Will the Real Heretics Please Stand Up: A New Look at Today's Evangelical Church in the Light of Early Christianity Paperback – Feb 1989
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"Early Christianity was a revolution that swept through the ancient world like fire through dry timber," challenging traditional customs and institutions. The author contends that the early Church's stance toward society should concern us deeply, as we face many similar burning issues: divorce, abortion, entertainment, war, economic injustice, and the role of men/women.
Bercot, who is also a lawyer, takes the reader on a very stimulating journey in which we meet Polycarp (who was personally discipled by the apostle John) and other second-century witnesses. -- The Plough, April, 1990
Perhaps the single most important thing the book did for me was to introduce me in an unforgettable way to the early Christian writings. ...However, the author, David Bercot, does more than introduce the reader to the early Christians and their writings he advances a powerful and persuasive argument as to why we should take the early Christians and their writings seriously. This argument is basically similar to saying that the further upstream you go, the purer the waters should be. He makes a convincing case that these early Christian writers were in the best possible position to interpret and understand what the inspired writers had in mind when they wrote the New Testament. After all, some of these early Christian leaders were co-workers with the apostles and knew them personally. It is logical that they had a real advantage over us who read the Bible after nearly 2,000 years. -- Family Life, October, 1989
To say this book packs a jolt is an understatement. Bercot doesn't point fingers; he just tells it like it is, and no book other than Snyder's The Problem of Wineskins has affected my thinking of the church more than this one. This book has my highest recommendations. -- The Obligator, August, 1989
We've heard it all before. The church's decline began when Constantine named Christianity the religion of the Roman Empire. David Bercot recounts all this and more. He is deeply concerned with the church's lack of spirituality. He is upset that the church has adopted worldly standards of success rapid growth and wealth. He is right in feeling and expressing these concerns. And he expresses them well. -- Bookstore Journal, November, 1989
From the Back Cover
Sex and money scandals. An exploding divorce ate. Drug-addicted youths. And an ever-growing worldliness. Today's church is fighting battles on all fronts. And we seem to be losing these battles to the relentlessly encroaching world. Perhaps the answers to our problems are not in the present, but in the past. Because there was a time when the church was able to stand up to the world. The author takes you on an engrossing journey back to that time back to the beginning of the second century. Here is an inspiring account of what Christians believed and practiced at the close of the age of the apostles and how the church eventually lost the Christianity of that time.
But this is not primarily a history book. It's a fresh, creative look at the problems facing the church today and the solution to those problems. It's a call for today's church to return to the simple holiness, unfailing love, and patient cross-bearing of the early Christians.
Will The Real Heretics Please Stand Up combines sound scholarship with a free-flowing, readable style designed for contemporary laypersons. If you're looking for superficial solutions to today's problems or a restatement of traditional answers, you will need to look elsewhere. This provocative book confronts traditional answers and challenges you to a deeper walk with God the walk of the early Christians.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
In the beginning section of the book, he fleshes out the vision of the Christians who were instructed by the Apostles, and those who were trained by them in turn. He quotes from their writings and gives you footnotes to follow. Their discipleship was so noble and rugged, I was immediately enthralled by them. He details how the Church before Constantine (before A.D.325) lived out it's life of discipleship, and compares it to present-day movements.
The middle section details some central doctrines that the early Church universally believed. And he doesn't do this selectively, quoting only from writings that support his portrait - he only presents a doctrine as being part of the early Church's teachings if he has found support for it from something like five different writers from five different continents across three centuries.Read more ›
If it causes you to think carefully about what you believe, why you believe it, and what sources you get your beliefs from, then that would be even more valuable.
However, if this book causes you to believe what the author is saying, then God help you...literally.
After reading this book, I did my standard research, looking for dissenting opinions. There are not very many out there, and there has not yet been a concerted effort to counter the claims of Bercot. I found only one book length review, of dubious authorship, which detailed the many factual and theological errors made by Bercot. It also alleges a Jehovah's Witness and Gnostic agenda on the part of Bercot. I am not completely convinced, however, the factual errors alone give me great pause as to trusting much of anything he claims.
The best thing that has resulted from reading it has been a deep searching of my own beliefs, and a strong desire to research early Christian history and literature. I am not at all convinced I will come to the same conclusions as Bercot, and I suggest that you should not take his word for it either. Do your own research.
1. He claims that icons were "a practice utterly loathsome to early Christians" on page 129. Yet, the footnote is empty (omitted, as a type-o); in cross-reference with his "Dictionary of Early Christian Beliefs", most of his support comes from a now Montanistic Tertullian.
2. On page 128 seems to assert that the use of Relics did not occur until Helen "started... relic mania."
3. Chapter 14 brushes over Arianism as if the subject of Christ's divinity was more a matter of personal opinion than a serious issue that warranted a Church Council (which, incidentally, has precedence in scripture in Acts 15... another fact conveniently ignored by the author).
4. Chapters 17 and 18 simply ignore that Eastern Orthodoxy even exists; this is not an appropriate oversight!
5. Chapter 19 reveals the liberal protestant aim of the author in that we need "unity in the essentials" and "diversity in the non-essentials" since that is the way "the early Christians" were.
After reading it, I am much more skeptical about his assertions in the beginning of the book because the author has not demonstrated that he can present an objective argument. This is a great read for people looking to support an anti-Roman Catholic or anti-Orthodox bent though. If this is what you are looking for, then by all means, buy it!
Most recent customer reviews
I devoured this book in less than 48 hrs. It's a quick and enjoyable read. And I have found it a good starting point for Christians who would like to research further into what the... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Amy VG
I have many books on church history and there mostly full of history based on the church group of the writers. Read morePublished on July 31 2010 by Sean D. Richard
This book by Bercot was written in 1989 but what it has to say is important not just for evangelicals to hear but all who profess Christ. Read morePublished on Jan. 30 2010 by Bart Breen
Praise God! This book really made me think about True Holiness and what it really means! I go to an Apostolic church where everyone believes in being Holy- without no man shall... Read morePublished on June 16 2004 by Julius R Collins
A Master of Divinity does not a scholar make (far from it, in most cases). Membership in a society of degree-holders (in this case, the Patristics Society, some of whom, to be... Read morePublished on Oct. 27 2003
Seldom has a book challenged my views as much as Mr. Bercot's work has done. David Bercot is an individual qualified to assess exactly just what the Early Christian community... Read morePublished on Oct. 17 2003 by Seth Aaron Lowry
Yes, I read the 1st edition and loved it. I latter lost it which is why I'm buying a new one. I bought the 3rd edition which I believe left out a lot from the first. Read morePublished on Nov. 29 2002 by John Norman
When you read what the early Christians believed regarding Baptism, The Eucharist, the nature of the Church, Apostolic Succession, Faith, Works, Sacraments, Tradition, you will... Read morePublished on Nov. 12 2002 by Raulito