* The curious relationship of good works to faith has sparked controversy from the earliest church to the present. Mining the riches of the first five centuries of Christian history, Oden's masterly compilation examines questions regarding the poor, the outcast, the imprisoned, deeds vs. words, and more. A splendid resource for anybody involved in ministries of compassion! 390 pages, softcover from Eerdmans.
Often considered one of the sparks that ignited the Reformation, the place of "works" in the Christian life is still debated. In this volume distinguished theologian Thomas Oden draws together Christian teaching from across the centuries to provide a comprehensive witness on this essential topic.
Oden listens to the timeless teaching of the patristic writers, the theologians who defined orthodoxy in the first five centuries after Christ. His listening extends not only to well-known fathers such as Augustine, Irenaeus, and Eusebius, but also to lesser-known yet no less important fathers such as Oecumenius, Pseudo-Basil, and Peter Chrysologus. Oden's masterly compendium of classic Christian teaching covers treatment of the poor, the outcast, the imprisoned, and "the least of these." Anyone involved in any ministry of compassion will find stunning spiritual resources here.
Thomas C. Oden (19312016) was Henry Anson Buttz Professor Emeritus of Theology at Drew University, Madison, New Jersey. The author of some forty books, he was also general editor of the multivolume Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture.
author of The Divine Conspiracy
"The Good Works Reader is a gold mine of instruction and inspiration for those who would love their neighbors as themselves. Out of his profound wisdom and scholarship, Tom Oden brings to us the teachings and practices of the great teachers of the Church during the period of its greatest power. They speak with clarity and force into our age of confusion where, beneath the turmoil and surface sophistication, the needs are exactly the same and the resources of Christ to and through his people never vary."
Richard John Neuhaus
editor in chief of First Things
"The great mistake, as this book makes luminously clear, is to pit faith and works against each other. The great good news, as this book persuasively contends, is that the pursuit of holiness is grace all the way."
Charles W. Colson
Founder, Prison Fellowship
"Tom Oden, one of the premier evangelical scholars in the world, has made an immense contribution to serious Christian thought by urging Christians across the confessional divides to find common ground in patristic teaching. His patristic-based Systematic Theology is an invaluable resource, one that I draw on regularly; so is his Justification Reader. Now he has added The Good Works Reader, a well-written, accessible, and very powerful volume. I picked it up to glance through it and ended up reading it thoroughly. I was particularly moved by the sections on prisoners, the poor, and the homeless all close to God's heart. Oden's work gives us real hope for uniting Christian believers on the essentials of our faith. I highly recommend it."
Timothy W. Whitaker
Resident Bishop, Florida Conference, United Methodist Church
"In a narcissistic culture obsessed with celebrity, many people are looking for a way of living that liberates them from themselves and helps to transform the world. In this anthology of sayings and icons from the Christian tradition, Thomas Oden shows that there is a more excellent way to live. The astonishing richness of this collection of works from both the East and the West reminds us that the Christian way of life, when practiced, brings hope to the world in every age."
"Preachers of the word and those who work and teach for justice and mercy will find much nourishment in this book."