Prof. dr. Donald M. Fairbairn
Education, degrees
  • 1999: Ph.D. in Patristics, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, England
  • 1989: M.Div. (with honors), Denver Seminary, Denver, Colorado (USA).
  • 1986-1988: Study of theology, Erskine Theological Seminary, Due West, South Carolina (USA).
  • 1985-1986: Seminary preparation, Furman University, Greenville, South Carolina (USA).
  • 1985: A.B. in English literature (summa cum laude), Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey (USA).
Academic positions and teaching experience
  • 2004-: Professor of Historical Theology, ETF Leuven
  • 2003-2004: Visiting Professor of Historical Theology, ETF Leuven
  • 2010-: Robert E. Cooley Professor of Early Christianity, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, Charlotte, North Carolina (USA)
  • 2006-2010: Professor of Historical Theology, Erskine Theological Seminary, Due West, South Carolina (USA)
  • 2002-2007: Associate Professor of Historical Theology and Missions, Erskine Theological Seminary, Due West, South Carolina (USA)
  • 1999-2001: Assistant Professor of Church History and Missions, Erskine Theological Seminary, Due West, South Carolina (USA).
  • 1996-2002: Adjunct Professor of Theology and consultant to the academic department, Donetsk Christian University, Donetsk, Ukraine
  • 1992-1996: Professor of Systematic Theology and Assistant Academic Dean, Donetsk Christian University, Donetsk, Ukraine
Academic honors and awards
  • The Global Church—The First Eight Centuries was named the Southwestern Journal of Theology Book of the Year in Church History/Biography (2021).
  • Leon McDill Allison Award for Excellence in Teaching, Erskine Theological Seminary, 2005
  • Overseas Research Student Award from the British government for study at Cambridge, 1996-1999
  • Scholarship Award from Denver Seminary for the highest GPA in the M.Div. program, 1989
  • William Fitzhugh Morris Prize from Erskine Theological Seminary for excellence in biblical studies, 1988
  • Class of 1985 Prize from Princeton University for the highest GPA in the English department, 1985
Selected Bibliography


  • The Global Church – The First Eight Centuries: From Pentecost through the Rise of Islam. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Academic, 2021.
  • With Ryan Reeves. The Story of Creeds and Confessions: Tracing the Development of the Christian Faith. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2019.
  • With Rob Roy McGregor (co-translator). Fulgentius of Ruspe and the Scythian Monks: Correspondence on Christology and Grace. The Fathers of the Church: A New Translation (Patristic Series), 126. Washington, D.C.: Catholic University of America Press, 2013.
  • Understanding Language: A Guide for Beginning Students of Greek or Latin. Washington, D.C.: Catholic University of America Press, 2011.
  • Life in the Trinity: An Introduction to Theology with the Help of the Church Fathers. Downers Grove, Ill.: IVP, 2009 (This book is also being published in Russian.)
  • Grace and Christology in the Early Church. Oxford Early Christian Studies. Oxford: University Press, 2003. (This book has also been published in Russian.)
  • Eastern Orthodoxy through Western Eyes. Louisville, Ky.: Westminster John Knox Press, 2002. (This book has also been published in Russian and Romanian.)

