How did the first Christians practice their faith? The Didache, an early handbook of an anonymous Christian community, "is the most important book you've never heard of." It spells out a way of life for Jesus-followers, including how to love one another, how to practice the Eucharist, and how to take in wandering prophets. Likely written before many of the New Testament books, this little-known text can enlighten the way that Christians are church, today. Tony Jones unpacks the ancient document with insight and perspective, and traces the life of a small house church in Missouri that is trying to live according to its precepts. Includes a new, contemporary English translation of the complete text of the Didache.
Tony Jones is the national coordinator of Emergent-U.S. (www.emergentvillage.com) and a doctoral fellow and senior research fellow in practical theology at Princeton Theological Seminary. He is the author of Postmodern Youth Ministry: Exploring Cultural Shift, Cultivating Authentic Community, Creating Holistic Connections, The Sacred Way: Spiritual Practices for Everyday Life, The Teaching of the Twelve: Believing and Practicing the Primitive Christianity of the Ancient Didache Community, The Most Difficult Journey You'll Ever Make: The Pilgrim's Progress and You Converted Me: The Confessions of St. Augustine. Tony Jones has spent the last two decades working with young Christians as a pastor, missionary, and theologian. Tony lives with his three children in Edina, Minnesota.
Calling the Didache the most important book youve never heard of, Emergent leader Jones (The New Christians) briefly unpacks the theological and practical lessons to be gleaned from one of early Christianitys most overlooked texts. Less than half the length of the shortest New Testament gospel, the Didache (teaching) informed new Christians about spiritual practices like baptism, prayer, hospitality, fasting, Eucharist, generosity, and basic morality. Dated between 50 and 130 C.E., it is one of the oldest extant Christian texts not found in the New Testament. Jones writes engagingly, explaining the Didaches meaning and importance while also introducing a surprising interlocutor called Trucker Frank, a Missouri truck driver whose house church has based its life together on the Didache. The great and unique value of this book is its vision of how Christians today might put the Didache in practice, rather than as a contribution to early Christian studies; in fact, biblical scholars and historians may raise eyebrows at a few of the books assumptions, particularly its oversimplifications about Gnosticism. Jones, however, has done a great service by recovering and interpreting this neglected classic for the ancient-future church. (Feb.) Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.