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
E. How to Approach
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."
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.
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
“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.
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 ?
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 ?
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 ?
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
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
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
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
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
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
Are we living in the “end times”?
How are worship services to be structured?
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
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
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
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,
Luther - German language
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)
Luther's and Melanchthon's Duplicity and
Sanctioning of Bigamy for King Henry VIII and Philip of Hesse (Hartmann
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 :
Free Book here
B. Texts of the Early Church Fathers
335 - The Early Church - Brief overview
by Mike Aquilina
This KofC booklet examines some core Catholic doctrines through the lens
of several important Patristic writers in order to demonstrate the
continuity of Catholic belief from the period of the early Church to
today. View Online
Listen - mp3 - Download PDF
C. Explaining Why History is
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
Right Rev. HENRY G. GRAHAM,
Four Witnesses Brought Me Home
by Rod Bennett
YouTube Conversion story
The Journey Home, Oct. 21, 2002
The Journey Home, June 6, 2005
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
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
the Development of Christian Doctrine, Part 2.
Doctrinal Developments Viewed
Relatively to Doctrinal Corruptions
Newman's Conversions Story to Catholic Church, in
His Own Words, (Brief) (Type your question here in the Search