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, IL: IVP, 2009 (This book is also being published in Russian.)
  • Grace and Christology in the Early Church. Oxford Early Christian Studies. Oxford: 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

  • “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.