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James Payton recently took home first place at the annual Word Guild awards for his book A Patristic Treasury—Early Church Wisdom for Today. The Word Guild celebrates Canadian works by Christian writers that demonstrate excellence in craftsmanship and ministry.

Released in 2013 by Ancient Faith Publishing, the book won in the “Inspirational/Devotional” division, a category that evaluates content that inspires readers and encourages a deepened faith in God. Developed out of 25 years of scholarly work, A Patristic Treasury is a collection of excerpts of writings from the trustworthy teachers of the early Christian church (a.d. 80-750).

As Payton gathered material for courses at Redeemer University College, he wanted to make these writings available in a more accessible format for Christians today. “There are lots of nuggets of wisdom in the church fathers’ writings. They were writing in the midst of controversy, not as theologians but as pastors, helping Christians to sort out their faith,” said Payton. A Patristic Treasury is the fourth volume Payton has published in the last seven years. His book Light from the Christian East, winner of two first-place Word Guild awards in 2008, has been translated into Romanian and is sold in several Asian countries. His other titles have also received great academic recognition.

Payton has taught at Redeemer University College since 1985; he plans to retire in June 2015, his 30th year. Payton’s books all developed out of his research and courses at Redeemer; he is delighted that his work there has resulted in these volumes.

Payton is a member of Ancaster Christian Reformed Church.

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