Learning Theology Book Review Christopher Hall Is Book Review

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Learning Theology Book Review

Christopher Hall is Chancellor of Eastern University and Dean of the Templeton Honors College. He has written extensively on scripture, and in the book Learning Theology with the Church Fathers, offers an innovative premise -- instead of listening to modern lectures and interpretations, turn to the source materials to study theology. The early church fathers were prolific writers, seminal thinkers and theologians, and while they did not necessarily think of themselves as great Biblical scholars. At the time of the Church's founding, these men were working pastors who traveled as far as possible to preach, integrate, and come to terms with many of the formative questions that still arise today: the concept of the Trinity, incarnation, nature of the Church, and the providence of God. What is particularly interesting about the book is that it uses the historical events of the time period to help us understand the social, cultural and philosophical struggles undertaken by these early Christian heroes.

Thematically, the book takes the modern idea of splitting theology and spirituality and forms the paradigm that for the early Church, they were one in the same. "Christian spirituality was more appropriately focused on the heart and centered in a church sanctuary.
Any split between mind and heart, theology and spirituality, study and sanctuary would have met with scant toleration from the fathers" (p. 10). He uses the Nicene Creed as the template for the major themes of the book: Christ as God, The Mystery of the Trinity, The Holy Spirit, Grace and the Human Condition, the Essence of God, the Place of Scripture in Daily Life, and The Mysteries of the Resurrection.

For Christians the idea of the divinity of Christ is proven by the truth of the Trinity -- the three parts to God, all God, but Father, Son and Holy Ghost. In the New Testament, however, there is no formalized doctrine, even though there are several references to the concept. Hall shows us, through dialog with the Apostles, that the idea of the three part nature of the Trinity is a way to understand that God's nature is overwhelming. The use….....

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