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  • Early Church Fathers

    There are numerous takes on Church history, many of which focus on when the Catholic Church went "wrong." These are usually amended with a theory as to what happened to the "true" Christian church during the time period between when the Catholic Church went "wrong" and when the "true" church came back into visible existence.

    Very few attempt to use the wealth of early church documentation to argue for the existence of some Christian church other than the Catholic Church . Most of these theories refer to small churches that remained persecuted, hidden or unseen throughout the course of documented Church history. However, the lack of documentation on these small churches would seem to be indicative of their actual lack of existence.

    -----

    It should be underscored that the writings of the early church fathers and authors do not supercede Scripture. A lot of the problems that divide Christianity today come down to one thing: interpretation of Scripture. If you look hard enough you can most likely find at least 3 interpretations for nearly every line of Scripture. This is why it is important to read what some of the earliest Christians believed and taught. In some cases some of these early Christians were taught directly by Jesus's disciples themselves (e.g., Ignatius of Antioch was a student of John).

    visit: EarlyChurchFathers.com
    Also at: The Fathers of the Church
    This is the day the Lord has made and I will rejoice and be glad in it!
    Rehoboth, see you at the well!

  • #2
    Thankyou for the links

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Opally View Post
      There are numerous takes on Church history, many of which focus on when the Catholic Church went "wrong." These are usually amended with a theory as to what happened to the "true" Christian church during the time period between when the Catholic Church went "wrong" and when the "true" church came back into visible existence.




      From how I see it, this type of thinking creates several false assumptions.

      1) It assumes a point in time when the Catholic church 'went wrong'; which begs the idea that because of this errored point in time, there are no 'true Christians' found within Catholicism afterwards....and that this 'point it time' is clearly identifable.

      I would say that while the Catholic church has made many choices that 'were wrong', there is no distinctive single point; and any group of believers who has been around any length of time has probably had points in time where their teachings have 'went wrong'. RCC just happens to have a longer history to dig through to identify those points.

      That however, doesn't mean that after some 'went wrong point' that there stopped being true Christians within the Catholic church, nor does it mean that today there aren't true Christians within the Catholic church.

      2) The idea that the 'true church' disappeared after some early Catholic wrongdoing, and then reappeared later, is too a invalid assumption. The 'true church' is comprised of born-again believers who follow Jesus Christ and are redeemed through His blood; and they transcend any groups or sects. There have always been true Christians found within the Catholic church, as well as true Christians found outside of the Catholic church.

      There has never been a time when the 'true church' went missing.

      Originally posted by Opally View Post
      Very few attempt to use the wealth of early church documentation to argue for the existence of some Christian church other than the Catholic Church .
      PM this reply to "The Parsons". I'm sure he would love to share some of his research with you that he has compiled of the early church from the pre-nicene times through the reformation, that catalogues and discusses extant Christian church bodies outside of the RCC during that period.

      Originally posted by Opally View Post
      Most of these theories refer to small churches that remained persecuted, hidden or unseen throughout the course of documented Church history. However, the lack of documentation on these small churches would seem to be indicative of their actual lack of existence.
      Documentation is out there, perhaps you just haven't found any of it yet. Talk to the Parsons....he has a bunch.

      Originally posted by Opally View Post
      It should be underscored that the writings of the early church fathers and authors do not supercede Scripture. A lot of the problems that divide Christianity today come down to one thing: interpretation of Scripture. If you look hard enough you can most likely find at least 3 interpretations for nearly every line of Scripture. This is why it is important to read what some of the earliest Christians believed and taught. In some cases some of these early Christians were taught directly by Jesus's disciples themselves (e.g., Ignatius of Antioch was a student of John).

      visit: EarlyChurchFathers.com
      Originally posted by Opally View Post
      Very true.

      Comment


      • #4
        Opally,
        I moved your post asking why RCC teachings were included as apart of WR (along with Islam), here, in the Chat-to-Moderator's forum. Someone who was involved in making those changes way back when, will be along there shortly to answer your question.

        Comment


        • #5
          PM this reply to "The Parsons". I'm sure he would love to share some of his research with you that he has compiled of the early church from the pre-nicene times through the reformation, that catalogues and discusses extant Christian church bodies outside of the RCC during that period.

