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Classical Christian Doctrine: Introducing the Essentials of the Ancient Faith

ISBN: 9781441249944
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This clear and concise text helps readers grasp the basic doctrines of the Christian faith from the earliest days of Christianity. Ronald Heine, an internationally known expert on early Christian theology, developed this book after many years of teaching Christian doctrine. Heine primarily uses the classical Christian doctrines of the Nicene Creed to guide students into the essentials of the faith. Sidebars identify major personalities and concepts, and each chapter concludes with discussion questions and suggestions for further reading.

In the Logos edition, this volume is enhanced by amazing functionality. Scripture citations link directly to English translations, and important terms link to dictionaries, encyclopedias, and a wealth of other resources in your digital library. Perform powerful searches to find exactly what you’re looking for. Take the discussion with you using tablet and mobile apps. With Logos Bible Software, the most efficient and comprehensive research tools are in one place, so you get the most out of your study.

Want the rest of the series? Order the Baker Academic Early Church Collection (22 vols.) today!

Resource Experts
  • Explains the basic doctrine of the Christian faith from the earliest days of Christianity
  • Guides students to the essentials of the faith using the classical Christian doctrines of the Nicene Creed
  • Includes discussion questions and further reading suggestions for each chapter
  • What Is Classical Christian Doctrine?
  • Christian Scripture: The Source of Classical Christian Doctrine
  • “The Lord Our God Is One”: The Jewish God and the Christian Faith
  • “And the Word Was God”: The Christian Faith and the Greek Philosophers
  • “He Who Has Seen Me Has Seen the Father”: The Monarchain Approach to God
  • “Today I Have Begotten You”: Origen and the Eternal Generation of the Son
  • “One God the Father” and “One Lord Jesus Christ”: Arius and the Council of Nicaea
  • Truly God and Truly Man: Defining the Nature of Jesus
  • “And in the Holy Spirit”: The Struggle to Understand
  • Binding the Strong Man: The Redemptive Work of Christ
  • “I Will Build My Church”: Defining the Church
  • “The Washing of Regeneration”: “One Baptism for the Forgiveness of Sins”
  • The Christian Eschatological Hope: The Resurrection of the Dead
  • “And They Came to Life and Reigned with Christ a Thousand Years”: The Millennium

Top Highlights

“When we speak of ‘Christian doctrine,’ then, we are speaking of the Christian system of belief or the common core of Christian teaching that determines Christian self-understanding—that is, what it means to be a Christian. This represents what Christians believe in common and what they communicate to others. Christian doctrines have been defined by George Lindbeck as ‘communally authoritative teachings regarding beliefs and practices that are considered essential to the identity … of the group in question.’ ‘[T]hey indicate,’ he continues, ‘what constitutes faithful adherence to a community.’2 This last statement points to something very important about doctrines. They set boundaries.” (Page 5)

“Origen’s second critique of the Logos theology was its focus on Psalm 45:1 as the explanation for the origin of the Logos. There the psalmist says in the Septuagint translation, ‘My heart has brought forth a good word [logos].’ Some of the Christian apologists of the second century13 had understood God to be the speaker of these words and identified the logos mentioned in Psalm 45:1 with the Logos mentioned in John 1:1. Psalm 45:1, they thought, spoke of the origin of the Logos and explained where the Logos was prior to his generation by God.” (Page 65)

“This book has been written to serve as a gateway into the beliefs and teachings of the early Christians. The doctrines treated in this book are those set forth in the Nicene Creed of the fourth century.” (Page vii)

“Gnostics believed that they were in possession of secret knowledge about deity and the meaning of human life. Some of the Gospels used by the gnostics said nothing about Jesus’s death and resurrection; some denied that he had had a physical body; one even made Judas a hero rather than a villain in his betrayal of Jesus. The teachings and writings of the gnostics made the church aware of its need to define what constituted a valid description of the life and work of Jesus and what did not. A major criterion that arose during the time of the gnostic crisis has been called the criterion of apostolicity. This rather daunting phrase means simply that any teaching claiming to come from Jesus or to be about Jesus must have as its source either an apostle or an immediate disciple of an apostle.” (Pages 17–18)

If you are searching for a solid and solidifying introduction to the doctrines of early Christianity, this is it. Ronald Heine helps those of us who feel unsettled within our transitory age to find some steadiness of faith within the classical and foundational. This is a book for those who think beginnings might be important to beliefs, who think antiquity might enrich the contemporary, and who, because they don’t like to free-fall, appreciate the groundwork.

—D. Jeffrey Bingham, associate dean of biblical and theological studies, Wheaton College

One couldn’t ask for a clearer or more succinct account of the process whereby classical Christian doctrines were articulated. Shaped by the clauses of the Nicene Creed, it brilliantly sketches out how the early Church Fathers debated and appropriated scriptural themes. This sharp focus and the judicious selection of key elements in what can seem a dauntingly complex story make this an excellent initial text. Also of value are telling quotations from original sources in clear English translation and good questions to make beginning students think hard about doctrinal questions.

—Frances Young, emeritus professor of theology, University of Birmingham

  • Title: Classical Christian Doctrine: Introducing the Essentials of the Ancient Faith
  • Author: Ronald Heine
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Print Publication Date: 2013
  • Logos Release Date: 2014
  • Pages: 192
  • Language: English
  • Resources: 1
  • Format: Digital › Logos Research Edition
  • Subject: Theology › History--Early church, ca. 30-600
  • ISBNs: 9781441249944, 9780801048739, 144124994X, 0801048737
  • Resource Type: Monograph
  • Metadata Last Updated: 2022-09-29T22:46:10Z

Ronald E. Heine is Professor Emeritus of Bible and Theology at Northwest Christian University in Eugene, Oregon. He is the author of several books on early Christian authors and subjects and translator of many of Origen’s exegetical and homiletical works, including The Commentary of Origen on the Gospel of St Matthew (2018), Origen: Commentary on the Gospel according to John (1989, 1993), and Origen: Homilies on Genesis and Exodus (1982).


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  1. zhuhongliang



  2. Dakota Sorenson
  3. Sean



    One of the best treatments of Christian doctrine of this size I have ever read. It covers a remarkable amount of ground concisely and with great clarity and serves as a splendid introduction to both systematic and historical theology. Obviously, there are a few points it doesn't cover like Reformation era soteriological controversies, but it is an excellent resource for a beginner just starting the study of doctrine.
  4. Ondrej Hron

    Ondrej Hron


  5. Alessandro