Early Church Writers

Discussion in 'History Forum' started by Turpius, Dec 18, 2004.

  1. Turpius

    Turpius
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    What does anybody think of those of the next couple of generations of Christian leaders?

    Clement, Justin, Polycarp, Ignatius, etc. does anybody read them?
     
  2. dean198

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  3. Ben W

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    I really enjoyed studying Justin Martyr. I would rate him as one of the best early church writers for sure.
     
  4. rsr

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  5. Dr. Bob

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    How early? I like some (certainly not ALL) of Augustine, but know he is not ante-nicene.
     
  6. Matt Black

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    Excellent; the earlier the better, since they are much closer in time than us to the teachings of the apostles and the writers of the NT and accordingly (all other things being equal)were better placed to interpret the same

    Yours in Christ

    Matt
     
  7. Stratiotes

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    I don't know that closer in chronology necessarily implies closer in theology. It would seem to be the case logicalyl but does not seem to be in fact. I often think of Paul's use of the widespread belief in baptism for the dead in his time and how he did not confront it directly but, in fact, appealed to it in a debate on the resurrection. (I Cor 15:29) In other words, they may have been followers of some heresy that was never corrected simply because, in contrast to the sea of false teaching prevelant at the time, their heresy seemed minor.

    All that said, I like quite a few of them very much - particularly Augustine.

    I always find this discussion somewhat interesting in baptist circles where one might argue for their given belief with "well, its what the early church fathers believed..." as if that gives it some greater credebility. Most of the early church fathers also believed in regenerative baptism and I don't know a lot of baptists that would jump in that boat (no pun intended). So, when I hear that argument my response is always, "so what?" I don't think the early church fathers had any greater level of understanding than we do and I think that's by God's design. Only those tasked with writing the scriptures were given special insight and understanding. Note that most of the early churches that Paul had to write to to correct were founded by him - if being "first-generation" from Paul was not good enough to correct their beliefs, then I'm not sure that we could ever get close enough to make a real difference. The logical conclusion to that view, by the way, seems to me a Roman or Orthodox Catholic view.
     

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