          Very few attempt to use the wealth of early church documentation to argue for the existence of some Christian church other than the Catholic Church .
          I've looked into this as well, and there are many early, apostolic, non-Catholic groups (the eastern and oriental orthodox being the most prominent) as well as the Assyrian Church of the East. All of these groups are just as old as the CC and their membership is still quite large even today. There are also several smaller splinter groups that existed.

          Comment


          • #6
            Maybe simply when Paul said, "Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world - (Romans 10:18)"

            That the sound of the gospel that was received throughout the ends of the world, went into many a region, village, and countryside....into all types of congregations and local gatherings of new believers; whether Catholic or not.

            ....And continued....and continued.....and continues today....in towns, villages, and coutrysides by both Catholic and non-Catholic fellowships.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Opally View Post
              There are numerous takes on Church history, many of which focus on when the Catholic Church went "wrong." These are usually amended with a theory as to what happened to the "true" Christian church during the time period between when the Catholic Church went "wrong" and when the "true" church came back into visible existence.

              Very few attempt to use the wealth of early church documentation to argue for the existence of some Christian church other than the Catholic Church . Most of these theories refer to small churches that remained persecuted, hidden or unseen throughout the course of documented Church history. However, the lack of documentation on these small churches would seem to be indicative of their actual lack of existence.

              visit: EarlyChurchFathers.com
              Also at: The Fathers of the Church
              Why would the Roman Catholic Church write about small churches they were trying to extinguish? Also, we do know that there were a LOT of other ancient churches - including the Orthodox Church.

              Comment


              • #8
                Hmm, I looked at this site http://www.earlychurchfathers.org/ and it has a chart listing beliefs of the RCC and how ecf writings support them. What is the point of that?
                I agree that some of the ecfs had very good contributions to our understanding of Christ.
                I have read On The Incarnation by Athanasius and it is just incredible.
                He really saw the oneness of the body of Christ.
                He saw many things that many Christians today still do not see.

                However, just because someone was a Christian many years ago and wrote about it does not mean that what they wrote was correct.
                Most of the things in that chart are considered heretical or at least wrong by most of Protestant Christianity because those things are not supported in the Bible and they do not lead people to Christ and sometimes lead people away from Christ. Invocation of Saints, Mary as Co-redemptrix, indulgences,and veneration of relics would definitely be in that category.
                ...be strengthened with power through His Spirit into the inner man, that Christ may make His home in your hearts through faith, that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be full of strength to apprehend with all the saints what the breadth and length and height and depth are and to know the knowledge-surpassing love of Christ, that you may be filled unto all the fullness of God. Eph. 3:16-19

                Comment


                • #9
                  Why would the Roman Catholic Church write about small churches they were trying to extinguish? Also, we do know that there were a LOT of other ancient churches - including the Orthodox Church.
                  The Roman church DID make records, usually through local or ecumenical councils, of "heresy" that sprang up from time to time. I think that the OP seems to imply that we don't see reformation/reformed/evangelical doctrines like we do today.

                  Even if we dont, we see MANY expressions of Christianity. I know that the Orthodox church, which is just as old, has a COMPLETELY different view of christianity than we have in the west. Same goes for the oriental orthodox and the assyiran church of the east.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by KATA_LOUKAN View Post
                    The Roman church DID make records, usually through local or ecumenical councils, of "heresy" that sprang up from time to time. I think that the OP seems to imply that we don't see reformation/reformed/evangelical doctrines like we do today.

