Book Review: Christopher A. Hall, Worshiping with the Church Fathers

  • Paperback: 312 pages
  • Publisher: Intervarsity Press (January 30, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 083083866X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0830838660

Christopher A. Hall has done it again – Worshiping with the Church Fathers is a knockout book! I received the book a couple of weeks ago from the fine people at IVP Academic and have just finished reading it. I knew the book was going to be good when I opened to the first page of the first chapter and read the first line:

“Some readers, particularly those from an evangelical background and perspective, may find themselves surprised, bewildered, and perhaps troubled to discover that the church fathers thought, lived, and worshiped sacramentally.”

Hall is right, but it’s not just Evangelicals – every congregation has been touched by post-modernism’s incredulity to religious meta-narratives (of which sacraments are a part), and thus a lesson from the Fathers is in order.

This book is divided into three parts: I) Sacraments II) Prayer and III) Discipline. Part one covers Baptism and the Eucharist. Part two covers “The Basics of Prayer”, “The Challenges of Unceasing Prayer”, “Further Coaching on Prayer”, and “The Lord’s prayer.” The third part is divided into two sections: “The Transforming Call to the Desert” and “A Space to Draw Close to God.”

Hall’s opening line seems to be the guiding theme throughout the book, discussing the various themes through the Fathers’ sacramental lenses. Peppered with quotes from the Fathers and modern scholars alike, the book is a great introduction to the early worship (and not just liturgy) of the early Christians. In fact, I was surprised at first that this book is not primarily about liturgy, but rather discusses the entire Christian life as worship.

I appreciate what IVP is trying to do with these books, but not all they have put out are total knockouts. This one is. If you get one of the books out of this series, get this one – you’ll find yourself buying the other ones soon enough.

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