Early Christian Doctrines, by JND Kelly ★★★★
I have read this book many years ago and decided on a refresher course in early Christian thought. JND Kelly writes a wonderful text detailing the systematic development of the most relevant doctrines of Christianity, including the formation of the canon of Scripture, the nature of Christ, the Trinity, and the nature of man, as well as the origin of the current practice of the Sacraments, and development of the doctrine of Mary. It is a delightful book to read and should be within the knowledge of every mature Christian man and woman. I will not go over the details of the text. Needless to say, doctrine was developed in response to heresy, and those heresies, such as Arianism, Sabellianism, etc., etc., still exist and often unknowingly in the theological constructs of many otherwise orthodox Christian people. My greatest complaint with the book is that it assumes that one is already quite familiar with the Patristic saints. Summary charts or illustrations could have been used to better clarify competing doctrines. Even still, it is the best text out there for gaining a grasp as to why our theology emerged the way it did.