question concerning church history

Discussion in '2000-02 Archive' started by dwd, Oct 25, 2002.

  1. dwd

    dwd
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2002
    Messages:
    17
    Likes Received:
    0
    Being new at this I am probably making a mistake, but maybe someone can answer my questions. I have been trying to study early church fathers. In doing so I have been pretty depressed. When I read the writings of Polycarp I see no assurance of salvation I quote "it is by grace ye are saved, not of works, but by the will of God through Jesus Christ". Then 5 lines later he says " now He that raised Him from the dead will raise us also; if we do his will and walk in his commandments and love the things which he loved, abstaining from all unrighteusness, coveteousness, love of money, evil speaking, false witness; etc,etc etc.
    The others writings are even more confusing, such as Clement and others.

    Then when I read Tertullian , which some Baptist historians quote, I find he sounds like a campellite{Churh of Christ} on his writing on Baptism.

    Maybe some of you can point me to some material that I should read on Baptist history .
     
  2. Rev. G

    Rev. G
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2002
    Messages:
    1,635
    Likes Received:
    0
    Friend:

    First of all, let me welcome you to the Baptist Board. [​IMG]

    Now, when reading the Church Fathers on the matter of salvation, they sound much like Paul and John in parts of Scripture ("if you continue...", etc.). This has to do with the doctrine of perseverance. John's first epistle is much like this. "If you love the brethren," "If you walk in the light," etc., etc. Those who have been justified are being sanctified. There is a real and vital difference in the way they live, and will continue to live. So, keep that in mind.

    When you read the Apostolic Fathers and the early Church Fathers you are going to find that they seem to advocate baptismal remission. You just have to wade through it. [​IMG]

    As far as a good Baptist work on baptism, I would recommend Carson's book BAPTISM: ITS MODE AND ITS METHOD (I think that is the right title).

    I hope this little bit helps. Don't stop reading the Fathers, it will earn you extra merit in heaven. :D

    Rev. G
     
  3. Daniel Dunivan

    Daniel Dunivan
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2002
    Messages:
    374
    Likes Received:
    0
    As a historical theologian, I must point out that you should read the fathers as a work from their time. They have no need to make our modern affirmations or rejections (as in my case) about such things as the doctrine of perseverance. It is important to them that their brothers and sisters in Christ act Christlike in the face of persecution. Ethics was a big concern. As far as works on baptism, we must realize the from the get-go the ordinances were becoming more sacramental all the time because of the impact of Greek culture and philosophy upon Christian theology (Tertullian rejects it but is blind to his deep involvement in it).

    More than anything, don't expect the fathers to be 21st century baptists. Let them be who they were. If you do, you will have a much wider understanding of our Christian heritage. It was because of these people that the gospel was passed on, down to our time.
     
  4. imported_J.R. Graves

    imported_J.R. Graves
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2000
    Messages:
    183
    Likes Received:
    0
    If you are looking for a good book to read on Baptist History, I would suggest John T. Christian's "History of Baptists". You can order this excellent hardback book for $10.00 from abaptist.org Christian was the professor of Church History at New Orleans Seminary during the early 1900's and is probably the greatest historian Southern Baptists have ever produced.
     
  5. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2001
    Messages:
    5,144
    Likes Received:
    25
    Hi, dwd. Welcome to the Baptist History forum. [​IMG] I think you have been given some good advice thus far, and second it, as well as the two books recommended.
     
  6. Dr. Bob

    Dr. Bob
    Expand Collapse
    Administrator
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2000
    Messages:
    29,402
    Likes Received:
    12
    We often look at the Old Testament characters and wonder WHY they didn't have more faith or understanding. They were VERY LIMITED in their understanding and perspective.

    Then the New Testament comes into light and wow, WE (with 20/20 hindsight) can see perfectly. But as for the Apostles? They still stumbled in partial, imperfect understanding.

    Same with the ante-nicene fathers AND post-nicene fathers as well. And Luther and Calvin a thousand years later STILL had some strange views with limited understanding and perspective.

    Even 100 years ago I have books by Baptists who did not understand the end times or nature of the church or issues of separation. Limited again.

    Only today do we finally have all the knowledge and perfect understanding and perspective.

    Right. :rolleyes:
     
  7. tyndale1946

    tyndale1946
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2001
    Messages:
    6,179
    Likes Received:
    226
    Dr. Bob you said... Only today do we finally have all the knowledge and perfect understanding and perspective. Right. :rolleyes:

    It must have been that dream you had last night?... I would also like to recommend... History Of The Church Of God by Primitive Baptist Elders C.B. & Sylvester Hassell which can be found in its entirety at this link... Read and purchase later if you like!... Brother Glen [​IMG]

    http://www.pbministries.org/History/S.%20Hassell/church_of_god.htm
     
  8. IfbReformer

    IfbReformer
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2002
    Messages:
    708
    Likes Received:
    0
    dwd,

    I have found many times in studing the church fathers that I am disappointed with some of their doctrines. But as others in this forum have already said in one way or the other, we are all a product of our time.

    Others will look back at us in two or three hundred years(if the Lord does not return by then) and think some things we thought were strange.

    We must understand that we did not come to where our on our own, the Lord as brought us here and part of the way he has brought us is through the mistakes of others.

    We stand on the shoulders of the church fathers. All the heresies that went on only help to bring our true Christian doctrine.

    But we must never be arrogant enough to think that just because people believe something now, and people believed something different then, that we must be right.

    For instance, I was raised in a church where "Calvinism" was an evil word. And in many Baptist churches today it is taught that way - as heresy. But great men of God of old like Charles Spurgeon where champions of this great Christian doctrine.

    And on prophecy teachings today, most will teach prophesy as if their view is the only out there. I have never been in a church were a Sunday School teacher will go into an honest discussion or study of prophesy and present opposing view points in an honest manner.

    In the past the fathers and greats had many different views on this and I think we loose something by ignoring all that information and acting like we have it all together today.

    Sometimes older is better, sometimes not. Its up to you to read your Bible and pray and seek
    God's truth for yourself.

    Just a thought

    IFBreformer

    [ October 28, 2002, 11:27 AM: Message edited by: IfbReformer ]
     
  9. Aaron

    Aaron
    Expand Collapse
    Member

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2000
    Messages:
    15,680
    Likes Received:
    241
    When I read the early church fathers, I see men who expected Christians to act like, well...Christians. Compared with the compromise and complacency of modern pulpits their teaching sounds harsh.

    Polycarp was a disciple of the Apostle John, and his doctrines are a result of the Apostle's tuteluge.

    Where there is a concensus in the doctrines of the early fathers, it's a good bet that we are hearing the teaching of the Apostles themselves.

    Praise God that the straightforward, uncompromising teaching of that great man of God may rouse some out of their slumber.

    [ October 29, 2002, 12:08 AM: Message edited by: Aaron ]
     
  10. Daniel Dunivan

    Daniel Dunivan
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2002
    Messages:
    374
    Likes Received:
    0
    This may be a topic for another thread, but it has been alluded to here. It seems obvious that doctrines have changed over time--at the very least we must acknowledge that we form them differently today. I have been doing some historical work on the life of John Henry Newman for a historical method course. He wrote a book called "An Essay on the Development of Doctirne." In it he says that doctrine develops because the revelation is so large that no human mind can take it in at once, then it is present in many minds. Through the distilation of the doctrine through the community, it develops into a generally accepted proposition. There are many problems with this that have been pointed out by recent scholars, and no doubt this sounds Catholic to baptists (Newman converted to Catholicism immediately after the publication of this work), but it may at least shed some light into the difference between early Christian sources and our own day.
     

Share This Page

Loading...