Learning Theology With the Church Fathers – Review

Book Review – “Learning Theology With the Church Fathers” written by Christopher A. Hall

Well this is my first book review, kind of feels like I am back in school writing a book report (never really like doing that either). I have not been posting as often because I am buried deep in the books I am reading as I am preparing to start a monthly lecture series at our church on various subjects, in addition to starting to teach at our Bible Institute as well. I also took about two weeks off on vacation, and I have been ever so busy at work.

One of the lectures that I am preparing for is dealing with Historic Christianity. Now I’ll be honest and say that I have never fully read any of the church fathers writings (not the intent of the lectures) but I do need to deal with their conclusions and why it matters to us.

I came across this book called “Learning Theology With the Church Fathers” written by Christopher A. Hall. This is an introductory survey book about what the church fathers believed. Who do I recommend this book to? Anyone who has never really read the writings of the church fathers, and those who want to explore how the wisdom of the patristic traditions helps us understand how we developed the various doctrines that we now embrace, and how it might aid us in the proclamation of the gospel. He does not cover every single church father and what they wrote, but it is a good book to at least get you going and maybe spark a further interest in their writings. He writes very well and keeps you engaged. The book does have broad appeal and you are not required to be a scholar to appreciate this book. Keep in mind that this book is more of a survey, an overview if you will. I am not done with the book but I have really enjoyed the 2 chapters plus the introductions that I have read so far.

There are a few really good reviews on Amazon as well and recommend you read those as well.

The chapters in the book are:

  1. Christ the Son, Begotten and Not Made
  2. Mystery and Wonder of the Trinity
  3. Christ Divine and Human
  4. Holy Spirit
  5. Sin, Grace and the Human Condition
  6. Providence
  7. The Sacred Scriptures
  8. One Holy, Apostolic Church
  9. Resurrection and Eternal Life

This book is the second in a three part series surveying the various aspects of early church history.

Book 1 – Reading Scripture with the Church Fathers (examination of various hermeneutical methods, focusing upon the differing schools of Alexandria and Antioch).

Book 3 (forthcoming) – Praying with the Church Fathers (deals with sacramentology and pietism among other things).

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4 Responses

  1. Thanks for the review, Robert – the book sounds like a good introduction to a subject I know nothing about!

  2. ElShaddai,

    I actually thought of you when I started reading this book. I almost just sent you an email, but instead I decided to blog on this since I have been MIA for the last few weeks.

  3. Ha ha ha… there’s a hint for me! I’ll move it up on the list of books “to read”.

  4. Ha ha ha, actually I remember reading one of your post on how you had commented that the church you grew up in never really gave much attention to them, or something like that. I just remember that you had mentioned something along those lines (i.e. not very well acquainted with the early church fathers teachings)

    I am in the same boat as you. The only real exposure that I have to the early church fathers, is by way of modern theologians (i.e. when they quote them). Some will write long expositions on the matter, I recently read a book that spent a lot of time on Augustine’s view of providence.

    Anyhow, the book is really fun to read, and he keeps his view out of it. I am planning on getting the first one as well, and I am looking forward to his final book on the series.

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