Free Main Themes Of The Book Book Review Sample
The concepts in the Christian theology were mainly developed in response to unorthodoxy. The Learning Theology with the Church Fathers by Cristopher Hall takes this approach by combining theology and patristics together. Even though the book does not thoroughly handle either of the subjects, it definitely serves as a sample for the arrangement of the standard divisions in theology. Cristopher Hall is the member of the Episcopal Church and also the Chancellor of Eastern University in the state of Pennsylvania. His focus and inclination are more towards the liberal factions that might spark controversy in Baptists. This paper will provide a summary of the book along with major themes that are stated in the book. The critique of the themes will be presented.
In the book, the four main concepts are stated that define the term Church father - ecclesiastical approval, holiness of life, antiquity and orthodoxy. The importance of this book is that this discussion is supported by the proximity of the early Fathers who were closer to the time when the New Testament was composed. This made it possible that their language and the view of the world became closer to the author of the New Testament. This book takes a step by step topic approach as it moves through main doctrines. It is significant to note that the basic foundation of Patristic theology is the Nicene Creed, and the main concept and ideas of the discussion reflect back to this concept.
Another important theme discussed in the book is the Arian controversy and the debate between Arius and Athanasius. The main term that was discussed in this debate was “Father.” Hall places complete focus on the divinity of Christ, yet he is able to take a side approach that will be discussed further. The focus is placed upon Trinity, which places emphasize on the main question of the theological concept in the discussion of homoousios. The writings of Augustine and the theological speech of Gregory of Nazianus serves as a trip to the early Trinitarian problems. The formulation and concepts of Augustine are of utmost importance in the book. The book then shifts its focus from Christianity to Pneumatology.
The dual natures of Christs are discussed with the help of Cyril of Alexandria. These are framed by the concepts of Nestorius and Hall gave fair treatment to both debates, and it became prominent in the debate that Nestorius was a prey of his own individuality and not his ideas. The book then discusses the destiny and God’s fate. The concept of the human condition, grace and sin is discussed as how Irenaeus is able to relate to it and then relates to the debate that has occurred about two centuries ago between Pelagius and Augustine. The God’s providence is further discussed as how John Chrysostom’s perceives it. The term human freedom of intention and choice is discussed towards the ending of the book which defines the figure of Christian intellect and how the concepts can be related to modern concepts.
Even though the language and interpretation of Bible are of utmost importance and is critical in every discussion, in the ending the scripture focuses on the thought of a single father known as Irenaeus. Some important concepts that address the Old and New Testaments, apostolic revelation, Gnostics, and hermeneutics are addressed in detail. The three different fathers – Augustine, Cyprian and Irenaeus, discuss various issues. Finally, the term of resurrection is analyzed, and the connection is developed between the hope of the believer and Jesus resurrection that is framed and conceptualize according to the thought of the apologists, apostolic fathers and Augustine. The book concludes with the idea that even though today we see the darker side, but church and Christian theology provides truer glimpse of the glory of the Divine Supreme.
Critique of the Themes
The main idea that have been particularly highlighted in the book is how the various theological terms have been defined and the appropriate use of language. Even though, the issue of terminology and language is critical to the theology and has a major impact on the future doctrines. For example, the main issue of the Christ’s dual nature is centered on the idea that describes Mary – the God-bearer. The issue was mainly the divinity of God, but it seems really odd to place focus on Mary rather than the Christ himself. Hence, this sort of language and terminology tend to create confusion and errors in the Roman Catholic theology. Regardless of this critique, still the language will be considered the foundation of the Christian theology.
Another important theme that has been discussed earlier is Arian controversy in the concept of “Son” and “Father” that unexpectedly takes the turn towards the term that why the father is considered to be a troublesome creature for current day abuse victims. The thought of homosexuals and radical feminist advocates espouses a viewpoint based on this kind of an issue that is against the authority of the scripture and inconsistent with the Christian faith. The third important theme was on the fact that the thinking of people that has been transformed by the Gospel will reserve some judgment on the external appearance of the divine injustice. The main misleading part of this concept is that one can always derive something good with the help of moral calculus. Instead, it requires a lot of patience and individual faith. A common issue with human beings is that if they suffer the belief exists that where is God and does he even exists or not and this argument is not only selfish but also short-sighted. It is important that the way God loves His creation should be measured in terms of the end result rather what we are facing temporary at present or in this world. Hence, it can be safely said that the God’s providence is unfathomable, and the human reasoning is extremely overrated and exaggerated by many others around us.
Cristopher Hall is the member of the Episcopal Church and also the Chancellor of Eastern University in the state of Pennsylvania. His focus and inclination are more towards the liberal factions that might spark controversy in Baptists. In the book, the four main concepts are stated that define the term Church father - ecclesiastical approval, holiness of life, antiquity and orthodoxy. The importance of this book is that this discussion is supported by the proximity of the early Fathers who were closer to the time when the New Testament was composed. Even though, the issue of terminology and language is critical to the theology and has a major impact on the future doctrines.
Christopher A. Hall, Learning Theology with the Church Fathers, Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, (2002), Kindle Location, p.142.