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THE CATHOLIC FAITH was the Faith of the Early Church Fathers 80 AD - 215 AD
Save Our Church ^ | David J. Webster

Posted on 10/31/2005 11:59:19 AM PST by NYer

As I was coming to more assurance of the Catholic faith through the Scriptures, I became increasingly motivated to research the early church Fathers (the great leaders of the Church in the 2nd and 3rd centuries just after the era of the Apostles). What I found was complete confirmation of all I had discovered to be revealed in the Scriptures. While I needed no more reason to believe the Catholic faith today was the faith of the Apostles and the first century Church what I discovered here will perhaps help someone else to believe.

Within the first 160 pages of The Faith of the Early Church Fathers, by William A. Jurgens, I found over 40 clear references to distinctly Catholic tenants of faith in the 135 year period immediately following the New Testament era itself (A.D.100-235). Most of these references indicate these Catholic tenants were universally taught and believed through out the Church at the time. Since they were believed so universally at such an early date, to deny they were part of the Apostolic teaching would be foolish.

Protestantism then is not only based on, misunderstanding and misinterpretation of Scripture but ignorance of the plain facts of history. In my Baptist college or seminary education this massive pile of evidence for the Catholic faith in the early Church was never mentioned. Totally ignoring the faith of this period we jumped ahead another 100-150 years to the time of Constantine. Discovering the Catholic faith there, we were quick to explain its appearance as the result of the "corruption" of the Constantine era. It was after Constantine declared religious freedom for Christianity in A.D. 312 and his support of the Christian faith that we claimed a massive corruption of the faith had occurred. According to the facts you are about to read, this massive corruption, however, must have taken place up to 200 years earlier, just after the Apostle John dies at the end of the first century! We are going to have to say this massive corruption of the faith took place almost instantly with no one in the Church, many of whom personally knew the Apostles, raising a peep of protest! Some of those whose testimony to Catholic faith you will read actually knew the Apostles intimately and all were respected as authorities in the Church. This corruption would also have taken place at a time when the Church was spiritually at its height. From 120 followers in A.D. 34, the Church had spread itself over the entire face of the known world and by A.D. 312, literally brought the mighty Roman Empire to its knees!

Someone in uncomforting wisdom has said, the wish is often father to the thought. Even the plainest facts can thus be often ignored when they threaten the comforts of our personal prejudices. Change itself can be most uncomfortable. For those who have at least the desire to be truly honest in mind and spirit, life itself will often expose our faulty thinking by showing us their unpleasant fruits. The seeds of humility first, then finally truth itself will sprout forth from such blessed disappointments.

ON BAPTISMAL REGENERATION

(1) Justin the Martyr, in his First Apology (written between A.D. 148-155), says: "Whoever is convinced and believes that what they are taught and told by us is the truth, and professes to be able to live accordingly, is instructed to pray and to beseech God in fasting for the remission of their former sins, while we pray and fast with them. Then they are led by us to a place where there is water; and there they are reborn in the same kind of rebirth in which we ourselves were reborn: in the name of God, the Lord and Father of all, and of our savior Jesus Christ, and of the Holy Spirt, they receive the washing with water. For Christ said, 'Unless you be reborn, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.'...and in order to obtain in the water the remission of past sins, there is invoked over him who wishes to be reborn and who has repented of his sins, the name of God, the Father ....This washing is called illumination...Furthermore, the one being illuminated is washed also in the name of Jesus Christ...and in the name of the Holy Spirit..." [61]. (p.54).

(2) Hermas, brother to Pope Pius I, in The Shepherd (A.D. 140-155), says that in a vision the Angel of God [The Shepherd] affirms that "when we went down into the water" we "obtained the remission of our former sins"[Mand. 4, 3, 1]. (p.35) The Angel refers to water Baptism as "the Seal," and "the Seal of the Son of God" at least five times [Par. 9,16,3,4; 9,17,4; 9:31,4]. (p.36).

(3) St. Ignatius of Antioch, the third bishop of Antioch, Letter to the Ephesians, A.D. 110 :"He [Jesus Christ] was born and was baptized so that by His submission He might purify the water" [18:2]. (p.18). Jesus' act was seen as having sanctified the water used in Christian Baptism.

(4) Letter of Barnabas, author unknown, A.D. 70-79 or 117-132? Speaking of the "flowing river" in Ezekiel 47:1-12 the writer then says, "We descend into the water full of sins and foulness, and we come up bearing fruit in our heart" [11:10,11]... (p.15).

ON INFANT BAPTISM

(5) St. Irenaeus, in his Against Heresies, (written between A.D. 180-199) makes the following comment about the sanctifying efficacy of Baptism for infants: "He [Christ] came to save all through Himself, –all, I say, who through Him are reborn in God, –infants, and children, and youths and old men" [2,22,4]. (p.87).

