Author Topic: Protestant & Early Church Fathers  (Read 1930 times)

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Offline Dave in McKinney

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Protestant & Early Church Fathers
« on: May 14, 2012, 08:36:29 AM »
(Background: Wife and I currently going to RC church -- she wants to go back to Protestant Church.)

I was reading some items from church fathers -- trying to show that early church was Catholic/Orthodox.  And immediately she asked were those books I was reading from "Catholic"?  I.e. not trusting Catholic sources as they may be twisting what early church really said or did.
I seem to recall there is a Protestant source online that has the ECFs – is it CCEL?
Is there a study guide or outline that would lead one to show that the ECF were Orthodox/Catholic?  I think it would be important to show that worship was sacrificial in nature as well as Christ present in the eucharist. What other items would be important to look for? 
I would like to, at the very least, lead her to a Eastenr Catholic church or both of us into the Orthodox church.
Thanks in advance.


Offline ialmisry

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Re: Protestant & Early Church Fathers
« Reply #1 on: May 14, 2012, 09:33:18 AM »
(Background: Wife and I currently going to RC church -- she wants to go back to Protestant Church.)

I was reading some items from church fathers -- trying to show that early church was Catholic/Orthodox.  And immediately she asked were those books I was reading from "Catholic"?  I.e. not trusting Catholic sources as they may be twisting what early church really said or did.
I seem to recall there is a Protestant source online that has the ECFs – is it CCEL?
Is there a study guide or outline that would lead one to show that the ECF were Orthodox/Catholic?  I think it would be important to show that worship was sacrificial in nature as well as Christ present in the eucharist. What other items would be important to look for? 
I would like to, at the very least, lead her to a Eastenr Catholic church or both of us into the Orthodox church.
Thanks in advance.


CCEL is very Protestant and the translations they have are VERY Protestant. But that is OK.  Even with the Protestant commentary, you can prove the Orthodox point and she can trust them as a "Protestant"  source.
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Offline Marc1152

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Re: Protestant & Early Church Fathers
« Reply #2 on: May 14, 2012, 09:42:25 AM »
A really nice resource is www.ourlifeinchrist.com

The  two hosts are both converts from Protestantism and have complied about 30 one hour shows on all the hot button topics. There a section entirely devoted to the differences between the Roman Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox Church, I think there are five or six specific topics in that section.

These guys have a very nice conversational tone. Check it out. 
Your idea has been debunked 1000 times already.. Maybe 1001 will be the charm

Offline Benjamin the Red

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Re: Protestant & Early Church Fathers
« Reply #3 on: May 14, 2012, 12:03:15 PM »
CCEL is a really good source, maintained by Calvin College in MI. Their translations, like Isa said, are very Protestant, but there's still plenty in there to make Protestants uncomfortable.

Our Life in Christ was a nice podcast, and I think it's a big help for many Protestants. Definitely check it out!
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Offline Dave in McKinney

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Re: Protestant & Early Church Fathers
« Reply #4 on: May 14, 2012, 12:21:16 PM »
Thanks.  I have the book http://us.penguingroup.com/nf/Book/BookDisplay/0,,9780140444759,00.html?sym=TAB  which unknown to me at the time is translated by an Orthodox professor, who is now a priest, Andrew Louth.


Offline lost

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Re: Protestant & Early Church Fathers
« Reply #5 on: May 14, 2012, 01:24:13 PM »
depends on what you mean by early church fathers... those till Niceea cannot be made to fit the Orthodox/Catholic typology except taken out of context and with the use of half-truths things that both Churches recourse too when discussing Christian History who is a whole mess.

Offline Dave in McKinney

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Re: Protestant & Early Church Fathers
« Reply #6 on: May 14, 2012, 01:28:30 PM »
depends on what you mean by early church fathers... those till Niceea cannot be made to fit the Orthodox/Catholic typology except taken out of context and with the use of half-truths things that both Churches recourse too when discussing Christian History who is a whole mess.

????

Offline witega

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Re: Protestant & Early Church Fathers
« Reply #7 on: May 14, 2012, 02:09:17 PM »
depends on what you mean by early church fathers... those till Niceea cannot be made to fit the Orthodox/Catholic typology except taken out of context and with the use of half-truths things that both Churches recourse too when discussing Christian History who is a whole mess.

