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Sunday, June 15, 2008

Early Church Fathers

I think when some people hear of the Early Church Fathers, they may be tempted to think of the dads that show up to children's church early to pick up their kids just before service lets out.

All kidding aside, the Early Church Fathers are a reference to the influential theologians and pastors of Christianity after the Apostles passed on and through the first two to five, maybe six, centuries after Jesus’ death. Guys like Augustine, Origen, Jerome, Basil the Great, Justin Martyr (to name only a very small few - and yes there were quite a few women, too). Some of these were only one friendship away from knowing the writers of the Bible.

Today we have the benefit of 2,000+ years of Christianity to guide us and learn from (and no shortage of influential and gifted modern day pastors and theologians!), so we may not be able to agree with everything these Early Church Fathers thought of in regards to Bible interpretation, doctrine, evangelism, or doing church, but we are still extremely indebted to their diligent effort and theology in these areas (and more), and how God used these gifted people to reveal Jesus and propagate Christianity through some extremely difficult first years.

Anyways, for so many reasons it does us well to become somewhat familiar with the wonderful history of our faith, and just wanted to share this simple quiz I came across to see who you might be as one of the early church fathers (I ended up being Origen): Which Church Father Are You?. The website seems very Catholic, and though you may not be Catholic (I am not except in the meaning of the term universal), I hope this can open up a door to you and see what the past may offer for you as you seek to understand and emulate Jesus in your life today.

Like all human teaching, eat the meat and spit out the bones (learned that from one of the elder saints in my life and always love the way he says it - thanks Hugh!), and read the Bible for yourself and get or stay plugged into a Bible teaching church and fellowship.

While I am in the mood of passing along websites, check out the Early Church Fathers Series on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library. It's very Calvin (i.e., pretty much opposite Catholic), but some great church history stuff there.

Philippians 1:9-11



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