ON THE EUCHARIST AS THE BODY AND BLOOD OF CHRIST

(6) St. Irenaeus, in his Against Heresies, (between A.D. 180-199), presents not only his own faith in the miracle of transubstantiation in the Eucharist but demonstrates that this miraculous reality was so well established (even among the heretics) that he uses it to refute the heretics who were questioning the divine nature and origin of Christ: "If the Lord were from other than the Father, how could He rightly take bread...and confess it to be His Body., and affirm that the mixture in the cup is His Blood"[4,33,2]. (p.97). That it took nothing short of divine authority to turn bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ was universally believed.

(7) Justin the Martyr, in his First Apology, written between A.D. 148-155, says: "We call this food Eucharist; and no one else is permitted to partake of it, except one who believes our teaching to be true and who has been washed in the washing which is for the remission of sins and for regeneration, and is thereby living as Christ has enjoined. For not as common bread nor common drink do we receive these...the food which has been made into the Eucharist by the Eucharistic prayer set down by Him...is both the flesh and the blood of that incarnated Jesus" [66]. (p.55).

(8) Imprisoned and facing his end with the wild beasts, St Ignatius, in His Letter to the Romans, in A.D.110 writes, " I have no taste for corruptible food nor for the pleasures of this life. I desire the Bread of God, which is the Flesh of Jesus Christ...and for drink I desire His Blood.." [7:3]. (p.22).

(9) St. Ignatius, in his Letter to the Smyrnaeans, A.D. 110. "Take note of those who hold heterodox opinions...They abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer, because they do not confess that the Eucharist is the Flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ, Flesh which suffered for our sins and which the Father, in His goodness raised up again"[6:2; 7:1]. (p.25).

(10) St. Ignatius of Antioch, the third Bishop of Antioch, Letter to the Ephesians, A.D. 110: "Breaking one bread, which is the medicine of immortality, the antidote against death, enabling us to live forever in Jesus Christ" [20:2]. (p.19).

ON PRAYING FOR THE DEAD–PURGATORY

(11) Tertullian, in his treatise on Monogamy, written sometime after A.D. 213 says, "A woman, after the death of her husband...prays for his soul and...each year...offers the sacrifice"[10,1,4]. (p.158).

(12) Tertullian, in another treatise, The Crown, written in A.D. 211, says, "We offer sacrifices for the dead on their birthday anniversaries" [3,3]. (p.151).

ON THE PRIESTHOOD IN THE CHURCH

(13) St. Hippolytus of Rome, in his work on The Apostolic Tradition, dated about A.D. 215, gave us great detail on the Liturgy and the hierarchical organization of the ancient Church. In the Order to ordain bishops we find bestowed upon them, but only through prayer of other ordained bishops, the office of "high-priesthood" and thus "the authority to forgive sins." Here is part of the bishop's prayer over the candidate: "...grant to this your servant...to serve without blame as your high-priest...and by the spirit of the high-priesthood to have the authority to forgive sins...in accord with the authority you gave the Apostles"[2,3]. (p.166,167). In the Order to ordain presbyters, we find them also ordained to the priesthood, but they are under the bishops[8]. However, "a deacon...is not ordained to the priesthood, but [must] serve the bishop [who again is called "high-priest"]. ... He has no part in the council of the clergy..."[9]. (p.168).

(14) Tertullian's An Exhortation to Chastity, dating between A.D. 208-212 is filled with references to the priesthood within the Church [7,2-6]. (p.150).

(15) Tertullian, in his Demurrer Against the Heritics, written about the year A.D. 200, and condemning the heretics who have departed from the doctrine of the Church says, "I must not omit a description of heretical conduct, how frivolous, how worldly, how merely human it is. ...So it is that today one man is a bishop, tomorrow another; today, a deacon, and tomorrow he is a lector; today a priest , who is tomorrow a layman. For even on laymen do they enjoin the functions of the priesthood" [41,1,8]. (p.123). Speaking of the right to baptize, Tertullian says, "The primary right is had by the high priest, that is the bishop; and after him, the presbyters [elders, or regular priests}..."[17,1]. (p.128).

ON HOLY MARY–THE SINLESS SECOND EVE

(16) Tertullian, in his Demurrer Against the Heritics, written about the year A.D. 200, wrote: "God recovered His image and likeness in a procedure similar to that in which He had been robbed of it by the devil. For it was while Eve was still a virgin that the word of the devil crept in to erect an edifice of death. Likewise, through a virgin, the Word of God was introduced to set up a structure of life. Thus, what had ben laid waste in ruin by this sex, was by the same sex re-established in salvation. Eve had believed the serpent; Mary believed Gabriel. That which the one destroyed by believing, the other, by believing, set straight" [16,4,5]. (p.147).

(17) St. Irenaeus, in his Against Heresies, (between A.D. 180-199), also taught that Holy Mary was the second and sinless Eve: "The knot of Eve's disobedience was loosed by the obedience of Mary. What the virgin Eve had bound in unbelief, the Virgin Mary loosed through faith"[3,22,4]. (p.93). Holy Mary certainly could not have been seen as loosing what Eve bound had the early Church believed she sinned as had Eve!

