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on 11 September 2017
If you are an evangelical and feel like you need a good dressing down as you grow in your faith (as I was/still am) read this book. Absolutely fantastic, seriously challenging, one of the best Christian books I have ever read. Also started Paul Pavao's websites. Littler known chap, do check him out
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on 1 November 2007
Bercot is right in saying that modern evangelicalism is a million miles from the faith of the early Christians, but his own understanding of the faith and practice of the early church is very biased and selective. He still seems to want to believe that the earliest church was non-structural and non-dogmatic, whereas Andrew Louth is more correct in stating that by and large the early Christian writers would have "had little patience for the modern demand for religion without dogma".

Bercot claims (in the notes) that "The church of the third centure was more tightly structured than that of the second. Also, the role of the bishop had grown in importance". Yet as early as 110ad Ignatius was telling the cogregations to "do NOTHING without the bishop" and "submit yourselves to the bishop as to Christ...this is necessary if justification is to be yours in full measure". So clearly Bercot's claim is at least exhaggerated, if not downright erroneous. (No wonder he only quotes Ignatius twice in the entire book, despite Ignatius having a relatively large surviving corpus of letters, as they are replete with emphases on the importance of the role of the bishop).

If anybody wants to get a real understanding of what the pre-nicene church practiced and believed, better to hear it from the horses mouth. Grab a copy of the far more informative "The Faith of the Early Fathers - Volume 1" by William Jurgens, where the interpretational prose is limited to the end-notes.
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on 29 April 1999
For two years, my best friend has been hosing me down vigorously with predestination theology while I've searched in vain for some answer from Christian writers. There are plenty who take a Calvinist perspective, but few who take the trouble to oppose it. Berclot effectively shows how the early Christians were not Calvinists and did not buy into the more radical interpretations of election. Finally, the debate is joined.
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on 11 January 1999
An excellent review by the author (a lawyer) on practices of early Christendom; very challenging to all Christians. As with any good book I like, I don't agree with everything it says. For example, being a neo-Evangelical seminarian (Gordon-Conwell Theo. Seminary) and church member, we spend a good deal of time in church history, so this might not be an issue for some churches/people. (Thus, I'd feel that he was beating a dead horse in my Bible study.) Pros: Most people would enjoy this book, and Christendom would be better if we read this and took it to heart. Good narratives and quotes. Good treatment on some issues (divorce, entertainment, following Christ, persecution/suffering). Cons: In addition, author is not good at correlating/contextualizing issues to present day. Author is not as well-studied on theology/philosophy, nor biblical languages, which are critical for doing good theology, preaching, and exegesis.
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on 27 August 2015
What a rant, he has a hobby horse with little hard academic backup. He uses the ad hominem method attack the man and set up a straw horse to tilt at. Not recommended
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on 26 April 1997
In this work, author David Bercot demonstrates that much in modern mainstream 20th century Christianity would be viewed as heretical by the early church in the 2nd and 3rd centuries. Bercot documents the beliefs of the early church relating to most key doctrinal issues. He also explains what happened to the early church in the 4th century that changed its course and sent it into a doctrinal and moral tailspin from which it may never fully recover. This book is a must for every person who wants to be a Christian after the order of the apostles and their immediate disciples.
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on 6 November 1998
This bool really holds to its name and gives the reader a look at the churches now compared to early christianity. After reading this book and learning what the early christians believed and practiced, I seriously had to examine my own life and how it held up to those taught by the apostle's. This book led to many changes in my life and doctrine and I would urge everyone to read this.
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on 12 October 2015
A sincere call to the Church Universal from an evangelicals heart.
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on 13 May 2010
I really liked this book the first time I read it. It really bothered me in parts. Especially about the role of baptism in salvation. Bercot doesn't even touch the Eucharist in this book yet when I listened to that message it really upset me. I wonder what the denominational background of that first reviewer is? My understanding of Bercot is not one of brushing awkward verses or statements under the rug. He has admitted that he has had to change around 90% of his beliefs since leaving the Watchtower. Thats' huge. I have had a similar experience, and once you pass the threshold of fear it's much easier to assess everything without your own preconceived ideas or denominational blinkers. Jurgens book is itself not the complete writings of the Ante-Nicene church, and your best bet is to go the primary sources (as Bercot stresses over and over). That would be the 1st 3 volumes of the Early Church Fathers by Schaff. You can order them from Bercot's website www Scroll Publishing com. You may not come to all the same conclusion as Bercot, but I don't think you can call him insincere. He is one of the most sincere men I have ever known.

Bercot's book is a good introduction to the writings of the Early Christian Writings, sort of like an appetizer. If you want the real meat you really need to read the writings themselves. But do read this book as your intro into the Ante-Nicene Church. It will upset you. It will shock you. But sure didn't Jesus do that to the pharisees? If we are not willing to be shaken we may end up being placed with the hypocrites or the fearful.

Here are some other titles of his:

Dictionary of Early Christian Beliefs

The Kingdom that Turned the World Upside Down

Common Sense: A New Approach to Understanding Scripture

Let Me Die in Ireland: The True Story of Patrick

Will the Theologians Please Sit Down

Bercot's book takes you up the time just before the Nicene Council of Emperor Constantine. If you want a book that takes you through that Council and written very much in the same vein as Bercot's, I can highly recommend In The Beginning Was The Logos by Paul Pavaos. Very well researched and written for layman. An informative and enjoyable read.
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on 18 March 1999
This is one of those rare books that every Christian ought to read. Extremely thought provoking and well thought out.
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