Getting to Know the Church Fathers


This week I finished Bryan Litfin's ( a Moody prof and self-confessed "dispensational, conservative, born-again fundie") book, "Getting to Know the Church Fathers: An Evangelical Introduction." I highly recommend it! The book is ten chapters, and each chapter covers Ignatius, Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Tertullian, Perpetua, Origen, Athanasius, Chrysostom, Augustine, and Cyril of Alexandria. It was a very refreshing read. It is good to be familiar with those who have gone before us, particularly the church fathers. Here is a CT interview with Litfin concerning the need to reclaim our heritage. Here is a quote:

"Our focus must be on the future. And yet our focus on the future must take into account the grand story of which we all are a part. If we would only wake up and take a good look at our surroundings, we would notice that our motion is not being imparted merely by our own efforts in our local churches in twenty-first-century America. We are small figures inevitably carried forward by the weight of the holy catholic [very imp. lower case 'c' meaning universal] church, whose sails are filled by the mighty wind of the Holy Spirit. The church of the Lord Jesus Christ is indeed a divine work. . . . To understand your solidarity with the fathers of the church - and indeed with all the heroes of church history - is to be lifted up from the mundane trivialities of the everyday world, and to conceptualize your life as a grand odyssey with your companions in Christ. So go ahead. Think of yourself in this way. Start running after the cloud of witnesses who have already run the race will. Fix your eyes on Jesus, just as they did in their day. Embrace your inner catholic, and see where it will take you!" (264-5)