(18) Justin the Martyr, in his First Apology, written between A.D. 148-155, taught that Holy Mary, as the second Eve, was as involved in the reversal of the human sin problem as the first Eve was involved in introducing sin into the world: "He [Christ] became man by the Virgin so that the course which was taken by disobedience in the beginning through the agency of the serpent, might be also the very course by which it would be put down. For Eve, a virgin and undefiled, conceived the word of the serpent, and bore disobedience and death. But the Virgin Mary received faith and joy when the angel Gabriel announced to her the glad tidings that the Spirit of the Lord would come upon her and the power of the Most High would overshadow her, for which reason the Holy One being born of her is the Son of God. And she replied: 'Be it done according to they word'" [100]. (p.62).

ON APOSTOLIC SUCCESSION


(19) St. Hippolytus of Rome, in his work on The Apostolic Tradition, dated about A.D. 215, gave us great detail on the Liturgy and the hierarchical organization of the ancient Church. In the order to ordain bishops we find bestowed upon them only through prayer of other ordained bishops, the office of "high- priesthood" and thus "the authority to forgive sins." Here is part of the bishop's prayer over the candidate: "...grant to this your servant...to serve without blame as your high-priest...and by the spirit of the high-priesthood to have the authority to forgive sins...in accord with the authority you gave the Apostles"[2,3]. (p.166,167). In the Order to ordain presbyters, we find them also ordained to the priesthood, but they are under the bishops[8]. However, "a deacon...is not ordained to the priesthood, but [must] serve the bishop [who is again called "high-priest"]. ... He has no part in the council of the clergy..."[9]. (p.168).

(20) Tertullian, in his Demurrer Against the Heritics, written about the year A.D. 200 challenges those heretics who would dare to claim their doctrines were from the Apostolic days, to "show the origins of their Churches, let them unroll the order of their bishops, running down in succession from the beginning, so that their first bishop shall have for author and predecessor some one of the Apostles or of the apostolic men who continued steadfast with the Apostles. For this is the way in which the apostolic Churches transmit their lists: like the Church of the Smyrnaeans, which record that Polycarp was placed there by John; like the Church of the Romans [Church of Rome] where Clement was ordained by Peter. In just this same way the other Churches display those whom they have as sprouts from the apostolic seed, having been established in the episcopate by the Apostles"[32,1-3]. (p.121,122). Note: Just so there is no misunderstanding on this point, churches established even apart from Apostolic faith or authority can and will always be accepted as apostolic upon affirmation of the faith and practice of the Catholic Church and proper ordination of their bishops, presbyters and deacons. Many Churches have been founded outside the Catholic faith and discipline that have been later received into, and as a part of the one Apostolic Catholic Church.

(21) Tertullian, in his Demurrer Against the Heritics, written about the year A.D. 200, and continuing to challenge the heretics who have departed from the doctrine of the Church says, "Come now,...run through the apostolic Churches in which the very thrones of the Apostles remain still in place...Achaia...Corinth...Philippi...Ephesus. But if you are near to Italy, you have Rome, whence also our authority derives. How happy is that Church, on which the Apostles poured out their whole doctrine along with their blood, where Peter endured a passion like that of the Lord, where Paul was crowned in a death like John's [John the Baptist], where the Apostle John, after being immersed in boiling oil and suffered no hurt, was exiled to an island"[36,1-3]. (p.122).

(22) St. Irenaeus, in his Against Heresies, (between A.D. 180-199), "the true gnosis [wisdom] is the doctrine of the Apostles, and the ancient organization of the Church throughout the whole world, the manifestation of the Body of Christ according to the succession of bishops, by which succession the bishops have handed down the Church which is found everywhere" [4,33,8]. (p.97).

(23) St. Irenaeus, in his Against Heresies, continues: "The preaching of the Church truly continues without change and is everywhere the same...That in which we have faith is a firm system directed to the salvation of men; and since it has been received by the Church, we guard it. Constantly it has its youth renewed by the Spirit of God, as if it were some precious deposit in an excellent vessel; and it causes the vessel containing it also to be rejuvenated....In the Church, God has placed apostles, prophets and doctors, and all the other means through which the Spirit works; in all of which none have any part who do not conform to the Church. For where the Church is, there is the Spirit of God; and where the Spirit of God, there the Church and every grace"[3,24,1]. (p.94).

(24) St. Irenaeus, again in his Against Heresies: "It is necessary to obey those who are the presbyters in the Church, those who, as we have shown, have succession from the Apostles; those who have received, with the succession of the episcopate, the sure chrism of truth according to the good pleasure of the Father. But of the rest, who have no part in the primitive succession and assemble wheresoever they will, must be held in suspicion"[4,26,2]. (p.96).

