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Getting to Know the Church Fathers: An Evangelical Introduction
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Getting to Know the Church Fathers: An Evangelical Introduction

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  283 ratings  ·  43 reviews
Offers a study of the ten personalities to demonstrate how much the fathers can teach us about the doctrines of our faith and the enduring community of which we are a part. This book helps readers get rid of the misconceptions about their religious status and treatment of Scripture.
Kindle Edition, 304 pages
Published October 1st 2007 by Brazos Press
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3.94  · 
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 ·  283 ratings  ·  43 reviews


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Brent McCulley
Nov 27, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Litfin does an excellent job in this introductory work at presenting some - but obviously not a comprehensive list - of the well known Church Fathers to a world that largely has written off ecclesiastical history as unimportant or irrelevant. Litfin's Protestant swing is refreshing, and encouraging, as he does not merely dismiss Tradition as some do, but exhorts the reader to understand that although we are Protestant, we owe the foundation of our faith to these catholic doctors.

This book really
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Bob Price
Dec 08, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In a period of history that remains too distant an unknown, it is often hard to find an access point to the study of it.

Getting to Know the Church Fathers does just this. It allows people who are unfamiliar with the church fathers to get a grip on who is who and what their contributions are.

Bryan Litfin gives a basic introduction to ten Church Fathers by providing an overview of their lives, their contribution and giving a small excerpt from their writings.

Writing from an Evangelical point of v
...more
Mary
Jul 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is a great introduction to the early church fathers. The historical context that he offers is very helpful in understanding their times. This is the part that really has stayed with me. It is easy to criticize people from a distance of a millennium and many centuries when you are relying on their scholarship and what has been learned since then to criticize them. Bryan Litfin does a great job of appreciating them for their work, while not ignoring the flaws. He talks about them with gr ...more
Logan Vlandis
Aug 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very accessible overviews of 12 church fathers. The author teaches at Moody, and his fundamentalist take on things shone through a few times. Still, this was a great taste of the lives of early Christian figureheads. I’m disgruntled that I had never heard their names or testimonies in my own church experience.
Jeremiah Gumm
Apr 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Litfin provides an excellent primer for the study of ancient church history. He examines the life and work of 10 figures from the Ante-Nicene through Post-Nicene eras, provides suggestions for further study, and a sample of their writings--all while writing in a popular, engaging style. While I did have some quibbles with some of his theological conclusions, I still think this book is a great resource to have.
Joe Johnson
Jul 17, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For many of those cracking open the pages of Bryan Litfin’s book, Getting to Know the Church Fathers, this is their first real glimpse of the ancient Christian church. Rather than returning to old, familiar friends, they are embarking on an exploratory journey that will hopefully enrich and deepen their appreciation for the church fathers (p.1).

As the book’s subtitle indicates, it’s oriented towards evangelical readers who might not know much about the Patristic era. Litfin, who is himself an ev
...more
Dónal Walsh
Jun 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent introduction to major Church Fathers written from a broadly evangelical perspective. Consists of short bios on 10 major figures. It does a number of great things with them: puts them well into their historical context, has great connections to the modern day with relevant discussion and application questions and brings out the historical lessons we Christians can learn from them. It is brilliant at simplifying doctrinal issues of the day, the broad sweep of issues and contentions the e ...more
Phillip Howell
Jun 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Informative. Enjoyable. Challenging.

First of all this was an informative survey of 12 church fathers. I really feel like a have a better grasp of the first few centuries of the Christian church. The information is not simply biographical of these 12 people. The background information and side notes about what is going on are extremely helpful.

Second, it was enjoyable to read. The modern illustrations to begin each chapter were well done. The writing style was clear and easy to follow. I simply
...more
Hunter List
Jul 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I haven't spent a lot of time studying the church fathers but I am very glad that I read this book. In this book, Liftin acknowledges three misconceptions that are associated with the Church Fathers and dispels them by explaining the stories of 10 different church fathers. I think before reading this book (and during the first few chapters) my attitude towards studying the church fathers was rather apathetic. I didn't think that I would pull a lot from this book but I actually found it to be an ...more
Ben Zornes
This is a really helpful book as an introduction to some key characters in Church history. For both clergy, but especially layman, this is a great way to gain some familiarity with how the Spirit of God has raised up godly men to help preserve the Church and the Gospel, throughout history. I did find it curious that he included a woman, Perpetua, as a Church father. Though her story of martyrdom is certainly inspiring, it seemed a bit out of place given the overall focus of the book. Regardless, ...more
Bobby Roberts
Oct 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is an “introduction” in the fullest sense of the word. It will be a beneficial read to anyone who has absolutely no previous knowledge of these church fathers. Liftin writes in a very readable fashion yet it sometimes feels as if he has low expectations of his audience’s ability to engage with history and/or their attention span. Nevertheless this book would be very helpful for grade school ages or as a helpful starter for anyone who is looking to learn about the church fathers for the ...more
Brenda
May 29, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: challies-2018
This is probably a good book, but I got tired of reading it and was definitely ready to be done. I guess I am not as interested in church history as I should be! And while the story of Perpetua was extremely interesting and her martyrdom was tragic, it doesn't appear that she added anything to our understanding of doctrine or theology the way the other "fathers" did. I got the feeling that the author thought he ought to include a woman.
Jake
Sep 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: church-history
If you are brand new to the church fathers, this is an excellent book to start with. Well researched and great interaction with primary sources and history of some of the most important church fathers within history.
Melody Schwarting
A good introduction to the church fathers, especially for evangelicals who think the period between Paul and Luther was a blip. Litfin's passion for early church history is contagious and his writing is engaging. Great for a discussion group for those ready to learn.
Shawn Paterson
Nov 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The chapter on Ignatius of Antioch made my heart burst. Great introductory book for any Christian.
Ryan
Sep 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A helpful introduction to the church fathers.
Timothy Michiemo
A good beginners guide to understanding the church fathers. Litfin's writing isn't the best but he explains well the important details about these early church fathers.
Jonathan Esterman
Apr 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
Bryan Litfin holds a Bachelor’s degree in Print Journalism from University of Tennessee, a Master’s degree in Historical Theology from Dallas Theological Seminary, and a Ph.D in Ancient Church History from University of Virginia.

