The following articles have been compiled and indexed by inWORD Bible software.
Church Fathers Quoted the Comma?
For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. (1 John 5:7)
The Influence of Greek Thought on Christianity
To the Greek philosophers, life was one long process of the satisfying of the intellect. But Greek philosophy had gone stale by the time of the uprise of Christianity. The Christian religion revived Greek philosophy by giving it something new and unique to think about. So that in the second and following centuries we find thousands of “Greek-minded” citizens of the Roman Empire considering Christianity, not with the idea of attaining personal salvation by obeying the revealed will of God, but with the view of satisfying their intellect with respect to the Christian doctrines of the existence and nature of God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. The dominant desire was for knowledge, not for love or faith. Naturally intellectual discussion waxed hot and involved on the exact relationship of God to Jesus Christ and to the Holy Spirit; and presently, little by little, there emerged the doctrine of the Trinity, concerning which a high and unbiased authority states that the mould of thought is that of Greek philosophy, and, again, “the Nicene creed is characteristically Greek”. In unvarnished language, the doctrine of the Trinity is a blasphemous mixture of Greek speculation with divine truth.
Satan in the Thought of Clement and Origen
One of the most gaping problems for those who believe in a personal Devil relates to what actually happened when Christ died. Hebrews 2:14 clearly states that in His death, Christ “destroyed him that has the power of death, that is the devil”. As I’ll explain later, I find the only meaningful and Biblically consistent approach here is to understand that the Devil is used here as a personification for sin—for it is sin which brings death (Romans 6:23). The entire curse on earth as a result of human sin is described in Genesis as being brought by God and not by any personal Satan. Sin and death are very frequently connected together in the Bible (Romans 5:12, 21; 6:16,23; 7:13; 8:2; 1 Corinthians 15:56; James 1:15). In none of those passages is there the slightest hint that it is a personal Satan who brings about our death; the cause of death is ultimately human sin. Yet Origen insisted that “the Devil controls the ultimate evil, death” (Against Celsus 4.92,93). The early “fathers”, having committed themselves to belief in a personal Satan, had to face the music from the Gnostics and other critics over these issues—seeing sin and evil continued and even increase daily in the world, how can it be that Christ destroyed the Devil? A purely Biblical position would’ve had no problem answering that objection—Christ destroyed the power of sin, in that we can now be forgiven and be counted as “in Christ” by baptism. He as our representative has enabled us to become in a position whereby all that is true of Him now stands true for us; and thereby our resurrection from the dead and receipt of eternal life is assured by His grace.
Unity and Diversity in Early Church Interpretations of Eschatology
The concern for establishing orthodoxy over and against heresy has occupied the minds of theologians for nearly two millennia. Those claiming to possess the orthodox faith argue that their view goes back to the original faith demonstrated by the earliest followers of Jesus. Even today, many churches, denominations, and sects maintain that their particular views are the original beliefs and practices of the church. In other words, they claim authority and theological validity by identifying with what is often called “the apostolic faith.” Modern students of eschatology and prophetic matters are among those who boldly and valiantly hold to a particular scheme or system of interpretations. It is often heard in these circles that their particular views are the very same perspectives held by the earliest Christians, and is therefore the purest form of the faith. All opposing interpretations, it is regularly contended, are deviant, false, or severely misguided.
Proverbs 8 and the Early Church Fathers
Do the earliest surviving post-New Testament writings interpret Proverbs chapter 8 as being about the pre-human Jesus? And do they teach the pre-human existence of Jesus at all?
Mild, a Christian of Philippi, Paul’s “fellow-labourer,” whose name he mentions as “in the book of life” (Philippians 4:3). It was an opinion of ancient writers that he was the Clement of Rome whose name is well known in church history, and that he was the author of an Epistle to the Corinthians, the only known manuscript of which is appended to the Alexandrian Codex, now in the British Museum. It is of some historical interest, and has given rise to much discussion among critics. It makes distinct reference to Paul’s First Epistle to the Corinthians.
klem ́ent (Κλήμης, Klḗmēs, “mild”): A fellow-worker with Paul at Philippi, mentioned with especial commendation in Philippians 4:3. The name being common, no inference can be drawn from this statement as to any identity with the author of the Epistle to the Corinthians published under this name, who was also the third bishop of Rome. The truth of this supposition (“it cannot be called a tradition,” Donaldson, The Apostolical Fathers, 120), although found in Origen, Eusebius, Epiphanius and Jerome, can neither be proved nor disproved. Even Roman Catholic authorities dispute it (article “Clement,” Catholic Cyclopaedia, IV, 13). The remoteness between the two in time and place is against it; “a wholly uncritical view” (Cruttwell, Literary History of Early Christianity, 31).
Clement, (Κλήμης for Lat. clemens, merciful), a person (apparently a Christian of Philippi) mentioned by Paul (Philippians 4:3) as one whose name was in the book of life (q.v.), A.D. 57. This Clement was, by the ancient Church, identified with the bishop of Rome of the same name (Eusebius Hist. Eccles. 3. 4; Constitut. Apost. 7, 46, Origen, vol. 1, p. 262, ed. Lommatzsch; and Jerome, Scriptor. Eccl. p. 176, a); and that opinion has naturally been followed by Roman Catholic expositors. It cannot now be proved incorrect; and, in fact, it is not improbable in itself. There are essays on his life, identity, and character as a teacher, by Feuerlein (Altorf, 1728), Freudenberger (Lips. 1755), Frommann (Cobl. 1768), Roudinini (Romans 1606). SEE CLEMENT OF ROME.
The Ante-Nicene Fathers, subtitled “The Writings of the Fathers Down to A.D. 325”, is a collection of books in 10 volumes (one volume is indexes) containing English translations of the majority of Early Christian writings. The period covers the beginning of Christianity until before the promulgation of the Nicene Creed at the First Council of Nicaea. The translations are very faithful, and provide valuable insights into the spirituality and theology of the early Church fathers.
The Ante-Nicene Period (literally meaning “before Nicaea”) of the history of early Christianity was the period following the Apostolic Age of the 1st century down to the First Council of Nicaea in 325. This period of Christian history had a significant impact on the unity of doctrine across all Christendom and the spreading of Christianity to a greater area of the world. Those seen as prominent figures of this era, referred to as the Ante-Nicene Fathers or Proto-orthodox Christians, generally agreed on most doctrine while the teachings of those early Christian writers which the general majority considered to be heretical, were rejected.
The Apostolic Fathers were Christian theologians who lived in the 1st and 2nd centuries AD, who are believed to have personally known some of the Twelve Apostles, or to have been significantly influenced by them. Their writings, though popular in Early Christianity, were ultimately not included in the canon of the New Testament once it reached its final form. Many of the writings derive from the same time period and geographical location as other works of early Christian literature that did come to be part of the New Testament, and some of the writings found among the Apostolic Fathers’ seem to have been just as highly regarded as some of the writings that became the New Testament.
Clementine literature (also called Clementina, Pseudo-Clementine Writings, Kerygmata Petrou, Clementine Romance) is the name given to the religious romance which purports to contain a record made by one Clement (whom the narrative identifies as both Pope Clement I, and Domitian’s cousin Titus Flavius Clemens) of discourses involving the Apostle Peter, together with an account of the circumstances under which Clement came to be Peter’s travelling companion, and of other details of Clement’s family history.
Pope Clement I
Pope Clement I (Latin: Clemens Romanus; Greek: Κλήμης Ῥώμης; died 99), also known as Saint Clement of Rome, is listed by Irenaeus and Tertullian as Bishop of Rome, holding office from 88 to his death in 99. He is considered to be the first Apostolic Father of the Church.