Early Christian Worship: A Basic Introduction to Ideas and Practice by Bradshaw

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Early Christian Worship: A Basic Introduction to Ideas and Practice by Bradshaw

Helpful, But I Fear Credibility

By incorporating a wide array of extrabiblical evidence from shortly after the dispersion of Christianity to the nations, Bradshaw definitely provides a service to the reader on the various forms of "worship." He does a very good job at demonstrating how architecture can reveal purpose, belief, and practice. Also, by drawing from a wide variety of sources from a multitude of persuasions he does show effort at presenting as unbiased a presentation as possible. Bradshaw breaks the book up into three basic sections:
(1) Development of how Christians were initiated into the Church (quite a bit of work goes into analyzing forms of baptism on this point).
(2) The Eucharist or Lord's Supper.
(3) The daily and ceremonial disciplines/celebrations that united the Body.

The book is very accessible. The scholar may wish for some more detail and probably more thorough documentation. However for the lay reader who is interested in the subject, the format makes it a very easy read.

Unfortunately, at this point my compliments cease. I am not writing this review from a standpoint of one very knowledgeable of the archaeological evidence or one intimate in understanding of the primary sources, so I can not speak to his responsible use of those. I do, however, speak from the advantage of one who accepts the Bible (in its autographic form) as the final authority on matters of both history and faith, as both infallible and inerrant, and from this perspective, I am very disappointed in the book. Don't get me wrong. I trust the Bible because of both internal and external evidence to its credibility. But Bradshaw consistently questions Biblical record when they are not consistent with his extrabiblical findings, even if those extrabiblical findings rely on many assumptions and guesses. For example, a number of times he casts doubt on the reliability of Matthew 28:18-20 (The Great Commission) as being added to the text later when there is absolutely no textual evidence of this. According to the Metzger's Textual Commentary, there is no question among the textual critics that the rendering that we have for these verses is autographic. Yet, Bradshaw in true redaction form, flippantly, as if it were common knowledge that these were added, blows them off as not being acceptable as a true saying of Jesus. From this example and others with which I am familiar, I fear for the accuracy and trustworthiness of Bradshaw's conclusions. Therefore, I cannot recommend this book.

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Title: Early Christian Worship: A Basic Introduction to Ideas and Practice by Bradshaw
Date posted: 14 June '05 - 11:58
Category: Book Reviews
Wordcount: 422 words
I Like It:: (vote) 38
I Hate it:: (vote) 29
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