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Fathers of the Church
Why They are Important


A. Why Early Church Fathers are Important
B. Text of Fathers
C. Explaining Why History is Important !

D. R. Bennett’s Argument based on Scriptural Promises and History

 

A. Why Early Church Fathers are Important

If we have the Bible why are the Early Church Fathers important as well ?

See side article on why the early preachers of the Bible are called Early Church Fathers  - 
Matthew 23:9  "Call no man father."

5  Reasons:

1.
If you heard that St. Paul was coming to a town nearby to preach the Gospel, would you not be willing to make a considerable effort to attend ?  I would.  Obviously, that is not possible, but we can read the writings and thoughts of those early disciples who were trained by the Apostles as well as the writings of those who were trained by those disciples and so on down the line.  These men and their writings offer us a window back in time as to what the early church was really like.

2. 
The Bible actually implies that we should give serious consideration to what they wrote.  Paul’s letters command us to follow the godly traditions that he passed down to them.  We are to follow both the written traditions, the Bible, as well as the orally transmitted traditions.  These oral traditions are passed down to us through the writings of the early Church Fathers. 

2 Thessalonians 2:15
“So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter.”   RSV

2 Thessalonians 3:6
“Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from any brother who is living in idleness and not in accord with the tradition that you received from us.”   RSV

1 Corinthians 11:2
“I commend you because you remember me in everything and maintain the traditions even as I have delivered them to you.’   RSV

Therefore, if we wish to follow these exhortations of the Bible we have no choice but to find out what those traditions are.

 

3. 
The Bible does not answer every question.1  So, it can be helpful to look to these early Fathers and consider what they had to say.  Many of today’s Bible preachers will contradict each other as they both cite their own favorite verses (while they ignore many other verses.)  The Bible is the infallible and inerrant Word of God.  The writings of the early Fathers individually are not, but taken as a whole it could be argued that they are since God could not have abandoned his people.  And, aren’t these early preachers just as good as modern day preachers, if not more so ?

4.
Martin Luther ignored the early Church Fathers and gave Landgrave Philip of Hesse permission to take a second wife in AD 1539  because he found no prohibition in the Bible against it.2  Why did the early church reject polygamy ?  Does the Bible allow it ?  

5. 
How can we defend or explain which Books belong in the New Testament ?  The Books of the Bible were not assembled together into a singe collection until the end of the fourth century.  There is no list older than the writing of Athanasius in AD 367  that contains all of the Titles of the Books that make up the New Testament.  It was the decisions made by the fourth century councils (Hippo AD 393 and Carthage AD 397) as to which Books belonged in the New Testament.  We accept their decisions.  Without them and their decisions we would have no Bible.  God chose to work through them in this manner and provide for us through them.  So, is it not prudent to seek to understand what they thought the Bible meant ?

 

6.
Muhammad claimed that the Gospel of Jesus Christ was true. 

In 1064, Ibn-Khazem, FIRST charged that the Bible had been corrupted and the Bible falsified. This charge was to defend Islam against Christianity because Ibn-Khazem come upon differences and contradiction between the Bible and the Quran. Believing, by faith that the Quran was true, the Bible must then be false. He said,

“Since the Quran must be true it must be the conflicting Gospel texts that are false. But Muhammad tells us to respect the Gospel. Therefore, the present text must have been falsified by the Christians after the time of Muhammad.”

His argument was not based on any evidence or historical facts but only on his personal faith, reasoning and desire to safeguard the Quran.  This led him to teach that, “The Christians lost the revealed Gospel except for a few traces which God has left intact as argument against them.”
 



 

FOOTNOTES: Questions for Protestants :

Ask him how he knows which books belong in the Bible. Here, I suggest focusing on the canon of the New Testament.
Or else, it is possible he will get bogged down with our differences on the Deuterocanonical books and miss the point. Even if we concede that the New Testament has 27 books, How does he know we have the right ones? For example, the Title “Matthews Gospel” is not part of the inspired text. How does he know it comes from Matthew the Apostle ? The earliest list for our 27 books of the NT does not exist until St. Athanasius about 367 AD. The books of the Bible were not compiled into one collection until the end of the fourth century. The shear bulkiness of the scrolls did not facilitate putting the whole Bible onto one scroll.

Doesn't your friend's pastor offer explanations about what the Bible means? Why all the more should he not consider what the disciples of the 12 Apostles had to say about how the Apostles claimed the Bible was to be interpreted.

Protestants will promote Faith Alone, and supposedly Bible Alone and to just have a relationship with Jesus, but when they define what those vague terms actually mean to them, then the divide into over 32,000 different Protestant denominations who all contradict each other and all of whom claim to be following the Bible Alone.

