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THE CHURCH FATHERS Apostolic Fathers Ante - Nicene Fathers Post - Nicene Fathers 325 A.D.

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Presentation on theme: "THE CHURCH FATHERS Apostolic Fathers Ante - Nicene Fathers Post - Nicene Fathers 325 A.D."— Presentation transcript:

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2 THE CHURCH FATHERS

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4 Apostolic Fathers

5 Ante - Nicene Fathers Post - Nicene Fathers 325 A.D.

6 THE CHURCH FATHERS I. SOME POSITIVE THINGS They made abundant use of the writings of the N.T. "If all other sources for our knowledge of the text of the New Testament were destroyed, [quotations made by the Church Fathers] would be sufficient alone for the reconstruc- tion of practically the entire New Testament." (Metzger, Bruce M., The Text of the New Testament, p. 86)

7 THE CHURCH FATHERS I. SOME POSITIVE THINGS They witness in their own imperfect way that the first Christians preceded them.

8 THE CHURCH FATHERS I. SOME POSITIVE THINGS The evidence they give of the canon of the N.T.

9 …They were trained by that earlier generation which they surpassed. They inherited the doctrines which it was their task to arrange and harmonize. They made no claims to any discoveries in Christianity, but with simple and earnest zeal appealed to the testimony of the Apostolic Church to confirm the truth of their writings. (B.F. Westcott, A General Survey of the History of the Canon of the New Testament, p. 336)

10 THE CHURCH FATHERS I. SOME POSITIVE THINGS They show the great influence the N.T. had on the generations immediately following it, Mk. 16:15

11 THE CHURCH FATHERS I. SOME POSITIVE THINGS Their defense of the faith.

12 THE CHURCH FATHERS I. SOME POSITIVE THINGS There are many examples of them confessing Bible truths.

13 Purpose of baptism: …Our transgressions being taken away by one Paeonian medicine, the baptism of the Word. We are washed from all our sins, and are no longer entangled in evil. (Clement of Alexandria, 150-215 A.D., The Instructor Book, ch. 6, Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson editors, The Ante-Nicene Fathers: Translations of the Writings of the Fathers down to A.D. 325, p. 423, The Sage Digital Library)

14 One church: Since, also, there is but one … God, even the Father; and one only-begotten Son, God, the Word and man; and one Comforter, the Spirit of truth; and also one preaching, and one faith, and one baptism; and one Church which the holy apostles established from one end of the earth to the other by the blood of Christ… (Ignatius, Epistle to the Romans, ch. 5, 50-117 A.D., The Ante-Nicene Fathers, V. 1, p. 161, Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson editors)

15 II. SOME PROMINENT ERRORS OF THE CHURCH FATHERS Action of baptism …Nor ought it to trouble any one that sick people seem to be sprinkled or affused, when they obtain the Lords grace…. it appears that the sprinkling also of water prevails equally with the washing of salvation… (Cyprian [200-258 AD], Epistle 75, 12, ANF, V. 5, pp. 826,827)

16 II. SOME PROMINENT ERRORS OF THE CHURCH FATHERS Church government Wherefore it is fitting that ye should run together in accordance with the will of your bishop, which thing also ye do. For your justly renowned presbytery, worthy of God, is fitted as exactly to the bishop as the strings are to the harp. (The Epistle Of Ignatius To The Ephesians, ANF V. 1, p. 100 of Apostolic Fathers)

17 II. SOME PROMINENT ERRORS OF THE CHURCH FATHERS Church government Damas, the bishop of Magnesia, salutes you. Polybius, bishop of the Trallians, salutes you. (The Epistle Of Ignatius To The Antiochians, CH. 13, ANF, V. 1, P. 217) Acts 14:23; 20:17, 28

18 END OF SECOND CENTURY Councils

19 Church government: COUNCILS From that time councils became frequent; but as they consisted only of those who belonged to particular districts or countries, they are usually termed diocesan, provincial, patriarchal, or national councils, in contradistinction to ecumenical or, general councils, i.e. supposed to comprise delegates or commissioners from all the churches in the Christian world… (McClintock and Strong, v. 2, C-D, Ages Software)

20 Church government: COUNCILS The second series of councils in the second century was caused by the controversy regarding the time of celebrating Easter. (A History Of The Christian Councils, From The Original Documents, To The Close Oe The Council Of Nicaea, A.D. 3 2 5, By Charles Joseph Hefele, Pp. 80-83) Matt. 26:26-28; 1 Cor. 11:23-25; Acts 20:7

21 END OF SECOND CENTURY The subject (of time of celebrating Easter, sw) was therefore again discussed and acted upon by the Ecumenical Council of Nice, which decreed that Easter should be celebrated throughout the Church after the equinox, on the Friday following the 14th of Nisan. (McClintock and Strong, v. 3, E-G, Ages Software) Church government: COUNCILS

22 II. SOME PROMINENT ERRORS OF THE CHURCH FATHERS The Lords Supper …Have we been taught that the food which is blessed by the prayer of His word, and from which our blood and flesh by transmutation are nourished, is the flesh and blood of that Jesus who was made flesh. (Justin Martyr, 110-165 A.D., ANF, v. 1, ch. 66, pp. 340,341, Ages, my emph, sw)

23 II. SOME PROMINENT ERRORS OF THE CHURCH FATHERS Marriage and divorce CAN. 9. A baptized woman who leaves a baptized husband on the ground of his adultery and marries again, is to be prohibited from marrying; if she marry, she is not to be received into communion, until the husband whom she has left be departed out of this life, unless perchance extremity of sickness require it to be given her. (Council of Elvira, [305 or 306] in Documents Illustrative of the History of the Church, edited by B.J. Kidd) Matt. 19:9?

