Church Fathers and the Early Church?

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by nate, Jan 18, 2006.

  1. nate

    nate
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    How important was the early church? Do you consider it to be closer in doctrine and practice than the modern church? As I read more of the Church fathers the more I realize that Protestant christianity is farther away from their practices than we might think.

    For instance Justin Martyr seems to affirm transubstantiation in this quote:

    Justin probably wrote this around the year 150 A.D. it's hard to comprehend the church falling into heresy so quickly after the Apostles had died. I guess my question is this: Does the early church beliefs matter to you?
     
  2. mioque

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    Justinus the martyr (yes he was tortured to death by the government of the Roman Empire for what he believed in) is a rather typical example of an early churchfather, earnestly believing all sorts of stuff that would make the resident theologians on this board break out in hives.
    Sometimes it's wise to remember that the same thing applies in reverse to the brightest theological most Biblically sound minds on this board.
    All here who impress everybody else around with their profound uncompromising faith and deep knowledge of Scripture, hold to certain strikingly peculiar theological notions if we look at their believes through the eyes of ANY pre-19th century Christian.
     
  3. Gold Dragon

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    I think it is useful to read what Holy Spirit indwelled Christians of any culture and context (past and present) have to say about interpretation of the bible and its application within their context. Sometimes those in the past are more correct than those in the present. Sometimes they are not.

    Those in the present or close to the present usually have a similar context with ourselves and so have similar applications.
     
  4. Kiffen

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    I don't think Justin Martyr held to transubstantiation. Transubstantiation came alone in the Middle Ages. The belief in the Real Presence is not synomous with Transubstantiation.

    If you even read the 1689 London Baptist Confession, Westminster Confession of the Presbyterians you will see early Baptists as have most Protestants believe in a form of the Real Presence of Christ in Communion.

    The Eastern Orthodox hold to the Real Presence yet reject the Roman Catholic view of Transubstantiation. The Eastern Orthodox simply say it is a mystery and no attempts at defining should me made.

    The Church Fathers are very important in that much of our beliefs on the Trinity and Christology was systemized and defined by the early councils in their battles with Arians, Gnostics, Modalists and other heretics.
     
  5. Ransom

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    nate said:

    For instance Justin Martyr seems to affirm transubstantiation in this quote

    Justin sowed the seeds of transubstantiation (as well as sacramentalism), but as someone else has already said, it didn't take its present form until the Middle Ages.
     
  6. rlvaughn

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    First, a general observation -- if we look at the fact that heresy had already encroached upon the churches in apostolic times, we should not be surprised of churches and Christians falling into heresy so soon. Second, to the specific instance of Justin Martyr believing in transubstantiation, that may be a case of misreading a future idea back into what he was saying, as Kiffen mentions. Third, Does the early church beliefs matter? Yes, it matters what they believed. It is helpful and enlightening to study these writings. But we also keep in mind that it is the inspired Scriptures alone that we go to find "thus saith the Lord".
     
  7. nate

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    That was the exact sentence I was pointing out. Thank you for pointing out the difference Kiffen between Real Presence and transubstantiation I learned something today [​IMG] . The Eastern Orthodox have held the belief of Real Presence for a long time. Could you explain what exactly the differences are? I've never read much on the subject so I'm a little in the dark. Thanks
     
  8. Me4Him

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    Will eating/drinking of the "Bread/wine" cause you to "die", "YES", but not because either the bread/wine are poison, but what they represent.

    I don't know what Justin or anyone else believed about "Communion", and I don't believe it is "literally" transformed into "flesh/blood", but the "consequences" of taking communion "UNWORTHY" can be "SERIOUS".

    1Co 11:28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.

    29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body.

    30 For this cause many are (Spiritually) weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.(Dead)

    I should point out that this is "Chastisement", and God only chastises "His own".
     
  9. nate

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    bump.....
     
  10. Alexander

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    I would like to comment on this thread but unfortunately it is limited to Baptists. If the moderator would move it to the 'Other Denominations' thread, then I could join the discussion.

    Alexander
     
  11. johnp.

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    Hello nate.

    Savage wolves in amongst the flock. Peter fell in with them for a while and was rebuked by Paul.

    The early Church began the process of inquiring into the scriptures of the New and Old testaments. They were the first ones having to work it out and the knowledge they passed down was used by the next generation and added to up to the present.

    I don't think it matters if they knew Paul personally because we are not called to believe what a man says Paul said we are to believe the scriptures that Paul wrote. If we rely on anything but the bible we are in trouble.

    They do not interest me. :cool:

    john.
     

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