Journal Articles and Book Chapters

  • “Ante-Nicene Trinitarianism: From Confession to Theology.” In The Renewal of Nicaea: Retrieving Classical Trinitarian Theology, edited by Matthew Barrett. Downers Grove, Ill.: IVP Academic, forthcoming.
  • “Interpreting Conciliar Christology: An Overview in the Service of Analytic Theology.” Journal of Analytic Theology 10 (2022): 363–81.
  • “Unknowable or Unknown God? Evangelical Tensions.” In The Book of Acts: Catholic, Orthodox, and Evangelical Readings, edited by Charles Wraith II, 258–64. Washington, DC: The Catholic University of America Press, 2019.
  • Fides Quae Creditur? The Nicene Background to the Reformation.” In Reformation Celebration: The Significance of Scripture, Grace, Faith, and Christ, edited by Gordon Isaac and Eckhard J. Schnabel, 191-203. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 2018.
  • “Chalcedon, Council of,” “Ephesus, Council of,” and “Nestorius/Nestorianism.” In Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, third edition, 165-166, 275, 584-585. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2017.
  • “Cyril of Alexandria.” In the T & T Clark Companion to the Atonement, edited by Adam J. Johnson, 457-460. London: Bloomsbury T & T Clark, 2017.
  • “Athanasius.” In the T&T Clark Companion to the Doctrine of Sin, edited by Keith Johnson and David Lauber, 165-179. London: Bloomsbury T&T Clark, 2016.
  • “The Sardican Paper, Antiochene Politics, and the Council of Alexandria (362): Developing the ‘Faith of Nicaea.’” The Journal of Theological Studies, NS, 66:2 (October 2015), 651-678.
  • “Context, Context, Context: Athanasius’ Biblical Interpretation in Contra Arianos.” Perichoresis 12, no. 2 (2014): 119–35.
  • “The Synod of Ancyra (358) and the Question of the Son’s Creaturehood.” The Journal of Theological Studies, NS, 64:1 (2013), 111-136.
  • “Translating ‘Son of God’: Insights from the Early Church.” St. Francis Magazine 8:6 (December 2012), 749-775.
  • “Justification in St. Cyril of Alexandria with some Implications for Ecumenical Dialogue.” Participatio: The Journal of the Thomas F. Torrance Theological Fellowship 4 (2013): 132-155. [This article is being reprinted in T. F. Torrance and Orthodoxy, Wipf & Stock, forthcoming.]
  • “Jesus’ Relationship to God, from His Words in John 13-17.” St. Francis Magazine 8:5 (October 2012), 571-592.
  • “Eastern Orthodoxy: An Historical-Theological Overview.” Areopagus Journal 12:3 (2012), 8-17.
  • “Contemporary Millennial/Tribulational Debates.” In A Case for Historic Premillennialism: An Alternative to “Left Behind” Eschatology, eds. Craig L. Blomberg and Sung Wook Chung, 105–131. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2009.
  • “Allies or Merely Friends? John of Antioch and Nestorius in the Christological Controversy.” The Journal of Ecclesiastical History 58.3 (2007): 383-399.
  • “The Puzzle of Theodoret’s Christology: A Modest Suggestion.” The Journal of Theological Studies, NS 58.1 (2007): 100-133.
  • “Patristic Soteriology: Three Trajectories.” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 50.2 (2007): 289-310.
  •  “Patristic Exegesis and Theology: The Cart and the Horse.” Westminster Theological Journal 69:1 (2007): 1-19.
  • “The One Person who is Jesus Christ: The Patristic Perspective.” In Jesus in Trinitarian Perspective: An Introductory Christology, eds. Fred Sanders and Klaus Issler, 80-113. Nashville: Broadman and Holman, 2007.
  • “Is the Early Church Relevant to the Scottish Reformation?” Haddington House Journal, Vol. 8, Supplemental Issue, 2006.
  • “Eastern Orthodox Mystical Theology.” In Mysticisms East and West: Studies in Mystical Experience, eds. Chris Patridge and Theodore P.C. Gabriel, 146-165. Carlisle, England: Paternoster Press, 2003.
  • “John Cassian.” In The Dictionary of Historical Theology, ed. Trevor Hart, 115-116. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2000.
  • “Orthodox Supremacy in Russia: Is There a Place for Evangelicalism?” In God in Russia: The Challenge of Freedom, eds. Sharon Linzey and Ken Kaisch, 288-314. Lanham, MA: University Press of America, 1999.
  • “Salvation as Theosis: The Teaching of Eastern Orthodoxy.” Themelios 23:2 (1998): 42-54.

