Suffering and Glory: The Church from the Apostles to Constantine

by and Richard Chartres (foreword)

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Book Details

Rating: ★★★

Format: Paperback/Hardback (412 pages)

Publisher: Sacristy Press

Date of Publication:

ISBN: 978-1-910519-89-9

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Foreword by Richard Chartres

Patrick Whitworth tells the story of the growth of the early Christian community. Eschewing speculation, he provides a clear narrative interspersed with pithy accounts of the most significant Christian teachers in the period which culminated in the advent of the first Christian Emperor, Constantine.

It is a story that is particularly relevant at a time when Christendom is a fading memory and the Christian community is struggling to discover where the Spirit is leading in a global culture.

— Richard Chartres, Former Bishop of London

A rapid, detailed and accurate narrative, full of picturesque scenes drawn directly from contemporary witnesses to the rise of Christianity in the Roman world. Whitworth writes with admiring passion, but does not disguise the human peculiarities and frailties of the protagonists. At all times we are aware of the importance of locality, and the shifts in Christian thought and practice are seen to result from changing relations to the ambient culture, a leading cause of which was the success of the church itself.

—Mark Edwards, Professor of Early Christian Studies, University of Oxford

Within this double narrative, the Fathers of the Early Church lived, taught, and often died for their faith. The strength of this book is the vivid telling of their stories. We are introduced to Fathers such as Justin Martyr, Tertullian, and the towering figure of Origen. They are placed in their political context, their life stories are vividly recounted, and there are lengthy extracts from their written works; so we can read their ideas in their own words. We sense their vitality and creativity, and see how they shaped the future Church.

—The Revd Dr John Binns, The Church Times

Utterly readable, even if you have no knowledge of the subject matter, yet also thoroughly researched and historically accurate.

—Alan Wakely, The Reader

One of the merits of this book is the way in which the historical scene in the Roman Empire is set at every turn as a prelude to consideration of the Church’s doctrinal and organisational development. Another achievement is to bring to life the various Church Fathers being discussed in vivid vignettes and well-documented discussion. The book is enjoyable to read and memorable in places too.

—Douglas Dales, Fairacres Chronicle

About the Author

Patrick Whitworth read Modern History at Christ Church Oxford, and a Theology MA in Reformation Studies under T. H. L. Parker at Durham. He has spent over 40 years in Anglican Ministry, most recently in Bath, and in retirement facilitates lay and clergy training alongside his writing. He is married to Olivia with four grown up children and four grandchildren.

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