Prof. Ken Stewart Authors In Search of Ancient Roots
Stewart’s book confidently examines what some have called the Protestant and evangelical crisis, which includes the indictment of evangelicalism as frivolous and a perceived “exodus” of young Protestants converting to Orthodoxy and Catholicism. In response to this crisis, In Search of Ancient Roots provides a robust examination of the heritage of the evangelical Protestant tradition, which is anchored in the early church to a degree far beyond what is popularly believed.
The book is divided into four parts. Part one probes the evangelical identity crisis and delves into common concerns among evangelical Protestants. The chapters in part one also lay the foundation for an accurate assessment of the history and development of Protestantism. Part two provides the reader with examples of Protestant engagement with ancient Christianity, including how Protestants have interacted with the apostolic fathers. Part three examines some contemporary concerns often directed towards Protestantism. Part four confronts three final challenges, including Christian unity, justification, and the “exodus” of young people returning to Orthodoxy and Catholicism.
Stewart explains that In Search of Ancient Roots was primarily written to give evangelical Christians a framework for thinking about the evangelical Protestant exodus to traditions that are suggested to be more strongly connected to the church of antiquity.
“Some evangelical Christians solve this dilemma by deferring to the defector’s right to exercise private judgment on this (and other questions),” says Stewart. “‘If that’s what you feel is right for you, then I support your decision,’ says this kind of evangelical bystander. On this approach, the one exiting evangelicalism simply needs to be accommodated and treated with kid gloves. A different bystander may respond with a sense of disappointment or grievance as though the one defecting had been disloyal to a family or circle of Christian friends: ‘how could you do this to those who love you most?’ But all such approaches, however well-meant, draw attention to the fact that we presently have no critical framework for thinking through the question forced on us by those who leave – citing evangelicalism’s deficiencies. This book aims to provide that evaluative framework.”
In Search of Ancient Roots is available for pre-order from IVP Academic and on Amazon.
Stewart is professor of theological studies at Covenant College, where he has served since 1997. He is the author and editor of many articles and books, including Ten Myths About Calvinism: Recovering the Breadth of the Reformed Tradition. He specializes in the history of Christianity from the Reformation to the present day, with a special interest in the development of the evangelical Protestant tradition.
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