The Patient Ferment of the Early Church

The Improbable Rise of Christianity in the Roman Empire

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"A timely history for the church in our secular age"

"Alan Kreider has done it again. Here he utilizes his immense grasp of early Christian sources, texts, and scholarship to illuminate for us the virtue of Christian patience and its formative nature in articulating an approach to worship and life. Highly recommended."
--Maxwell Johnson, University of Notre Dame; author of Praying and Believing in Early Christianity

"In this lively and insightful study, Kreider draws on deep learning to offer a picture of the early Christian communities at a time when their future was anything but certain. Ancient men and women come to light as people whose improbable success in winning converts was the direct result of their own struggle to live with--and live up to--the powerful ideals of patience and humility. Kreider has the rare ability to read ancient sources from a fresh perspective. A marvelous and inspiring book."
--Kate Cooper, University of Manchester; author of Band of Angels: The Forgotten World of Early Christian Women

"At a time when many scholars interpret the rise of Christianity in terms of power, Kreider provides a refreshing and warranted scenario of early Christian growth from the 'inside.' The reader is invited to discover the slower and more subtle processes that have been neglected in arguments for the rapid rise of Christianity. Herein one will find a means to better balance the scholarly dialogues prevalent today."
--D. H. Williams, Baylor University

"In this remarkable book, Kreider refocuses our attention on patience, the cardinal virtue of the early church's witness, with rich attention to how this was cultivated in worship and catechesis. I can't imagine a more timely history for the church in our secular age."
--James K. A. Smith, Calvin College; author of Desiring the Kingdom and You Are What You Love: The Spiritual Power of Habit

"'Time is greater than space.' Pope Francis has been urging this principle on both the church and movements for peaceful social change. As he wrote in The Joy of the Gospel, 'This principle enables us to work slowly but surely, without being obsessed with immediate results' or 'trying to possess all the spaces of power and of self-assertion.' Kreider's thoroughly researched yet marvelously readable book demonstrates that Francis is actually calling Christians back to the nonviolent patience and winsome witness of the church's first centuries."
--Gerald W. Schlabach, University of St. Thomas

Contributors

Alan Kreider, 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, including The Change of Conversion and the Origin of Christendom and Worship and Mission after Christendom.

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