Published on August 15, 2014 by Fred Zaspel

Crossway, 2007 | 176 pages

A Brief Book Notice

For most of us the ancient church remains an unknown world. To be fair, the theological discussions that marked that age were often very complex and involved, and sifting through the various nuances of debate can be challenging. Yet what a massively important period of history it was for us as they hammered out the biblical teaching about the person of Christ and the Trinity with increasing precision. It is for good reason that their conclusions established the standard for Christians ever since.

In his 2007 For Us and For Our Salvation Stephen J. Nichols surveys this fascinating period of history, introducing us to the key players on all sides of the various theological fences and controversies, highlighting their lives, explaining their various arguments, examining their stated official conclusions, and showing the importance of it all – not for theological precision’s sake only, important as that is in itself, but with an eye to its significance “for us and for our salvation.”

You might not have thought that such ancient names and theological disputes could be conveyed so simply and with such interest, but Nichols’ work is just an enjoyable read throughout. Names such as Irenaeus, Ignatius, Marcion, Athanasius, Arius, Tertullian, Basil, Gregory, and Leo, and descriptive tags like Ebionites, Adoptionists, Docitism, and Monothelitism, as well as important terms like homoousios all come to life in fascinating relevance in Nichols’ illuminating account. The ancient councils and creeds, along with personal correspondence of the major players, and other primary source documents are displayed to enable us to grasp the foundational and enduring significance of those discussions “for us and for our salvation.”

In a word, For Us and For Our Salvation is as simple and engaging an introduction to Christology and the early church as we could want. There is of course more to read after Nichols’ brief account, but it is surely one of the best places to start.


Buy the books

For Us And For Our Salvation: The Doctrine Of Christ In The Early Church

Crossway, 2007 | 176 pages

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