Early church fathers writings

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JesusIsLord

Puritan Board Freshman
Hello guys, I have a really good friend who has just recently converted from reformed baptist to catholicism and I have had a really hard time with his defense for why he converted. There are a lot of reasons why but the one that sticks out the most is church history. He says that the early church fathers all agree with the Catholic position on mass and essentially have a different faith than protestants. He also claims that the reformation was a corruption of the church and everything after that is heretical. So with all that said, I have tried to start reading early church fathers but I am bot sure about where to find reliable sources and also in what order to read them. Any suggestions brother?

p.s sorry for spelling/grammer issues, its early over here in sunny arizona :)
 

arapahoepark

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Hello guys, I have a really good friend who has just recently converted from reformed baptist to catholicism and I have had a really hard time with his defense for why he converted. There are a lot of reasons why but the one that sticks out the most is church history. He says that the early church fathers all agree with the Catholic position on mass and essentially have a different faith than protestants. He also claims that the reformation was a corruption of the church and everything after that is heretical. So with all that said, I have tried to start reading early church fathers but I am bot sure about where to find reliable sources and also in what order to read them. Any suggestions brother?

p.s sorry for spelling/grammer issues, its early over here in sunny arizona :)

Read the reformers who used early church fathers to back them up. This is especially true for Calvin. Granted Catholic writers did the same thing. Thus, there was no patrum consensus, not all fathers believed the same thing. Not to mention, with regard to the mass, a lot of what the fathers say about it is not as developed as later teaching of transubsantiation.
Read Historical Theology by William Cunningham, free at Monergism.com
Jean Daille has a book that was recently mentioned titled A Treatise on the Right Use of the Churfh Fathers.
With regard to justification Thomas Oden's work would suffice, A Justification Reader. Also Faber's Primitive Doctrine of Justification.

There are many more but, the idea that church fathers believed what Catholics believe is crazy. The most educated catholics don't believe that but, are still so blinded they stay for what ever reason.
 

Bill The Baptist

Puritan Board Graduate
The fact that much of the NT was written to address and refute heresy that had already crept in before the first century was even over demonstrates that antiquity does not always equal orthodoxy. Our best bet is to stick with the teachings of the actual apostles, and their teaching is recorded in Scripture.
 

yeutter

Puritan Board Senior
Do the early Church Fathers seem to teach a real presence in the Lord's Supper? Yes. But so do Lutherans.
Do the early Church Fathers seem to focus on the incarnation more then the atonement? Yes. But so do most Anglicans.
Do the early Church liturgies resemble the current mass of the Roman Church? Well, kind of, superficially, yes. But so do Lutheran and Anglican celebrations of the Lord's Supper.
Do the accounts of the lives of the early hermits resemble the rules of later monastic orders? Not really.
To say that an examination of the early Church must lead one to Rome, is simply false.
If you have not read the early liturgies, that might be instructive. If you have not read Athanasius, you would find him instructive.
 

yeutter

Puritan Board Senior
David Bercot has made a career of telling us that if we examine today's evangelical Church in the light of the Ante-Nicene Fathers we would all become Mennonites. He is wrong. Likewise, those who tell us an examination of the early Church Father will drive us to Rome are wrong.
 

johnny

Puritan Board Sophomore
Hello guys, I have a really good friend who has just recently converted from reformed baptist to catholicism and I have had a really hard time with his defense for why he converted. There are a lot of reasons why but the one that sticks out the most is church history. He says that the early church fathers all agree with the Catholic position on mass and essentially have a different faith than protestants. He also claims that the reformation was a corruption of the church and everything after that is heretical. So with all that said, I have tried to start reading early church fathers but I am bot sure about where to find reliable sources and also in what order to read them. Any suggestions brother?

p.s sorry for spelling/grammer issues, its early over here in sunny arizona :)

Did this Gentleman have a catholic upbringing? Did he attend a catholic school? Are his parents catholic?
Often the reasons why people go back to RCC are sentimental. (Dion is a classic example)
They will tell you they didn't find what they were looking for in the protestant faith, but in reality, they have a hidden agenda to return to the former ways they knew when life seemed simpler.

I have great memories of the RCC and going to catholic school, the nuns were very kind, our Monsignor was a very nice man. There was no major scandals happening, nobody was being abused or molested.

But when God broke into my life and changed my heart it was through the means of the Protestant faith.
My religious experiences in the RCC did not equate to anything remotely salvic.
 

JesusIsLord

Puritan Board Freshman
From what I know, he has no RCC background. However, the "conversion" started after a very scandalous time in his families life. He was involved in some adultery while being very dissatisfied with the evangelical church. (I remember many conversations we had about him feeling frustrated that he couldn't find a set of elders that were able to shepherd him well.) He had been to 6 different churches within one year and with every new church, he became more frustrated. He finally hit his peak and left his church, committed adultery, aliented himself from his small group of reformed believers and it was during this time that some RCC friends told him and his wife to read a book about the RCC. After he read that book, He came back and told us that he was becoming a RC and defended his position as if he had been a RC with years of study.

I don't want to make my friend seem as though he is a weak minded person that is easily swayed, However I think that his frustrations coupled with this vulnerable time in life, lead him to the RCC.


The fact that much of the NT was written to address and refute heresy that had already crept in before the first century was even over demonstrates that antiquity does not always equal orthodoxy. Our best bet is to stick with the teachings of the actual apostles, and their teaching is recorded in Scripture.

I found this very helpful. Thank you
 

arapahoepark

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
From what I know, he has no RCC background. However, the "conversion" started after a very scandalous time in his families life. He was involved in some adultery while being very dissatisfied with the evangelical church. (I remember many conversations we had about him feeling frustrated that he couldn't find a set of elders that were able to shepherd him well.) He had been to 6 different churches within one year and with every new church, he became more frustrated. He finally hit his peak and left his church, committed adultery, aliented himself from his small group of reformed believers and it was during this time that some RCC friends told him and his wife to read a book about the RCC. After he read that book, He came back and told us that he was becoming a RC and defended his position as if he had been a RC with years of study.

I don't want to make my friend seem as though he is a weak minded person that is easily swayed, However I think that his frustrations coupled with this vulnerable time in life, lead him to the RCC.


The fact that much of the NT was written to address and refute heresy that had already crept in before the first century was even over demonstrates that antiquity does not always equal orthodoxy. Our best bet is to stick with the teachings of the actual apostles, and their teaching is recorded in Scripture.

I found this very helpful. Thank you

So while he was in sin he was still thinking clearly? At least that's how his mindset comes across.
 

Peairtach

Puritan Board Doctor
To some extent it should be remembered that they were, speaking with respect of these our early New Testament era brothers, "Early Church Babies" beginning the process of historical theology and starting to benefit from the.illumination of the Spirit on the completed canon.

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