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Life in the Trinity: An Introduction to Theology with the Help of the Church Fathers Paperback – October 28, 2009
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"Donald Fairbairn's mastery of early Christian theology shines out of this wonderful introduction to the world of patristic theology for evangelical readers. It is more than a wise and trustworthy guide taking the reader along what are unfamiliar paths for many Western readers. It is also a work that wears its learning lightly, but amounts to nothing less than a sustained exposition of the majestic coherence of the early Christian doctrine of union with God. I recommend it most highly." (John Anthony McGuckin, Ane Marie and Bent Emil Nielsen Professor in Late Antique and Byzantine Christian History, Union Theological Seminary, and Professor of Byzantine Christian Studies, Columbia University)
"Donald Fairbairn offers an engaging introduction to evangelical theology, as enriched and challenged by key patristic emphases. Given the recent expansion of interest in the church fathers in evangelical circles, this winsomely written, stimulating invitation to listen to and learn from the church fathers is both timely and welcome." (James R. Payton Jr., professor of history, Redeemer University College, and author of Light from the Christian East: An Introduction to the Orthodox Tradition)
"This is the first book that teachers should assign to every beginning student of theology. It gives them not an explanation of individual doctrines, but a theological goal that is faithful to the very heart of the gospel, namely, that the Father sent the Son so that humans may participate in the Son's relationship to the Father. Our sharing in Christ's life (theosis) is, therefore, the north star that guides the whole of theology and integrates its individual parts. This is a penetrating and coherent reading of the biblical and patristic vision of the way theology should be done." (Bradley Nassif, professor of biblical and theological studies, North Park University)
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Top Customer Reviews
What is the heart of Christian life? Fairbairn suggests "part of the answer is that a life reflecting the love Jesus has shown for us lies close to the heart." He sees "first and foremost, then, Christian life is a process of abiding in Christ, of relying on him, of recognizing and maintaining one's connection to him in all aspects of life."
To take it further, and where the real beauty of this book lies, is seeing our relationship with Christ in terms of his relationship with the Father and the Holy Spirit. Fairbairn writes, "He (Christ) is offering himself to us as a person, that we might share in his most deeply personal relationship, the relationship he has with God the Father." Seen in this context, the Christian life is a sharing in the life of the Trinity. This is the scarlet thread that runs through every chapter.
Fairbairn expertly walks readers through Trinitarian theology, which is fascinating, but his most important work is sharing relational and practical implications. He makes it clear that the worth of everyone lies in our being made in the image of God. "Christianity teaches us that our significance does not ultimately lie in what we accomplish or what we do: it lies in the one to whom we belong," he writes. "Our significance is not something that can be earned; it is something given to us by God."
He is also a wise guide into the thought of the Church fathers. He makes judicious use of their writings, to inform modern perspectives that can be lacking. He draws most from four Patristic writers: Irenaeus of Lyons, Athanasius of Alexandria, Augustine of Hippo and Cyril of Alexandria.Read more ›
Another great strength of the book is how it exposes the reader to the Fathers. I was so taken with Cyril of Alexandria that I purchased his commentary on the Gospel of John (expensive) and read a fair amount in it. However, this review is of Dr. Fairbairn's book, but the issue with Cyril is that Dr. Fairbairn's book drove me to want to read the Fathers themselves and gave insight into how to do that. It is so easy for historians to simply set out what the Fathers believed as a group instead of giving people a taste of what they say as individuals. While I have read the Fathers before, I have not read them as I read them now. This book was very helpful in that regard.
The title of this book, Life in the Trinity, is perhaps not as descriptive a title as it could be. However, there is no way that a title could really explain what this book is about. What the author means by life in the Trinity is how the Persons of the Trinty relate to each other and how that is the basis for understanding doctrine at a deeper level.Read more ›
Fairbairn attempts to follow what he considers the most helpful theological theme through the Bible and the early church: theosis or deification, which he defines as sharing in the relationship of the Trinity by participating with God the Father as adopted sons through the person and work of Jesus Christ who is the natural son, or Son according to his nature. He then ties theosis into other theological topics such as Creation, Fall, Incarnation, Resurrection, soteriology, justification, sanctification, and ecclesiology.
The overall tone of the book is almost devotional. Due to lack of in-text citations from the Fathers it is difficult to assess where they end and Fairbairn begins. It seems that he has immersed himself in dialogue with the Fathers and even undertakes to use their hermeneutic. Fairbairn articulates the most important difference between the patristic and modern methods of hermeneutics as one of direction.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The author makes a clear, persuasive case that an important strand of Patristic theology helps us grasp the purpose of Christian salvation and life. Read morePublished 6 months ago by bmayer504
Amazing book. Can be simply read or studied at theee different levels. Life changing experience!Published 9 months ago by Janice L. Richards
This is a profound book about the doctrine of our God. I have better understanding of the life of God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) than I had in the past with knowledge of God... Read morePublished 17 months ago by Adewale Giwa
Dr Fairbairn is an excellent writer. His book is an easy read yet packed with powerful information. Read morePublished 19 months ago by Darryl
I've never read a book that was so deep and profound and yet so devotional as well. Fairbairn takes the immanent trinity and welcome the reader to join in its fellowship as he... Read morePublished 24 months ago by Zachary Stevens
Perhaps the best introduction to Christian theology I have ever read! No matter where you on in your study of theology, please read this book!Published 24 months ago by thsmiley
This is a most excellent book because it delves into historic early manuscripts from early church fathers who clarity of understanding is unparalleled anywhere. Read morePublished on July 29, 2014 by Mingo
I've had the privilege to read a lot of books. Life in the Trinity is without question one of the best books I have ever read - and I didn't expect that would be the case when I... Read morePublished on July 16, 2014 by T. Brockman
I like this book over five or six different books for Trinity. This book is not only theologically good but the book also focuses on the relationship in between three persons in... Read morePublished on May 27, 2014 by Steve Lee