Item description for For Us and for Our Salvation: The Doctrine of Christ in the Early Church by Stephen J. Nichols...
Overview The belief that Christ is the God-man is definitive of Christian orthodoxy and imperative to a right understanding of the gospel. By the middle of the fifth century, the church had wrestled with many challenges to the biblical portrayal of Christ and, in response to those challenges, had formulated the doctrine of Christ that remains the standard to this day. This look to the past helps as Christians contend with present-day challenges and seek to answer Christ's question-"Who do people say that I am?"-for those living in the twenty-first century. For Us and for Our Salvation tells the very human story of the formation of the doctrine of Christ in those early centuries of the church. A glossary, numerous charts and timelines, and some helpful appendices make the book accessible and user-friendly. Primary source materials from key theologians and councils complement the engaging narrative.
The belief that Christ is the God-man is definitive of Christian orthodoxy and imperative to a right understanding of the gospel. By the middle of the fifth century, the church had wrestled with many challenges to the biblical portrayal of Christ and, in response to those challenges, had formulated the doctrine of Christ that remains the standard to this day. This look to the past helps as Christians contend with present-day challenges and seek to answer Christ's question-"Who do people say that I am?"-for those living in the twenty-first century.
For Us and for Our Salvation tells the very human story of the formation of the doctrine of Christ in those early centuries of the church. A glossary, numerous charts and timelines, and some helpful appendices make the book accessible and user-friendly. Primary source materials from key theologians and councils complement the engaging narrative.
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Studio: Crossway Books
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.48" Width: 5.58" Height: 0.47" Weight: 0.56 lbs.
Release Date Aug 9, 2007
Publisher GOOD NEWS PUBLISHING #65
ISBN 1581348673 ISBN13 9781581348675
Availability 0 units.
More About Stephen J. Nichols
Stephen J. Nichols (PhD, Westminster Theological Seminary) serves as the president of Reformation Bible College and chief academic officer of Ligonier Ministries. He is an editor of the Theologians on the Christian Life series and also hosts the weekly podcast 5 Minutes in Church History.
Eric T. Brandt (MA, Wheaton College) is an instructional designer and adjunct professor of church history at Reformation Bible College in Sanford, Florida. Eric and his wife, Megan, live in Lake Mary, Florida.
Stephen J. Nichols currently resides in the state of Pennsylvania. Stephen J. Nichols was born in 1970.
Reviews - What do customers think about For Us and for Our Salvation: The Doctrine of Christ in the Early Church?
Essential Reading on the Person and Work of Christ Oct 8, 2008
Stephen Nichols is fast becoming one of my favourite authors. Nichols (PhD, Westminster Theological Seminary), is Research Professor of Christianity and Culture at Lancaster Bible College in Lacaster, PA. He is the author and editor of a number of books. He has the uncanny ability to turn difficult theological and historical issues into things interesting and even exciting for the average Christian reader. His, "Guided Tour" books are helpful introductions to the lives and theology of key Christian leaders in history. Now he is turning to issues of cultural history as well with his recent books on Blues music and his cultural history of Jesus in America. Nichols knows that the study of church history and historical theology is essential to the church and the believer today. His book on the doctrine of Christ in the early church is no exception.
We live in a day of historical anemia. People have absolutely no historical context in which to understand the theological trends of the day. Little do most know that much of what is considered "new" in theological trends and fads is hardly new but generally has been dealt with in the church before simply under different names. That is where looking at the person and work of Christ as discussed by the early church fathers is so important. Much of what we consider orthodox Christology was developed in the early church. The early church fathers had to deal with heresy as they attempted to understand issues like the divine and human natures in Christ, and other theological issues. The title of the book presents the reason why this is important. The true biblical nature of Christ is the basis for our salvation. Without a true picture of Christ, how can one truly be saved? Nichols addresses the importance of studying the fathers on these issues when he writes:
The early church fathers wrestled with the same problems presented by The Da Vinci Code phenomenon and its fanciful speculations about Jesus. They wrestled with the same problems presented by Islam and its adamant denial of the deity of Christ. And they wrestled with the same problems presented by the scholars working in the Jesus Seminar or in Gnostic texts like the Gospel of Judas who quickly dismiss the four canonical Gospels as God's true revelation to humanity. In the days of the early church, the names of the opponents were difference from those faced by us today, but the underlying issues bear a striking resemblance. When the church fathers responded with the orthodox view off Christ, they did the church of all ages a great service (p. 14).