24 III. THE CHURCH FATHERS IN LATER HISTORY Developed into the Roman Catholic church. 1. Church government.

25 END OF SECOND CENTURY The subject (of time of celebrating Easter, sw) was therefore again discussed and acted upon by the Ecumenical Council of Nice, which decreed that Easter should be celebrated throughout the Church after the equinox, on the Friday following the 14th of Nisan. (McClintock and Strong, v. 3, E-G, Ages Software) Church government: COUNCILS catholic = universal in extent; invol- ving all.

26 III. THE CHURCH FATHERS IN LATER HISTORY Developed into the Roman Catholic church. 1. Church government …While your bishop presides in the place of God (Ignatius, The Epistle Of Ignatius To The Magnesians, Ch. 6, ANF, P. 123)

27 III. THE CHURCH FATHERS IN LATER HISTORY Developed into the Roman Catholic church. 1. Church government 2. Sprinkling as baptism, Acts 8:38,39; Rom. 6:4 3. Lords supper = Mass 4. Marriage – Roman Catholic teaching on divorce; celibacy, 1 Tim. 4:1-3

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29 III. THE CHURCH FATHERS IN LATER HISTORY The Church Fathers and the Protestant Reformation The Bible was not the only text at stake in the sixteenth century. The Reformation was almost as much an argument about the meaning of the early Christian fathers – especially St Augustine – as it was about the Bible. (David C. Steinmetz and David Bagchi, Conclusion: directions of further research, The Cambridge Companion To Reformation Theology, p. 252, 253)

30 III. THE CHURCH FATHERS IN LATER HISTORY The Church Fathers and the Protestant Reformation: Martin Luther Our theology and St Augustine are progressing well, and with Gods help rule at our university …. Indeed no one can expect to have any students if he does not want to teach this theology, that is, lecture on the Bible or on St Augustine or another teacher of ecclesiastical eminence. (Scott Hendrix, Luther, CCRT, pp. 41, 42)

31 III. THE CHURCH FATHERS IN LATER HISTORY The Church Fathers and the Protestant Reformation: John Calvin, Ezek. 18:20 The roots of Calvin's theology lie in his conception of human nature as corrupt and impotent towards good. Observation and experience told him that the corruption and impotence were universal, and closely following Augustine he connected their universality with the sin of Adam. (Hugh Y. Reyburn, John Calvin: His Life, Letters, And Work, p. 359)

32 The Church Fathers and the Protestant Reformation Most of the reformers thought nothing of the corrupt form of church government which had been handed down from the church fathers. Luther had an erroneous view of the Lords Supper. Calvin argued for infant baptism. Luther believed that celebrating Easter was not necessary to salvation but had no problems with its celebration.

33 IV. WHY ARE THE CHURCH FATHERS NOT AUTHORITATIVE? They were not inspired; they were just fallible men. Is there no contradiction amongst them? Is there even a general consistency of opinion? By no means. Not only is one Father opposed to another Father, but not unfrequently to himself. (The One Source Of Religious Truth, A Protestant To The Douay Bible, And Other Roman Catholic Standards In Support Of The Doctrines Of The Reformation, by John Jenkins. 1853, pp. 21,22)

34 IV. WHY ARE THE CHURCH FATHERS NOT AUTHORITATIVE? The problem of chronological extent. When do they cease to be authoritative?? With Augustine??

35 IV. WHY ARE THE CHURCH FATHERS NOT AUTHORITATIVE? The problem of chronological extent. When do they cease to be authoritative?? With Thomas Aquinas? (13 th century)

36 IV. WHY ARE THE CHURCH FATHERS NOT AUTHORITATIVE? The problem of chronological extent. When do they cease to be authoritative?? With Martin Luther? (16 th century)

37 IV. WHY ARE THE CHURCH FATHERS NOT AUTHORITATIVE? Their writings contradict clear teaching of the Bible. …It appears that the sprinkling also of water prevails equally with the washing of salvation… Damas, the bishop of Magnesia, salutes you. …Decreed that Easter should be celebrated throughout the Church…

38 I. SOME POSITIVE THINGS They made abundant use of the writings of the N.T. They witness in their own imperfect way that the first Christians preceded them. The evidence the give of the canon of the N.T. They show the great influence the N.T. had on the generations immediately following it, Mk. 16:15 Their defense of the faith. There are many examples of them confessing Bible truths.

39 II. SOME PROMINENT ERRORS OF THE CHURCH FATHERS Action of baptism Church government The Lords Supper Marriage and divorce

40 III. THE CHURCH FATHERS IN LATER HISTORY Developed into the Roman Catholic church. The Church Fathers and the Protestant Reformation.

41 IV. WHY ARE THE CHURCH FATHERS NOT AUTHORITATIVE? They were not inspired; they were just fallible men. The problem of chronological extent. Their writings contradict clear teaching of the Bible.


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