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"Sometimes in the cool of the evening, the truth comes like a lover through the wind." - John Michael Talbot

Early Church Fathers

The Apostolic Fathers

The writings of the Apostolic Fathers shed a glimmer of light in an otherwise obscured period; the emerging traditions of the original Church. They are a selection from the Apostolic Fathers; called so because they were the direct disciples of Apostles themselves. The continuity with the Apostles is evident in both the style and content of the Epistles, which deal with practical problems of the early Church as it struggled to establish itself in the pagan world, amid direct persecution. The Authors include Clement of Rome, Ignatius of Antioch, and Polycarp of Smyrna. Invaluable reading for those interested in the first Christians and the early Church.

Also contained are The Martyrdom of Polycarp, (the first recorded Acts of a Martyr since Steven in the Acts of the Apostles), and the Didache, (The Teaching of the Apostles), believed to be a copy of the Letters composed by the Apostles after the Council of Jerusalem (Acts 15).

Writings Index:

First Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians. {written} AD. 96
Clement was a Bishop of Rome (AD. 91-100). A companion of Paul and Peter. He must have been aquainted with John...Thought to have been possibly the Clement mentioned in Philippians 4:3... First Clement was a formal letter written on behalf of the Roman Christian community urging Christians who had been rebelling against church authority to be submissive and obedient. Tradition attributes it to Clement.

Second Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians. {written} AD. 150
Sermon thought not to be the writing of Clement himself. Advocates sound view of Christ, the resurrection, and holiness unto God. Enter into battle against the ways of this world, work out salvation through strength in Christ.

Epistle of Polycarp to the Philippians. {written} About AD. 110.
Polycarp, pupil of John, Bishop of Smyrna...

Epistles of Ignatius. {written} About 110.
Bishop of Antioch in Syria [ca 1-2 century] martyred in Rome by beasts (ca 105-116). On his way to Rome, he visits and then writes to various churches, warning and exhorting them. He also writes ahead to Rome, and writes to Polycarp, bishop of Smyrna. Warned the church against heresies that threatened peace and unity, opposed Gnosticism and Docetism. In the Epistle to Smyrna, insisted Christ came in the flesh not just in spirit.
    To The Ephesians
    To The Magnesians
    To the Trallians
    To the Romans
    To the Philadelphians
    To the Smyrnaeans
    To Polycarp

Epistle of Barnabas. Written between AD. 90 and 120.
Some think it was the New Testament Barnabas, but others question it. The Epistle is a General Epistle It was found in the Sinaitic manuscript of the Bible, at the end of the New Testament, which indicates the high regard in which it was held. The epistle repudiates the claims of Jewish Christians at the time who advocated adhering to observance of the Mosiac Law. Argued that Christ provided salvation and man is no longer bound by the Law. Compares holy life to unrighteousness. The last part of this treatise consists of a form of the Two Ways Teaching also found at the start of the Didache.

The Didache, or the Teaching of the Twelve Written between 80 and 120, probably about AD. 100.
Not a genuine composition of the Apostles, but only a statement, by some unknown author, of what he understood those teachings to be...Early writers denied its canonicity, but held it in high regard {Athanasius recommended it highly as a good basic book for new converts to read}...

Shepherd of Hermas. Written about AD. 100 or 140.
...The book was read in many Churches down to the time of Jerome. It is contained in the Sinaitic manuscript of the Bible, at close of the New Testament. That the author was the Hermas of Romans 16:14 is only a guess...." The Shepherd of Hermas is an apocalyptic document (in the sense that it claims to be revealed), modelled after the Book of Revelation. It deals with practical matters of church purity and discipline in second century Rome.

The immediate issue to settle is: who were the Apostolic Fathers? Should any importance be placed on what they said about Christian practices; Christian worship; interpretation of Scriptures and Church Government.

"These Apostolic Fathers were those whose lives overlapped the Apostolic generation. Their extant writings are few (how we wish there were more of them!), ...But they are extremely valuable, as they form the connecting link between the Apostles and later Church History. Some of them were so highly regarded that, in some localities, they were temporarily regarded as Scripture..." - Halley's Bible Handbook

So, although these writings do not carry the weight of scripture, they do carry the weight of early church history and writings that more often than not tend to confirm the Biblical record. Praise God for our heritage, how rich and blessed we are.

"It's Your Blood"