????

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Re: Protestant & Early Church Fathers
« Reply #8 on: May 14, 2012, 02:39:20 PM »
depends on what you mean by early church fathers... those till Niceea cannot be made to fit the Orthodox/Catholic typology except taken out of context and with the use of half-truths things that both Churches recourse too when discussing Christian History who is a whole mess.
Care to elaborate? The pre-nicene fathers I've read are pretty clear on many things.

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Offline lost

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Re: Protestant & Early Church Fathers
« Reply #9 on: May 14, 2012, 02:43:36 PM »
depends on what you mean by early church fathers... those till Niceea cannot be made to fit the Orthodox/Catholic typology except taken out of context and with the use of half-truths things that both Churches recourse too when discussing Christian History who is a whole mess.
Care to elaborate? The pre-nicene fathers I've read are pretty clear on many things.

PP

you missed the context.. and there were clearly various traditions going through Christianity till Niceea..

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Re: Protestant & Early Church Fathers
« Reply #10 on: May 14, 2012, 03:13:21 PM »
depends on what you mean by early church fathers... those till Niceea cannot be made to fit the Orthodox/Catholic typology except taken out of context and with the use of half-truths things that both Churches recourse too when discussing Christian History who is a whole mess.
Care to elaborate? The pre-nicene fathers I've read are pretty clear on many things.

PP

you missed the context.. and there were clearly various traditions going through Christianity till Niceea..
Of course there were, however one could not call Nestorius an early father....

PP
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Offline lost

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Re: Protestant & Early Church Fathers
« Reply #11 on: May 14, 2012, 03:28:29 PM »
depends on what you mean by early church fathers... those till Niceea cannot be made to fit the Orthodox/Catholic typology except taken out of context and with the use of half-truths things that both Churches recourse too when discussing Christian History who is a whole mess.
Care to elaborate? The pre-nicene fathers I've read are pretty clear on many things.

PP

you missed the context.. and there were clearly various traditions going through Christianity till Niceea..
Of course there were, however one could not call Nestorius an early father....

PP

I was refering to the Judaizing and Non-Judaizing traditions.. Than there were the "Arians" ... And apparently there were even Christians who believed in Reincarnation and maybe other flavours also..



Offline serb1389

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Re: Protestant & Early Church Fathers
« Reply #12 on: May 14, 2012, 04:52:48 PM »
depends on what you mean by early church fathers... those till Niceea cannot be made to fit the Orthodox/Catholic typology except taken out of context and with the use of half-truths things that both Churches recourse too when discussing Christian History who is a whole mess.
Care to elaborate? The pre-nicene fathers I've read are pretty clear on many things.

PP

you missed the context.. and there were clearly various traditions going through Christianity till Niceea..
Of course there were, however one could not call Nestorius an early father....

PP

I was refering to the Judaizing and Non-Judaizing traditions.. Than there were the "Arians" ... And apparently there were even Christians who believed in Reincarnation and maybe other flavours also..


Right but those who combated such heresies such as Judaizing & etc. would be considered Fathers.  Men such as Justin Martyr, Polycarp, etc. 

So i'm still not sure what you mean here. 
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Re: Protestant & Early Church Fathers
« Reply #13 on: May 15, 2012, 12:35:13 AM »
I was refering to the Judaizing and Non-Judaizing traditions.. Than there were the "Arians" ... And apparently there were even Christians who believed in Reincarnation and maybe other flavours also..
Perhaps so, but you do not know anything about them.
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Offline Cognomen

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Re: Protestant & Early Church Fathers
« Reply #14 on: May 15, 2012, 12:46:01 AM »
Can we ignore lost's tangential ramblings for a bit and try to answer Dave's question a little better?

Unfortunately, I'm not a lot of help, and don't know a source for a clear-cut "timeline" per se, as it's been widely accepted.  There are direct lines of succession that go back to the ECFs.  All of the ante-Nicene Fathers I've read have been pretty clear about belonging to the ecclesiastical body.

