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Recovery from Modern Amnesia: Ancient Practices for a Faith-full Future

Christian History Institute (CHI), publisher of Christian History magazine (CHM), announces its latest issue, titled: Recovery from Modern Amnesia – Ancient Practices for a Faith-full Future. The entire issue explores the story of Christian thinkers in the last half of the twentieth century whose questions about faith were found to be unsatisfactory in the modern era. These thinkers saw mainline Protestants and Catholics straying from earlier commitments to the supernatural origins of Christianity and Biblical truths. Further, they saw evangelicals ignoring devotional practices that nurtured and inspired Christians for centuries.

In response, professors and theologians turned to early Christian church fathers, their doctrinal commitments, devotional practices, and a variety of early ways of worship. In so doing they found their lives transformed in a modern movement of intense intellectual curiosity as well as a questioning scrutiny by traditional believers. Familiar names, writings and stories included in this issue are Tom Oden, Bob Webber, Richard Foster, Dallas Willard, Kathleen Norris, Thomas Howard, and William Abraham. (The title of this issue echoes Abraham’s 1995 book Waking from Doctrinal Amnesia, a critique of liberal United Methodist theology.)

“Compiling this issue has reminded me of my own personal revival,” said Jennifer Woodruff Tait, Managing Editor of Christian History magazine. “At seminary, I learned of the riches of early church theology and devotion, and found my spiritual life strengthened by fasting, disciplined scripture study, and frequent Holy Communion. Webber describes people somewhat like me in his most famous book, Evangelicals on the Canterbury Trail—that “trail” being a metaphor for a spiritual journey.”

The Christian History Magazine and Website is “a continuing study resource offered to the home, church libraries, homeschoolers, high schools, colleges & universities.”

The issue is an attempt to understand a movement that, over the course of several decades, has sought to combine the best aspects of evangelical and sacramental Christianity, grounded in the Bible and guided by the outcomes of first few Christian centuries. It begins with four writers and thinkers who speak mostly to Protestant evangelicals—Oden, Webber, Willard, and Foster. It then traces to the ancient sources of the faith among Roman Catholic, Orthodox, and mainline Protestant thinkers, and dealing with the difficult question of whether renewal can sometimes revive things better left behind.

CH issue #129, contains 10 feature articles and 4 shorter side-bar articles; a chronology time-line; an archive of rare art-work & photos; a ‘letter to the editor’ section and an extensive reading list compiled by the CHM editorial staff. The magazine is available on-line and can be conveniently read on screen at:


Highlights from the Issue 129 table of contents:

Fulfilling a longing for the early church by Thomas C. Oden and Christopher A. Hall

An excerpt from Oden’s Ancient Christian Commentary

Acid rain and Christian truth by Jonathan A. Powers

Why do we need to recover from modernity?

He made no new contribution to theology by Christopher A. Hall

Tom Oden’s influential return to orthodox faith.

Living a “with-God” life by Tina Fox

The friendship of Richard Foster and Dallas Willard and the birth of Renovaré

Going behind Aquinas by Hans Boersma

Nouvelle théologie and The Catholic retrieval of mystery

Freedom for tradition by Robert Saler

The Lutheran tendency to defy denominational categories has been a strength as they seek renewal

Restless and reforming by D. G. Hart

The Mercersburg Theology presented Reformed Christians with a link to the past—if they chose to use it

We’re not done with virtue yet by Jennifer A. Boardman

Many different approaches to recover from modern amnesia

A church of the ages? By Jason Byassee, Chris Armstrong, and Greg Peters

We asked some pastors and professors to reflect on what it means to recover from modern amnesia and how the ancient and medieval faith can inform the church of the future


Christian History Institute
Worcester, PA, April 16, 2019

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Category: Church History, Spring 2019

About the Author: The editors are Raul Mock, Mike Dies, Joe Joslin, and Jim Dettmann with significant input from other writers including John Lathrop, Amos Yong, Tony Richie, and Kevin Williams.

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