Classical Christian Doctrine: Introducing the Essentials of the Ancient Faithby Ronald E. Heine
This clear and concise text helps readers grasp the doctrines of the Christian faith considered basic from the earliest days of Christianity. Ronald Heine, an internationally known expert on early Christian theology, developed this book from a course he teaches that has been refined through many years of classroom experience. Heine primarily uses the classical Christian doctrines of the Nicene Creed to guide students into the essentials of the faith.
This broadly ecumenical work will interest students of church history or theology as well as adult Christian education classes in church settings. Sidebars identify major personalities and concepts, and each chapter concludes with discussion questions and suggestions for further reading.
- Baker Publishing Group
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Meet the Author
Ronald E. Heine (PhD, University of Illinois) is professor of Bible and Christian ministry at Northwest Christian University in Eugene, Oregon. He is the author of Reading the Old Testament with the Ancient Church and several books on Origen.
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Classical Christian Doctrine: Introducing the Essentials of the Ancient Faith: By Ronald E. Heine, Baker Academic, 2013, x + 182 pp., ISBN 978-0-8010-4873-9, $21.99 (paper). Ronald E. Heine, professor of Bible and Christian ministry at Northwest Christian University, has previously published volumes dedicated to the works of Origen, and the New Testament as seen through the lens of the Church of antiquity. His latest publication is also inclusive of the nascent Church, serving as a refreshing look at the rise of doctrine in the Christian faith. Meant to serve as an introductory volume, Heine affirms that this work is “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” (vii). Although Heine tailored this volume to be used primarily by undergraduate students, there is much wisdom to be gleaned here. Heine effectively uses his previous research on the thought of Origen to deliver a fascinating chapter on the eternal generation of the Son. In “Today I Have Begotten You,” the reader learns that the notion of the relationship of the Father to the Son was most prevalent during Origen’s time, beginning in the second and lasting until the fourth century. Heine points out that Origen viewed the Father-Son relationality as a key theological factor. Origen had “argued that the Son had existed from all eternity with God. This teaching is referred to as the eternal generation or begetting of the Son” (58-59). Heine highlights the fact that Origen proved the eternal existence of Christ both philosophically (i.e. “if God has always existed as Father, then he must also have always had the Son” ), and scripturally (contrasting the meaning of the verb “was,” with the meaning of the verb “came to be” in the Gospel of John ). Heine’s latest publication is highly recommended for undergraduate students, adult faith groups seeking to explore the rise of Christian doctrine, and individuals interested in Church History. Heine’s work is extremely well-written and researched. He effectively begins each chapter with a brief biographical sketch of the major figures involved, and includes portions of theological treatises (e.g. Irenaeus’s Against Heresies, and Justin Martyr’s Dialogue with Trypho the Jew) in support of each historical movement. Chapters conclude with several points for discussion, and recommended resources for further research and study. Robert P. Russo Lourdes University