Review Articles (selection)

  • Review of The Council of Ephesus of 431: Documents and Proceedings, translated by Richard Price. The Journal of Theological Studies 72, no. 1 (2021): 450–53.
  • Review of The Idea of Nicaea in the Early Church Councils, AD 431–451, by M. S. Smith. Journal of Theological Studies 71, no. 1 (2020): 371–73.
  • Review of The New Judas: The Case of Nestorius in Ecclesiastical Politics, 428-451 CE, by G. A. Bevan. Leuven: Peeters, 2016. Horizons: The Journal of the College Theology Society 45, no. 2 (2018), 446–47.
  • Van Kuiken, E. Jerome. Christ’s Humanity in Current and Ancient Controversy: Fallen or Not? London: Bloomsbury T&T Clark, 2017. Reviewed in The Journal of Theological Studies NS, 69, no. 2 (2018): 900–902.
  • Baker, Matthew, and Mark Mourchian, eds. What is the Bible? The Patristic Doctrine of Scripture. Minneapolis: Fortress, 2016. Reviewed in Themelios 41, no. 2 (2016): 358–60.
  • David Vincent Meconi, S.J. The One Christ: St. Augustine’s Theology of Deification. By David Vincent Meconi. Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 2013. Reviewed in Augustinian Studies 45, no. 1 (2014): 107-9.
  • George, Timothy, ed. Evangelicals and Nicene Faith: Reclaiming the Apostolic Witness. Beeson Divinity Studies. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Academic, 2011. Reviewed in International Journal of Systematic Theology 16, no. 2 (2014): 235-37.
  • Schor, Adam M. Theodoret’s People: Social Networks and Religious Conflict in Late Roman Syria. Berkely and Los-Angeles: University of California Pres, 2011. Reviewed in The Catholic Historical Review 98 (2012): 340–41.
  • Guroian, Vigen. The Melody of Faith: Theology in an Orthodox Key. Grand Rapids, Mich.” Eerdmans, 2010. Reviewed in Themelios 36, no. 1 (2011).
  • Angold, Michael, ed. The Cambridge History of Christianity. Vol. 5: Eastern Christianity. Cambridge: University Press, 2006. Reviewed in Ashland Theological Journal 43 (2011).
  • Payton, James R., Jr. Light from the Christian East: An Introduction to the Orthodox Tradition. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2007 & Letham, Robert. Through Western Eyes: Eastern Orthodoxy: A Reformed Perspective. Fearn, Ross-shire, Great Britain: Mentor, 2007. Reviewed in Religion in Eastern Europe 27, no. 4 (2007): 62–68.
  • Ferguson, Everett. Church History. Volume One: From Christ to Pre-Reformation. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 2005. Reviewed in Haddington House Journal 9 (2007): 95–99.
  • Nassif, Bradley, et al. Three Views on Eastern Orthodoxy and Evangelicalism. Ed. James J. Stamoolis. Counterpoints. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 2004. Reviewed in East-West Church & Ministry Report 13, no. 2 (2005): 12–13, and in Westminster Theological Journal, 68, no. 1 (2006): 162–65.
  • Garvilyuk, Paul. The Suffering of the Impassible God: The Dialectics of Patristic Thought. Oxford Early Christian Studies. Oxford: University Press, 2004. Reviewed in the The Journal of Ecclesiastical History 56, no. 3 (2005).
  • Laird, Martin. Gregory of Nyssa and the Grasp of Faith: Union, Knowledge, and Divine Presence. Oxford Early Christian Studies. Oxford: University Press, 2004. Reviewed in Westminster Theological Journal 67, no. 1 (2005): 184–87.
  • Aagaard, Anna Marie, and Peter Bouteneff. Beyond the East-West Divide: The World Council of Churches and “the Orthodox Problem.” Geneva: WCC Publications, 2001. Reviewed in East-West Church & Ministry Report, 12, no. 2 (2004): 14–15.
  • Glanzer, Perry L. The Quest for Russia’s Soul: Evangelicals and Moral Education in Post-Communist Russia. Waco, Tex.: Baylor University Press, 2002. Reviewed in Religion in Eastern Europe 23, no. 5 (2003): 51–58.