,807
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Alan Kreider (1941-2017; PhD, Harvard University) was professor emeritus of church history and mission at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary. For many years he lived in England, where he was director of the London Mennonite Centre and later director of the Centre for Christianity and Culture at Regent's Park College, Oxford University. Kreider authored several books.

Table of Contents


Part 1: Growth and Patience
1. The Improbable Growth of the Church
2. The Good of Patience
3. Push and Pull
Part 2: Ferment
4. Christians as Agents of Growth
5. Communities as Cultures of Patience
Part 3: Forming the Habitus
6. Catechesis and Baptism
7. Worship
8. "Wise Doves" in the Didascalia apostolorum
Part 4: The Transformation of Patience
9. The Impatience of Constantine
10. Augustine and the Just Impatience

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