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The Church Fathers

The Christ the Center panel had the distinct privilege of recently interviewing Dr. Michael A. G. Haykin, professor of church history and Biblical spirituality at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, about the importance of studying the early church fathers and reading them as the Protestant Reformers did. Dr. Haykin notes that Evangelicals are not known for their familiarity with the church fathers as they are often seen as the provenance of Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox scholars and theologians. But this would be wrong and would in fact be a declension. For instance the Reformers widely read the fathers as senior conversation partners in the interpretation of Scripture and in the exposition of theology. John Calvin, for instance, quoted from such fathers as the great Augustine and learned some of his preaching method from John Chrysostom. The contemporary church owes a deep debt of gratitude to the early church fathers, who wrestled with such significant matters as the doctrine of the Trinity, the two natures of Christ, and the full deity of Christ and the Holy Spirit. Dr. Haykin notes that unlike Scripture, the fathers are not inerrant and so must be read and wrestled with, with discernment. Dr. Haykin is also a respected Jonathan Edwards scholar and has written or edited numerous articles and books, including: The Christian Lover, The Advent of Evangelicalism, Jonathan Edwards: The Holy Spirit in Revival, The Revived Puritan: The Spirituality of George Whitefield, The Spirit of God: The Exegesis of 1 and 2 Corinthians in the Pneumatomachian Controversy of the Fourth Century, and the three volume British Particular Baptists. This is a must hear interview that will only deepen one’s theological understanding of the Reformed faith.

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Panel

  • Michael Haykin
  • Jim Cassidy
  • Jeff Waddington
  • Nick Batzig
  • Camden Bucey

Bibliography

Haykin, Michael A. G. The Christian lover : the sweetness of love and marriage in the letters of believers. Lake Mary FL: Reformation Trust Pub., 2009.

—. Jonathan Edwards: The Holy Spirit in Revival. Evangelical Press, 2005.

—. The God who draws near : an introduction to biblical spirituality. Darlington, England; Webster, NY: Evangelical Press, 2007.

—. The revived Puritan: the spirituality of George Whitefield. Joshua Press, 2000.

—. The Spirit of God: The Exegesis of 1 and 2 Corinthians in the Pneumatomachian Controversy of the Fourth Century. Brill Academic Publishers, 1994.

Haykin, Michael A. G., Kenneth J. Stewart, and Timothy. George. The advent of evangelicalism : exploring historical continuities. Nashville, Tenn.: B & H Academic, 2008.

Kelly, J. N. D. Early Christian Doctrines. New York: Harper, 1959.

Letham, Robert. The Holy Trinity: In Scripture, History, Theology And Worship. P & R Publishing, 2005.

Pelikan, Jaroslav. The Christian Tradition: A History of the Development of Doctrine, Vol. 1: The Emergence of the Catholic Tradition. University Of Chicago Press, 1975.

Wilken, Robert Louis. The spirit of early Christian thought : seeking the face of God. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2003.

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Christ the Center focuses on Reformed Christian theology. In each episode a group of informed panelists discusses important issues in order to encourage critical thinking and a better understanding of Reformed doctrine with a view toward godly living. Browse more episodes from this program or subscribe to the podcast feed.

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