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The Great Jesus Debates: 4 Early Church Battles About the Person and Work of Jesus [Paperback]

By Douglas W. Johnson (Author)
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Item Specifications...

Pages   187
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 7.88" Width: 5.98" Height: 0.6"
Weight:   0.52 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Feb 1, 2006
Publisher   Concordia Publishing House
ISBN  0758608624  
EAN  9780758608628  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
This book reviews the major Christological controversies in the Early Church that shaped the language the church uses when she speaks of the person and work of Jesus Christ. The presentation of the mateials is done in a very practical way so that the reader will appreciate the relevance of Christological terminology when understanding who Jesus truly is in daily life. The focus of the book is to take what seems to be abstract language and discussion and make the theology concrete by explaining how it relates to our salvation. "To be ignorant of these debates is to be ignorant of how we Christians came to be who we are. To know about them is to have a fuller understanding of our faith and what it means for our lives today." - from the Preface

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Product Categories
1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Church History > General   [6817  similar products]
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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Know Your Christian History!  Jul 12, 2007
In "The Great Jesus Debates," Douglas Johnson introduces 4 key battles from the early church, and shows their relevance for the church today, as well as for salvation. While there is voluminous literature available on this subject, Johnson narrows it down to the central figures and points of contention. He honestly acknowledges that some scholars may choose other figures to include or exclude from the discussion, but his aim is to present a concise and readable account for the initiate to the subject. He also tries to present a "sympathetic view" of both the "winners" and "losers" so as to be more fair in appraising their theologies.

I think that Johnson succeeds wonderfully in his task, producing an account that should be accessible to both lay persons and clergy. The miniature biographical portraits of the key figures gave valuable perspective on the philosophies and patterns of thought that influenced these early Christian theologians, and what passions or concerns drove their theologies. At times the range of disagreement between the various theologians can be distressing to the reader. But as the book goes on, and as we witness the successive battles unfolding and resolving, the courage and steadfastness of the early Christians is an inspiration.

An important point to keep in perspective about the subject matter is that the doctrine of the Scriptures was not being "developed" as if the church were creating new doctrines such as the Trinity, or the Two Natures of Christ. Rather, the early Christians were entering into the struggle to bring the doctrine already revealed in the Scriptures into faithful expression or "confession." These early church battles were all about faithfully expressing the truths of Scripture, in a way that did not violate salvation or the Divinity of Christ, or His humanity, etc. And Johnson aptly demonstrates how errors in these doctrines jeopardized in various ways, the Gospel of Jesus Christ. As one reads the book, it becomes obvious that no one individual Church Father grasped it all perfectly, or expressed everything in a way that was fully in harmony with the Scriptures. But one sees how they strove on the basis of the Word of God to express the truth of Scripture and the message of the Gospel in a way that was uncompromising and powerful.

The final portion of the book is an excellent review and analysis of the 4 battles discussed, and shows how these carry relevance for us today, as often these same errors are arising in modern times. A timeline and glossary are also provided which would be very useful for a reader who was unfamiliar with the people and events, to keep track as he reads through the book. Altogether, this is an excellent book to remind us that those who don't learn history are bound to repeat it!

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