(25) St. Irenaeus, in his Against Heresies, continues: "The blessed Apostles [Peter and Paul], having founded and built up the Church [of Rome], they handed over the office of the episcopate to Linus. [Paul makes mention of this Linus in the Epistle to Timothy.] To him succeeded Anencletus; and after him, in the third place from the Apostles, Clement was chosen for the episcopate. He had seen the blessed Apostles and was acquainted with them. It might be said that He still heard the echoes of the preaching of the Apostles, and had their traditions before his eyes. And not only he, for there were still many remaining who had been instructed by the Apostles.... [After Clement] Evaristus....Alexander....Then, sixth after the Apostles, Sixtus was appointed....[then] Telesphorus....Then Hyginus; after him, Pius; and after him, Anicetus. Soter succeeded Anicetus, and now, in the twelfth place after the Apostles, the lot of the episcopate has fallen to Eleutherus. In this order, and by the teaching of the Apostles handed down in the Church, the preaching of the truth has come down to us. Polycarp...was also appointed bishop of the Church in Smyrna....He always taught those things which he had learned from the Apostles, and which the Church had handed down..." [3,3,3; 3,3,4]. (p.90). "It is not necessary to seek among others the truth which is so easily obtained from the Church. For the Apostles, like a rich man in a bank, deposited with her most copiously everything which pertains to the truth; and everyone who soever wishes draws from her the drink of life. For she is the entrance to life....cherishing with the utmost diligence...the tradition of truth"[3,4,1]. (p.90, 91).

(26) Finally, St. Irenaeus, in his Against Heresies, says: "It is possible, then, for everyone in every Church...to contemplate the tradition of the Apostles which has been made known throughout the whole world. And we are in a position to enumerate those who were instituted bishops by the Apostles, and their successors to our own times...to whom they handed on their authority"[3,3,1]. (p.89).

(27) The form letter entitled, The Martyrdom of Saint Polycarp (A.D. 155-157), from the Church of Smyrna to Christians in Philomelium of Phrygiawith opens with these words: "To the Church of God which sojourns in Philomelium, and to all the dioceses of the holy and Catholic Church in every place..." In one of his final prayers Polycarp was quoted as remembering "the whole Catholic Church throughout the world.... " Polycarp, is also described as "an apostolic prophetic teacher, bishop of the Catholic Church in Smyrna." The letter closes with the affirmation that Jesus Christ is the "Shepherd of the Catholic Church throughout the world"[The Address; 8:1; 16:2; 19:1]. (p.30,31).

(28) St. Ignatius of Antioch, the third Bishop of Antioch, succeeding St. Evodius, who was the immediate successor of St. Peter. He is considered an Apostolic Father in that he was a hearer of the Apostle John. Because the seven letters attributed to him present such a strong case for the hierarchical and monarchical Church, they have long been questioned by protestant scholars. The genuinity of the letters has now, however, been long since vindicated by J.B.Lightfoot. Adolph von Harnack, Theodore Zahn, and F.X. Funk; and their authenticity is now almost universally accepted. In his Letter to the Ephesians, A.D. 110 , he said: "For Jesus Christ, our inseparable life, is the will of the Father, just as the bishops, who have been appointed throughout the world, are the will of Jesus Christ...Let us be careful, then, if we would be submissive to God, not to oppose the bishop....we must look upon the bishop as the Lord Himself" [3:2; 5:3; 6:1]. (p.17,18).

(29) St. Ignatius of Antioch, in his Letter to the Magnesians, A.D. 110, wrote, "Take care to do all things in harmony with God, with the bishop presiding in the place of God and with the presbyters in the place of the council of the Apostles..."[2]. (p.19).

(30) St. Ignatius of Antioch, in his Letter to the Trallians, A.D. 110, wrote," In like manner let everyone respect the deacons as they would respect Jesus Christ, and just as they respect the bishop as a type of the Father, and the presbyters as the council of God and college of Apostles. Without these, it cannot be called a Church....Anyone who acts without the bishop and the presbytery and the deacons does not have a clean conscience"[3:1; 7:2]. (p.20,21).

(31) St. Ignatius, in his Letter to the Smyrnaeans, A.D. 110, wrote, "You must all follow the bishop as Jesus Christ follows the Father, and the presbytery as you would the Apostles....Wherever the bishop appears, let the people be there; just as wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church"[8:1,2]. (p.25).

(32) St. Ignatius, in his Letter to Polycarp, A.D. 110, wrote: "It is proper for men and women who wish to marry to be united with the consent of the bishop, so that their marriage will be acceptable to the Lord..."[5:2]. (p.26).

(33) St. Clement of Rome, fourth Pope A.D. 80, in his Letter to the Corinthians said: "The Apostles received the gospel for us from the Lord Jesus Christ; and Jesus Christ was sent from God. Christ, therefore, is from God, and the Apostles are from God....They appointed their earliest converts, testing them by the spirit, to be the bishops and deacons of future believers [42:1, 2,4]....and afterwards added the further provision that, if they should die, other approved men should succeed to their ministry [44:2]." Clement continues by saying that this approval must come, not from the local church congregation, but from "illustrious men" that have the approval or "consent of the whole Church" [44:3]. (p. 10).

ON THE INFALLIBLE CHURCH

(34) St. Irenaeus, in his Against Heresies, (written between A.D. 180-199), "the true gnosis [wisdom] is the doctrine of the Apostles, and the ancient organization of the Church throughout the whole world, the manifestation of the Body of Christ according to the succession of bishops, by which succession the bishops have handed down the Church which is found everywhere"[4,33,8]. (p.97).

