As Christianity becomes less dominant in Western culture, we will increasingly have much to learn from the theology of the early Christians, who lived and bore witness to Christ in an empire they didn’t control.
If you need to be convinced of the relevance of the early Christians for today, I highly recommend Alan Kreider’s book The Patient Ferment of the Early Church. If, on the other hand, you want to immerse yourself in early Christian theology, here are ten classic from the first four centuries of the church that are available as FREE ebooks!
*** All of these books are contained within the massive
Ante-Nicene / Post-Nicene Church Fathers series (37 vol)
($2.99 for Kindle or
FREE in 37 separate PDF’s via CCEL)
Who is the Rich Man
Titus Flavius Clemens, also known as Clement of Alexandria (c. 150 – c. 215), was a Christian theologian and philosopher who taught at the Catechetical School of Alexandria. A convert to Christianity, he was an educated man who was familiar with classical Greek philosophy and literature. As his three major works demonstrate, Clement was influenced by Hellenistic philosophy to a greater extent than any other Christian thinker of his time, and in particular by Plato and the Stoics.
Clement’s only other extant work is the treatise Salvation for the Rich, also known as Who is the Rich Man who is Saved? Having begun with a scathing criticism of the corrupting effects of money and misguided servile attitudes towards the wealthy, Clement discusses the implications of Mark 10:25. The rich are either unconvinced by the promise of eternal life, or unaware of the conflict between the possession of material and spiritual wealth, and the good Christian has a duty to guide them towards a better life through the Gospel. Jesus’ words are not to be taken literally — we should seek the supercelestial meaning in which the true route to salvation is revealed. The holding of material wealth in itself is not a wrong, as long as it is used charitably, but men should be careful not to let their wealth dominate their spirit. It is more important to give up sinful passions than external wealth. If the rich man is to be saved, all he must do is to follow the two commandments, and while material wealth is of no value to God, it can be used to alleviate the suffering of our neighbor. (via Wikipedia)
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Reading for the Common Good
From ERB Editor Christopher Smith
"This book will inspire, motivate and challenge anyone who cares a whit about the written word, the world of ideas, the shape of our communities and the life of the church."
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