I like this quote that Scot McKnight includes in his post called “Lengthening our Memory 1“:
My evangelical roots, first planted during the Jesus Movement of the late sixties and early seventies, have been nourished by the fathers’ perspectives. The Jesus Movement, for instance, had no ecclesiology. In many ways, Jesus freaks like me, though we loved Jesus himself, were highly suspicious of the church and authority in general, whether institutional or individual.
I have learned from the fathers that the church is much broader and deeper than I had ever imagined. My individualistic, evangelical bent has been tempered by a historical, theological and spiritual lengthening of memory. … This is not to say that I always find myself in agreement with the fathers. We still have our disagreements, but our quarrels now resemble family squabbles and in-house arguments.
My roots are not in the Jesus movement, but I also appreciate the writings of the church fathers. Like Chris Hall (the author of the quote), I do not always agree with the fathers, but I love to read how they dealt with the issues of their day and in their context.