I think that's one reason a lot of the more Protestanty Protestants are a bit uncomfortable reading it.  All of this Eucharist business and such.  Then again, Acts seems pretty clear cut to me, but I recently spoke with a highly intelligent, well versed Protestant who told me that nowhere in the Bible does the "Catholic" Church exist.
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Offline serb1389

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Re: Protestant & Early Church Fathers
« Reply #15 on: May 15, 2012, 01:09:56 AM »
Can we ignore lost's tangential ramblings for a bit and try to answer Dave's question a little better?

Unfortunately, I'm not a lot of help, and don't know a source for a clear-cut "timeline" per se, as it's been widely accepted.  There are direct lines of succession that go back to the ECFs.  All of the ante-Nicene Fathers I've read have been pretty clear about belonging to the ecclesiastical body.

I think that's one reason a lot of the more Protestanty Protestants are a bit uncomfortable reading it.  All of this Eucharist business and such.  Then again, Acts seems pretty clear cut to me, but I recently spoke with a highly intelligent, well versed Protestant who told me that nowhere in the Bible does the "Catholic" Church exist.

Except for in the case of that "catholic church" forming that selfsame bible.  Ho does that work out for him?
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Offline akimori makoto

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Re: Protestant & Early Church Fathers
« Reply #16 on: May 15, 2012, 01:13:20 AM »
Can we ignore lost's tangential ramblings for a bit and try to answer Dave's question a little better?

Unfortunately, I'm not a lot of help, and don't know a source for a clear-cut "timeline" per se, as it's been widely accepted.  There are direct lines of succession that go back to the ECFs.  All of the ante-Nicene Fathers I've read have been pretty clear about belonging to the ecclesiastical body.

I think that's one reason a lot of the more Protestanty Protestants are a bit uncomfortable reading it.  All of this Eucharist business and such.  Then again, Acts seems pretty clear cut to me, but I recently spoke with a highly intelligent, well versed Protestant who told me that nowhere in the Bible does the "Catholic" Church exist.

Some people are truly insufferable.
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Offline serb1389

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Re: Protestant & Early Church Fathers
« Reply #17 on: May 15, 2012, 01:13:41 AM »
(Background: Wife and I currently going to RC church -- she wants to go back to Protestant Church.)

I was reading some items from church fathers -- trying to show that early church was Catholic/Orthodox.  And immediately she asked were those books I was reading from "Catholic"?  I.e. not trusting Catholic sources as they may be twisting what early church really said or did.
I seem to recall there is a Protestant source online that has the ECFs – is it CCEL?
Is there a study guide or outline that would lead one to show that the ECF were Orthodox/Catholic?  I think it would be important to show that worship was sacrificial in nature as well as Christ present in the eucharist. What other items would be important to look for? 
I would like to, at the very least, lead her to a Eastenr Catholic church or both of us into the Orthodox church.
Thanks in advance.



I hate to be TOO obvious but one never knows...

Do you use or know about new advent?  They have a lot of these more ancient church fathers on there & they are strictly RC
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Offline Jason.Wike

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Re: Protestant & Early Church Fathers
« Reply #18 on: May 15, 2012, 01:41:59 AM »
depends on what you mean by early church fathers... those till Niceea cannot be made to fit the Orthodox/Catholic typology except taken out of context and with the use of half-truths things that both Churches recourse too when discussing Christian History who is a whole mess.
Care to elaborate? The pre-nicene fathers I've read are pretty clear on many things.

PP

you missed the context.. and there were clearly various traditions going through Christianity till Niceea..

Only if you believe that whatever anyone says is Christianity is actually Christianity.

Offline Cognomen

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Re: Protestant & Early Church Fathers
« Reply #19 on: May 15, 2012, 01:49:30 AM »
Can we ignore lost's tangential ramblings for a bit and try to answer Dave's question a little better?
I recently spoke with a highly intelligent, well versed Protestant who told me that nowhere in the Bible does the "Catholic" Church exist.

Except for in the case of that "catholic church" forming that selfsame bible.  Ho does that work out for him?

I don't think many Protestants believe that the Scriptures themselves were written by people in the "catholic church."  As to the formation, maybe some are aware of this.

