I once thought I would do patristics to help evangelicals figure out how the Bible should be interpreted. After I did a some masters work in the field, I felt like they were just as confused as we are. They do, however, sort out many problems we think no one has ever addressed before. At minimum, it’s important to remember that there were true believers and great Christian theologians between the early church of Acts/Paul and the reformation 😉 something many Protestants seem to forget.
In this regard, I appreciated Phil Snider’s own review of D. H. Williams Evangelicals and Tradition, where he posts the following quote.
“Series readers will see how (1) Scripture and early tradition were both necessary for the process of orthodox teaching, (2) there is a reciprocal relationship between theology and the life of the Church, (3) the liberty of the Spirit in a believer’s life must be balanced with the continuity of the church in history and (4) the Protestant Reformation must be integrated within the larger and older picture of what it means to be catholic.”
See also Ben Arbour’s review of Christopher Hall’s Reading Scripture with the Church Fathers
I especially liked this quote
No one interprets Scripture in a vacuum. Instead, our various cultural, educational, and family backgrounds form presuppositions that create grids by which we read the Bible. As Hall provides a tour of the lives of the Fathers, readers are aided in understanding not only how, but also why the Fathers read texts in certain ways.