So, Nichols looks at the early church debates over the person and work of Christ. These were not trivial debates but were at the heart of our very relationship with God and our salvation. While looking at a number of church fathers he addresses the importance of the debates over Christ at the Councils of Nicea and Chaledon and the work of the great Athanasius and Leo. He looks at the theology of the opponents of the orthodox picture of Christ presented in the creeds that developed at the councils, the historical context that these debates occurred, and the major orthodox players who helped to shape what we consider the true picture of Christ today as evangelicals.
The biggest strength of the volume is that Nichols, as a historian, realizes that we cannot simply focus on secondary sources or that even Nichols own analysis is sufficient to understanding these issues. One must look to the original sources. To that end, Nichols offers the original writings of those on both sides of the debates. So you will read the works of Irenaeus, Athanasius, and Tertullian, but you will also read from the Gnostic texts and Arius. It is important to look at both sides to see how ultimately, the church came to the expression of Christology that we consider orthodox today as expressed in the Nicean and Chalecedonian creeds. No one can truly understand the issues unless they look at the writings of the times. This helps but those debates in historical context and helps us to see the importance for us today.
These issues are not just old ones. We are facing the same issues today under new names. Therefore it is important to read the works of the early church fathers who dealt with these issues before. These issues are not tangential to the Christian life. They are at the core! Without an orthodox view of the person and work of Christ our salvation rests on no foundation. Only the God-man Jesus Christ, fully divine, and fully human, has the power to forgive sin and restore fellowship with the Father. Therefore, Nichol's book is a clarion call to all believers in this day to know in whom they have believed, and are persuaded that He is able to keep that which they have committed unto Him against that day. Our very salvation rests upon the person and work of Christ. May we shake off our theological and historical confusion and look to the Scriptures and the work of those who have gone before us as we seek to live our life for the one that came to save us, Christ Jesus our Lord. This book is highly recommended to that end for everyone who names the name of Christ.
Sound Apologetic for the Deity of Christ Mar 12, 2008
~For Us and for Our Salvation: The Doctrine of Christ in the Early Church~ is an erudite work of Christian theological study for laypersons by Stephen Nichols. Therein, Nichols offers a thoughtful exposition on the Doctrine of Christ and His Deity. He illustrates how the early church fathers wrestled with these very issues. The book's title itself emanates from the words of Athanasius and the Nicene Creed, Christ is God in the flesh "for us and for our salvation." The author Nichols shows how church history is just as relevant today, since Christians are constantly revisiting the same controversies again and again. As Christians too, we should see the sovereign hand of providence at work. Though, the Church was confronted with the spirit of error, those who denied the Deity of Christ and/or that Christ had come in the flesh. Such controversies provided the opportunity for the Apostle Paul to clarify matters, building on the truth of the Gospel. In a strange providence, God allowed the spirit of error to be manifest that the truth and light of the Gospel would shine brighter yet still. Within the few centuries of the nascent Christianity's ascendancy, the early church fathers faced similar controversies emanating from various pseudo-Christian sects. They confronted Arians, Gnostics, Judaizers, and Modalists.
Christ's Deity Defended... Dec 19, 2007
Stephen J. Nichols hit a homerun in this book. As the title suggests, Dr. Nichols' goal is to establish what the early church thought of the Deity of Christ. He lays this out by going through a quick examination of who the "players" are, what and who they were fighting, and then laying out their arguments.
After this, he lets the men speak for themselves with their own writings. I really enjoyed this format. You get some explanation and then you get to read for yourself. Most books will either focus on just the explanation and yet others just lay out the entirety of a writing. This book is a great medium. Although it is short, it gets to the point and shows that the Council of Nicaea was definitely not the first time that Jesus' deity was brought forth in the church, but was orthodoxy handed down from the Apostles to those in the early church.