That said, some very smart, well read (Greek, etc.) folks disagree with the view of an original "catholic church" that doesn't just mean 'bunch o' believers.'  I don't quite see where the disconnect is, but as the OP pointed out, his wife is having problems with it as well.

Some people are truly insufferable.

I wouldn't know anything about that sort of thing.  ;)
« Last Edit: May 15, 2012, 01:50:58 AM by Cognomen »
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Offline wayseer

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Re: Protestant & Early Church Fathers
« Reply #20 on: May 15, 2012, 02:45:20 AM »
Protestants ensure Tradition - so they would like to believe.  Therefore, anything than smacks of patristic Fathers does little more than confirm that where there is smoke there is fire.

The point which I think needs to be made is to actually identify at what point in history one can begin to talk 'the early Fathers' or even 'the Church'.  As W.H.C. Frend observes, Christianity was as much a cultural movement as a religion and it is therefore difficult to 'point to any time after the Ascension when it [the Church] was really one' (The Early Church, 1).  

So I take Lost's post ...

Quote
depends on what you mean by early church fathers... those till Niceea cannot be made to fit the Orthodox/Catholic typology except taken out of context and with the use of half-truths things that both Churches recourse too when discussing Christian History who is a whole mess.

... as containing some 'half-truths' itself.

But he makes a valid point - things in those formnative years were rather theological 'messy' to say the least.  We have reference to such messiness alluded to in the Pastoral Letters - one of the issues which such letters attempted to address.  Furthermore, the Didache provides further evidence that things were a bit bumpy and something had to be done to 'organize' this new religion.  What the Didachist demonstrates is that towards the middle of the 2nd century there was an increasing urgency to 'write things down' and the reason such texts were produced was the rising number of 'competing gospels' that were threatening the Christian Tradition.

I use the word 'tradition' in its fullest sense.  Yes, there were various gospel texts in circulation prior to the close of the 1st century, but access to these texts were limited and some, like John and Luke, were probably still in the process of being written.  All the 'early Church' had to go on was 'word of mouth' - oral tradition.  But against these 'competing gospels' oral tradition was going to take a beating.  The discovery of the Nag Hammandi Library demonstrates that there were any number of 'Christianities' in circulation at an early date - a fact supported by the letters of Paul which were 'addressed to churches already falling away from the Gospel which he had delivered to them' (John Behr, The Way to Nicaea, Vol 1: 14).

The Patristic Father were slow off the mark but when they got up and running their broadside was blistering as it was bloody.  But their essential task was to establish just what was Christian Tradition and it was not until 325, at the insistence of the Emperor, that the Fathers got themselves organized sufficiently to produce something against which we can measure just what might be labeled 'competing gospels'.

That process is also Tradition.  The path to Nicaea - and beyond - is one with which we also should make our acquaintance.  Given the history of the Patristic Fathers to stop at 'scripture only' seems ironic as it is theologically questionable.  Their story - the story of the Early Fathers and the Early Church - IS our story.  ' ... in the Tradition and life of the Church there has been no interruption from the Patristic age' (John Chryssavgis, The Way of the Fathers, p 29).  Quite simply - without that history and tradition Christianity would descend into farce.

      
« Last Edit: May 15, 2012, 03:10:14 AM by wayseer »
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Offline JamesRottnek

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Re: Protestant & Early Church Fathers
« Reply #21 on: May 15, 2012, 04:27:21 AM »
depends on what you mean by early church fathers... those till Niceea cannot be made to fit the Orthodox/Catholic typology except taken out of context and with the use of half-truths things that both Churches recourse too when discussing Christian History who is a whole mess.
Care to elaborate? The pre-nicene fathers I've read are pretty clear on many things.

PP

you missed the context.. and there were clearly various traditions going through Christianity till Niceea..

Do I miss the context when I read St. Ignatius talking about "Where the bishop is, there is the Church and Christ" or something to that effect?
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Offline lost

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Re: Protestant & Early Church Fathers
« Reply #22 on: May 15, 2012, 02:29:52 PM »
depends on what you mean by early church fathers... those till Niceea cannot be made to fit the Orthodox/Catholic typology except taken out of context and with the use of half-truths things that both Churches recourse too when discussing Christian History who is a whole mess.
Care to elaborate? The pre-nicene fathers I've read are pretty clear on many things.