He has taught at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago since 2002 in the fields of Theology, Western Civilization (from the ancient in medieval periods), and Church History. In addition to authoring this book, Litfin has published several scholarly articles and The Chiveis Tr
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Jonathan Esterman
Bryan Litfin holds a Bachelor’s degree in Print Journalism from University of Tennessee, a Master’s degree in Historical Theology from Dallas Theological Seminary, and a Ph.D in Ancient Church History from University of Virginia.

He has taught at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago since 2002 in the fields of Theology, Western Civilization (from the ancient in medieval periods), and Church History. In addition to authoring this book, Litfin has published several scholarly articles and The Chiveis Tr
...more
Timothy Bertolet
Aug 01, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a helpful introduction to some of the major church fathers. Not only did Liftin introduce you to the church fathers but he introduced you to significant events that went on in their life and times. It is a helpful primer on the early church. This was obviously an introduction and so was too brief at times, particularly in discussing Augustine and Pelagius. Liftin had some excellent discussion of early Trinitarianism and Christology. Overall Liftins writing is helpful particularly for a ...more
Greg Dill
Sep 19, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent introduction to the early church fathers. Many misconceptions about them were put to rest. Litfin gives both the good and the bad about them. In most part, the early church fathers were true believers trying to make sense of a new belief system and making things right, theologically and doctrinally speaking. This, especially amidst many heresies that were popping up during this time. If it were not for some of these early theologians, who knows where Christianity would be today. It see ...more
Ben
Feb 17, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have mixed feelings about this book. Overall it was just an "okay" read. I appreciated his comments on Monasticism and Asceticism but unfortunately he left out a lot of important details--I suppose you can only say so much in an introductory book, but it appeared to me that he willingly left out details in order to cater to his Protestant / Evangelical audience.

While he made mention of Irenaeus' parallel between Adam and Jesus, he neglected to mention his parallel between Eve and Mary. Liftin
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Ethan
As advertised, an attempt to introduce Evangelical Christians to the stories of many of the church fathers: Ignatius of Antioch, Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Tertullian, Perpetua, Origen, Athanasius, Ephrem, John Chrysostom, Augustine, Cyril, and Patrick.

The author's goal is to familiarize Evangelicals with what should be a common heritage. He attempts to make the work accessible; in providing historical context and explanations he does well, but some of the justifications and applications are very
...more
Frankie Della Torre
Aug 12, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Getting to know the Church Fathers is more than simply reading about some old Christian guys and gals who started the whole shebang. Getting to know the Church Fathers is about the legacy of the Church. It is about real people, who lived real lives, and worshipped our real God with their whole hearts. Few care to read about those who came before us, carrying the torch which has found its place in our hands. Truthfully, this is a great study. This book is not about arguing over which Father would ...more
CJ Bowen
Nov 03, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Room for improvement in the Kindle version: forced or full justify stretches out shorter lines, hyphens wreak havoc by not rejoining when the line was restructured for Kindling, there was one smudged letter (which I didn't know was possible with e-ink) and around location 1439, two sentences are transposed around a wandering hyphen, producing the arresting statement: "Then the martyrs willingly mounted a turb you, but confirm you." Hmm.

The content itself, however, is a very helpful high school/a
...more
Benjamin Spurlock
As some other reviewers mentioned, Litfin does a fantastic job of introducing us to the early church fathers (and one mother,) but in setting them forth, he unfortunately tends to gloss over some of the issues that might make the reader look more hostile toward them. In that sense, while I appreciate what Litfin was attempting to do, and I learned a great deal in this book that was inspirational and relevant... I can't shake the feeling that he let his stated agenda in writing this book flavor t ...more
Rachel
Aug 31, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
If you've ever had Dr. Litfin for a class you'd probably enjoy this book, it has his wit and charm. He really has a profound respect for the early church fathers (people I knew almost nothing about) so through this book he was able to acquaint his students (i.e. *me*) with these men (and some women)It's not overly technical, and if you're a fan of church history you'd probably love it as a nice easy read.
Eddie Snipes
Excellent read. Bryan Litfin writes in a style that is informative, and easy to digest. He examines some of the most influential church fathers and provides an honest biography. What I found particularly helpful was that he examines the culture of the day before discussing the church father's life. This gives the reader a picture of the attitudes, problems, and cultural practices that influenced the life of our early church leaders.
Kathy
Jul 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book! It was written in "laymen's" language, making it an easy-read, and was also very interesting and inspiring. At the end of each chapter, the author provides a list of books by or about the father the chapter covered; this is a great resource for anyone, like me, who is interested in learning more.
Christian Koethke
Mar 10, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very accessible book that teaches us Protestants to value the ancient church and how they formed a lot of what we believe. It provides short bios along with why they mattered and then ends with a small example of their writing. It's easy to think that we've progressed to greater things, but the issues they faced and the struggles in their personal lives are much the same.
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Bryan earned a degree in print journalism from the University of Tennessee. He then went on to study for a master’s degree in historical theology at Dallas Theological Seminary. From there he went to the University of Virginia, taking a PhD in the field of ancient church history. In 2002, Bryan took a position on the faculty at Moody Bible Institute in downtown Chicago, where he is a professor in ...more