                    Even if we dont, we see MANY expressions of Christianity. I know that the Orthodox church, which is just as old, has a COMPLETELY different view of christianity than we have in the west. Same goes for the oriental orthodox and the assyiran church of the east.
                    I read a book 20 odd years ago called Truth Triumphant by B.G.Wilkinson
                    It shows evidence of established Christian churches as far as Vietnam, Phillipines and Japan, Mongolia and China. All before the close of the 2nd century. The gospel quickly spread along the then very busy trade routes throughout the east. Entire provinces were Christian in later centuries. Genghis Khans daughter and I think a grandson were Christian and ruled their ares according to Christian princilples.
                    The RCC of course, in claiming to be the only "true" representative of the faith sought to destroy as much as possible evidence of these congregations. A clear example of that is the Celtic Christian church of which Patrick was a major contributor. I think the popes emmisaries did not arrive in Britain until the 7th or 8th centuries. Already finding the church well established it set out to bring them under the popes jurisdictiion. This they refused to do and so began the long and bloody battle for the rights of freedom in religious matters which have plagued those shores for nigh on 1500 years.

                    Brakelite
                    Jeremiah 15:16 Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and
                    rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O LORD God of hosts.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I read a book 20 odd years ago called Truth Triumphant by B.G.Wilkinson
                      It shows evidence of established Christian churches as far as Vietnam, Phillipines and Japan, Mongolia and China. All before the close of the 2nd century. The gospel quickly spread along the then very busy trade routes throughout the east. Entire provinces were Christian in later centuries. Genghis Khans daughter and I think a grandson were Christian and ruled their ares according to Christian princilples.
                      Yep, although the Christians in Japan were Nestorian (Assyrian church of the East).

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by KATA_LOUKAN View Post
                        Even if we dont, we see MANY expressions of Christianity. I know that the Orthodox church, which is just as old, has a COMPLETELY different view of christianity than we have in the west. Same goes for the oriental orthodox and the assyiran church of the east.
                        That sounds interesting. I'd be interested in learning more. Could you suggest some resources where I could research these different views?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by jeffreys View Post
                          Why would the Roman Catholic Church write about small churches they were trying to extinguish? Also, we do know that there were a LOT of other ancient churches - including the Orthodox Church.
                          The RC has a colorful history of this. And it is one of the reasons that Orthodox are very careful about any dealings with them. Along with the fact that they changed their apostolic teachings to a scholastic form, which was adopted predominantly in the west.

                          St Peter the Aleut was one of the first Orthodox martyrs in America, where what is now California. He was killed by the RC priests who tried to convert him.

                          The scholastic form of theology (a sort of progressive revelation ideal with scripture to develop doctrines) which the RC developed is one of the reasons that Orthodox do not read some of their fathers. ie. Augustin, Aquainas, Jerome which are quite popular in the west.

                          Orthodox stayed in eastern thought with the Cappodocian fathers and the Desert fathers.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            That sounds interesting. I'd be interested in learning more. Could you suggest some resources where I could research these different views?
                            www.orthodoxinfo.com has a lot of good info on the eastern orthodox faith. points of interest include a different view of justification/sanctification (a synthesis of both known as theosis), a rejection of the western notion of original sin, and a doctrine of the atonement that devoloped differently than catholics/protestants would understand it.

                            if you are looking for info on the nestorians

                            www.nestorian.org - because they use different laguages, they have different terminology than greeks/romans/protestants

                            also, it is very interesting to read the wikipedia articles on the oriental orthodox church.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I agree with Teke that some of the fathers became more interested in scholastic field. It became more about philosophy it seems rather then religion. Although Tertullian was declared a heretic after he became a Montanist he had a great saying "What has Jerusalem to do with Athens?" Meaning what does Greek Philosophy have to do with Christianity.

                              It is also important to note that very early on the West and Rome had nothing or very little to do with the development of theology. Very few people from Rome or other Latin speaking areas did not come to the four Ecumenical Councils. It was a language barrier they did not understand what the Greek speakers where talking about because it did not translate into Latin very well. For example the whole debate on the substance of Christ was he "homoousia" (same substance, as the Father) or "homoiusia" (like substance). The Latin speakers did not have words for this so they did not really care.

                              The Fathers also discussed the issue of diocese from Nicea Rome was given the West, Alexandria was given most, if not all of Northern Africa, and Antioch was give the East as in the Bishop over that city was the head bishop for the area.

                              It seems to me and no offence to Catholic, because if there was not an Anglican Church I would most likely be one, that they try to explain every thing. Whereas the Orthodox shrug their shoulders and say it is a mystery, who are we to explain how God does stuff. Which I think is a great attitude.

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