PP

you missed the context.. and there were clearly various traditions going through Christianity till Niceea..
Of course there were, however one could not call Nestorius an early father....

PP

I was refering to the Judaizing and Non-Judaizing traditions.. Than there were the "Arians" ... And apparently there were even Christians who believed in Reincarnation and maybe other flavours also..


Right but those who combated such heresies such as Judaizing & etc. would be considered Fathers.  Men such as Justin Martyr, Polycarp, etc. 

So i'm still not sure what you mean here. 

Christianity was always survival the fittest.. martyrs died and plays were made by kings and patriarchs.. they decided doctrines and used expulsions for the opossition and burnt all their writings and materials.. Even so Nestorianism and Arianism survived many centuries.. Even the Ebionites and the Nazarenes  did.. And even those that believed in the Reincarnation.Pope Vigilius was arrested because of Reincarnation.. I forgot about the Marcionites that were similar to the Charismatics and Pentecostals.. There were also puritans, and others as such... the point is even if the "early pre-nicene fathers" used the terminology they might use it with different meaning.. That is why I am talking of the context.. And many of the pre-nicene fathers held "heretical" views.. Fathers like Origen , Tertulian , Ireneus, Justin Martyr , Cyrill of Alexandria.. For one Origen and Cyrill thought of the Eucharist to be more symbolicall and mean nothing without faith... Some of this early fathers are "anathema" .. Some thought that Mary had other children.. some held trinitarian heresies... Even if Ignatius uses words like catholic or bishop, they would most probably mean something else than it did afterwards.. And for one i`m not sure what type of architectural "churches" they had... in Rome they hide in catachombs, in other places in caves , in synagogues or in homes.. those were their "churches" .. So i don`t think there is any substantial proof of a Christian service and a vital sacerdot in the first couple of centuries.. Not sure what the christian sites consisted of than... but they were all sort of stuff.. The point is there were various traditions going in Christianity, the greatest of them being : The Alexandrian, the Roman , The Constantinopolitan.. this three were the centres of Christianity and Catholic Christianity and all developed separated and different doctrine... and after the fall of the Roman Empire the Christian history is full with political divergences , manipulations, lies,corruption etc, between Constantinople and Rome.Well not only than... The "catholic" christianity stands mostly under the question mark of corruption.. being controled and having to do with emperors, emperors being the ones to convoke the councils... All this three Tradition now stand separated and we only have the ilusion that they were once United.. They were not.. They all come from differing cultures and languages.. They were not as strictly united as we think...


Offline dzheremi

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Re: Protestant & Early Church Fathers
« Reply #23 on: May 15, 2012, 02:40:26 PM »
No, they were, if only for a time. In the Alexandrian tradition, for instance, there were ethnically/culturally Syriac bishops (i.e., "Copts" weren't always Coptic) and monasteries, Romans and monasteries connected to them (Deir al-Baramous), etc. And we commemorate them all equally in the synaxarium, recognizing no difference in the faith that united them. It is only in your mind that being of a different culture or language means a lack of unity. The OO tradition is certainly against that kind of thinking, and the commemoration of Roman Popes and saints from Rome's Orthodox period (of many centuries) by the EO seems to suggest that they are against it, too.

It is obvious that you have issues with Christianity, but your issues do not make the truth anything other than what it is.
« Last Edit: May 15, 2012, 02:41:09 PM by dzheremi »

Offline Dave in McKinney

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Re: Protestant & Early Church Fathers
« Reply #24 on: May 15, 2012, 03:20:20 PM »
Sounds like someone has been reading Bart Ehrman....

Offline jah777

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Re: Protestant & Early Church Fathers
« Reply #25 on: May 15, 2012, 03:56:44 PM »
It may be helpful to read "The Orthodox Church" by Met. Kallistos Ware for an understanding of Church History, but it may also be helpful (aside from studying the early Fathers themselves) to read conversion stories from former Protestants who became Orthodox after studying the early Fathers and becoming convinced that the Orthodox Church alone has remained faithful to the "faith once and for all delivered to the saints."  Fr. Peter Gillquist's "Becoming Orthodox" may be helpful in this regard, and Matthew Gallatin's "Thirsting for God in a Land of Shallow Wells".  I'm sure there are other such books that can be recommended by other posters.

