My time at Erskine Theological Seminary has been well spent. Several professors have made my experience very worth the time, energy, money, late nights, etc. But easily one of the “surprises” of my time here is Dr. Don Fairbairn. I say surprise only in the fact that I did not know him or of him until I was actually already here and getting ready for classes. Fairbairn is the Patristics professor at Erskine. I confess that I already had a predisposition for liking Greek and Latin and the early Church fathers, but Fairbairn has succeeded in impressing me on numerous occasions with his knowledge of the early church, his grasp of the theological-political terrain, and his ability to present and explain key themes and developments in profoundly understandable ways.
Perhaps one of the great blessings of Fairbairn is his ability to sympathetically present many of the practices, positions, and developments of the early church and yet remain wholly comfortable and thankful for his historic reformed heritage. This is one of the great strengths of all of my favorite professors at Erskine. They have the ability to appreciate, study, discuss, give the benefit of the doubt to, and even borrow from the riches of Christendom throughout the ages without feeling threatened, becoming discontent, and remaining thoroughly committed to serving the brothers and sisters right in front of them.
I’ve just finished Dr. Fairbairn’s doctoral thesis which was published in book form as Grace and Christology in the Early Church published by Oxford University Press. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in early Christian studies and particularly those folks interested in such relevant issues as ‘union with Christ’, ‘participation in God,’ as well as the various paradigms for understand the nature of grace and the person of God. There is much here to digest, enjoy, and continue to study.