The book is broken down in chapters based on the different centuries and includes many men and their beliefs, from the early centuries all the way to the fifth century. You read from men like Ignatius, Irenaeus, Turtullian, Hippolytus, Athanasius, Leo the Great, and more. You also encounter some of the heretical writings so that you see what these men were fighting against.
All and all, I would use this book as a resource for any that doubt the doctrine of Christ's divinity in relation to the early church. No doubt the Bible speaks of the divinity of Christ, but now we are getting attacked that it was a foreign concept to the church fathers. This book puts that to rest in a quick and easy read on the subject that Jesus Christ was no doubt God, and was For Us and Our Salvation. Highly Recommended.
For Us and For Our Education comes For Us and For Our Salvation Oct 15, 2007
For us and for our education, Stephen J. Nichols has written For Us and For Our Salvation -- a survey of the doctrine of Christ in the early church. The reason Nichols only covers the early church period is because it was during this period that the church managed to stamp out the orthodox understanding of the person of Christ.
At 172 pages, For Us is a short book that feels even shorter. It contains three main chapters, and three supplementary chapters, equaling six chapters in total. The three main chapters deal with (1) Christ in the early centuries, (2) Christ at the Council of Nicea, and (3) Christ at the Council of Chalcedon. The three supplementary chapters are works from the theologians of those eras. These chapters allow the early church figures to tell the story in their own words. Ultimately, Nichols doesn't write very much (his words amount to 60 pages total). But what he does write he compliments well with selections from these early church leaders.
Concise and accessible, For Us and For Our Salvation is the work that beginners to Christology will surely look to first in years to come.
A Clear, Brief and Helpful look into church history Oct 13, 2007
Whenever I read something from church history I have the same approach and the same reaction. I approach the book thinking that I am going to have to jump into a time machine to relate to the subjects and issues of the day. However, I am quickly reminded that aside from the cool names there is very little that we do not have in common today with them.
In reading For Us and For Our Salvation I had the same response. Stephen Nichols does an admirable job of contextualizing the issues of yesterday while also helping us to see the commonality of what we are facing today. From the introduction Nichols writes:
The early church fathers wrestled with the same problems presented by The Da Vinci Code phenomenon and its fanciful speculations about Jesus. The wrestled with the same problems presented by Islam and its adamant denial of the deity of Christ. And they wrestled with the same problems presented by the scholars working in the Jesus Seminar or in Gnostic texts like the Gospel of Judas who quickly dismiss the four canonical Gospels as God's true revelation to humanity. In the days of the early church, the names of the opponents were different from those faced by us today, but the underlying issues bear a striking resemblance. When the church fathers responded with the orthodox view of Christ, they did the church of all ages a great service.
Nichols begins his book under the shadow of the completion of the New Testament and traces the development of the attacks and defense of the doctrine of Christ through the first four centuries. We are introduced to valiant defenders of a biblical Christology such as Tertullian, Ignatius, Irenaeus, and Hippolyteus. We learn of their battles against the Ebionites, Marcion, Sabellius and others. Furthermore, Nichols provides helpful detail concerning Athanasius and his battles with Arius.
In effort to help us see, feel and better understand the gravity of the issue at hand in these days Nichols intermixes chapters containing selections of the original documents written by both the "good guys" and the "bad guys". This is helpful in that it helps us remember that these were `regular' guys just living their lives, aiming to exalt Jesus by standing firm to what he Bible teaches. They had their 60-70 years to live and this is what they chose to fight for.
Nichols' book is a helpful look into the past for encouragement in the present. I really appreciated Nichols' ability to be both clear and brief in his chronicling of the doctrine of Christ in the early church. The book weighs in at more than manageable 172 pages which includes a couple of appendixes and a helpful glossary. For Us and For Our Salvation will doubtless prove helpful to all--pastors, teachers, students, and `laymen'.