The following site has compiled many conversion stories from people of many different backgrounds:

http://journeytoorthodoxy.com

At the above site, you can go to the "Topics" or "Category" option and look for stories of those who converted to Orthodoxy from Roman Catholicism and a number of different Protestant groups.  This is a good place to start, as is also the writings of the Apostolic Fathers.

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Re: Protestant & Early Church Fathers
« Reply #26 on: May 15, 2012, 03:59:14 PM »
Quote
It may be helpful to read "The Orthodox Church" by Met. Kallistos Ware for an understanding of Church History
highly insightful BTW

Quote
but it may also be helpful (aside from studying the early Fathers themselves) to read conversion stories from former Protestants who became Orthodox after studying the early Fathers and becoming convinced that the Orthodox Church alone has remained faithful to the "faith once and for all delivered to the saints
This is what happened to me.

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Offline Carl Kraeff (Second Chance)

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Re: Protestant & Early Church Fathers
« Reply #27 on: May 15, 2012, 05:36:07 PM »
depends on what you mean by early church fathers... those till Niceea cannot be made to fit the Orthodox/Catholic typology except taken out of context and with the use of half-truths things that both Churches recourse too when discussing Christian History who is a whole mess.
Care to elaborate? The pre-nicene fathers I've read are pretty clear on many things.

PP

you missed the context.. and there were clearly various traditions going through Christianity till Niceea..
Of course there were, however one could not call Nestorius an early father....

PP

I was refering to the Judaizing and Non-Judaizing traditions.. Than there were the "Arians" ... And apparently there were even Christians who believed in Reincarnation and maybe other flavours also..


Right but those who combated such heresies such as Judaizing & etc. would be considered Fathers.  Men such as Justin Martyr, Polycarp, etc. 

So i'm still not sure what you mean here. 

Christianity was always survival the fittest.. martyrs died and plays were made by kings and patriarchs.. they decided doctrines and used expulsions for the opossition and burnt all their writings and materials.. Even so Nestorianism and Arianism survived many centuries.. Even the Ebionites and the Nazarenes  did.. And even those that believed in the Reincarnation.Pope Vigilius was arrested because of Reincarnation.. I forgot about the Marcionites that were similar to the Charismatics and Pentecostals.. There were also puritans, and others as such... the point is even if the "early pre-nicene fathers" used the terminology they might use it with different meaning.. That is why I am talking of the context.. And many of the pre-nicene fathers held "heretical" views.. Fathers like Origen , Tertulian , Ireneus, Justin Martyr , Cyrill of Alexandria.. For one Origen and Cyrill thought of the Eucharist to be more symbolicall and mean nothing without faith... Some of this early fathers are "anathema" .. Some thought that Mary had other children.. some held trinitarian heresies... Even if Ignatius uses words like catholic or bishop, they would most probably mean something else than it did afterwards.. And for one i`m not sure what type of architectural "churches" they had... in Rome they hide in catachombs, in other places in caves , in synagogues or in homes.. those were their "churches" .. So i don`t think there is any substantial proof of a Christian service and a vital sacerdot in the first couple of centuries.. Not sure what the christian sites consisted of than... but they were all sort of stuff.. The point is there were various traditions going in Christianity, the greatest of them being : The Alexandrian, the Roman , The Constantinopolitan.. this three were the centres of Christianity and Catholic Christianity and all developed separated and different doctrine... and after the fall of the Roman Empire the Christian history is full with political divergences , manipulations, lies,corruption etc, between Constantinople and Rome.Well not only than... The "catholic" christianity stands mostly under the question mark of corruption.. being controled and having to do with emperors, emperors being the ones to convoke the councils... All this three Tradition now stand separated and we only have the ilusion that they were once United.. They were not.. They all come from differing cultures and languages.. They were not as strictly united as we think...



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Re: Protestant & Early Church Fathers
« Reply #28 on: May 16, 2012, 10:14:25 AM »
After reviewing this discussion , I am unlocking this topic and moving it to the Protestant Orthodox discussion board as a more appropriate place for this discussion.

Thomas
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