(35) St. Irenaeus, in his Against Heresies, continues: "The preaching of the Church truly continues without change and is everywhere the same...That in which we have faith is a firm system directed to the salvation of men; and since it has been received by the Church, we guard it. Constantly it has its youth renewed by the Spirit of God, as if it were some precious deposit in an excellent vessel; and it causes the vessel containing it also to be rejuvenated....In the Church, God has placed apostles, prophets and doctors, and all the other means through which the Spirit works; in all of which none have any part who do not conform to the Church. ... For where the Church is, there is the Spirit of God; and where the Spirit of God, there the Church and every grace" [3,24,1]. (p.94).

(36) St. Irenaeus, in his Against Heresies, continues, "It is necessary to obey those who are the presbyters in the Church, those who, as we have shown, have succession from the Apostles; those who have received, with the succession of the episcopate, the sure charism of truth according to the good pleasure of the Father. But of the rest, who have no part in the primitive succession and assemble wheresoever they will, must be held in suspicion"[4,26,2]. (p.96).

(37) St. Irenaeus, in his Against Heresies, continues: "The blessed Apostles [Peter and Paul], having founded and built up the Church [of Rome], they handed over the office of the episcopate to Linus. [Paul makes mention of this Linus in the Epistle to Timothy]. To him succeeded Anencletus; and after him, in the third place from the Apostles, Clement was chosen for the episcopate. He had seen the blessed Apostles and was acquainted with them. It might be said that He still heard the echoes of the preaching of the Apostles, and had their traditions before his eyes. And not only he, for there were still many remaining who had been instructed by the Apostles.... [After Clement] Evaristus....Alexander....Then, sixth after the Apostles, Sixtus was appointed....[then] Telesphorus....Then Hyginus; after him, Pius; and after him, Anicetus. Soter succeeded Anicetus, and now, in the twelfth place after the Apostles, the lot of the episcopate has fallen to Eleutherus. In this order, and by the teaching of the Apostles handed down in the Church, the preaching of the truth has come down to us. Polycarp...was also appointed bishop of the Church in Smyrna....He always taught those things which he had learned from the Apostles, and which the Church had handed down..." [3,3,3; 3,3,4]. (p.90). "It is not necessary to seek among others the truth which is so easily obtained from the Church. For the Apostles, like a rich man in a bank, deposited with her most copiously everything which pertains to the truth; and everyone who soever wishes draws from her the drink of life. For she is the entrance to life....cherishing with the utmost diligence...the tradition of truth"[3,4,1]. (p.90, 91).

ON PETER HELPING TO ESTABLISH THE CHURCH IN ROME

(38) St. Dionysius of Corinth (A.D. 166-174) in his Letter to Soter of Rome, testifies that Peter and Paul died as martyrs at Rome after having planted the Church at Rome. This testimony is preserved by Eusebius: "That both [Peter and Paul] suffered martyrdom at the same time is affirmed as follows by Dionysius, Bishop of Corinth, when writing to the Romans: 'You [Pope St. Soter] have...brought together the planting that was made by Peter and Paul at Rome...both alike...suffered martyrdom at the same time" [History of the Church, 2,25,8]. (p.45).

(39) Caius (Gaius), presbyter of Rome wrote a testimony in A.D. 198-217, affirming Peter and Paul's founding the Church at Rome and their martyrdom in that city. Eusebius [A.D. 275-339] refers to this testimony in his History of the Church, Bk 2, Ch 25:5-7: "It is recorded that Paul was beheaded in Rome itself, and that Peter, likewise was crucified, during the reign [of Nero]. The account is confirmed by the names of Peter and Paul over the cemeteries there, which remain to the present time. And it is confirmed also by a stalwart man of the Church, Gaius by name, who lived in the time of Zephyrinus, Bishop of Rome [A.D. 198-217]. This Gaius, in a written disputation [with a certain Montanist]...says this of the places in which the remains of the afore-mentioned Apostles were deposited: 'I can point out the trophies of the Apostles. For if you are willing to go to the Vatican or to the Ostian Way, you will find the trophies of those who founded this Church'"[Disputation With Proclus]. (p.44).

ON THE SUPREMACY OF THE CHURCH AT ROME

(40) Tertullian, in his Demurrer Against the Heritics, written about the year A.D. 200, and continuing to challenge the heretics who have departed from the doctrine of the Church says, "Come now,...run through the apostolic Churches in which the very thrones of the Apostles remain still in place...Achaia...Corinth...Philippi...Ephesus. But if you are near to Italy, you have Rome, whence also our authority derives. How happy is that Church, on which the Apostles poured out their whole doctrine along with their blood, where Peter endured a passion like that of the Lord, where Paul was crowned in a death like John's [John the Baptist], where the Apostle John, after being immersed in boiling oil and suffered no hurt, was exiled to an island"[36,1-3]. (p.122).

(41) Irenaeus, in his Against Heresies, (between A.D. 180-199), says further, in what has been preserved only in the ancient Latin: "But since it would be too long to enumerate in such a volume as this the successions of all the Churches, we shall...[point] out here the successions of the bishops of the greatest and most ancient Church known to all, founded and organized at Rome by the two most glorious Apostles, Peter and Paul, the Church which has the tradition and the faith which comes down to us after having been announced to men by the Apostles. For with this Church, because of its superior origin, all Churches must agree, that is, all of the faithful in the whole world; and it is in her that the faithful everywhere have maintained the Apostolic tradition" [3,3,2]. (p.90).