How does your friend know that he, or his Pastor - read his Pope - knows that his interpretation is the correct one? Martin Luther, the champion of “Bible Alone,” told Prince Phillip of Hess that Polygamy was biblically acceptable because the Bible did not prohibit it.
 

How do we conduct Sunday service ?  Did the early church worship on Saturday instead ? 

Will there be a “Rapture”? Of so, will it be pre-milliennial or post-milliennial? When will it happen?  What does the “tribulation” mean?

Are we living in the “end times”?

How are worship services to be structured? Church leadership?

How often (if ever) should a Christian celebrate the Last Supper or receive Communion?

Should babies be baptized?

How many “sacraments” or “ordinances” are there and what do they accomplish, if anything?

Do I need to be baptized to go to heaven?

Is abortion okay? Contraception? Homosexual marriages? Euthanasia?

Is it okay to have a drink? Play cards? Dance? Go to casinos?

What does it mean to “accept Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior”? What do I do? What does He do? Is salvation permanent?

What's the definition of salvation and what does it mean to be saved?

Here is a good list of additional questions to ask your
friend.

Steve Ray's Questions


 


In the document “Der Beichtrat,” ( or “The Confessional Advice” see below) Martin Luther gave Landgrave Philip of Hesse permission to take a second wife because he could find nothing in the Sacred Scripture forbidding it.  He encouraged that this be done in secret so as to avoid public scandal. 

   
Letter to Philip of Hesse, Dec. 10, 1539, De Wette-Seidemann, 6:238-244[1]

Luther - German language

Dave Armstrong documented some of Luther's strange, morally objectionable views on marriage, in two papers:

Martin Luther's Lax Attitude Towards Polygamy and Concubinage (Hartmann Grisar)
See Discussion

Luther's and Melanchthon's Duplicity and Sanctioning of Bigamy for King Henry VIII and Philip of Hesse (Hartmann Grisar)
Part One
Part Two


Luther,
 by Hartmann Grisar, S.J., 449 page book with Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur, Translated into English.  On Luther's approval of Polygamy see Pages 258 - 262. 
Right click and Save book to hard drive : Download Free Book here



 


B.  Texts of the Early Church Father
s

 

http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/

http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/fathers/

http://www.sacred-texts.com/chr/ecf/index.htm

http://www.catecheticsonline.com/ChurchFathers.php

http://www.ccel.org/ccel/pearse/morefathers/files/home.html

http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf05.toc.html

http://www.zeitun-eg.org/ecfidx.htm

http://www.historyandapologetics.com/p/church-fathers.html


 

C.  Explaining Why History is Important !

The Catholic Church is the only Church
(not counting the Orthodox who trace their leaders back into the Catholic Church before they split away)
who can trace their leaders back through time through Apostolic Succession to Jesus Christ and the Apostles.

 

Where We Got the Bible: Our Debt to the Catholic Church
by The Right Rev. HENRY G. GRAHAM,

 

Four Witnesses Brought Me Home
 by Rod Bennett
YouTube Conversion story

"The Dark Ages,
The Journey Home, Oct. 21, 2002

"Former Southern Baptist,"
The Journey Home, June 6, 2005

The  Great  Apostasy :
R. Bennett’s Argument based on Scriptural Promises and History

Four Witnesses, Amazon Books, 342 pages

The Apostasy That Wasn't:
The Extraordinary Story of the Unbreakable Early Church
(Hardcover Book)
By: Rod Bennett

FREE  MP 3  - 3 episodes:
Al Kresta inteviews Rod Bennett about this new book.
Description: The narrative of the so-called “Great Apostasy” goes like this: just a few centuries after Christ’s death, around the time the Roman Empire converted to Christianity, the true Faith suffered a catastrophic falling-away. The simple truths of the gospel became so obscured by worldliness and pagan idolatry that Christianity required a complete reboot. This idea of a Great Apostasy is one of the cornerstones of American Protestantism, along with Mormonism, the Jehovah’s Witnesses, and even Islam. Countless millions today profess a faith built on the assumption that the early Church quickly became broken beyond repair, requiring some new prophet or reformer to restore the pure teaching of Jesus and the apostles. This theory is popular... but its also fiction. Rod Bennett is here with the truth.

 

Breaking Through the Myths of History, Dr. Kenneth Howell - Deep in History
 

History and the Necessity of Continuity - Fr. Ray Ryland

 

John Henry Newman’s
Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine,
Part 2.
Doctrinal Developments Viewed Relatively to Doctrinal Corruptions

Complete text,  Dave Armstrong’s extensive Links, including Newman's Conversions Story to Catholic Church, in His Own Words, (Brief) (Type your question here in the Search Box)

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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