Many evangelical Christians know very little about the Early Church Fathers. Others have heard just enough to be suspicious of them and their treatment of Scripture. Still others are becoming interested in this neglected but significant community of believers. In Getting to Know the Church Fathers, patristics scholar Bryan Litfin introduces readers to ten ancient Christians and dispels the misconceptions that have tainted many evangelicals' view of them. Litfin's personal and accessible approach to the church fathers—including Augustine, Ignatius, Origen, Perpetua, and Tertullian—reveals the riches of the Christian tradition and how much Christians today have been shaped by them in the ways we worship, pray, study Scripture, and live as a community.
Each chapter tells the story of one figure's life and work, and concludes with probing questions for discussion or reflection, guides to further reading, and a fresh, vivid translation from the church father's original writings. The book is ideal for students, professors, church groups, and others seeking to learn more about historic, orthodox Christianity.
Each patristic figure receives a fair and balanced presentation that is easily accessible to the non-specialist. The text is exceedingly readable and non-technical. . . . The project is well-conceived and executed for students new to the field.
—Clayton Jefford, Expository Times
A new generation of evangelicals is discovering the riches of the wider Christian tradition, including the wisdom of the early church fathers. Bryan Litfin's patristics primer is a perfect guide for those who are on this journey, and for others who would like to take the first steps. Well researched and well written, this is a gem of a book!
—Timothy George, Beeson Divinity School
Bryan M. Litfin is associate professor of theology at Moody Bible Institute.