Book Review of Michael Haykin’s “Rediscovering the Church Fathers”


Dr. Michael Haykin begins his book, Rediscovering the Church Fathers: Who They Were and How They Shaped the Church, with this troubling statement: “The truth of the matter is that far too many modern-day evangelicals are either ignorant of or quite uncomfortable with the church fathers” (13).  Haykin’s book is an effort to remedy that problem.  In this work, Dr. Haykin, Professor of Church History at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY, returns to a subject about which he is an expert and for which he has a passion, the Fathers of the Patristic Age.  Each chapter focuses on one area of theology and one (or in one chapter two) key figure.  For example, chapter 6 introduces the reader to the great Cappadocian, Basil of Caesarea, and to Basil’s defense of the Trinity in the 4th c.  One of the great gems of the early church, ‘The Epistle to Diognetus,’ is introduced in chapter 3.  This letter dates to c.150AD and “stems from the joyous faith of a man who stands amazed at the revelation of God’s love in his Son and who is seeking to persuade a Greco-Roman pagan by the name of Diognetus to make a commitment to the Christian faith” (50).  Haykin’s analysis of this wonderful, ancient letter is worth the price of the book.  Finally, the book closes with two appendices, the first of which gives a helpful ‘reader’s guide’ to those looking to dive deeper into this neglected, but foundational part of our history, the history of the one, holy, and apostolic church.  I heartily commend Dr. Haykin’s work, Rediscovering the Church Fathers.