L. Charles Jackson
Reviewed by: Dan Dillard
Date posted: 02/07/2010
Faith of Our Fathers: A Study of the Nicene Creed, by L. Charles Jackson. Published by Canon Press, 2007. Paperback, 160 pages, list price $12.00. Reviewed by OP pastor Dan Dillard.
As a pastor, I am always on the lookout for books on Christian doctrine and life to recommend to our congregation, and to use in our church's literature ministry. In particular, I look for books that are scripturally and confessionally sound, readable—and, as an added attraction, concise, knowing that reading time for busy church members is very precious. OP pastor Charles Jackson's book on the Nicene Creed, entitled Faith of Our Fathers, meets all of these qualifications with excellence, and I highly recommend it.
Pastor Jackson carefully explains the meaning of the statements of the Creed, and sets forth their biblical basis. He discusses key issues, such as the significance of the Creed's use of the Greek word homoousios to explain the relation between the Father and the Son: "Homoousios expresses a complete unity and oneness of essence while maintaining a distinction of persons" (p. 42). He also gives an historical overview of the development of the Creed, including the key figures and issues. He helps the reader understand the practical importance of doctrine in the life of the church.
He does all this in eighteen short chapters. Each chapter includes study questions. As a result, this study can be used with profit by individuals, homeschoolers, Bible study groups, and in Sunday school.
A particularly helpful feature of the book is that, as the author explains the doctrines, he also deals with important contemporary questions and issues. Why should we have creeds? How do they relate to the Bible and to the life, witness, and worship of the church? Why does an individual Christian need to be in a church and join in confessing its faith? How does our common confession of the faith relate to love and to our witness? How do the ancient doctrines shape our understanding of the Christian life and of corporate worship? Readers will also find helpful the discussion of how the Nicene fathers distinguished biblical truth from pagan mythology and how that relates to current questions on the relation between the Bible and science.
Finally, because it deals with the ancient Nicene faith in terms of its biblical basis and also in relation to current questions, this book may be useful to give to young people attracted to the emerging/emergent movements.