(42) In A.D. 110, addressing the Church at Rome St. Ignatius said, "to the Church that has found mercy in the greatness of the Most High Father and in Jesus Christ, His only Son; to the Church beloved and enlightened after the love of Jesus Christ, our God...to the Church also which holds the presidency in the place of the country of the Romans, worthy of God, worthy of honor, worthy of blessing, worthy of praise, worthy of success, worthy of sanctification, and, because you hold the presidency of love..."[The Address] (p.21).



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KEYWORDS: baptist
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NOTE:

All quotes are taken from The Faith of the Early Fathers, Volume I, by William A. Jurgens, Liturgical Press, Collegeville, Minnesota. 1970.

Bracketed references at the end of the quotations are locations in the original works cited in The Faith of the Early Fathers. Page numbers in parenthesis are locations in The Faith... .
Bold lettering is my own personal emphasis. DJW

1 posted on 10/31/2005 11:59:21 AM PST by NYer
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To: american colleen; Lady In Blue; Salvation; narses; SMEDLEYBUTLER; redhead; Notwithstanding; ...
David J. Webster will be Marcus Grodi's guest tonight on THE JOURNEY HOME

EWTN is available via cable and satellite dish transmission in most parts of the US.


2 posted on 10/31/2005 12:01:55 PM PST by NYer (ôSocialism is the religion people get when they lose their religion")
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To: Gillibrand

Ping!


3 posted on 10/31/2005 12:09:37 PM PST by NYer (ôSocialism is the religion people get when they lose their religion")
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To: NYer

Jurgens trilogy of books are amazing. I have no idea how someone could read those books and remain outside the Church.


4 posted on 10/31/2005 12:16:36 PM PST by big'ol_freeper ("Freedom consists not in doing what we like, but in having the right to do what we ought." Pope JPII)
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To: NYer

There is dispute about using Tertullian as support for purgatory.
http://www.tertullian.org/articles/mason_tertullian_and_purgatory.htm

Also given the number of disagreements amoung the early church fathers it seems over-simplified to quote one of the early fathers exclusively as speaking for the whole of the early church.

That said reading even a handful of the early church writings denounces many protestant practices. Much of Protestantism is as much a rebellion of God's will as it is of Catholic teachings.


5 posted on 10/31/2005 12:19:37 PM PST by x5452
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To: NYer

Thanks.


6 posted on 10/31/2005 12:26:43 PM PST by Jaded (Hell sometimes has fluorescent lighting and a trumpet on a street corner in DC.)
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To: NYer
ON INFANT BAPTISM
Act 8:36 And as they went on the way, they came unto a certain water; and the eunuch saith, Behold, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?
Act 8:37 And Philip said, If thou believest with all thy heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

ON PRAYING FOR THE DEAD–PURGATORY
2Co 5:10 For we must all be made manifest before the judgment-seat of Christ; that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he hath done, whether it be good or bad.
Heb 9:27 And inasmuch as it is appointed unto men once to die, and after this cometh judgment;

ON THE PRIESTHOOD IN THE CHURCH


1Pe 2:5 ye also, as living stones, are built up a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, accept
able to God through Jesus Christ.
1Pe 2:9 But ye are a elect race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God's own possession, that ye may show forth the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his Marvell's light:
Rev 1:6 and he made us to be a kingdom, to be priests unto his God and Father; to him be the glory and the dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

ON HOLY MARY–THE SINLESS SECOND EVE
Rom 3:9 What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we before laid to the charge both of Jews and Greeks, that they are all under sin;

Rom 3:23 for all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God;

Rom 5:12 Therefore, as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin; and so death passed unto all men, for that all sinned:--

If Mary was sinless then did Christ die for her?
why could she not be the perfect sacrifice?
1Ti 2:5 For there is one God, one mediator also between God and men, himself man, Christ Jesus,


2Co 5:21 Him who knew no sin he made to be sin on our behalf; that we might become the righteousness of God in him.
ev 5:2 And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof?
Rev 5:3 And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon.
Rev 5:4 And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon.
was mary worthy?

on the CATHOLIC Church

Act 20:28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.
Act 20:29 For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.
Act 20:30 Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.
Act 20:31 Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.

Ti 4:1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;
1Ti 4:2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;
1Ti 4:3 Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.
7 posted on 10/31/2005 1:05:05 PM PST by bremenboy (I am always right except when I am wrong)
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To: NYer
Surprise Surpirse! A Christian Catholic writes a book on the history of the church... and it turns out that early Christianity was essentially Catholic!

Color me skeptical ... the very first quote, of Justin the Martyr, seems to support the concept of adult baptism, which many Anabaptists died in support of.

8 posted on 10/31/2005 1:13:54 PM PST by ikka
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To: ikka
Color me skeptical ... the very first quote, of Justin the Martyr, seems to support the concept of adult baptism, which many Anabaptists died in support of.

He's talking about adult converts; not surprisingly, adult conversions lead to adult baptisms.

Justin Martyr also says elsewhere that there were old women alive in his day who had been baptized by the Apostles; they would have to have been baptized as very young children.

Tertullian wrote a passage where he seemed to object to infant baptism, not on theological grounds but on practical ones: he said that the children baptized as infants would likely fall away in late adolescence and that would reflect badly on their godparents.

9 posted on 10/31/2005 1:42:23 PM PST by Campion (Truth is not determined by a majority vote -- Pope Benedict XVI)
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To: bremenboy
If Mary was sinless then did Christ die for her?

To make her sinless. Honestly. It's a prior application of the grace purchased at the Cross; the Papal bull dogmatizing the Immaculate Conception says flatly that it's a privilege granted by God "in view of the merits of [Mary's] Son".

Mary didn't make herself sinless; that's not Catholic doctrine.

10 posted on 10/31/2005 1:44:01 PM PST by Campion (Truth is not determined by a majority vote -- Pope Benedict XVI)
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To: ikka
the very first quote, of Justin the Martyr, seems to support the concept of adult baptism

Where?

"Whoever is convinced and believes that what they are taught and told by us is the truth, and professes to be able to live accordingly, is instructed to pray and to beseech God in fasting for the remission of their former sins, while we pray and fast with them. Then they are led by us to a place where there is water; and there they are reborn in the same kind of rebirth in which we ourselves were reborn: in the name of God, the Lord and Father of all, and of our savior Jesus Christ, and of the Holy Spirt, they receive the washing with water. For Christ said, 'Unless you be reborn, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.'...and in order to obtain in the water the remission of past sins, there is invoked over him who wishes to be reborn and who has repented of his sins, the name of God, the Father ....This washing is called illumination...Furthermore, the one being illuminated is washed also in the name of Jesus Christ...and in the name of the Holy Spirit..."

Nothing in this rules out infant Baptism.

11 posted on 10/31/2005 1:44:11 PM PST by NYer (ôSocialism is the religion people get when they lose their religion")
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Comment #12 Removed by Moderator

To: NYer
The first sentence... "whoever" refers to the person being baptized.

Can infants be taught and can they be someone who "professes to be able to live accordingly"?

By definition, you are dealing with a "whoever" that can be communicated with in terms of concepts such as "truth" "evil" "sin" etc. No infant I know of can grasp these concepts.

13 posted on 10/31/2005 2:55:28 PM PST by ikka
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To: ikka

You can also only be redeemed through baptism. Chrisimation and Baptism should be done as soon after birth as possible. If not there is the oppurtunity for that person to die unbaptised regardless of what they beleive.

All humans rebel against God's will for humanity, it's called sin, people do this baptised or no, but through baptism we are saved. It is not a matter of 'professing to live accordingly'.


14 posted on 10/31/2005 3:27:04 PM PST by x5452
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To: ikka; NYer; x5452; Campion

"By definition, you are dealing with a "whoever" that can be communicated with in terms of concepts such as "truth" "evil" "sin" etc. No infant I know of can grasp these concepts."

Apparently The Church, from very early on, dealt with and rejected your thesis, as is shown from the following from an Epistle of +Cyprian of Cathage concerning the question of infant baptism discussed at the 3rd Council of Carthage in 253 AD:

"But in respect of the case of the infants, which you say ought not to be baptized within the second or third day after their birth, and that the law of ancient circumcision should be regarded, so that you think that one who is just born should not be baptized and sanctified within the eighth day, we all thought very differently in our council. For in this course which you thought was to be taken, no one agreed; but we all rather judge that the mercy and grace of God is not to be refused to any one born of man. For as the Lord says in His Gospel, “The Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them,” as far as we Can, We must strive that, if possible, no soul be lost. For what is wanting to him who has once been formed in the womb by the hand of God? To us, indeed, and to our eyes, according to the worldly course of days, they who are born appear to receive an increase. But whatever things are made by God, are completed by the majesty and work of God their Maker.
3. Moreover, belief in divine Scripture declares to us, that among all, whether infants or those who are older, there is the same equality of the divine gift. Elisha, beseeching God, so laid himself upon the infant son of the widow, who was lying dead, that his head was applied to his head, and his face to his face, and the limbs of Elisha were spread over and joined to each of the limbs of the child, and his feet to his feet. If this thing be considered with respect to the inequality of our birth and our body, an infant could not be made equal with a person grown up and mature, nor could its little limbs fit and be equal to the larger limbs of a man. But in that is expressed the divine and spiritual equality, that all men are like and equal, since they have once been made by Cool; and our age may have a difference in the increase of our bodies, according to the world, but not according to God; unless that very grace also which is given to the baptized is given either less or more, according to the age of the receivers, whereas the Holy Spirit is not given with measure, but by the love and mercy of the Father alike to all. For God, as He does not accept the person, so does not accept the age; since He shows Himself Father to all with well-weighed equality for the attainment of heavenly grace.
4. For, with respect to what you say, that the aspect of an infant in the first days after its birth is not pure, so that any one of us would still shudder at kissing it, we do not think that this ought to be alleged as any impediment to heavenly grace. For it is written, “To the pure all things are pure.” Nor ought any of us to shudder at that which God hath condescended to make. For although the infant is still fresh from its birth, yet it is not such that any one should shudder at kissing it in giving grace and in making peace; since in the kiss of an infant every one of us ought for his very religion’s sake, to consider the still recent hands of God themselves, which in some sort we are kissing, in the man lately formed and freshly born, when we are embracing that which God has made. For in respect of the observance of the eighth day in the Jewish circumcision of the flesh, a sacrament was given beforehand in shadow and in usage; but when Christ came, it was fulfilled in truth. For because the eighth day, that is, the first day after the Sabbath, was to be that on which the Lord should rise again, and should quicken us, and give us circumcision of the spirit, the eighth day, that is, the first day after the Sabbath, and the Lord’s day, went before in the figure; which figure ceased when by and by the truth came, and spiritual circumcision was given to us.
5. For which reason we think that no one is to be hindered from obtaining grace by that law which was already ordained, and that spiritual circumcision ought not to be hindered by carnal circumcision, but that absolutely every man is to be admitted to the grace of Christ, since Peter also in the Acts of the Apostles speaks, and says, “The Lord hath said to me that I should call no man common or unclean.” But if anything could hinder men from obtaining grace, their more heinous sins might rather hinder those who are mature and grown up and older. But again, if even to the greatest sinners, and to those who had sinned much against God, when they subsequently believed, remission of sins is granted—and nobody is hindered from baptism and from grace—how much rather ought we to shrink from hindering an infant, who, being lately born, has not sinned, except in that, being born after the flesh according to Adam, he has contracted the contagion of the ancient death at its earliest birth, who approaches the more easily on this very account to the reception of the forgiveness of sins—that to him are remitted, not his own sins, but the sins of another.
6. And therefore, dearest brother, this was our opinion in council, that by us no one ought to he hindered from baptism and from the grace of God, who is merciful and kind and loving to all. Which, since it is to he observed and maintained in respect of all, we think is to be even more observed in respect of infants and newly-born persons, who on this very account deserve more from our help and from the divine mercy, that immediately, on the very beginning of their birth, lamenting and weeping, they do nothing else but entreat. We bid you, dearest brother, ever heartily farewell."


15 posted on 10/31/2005 4:21:17 PM PST by Kolokotronis (Christ is Risen, and you, o death, are annihilated!)
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To: sandyeggo; gamarob1

Beautiful post! Thank you for saving and posting it.


16 posted on 10/31/2005 4:37:24 PM PST by NYer (ôSocialism is the religion people get when they lose their religion")
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To: NYer
Was I put on here for some purpose? If it were something other than this, I could understand. I'm not a catholic, never will be. I'm saved, and my Father in heaven blesses me moment by moment.

If you need me to validate your "religion", I can't help you...

17 posted on 10/31/2005 4:43:19 PM PST by gamarob1
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To: ikka; x5452; Campion; Kolokotronis
Can infants be taught and can they be someone who "professes to be able to live accordingly"?

Acts 2:38 - Peter says to the multitude, "Repent and be baptized.." the Greek translation literally says, "If you repent, then each one who is a part of you and yours must each be baptized” (“Metanoesate kai bapistheto hekastos hymon.”) This is confirmed in the next verse.

Acts 2:39 - Peter then says baptism is specifically given to children as well as adults. “Those far off” refers to those who were at their “homes” (primarily infants and children). God's covenant family includes children. The word "children" that Peter used comes from the Greek word "teknon" which also includes infants.

Luke 1:59 - this proves that "teknon" includes infants. Here, John as a "teknon" (infant) was circumcised. See also Acts 21:21 which uses “teknon” for eight-day old babies. So baptism is for infants as well as adults.

Acts 10:47-48 - Peter baptized the entire house of Cornelius, which generally included infants and young children. There is not one word in Scripture about baptism being limited to adults.

Acts 16:15 - Paul baptized Lydia and her entire household. The word "household" comes from the Greek word "oikos" which is a household that includes infants and children.

Acts 16:15 - further, Paul baptizes the household based on Lydia's faith, not the faith of the members of the household. This demonstrates that parents can present their children for baptism based on the parents' faith, not the children's faith.

Source: Scripture Catholic

18 posted on 10/31/2005 4:46:56 PM PST by NYer (ôSocialism is the religion people get when they lose their religion")
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To: NYer

"... tenants of faith in the 135 year period"

I hope he's getting good rental income from his "tenants" of faith.

;-)


19 posted on 10/31/2005 5:09:24 PM PST by sitetest (If Roe is not overturned, no unborn child will ever be protected in law.)
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To: sitetest
I hope he's getting good rental income from his "tenants" of faith.

Judging by the number of callers to the program tonight, there seems to be an excellent return on his 'investment' ;-D.

20 posted on 10/31/2005 6:04:50 PM PST by NYer (ôSocialism is the religion people get when they lose their religion")
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