Early Church Fathers

“Faith of our Fathers” is such an old song but it holds such irrefutable truth of the history of our Early Church Fathers and that they DO KNOW BEST.  They were martyred for believing, and some had gruesome deaths just because they followed what Jesus taught and the church Jesus founded.  If we go back in time and investigate the faith that the Early Church Fathers had, we would find,  that was before Martin Luther, Calvin, King George VIII and the Reformation. If we go back even further to right after Jesus Ascended into heaven, we would see that the fathers of the church were Catholic.  They believed in the Eucharist,  Confession to a priest,  and baptizing the whole family,  even the infants.

I saw a protestant church with a sign that said “Faith of Our Fathers for the last 125 years.”  Which “fathers” are they referring to?  I thought, the Catholic Church has the “Faith of Our Fathers since 33 A.D. and Jesus himself, not just for the last 125 years.  That would only bring us back to 1893!  What about the previous 1,860 years before that?  How are they connected to the Apostles then?

If you are searching  for  the  true church  of Jesus, you need  to  start  with  the  Early Church Fathers and what they believed.  This is what I did when I was searching for the truth.  Look into the history of your current  church or faith and find out when  it started  and who started  it. Find out why your church was started.  This is so important!  Was it started because someone didn’t agree with the teachings of another church?  Can you trace your church’s authority back to St. Peter and Jesus in an unbroken line through the laying on of hands? (Click here for list of popes all the way back to St. Peter.) Is your  church universal , the same in it’s doctrine and practices  no matter  where  you  go in the world?  Do the  doctrines  remain  the same  or do they change  with society pressure? Look into the history of your church’s doctrines and have they changed?  Does your  church have a tabernacle  with  the  true Jesus in the  Eucharist  in it or just a symbolic  wafer or no tabernacle at all?  Look at the authority of your church.  Where does it come from?  Jesus and the Apostles? Does it come directly from the Apostles passed down from the year 33 AD?  Look below for a quick reference as to where, when and by whom different churches were started.

Church Year Founder Location
Lutheran 1517 Martin Luther Germany
Anglican 1534 King Henry VIII England
Presbyterian 1560 John Knox Scotland
Episcopalians 1789 Samuel Seabury American Colonies
Baptist 1609 John Smyth Amsterdam
Methodist Episcopal 1739 John & Charles Wesley England
Mormons 1830 Joseph Smith New York
Jehovah Witness 1874 Charles Taze Russell Pennsylvania
Seventh-day Adventist 1863 William Miller Battle Creek, MI
Lakewood Church (Baptist) 1959 John Osteen (Joel’s father) Houston, TX
Catholic Church 33 AD Jesus Christ Jerusalem

Check out these Early Church Fathers and see what they said.

Regarding Apostolic Tradition: 

Origen of Alexandria

“There are many who think they hold the opinions of Christ, and yet some of these think differently from their predecessors, yet, as the teaching of the Church, transmitted in orderly succession from the apostles, and remaining in the churches to the present day, is still preserved, that alone is to be accepted as truth that differs in no respect from ecclesiastical and apostolic Tradition.” [Fundamental Doctrines Preface 2 (c. A.D. 225)]  (Remember, there are no denominational churches at this time because it is before the Reformation, so “churches” refers to the Catholic Church.)

St. Epiphanius of Salamis

“It is needful also to make use of Tradition, for not everything can be gotten from sacred Scripture.  The holy apostles handed down some things in the Scriptures, other things in Tradition.” [Panacea Against All Heresies 61:6(c. A.D. 375)]  (So following Sola Scriptura [Bible Alone] doesn’t give us everything the Apostles handed down.)

Regarding the Catholic Church:

St. Augustine of Hippo

For in the Catholic Church, not so speak of the purest wisdom, the knowledge of which a few spiritual men attain in the is life, so as to know it, in the scantiest measure, indeed, because they are but men, still without any uncertainty (since the rest of the multitude derive their entire security not from acuteness of intellect, but from simplicity of faith)–not to speak of this wisdom, which you do not believe to be in the Catholic Church, there are many other things that most justly keep me in her bosom.  The consent of peoples and nations keeps me in the Church; so does her authority, inaugurated by miracles, nourished by hope, enlarged by love, established by age.  The succession of priests keeps me, beginning from the very seat of the apostle Peter, to whom the Lord, after his Resurrection, gave it in charge to feed his sheep, down to the present episcopate.  And so, lastly, does the name itself of Catholic, which, not without reason, amid so many heresies, the Church has thus retained; so that, though all heretics wish to be called Catholics, yet when a stranger asks where the Catholic Church meets, no heretic will venture to point to his own chapel or house.  Such then in number and importance are the precious ties belonging to the Christian name that keep a believer in the Catholic Church, as it is right they should, though from the slowness of our understanding, or the small attainment of our life, the truth may not yet fully disclose itself.  But with you, where there are none of these things to a attract or keep me, the promise of truth is the only thing that comes into play.  Now if the truth is so clearly proved as to leave no possibility of doubt, it must be set before all the things that keep me in the Catholic Church; but if there is only a promise without any fulfillment, no one shall move me from the faith that binds my mind with ties so many and so strong to the Christian religion.”  [Against the letter of Mani called “The Foundation” 4:5 (A.D. 398)]

St. Augustine of Hippo

“If you should find someone who does not yet believe in the gospel, what would you [Mani] answer him when he says, “I do not believe”?  Indeed, I would not believe in the gospel myself if the authority of the Catholic Church did not move me to do so.” [Against the letter of Mani called “The Foundation” 5:6 (A.D. 398)]

These are only a sample of the Early Church Fathers.  They tell it like it is and are very truthful because they witnessed it themselves.

The true church that Jesus started is one, holy, catholic and apostolic.  It has to be all of them not just one.  If your church is not all of them, you need to begin your search for Jesus’ one and only church that is still on earth today.  I beg of you to dig deeper  into  the history  of  your  church and the history of the Catholic Church and answer these  questions  for  yourself .  Follow the Early Church Fathers and they will lead you home.

For more topics click here.

Source: The Fathers Know Best by Jimmy Akin

Please check out these other books:

Faith Of Our Fathers: Why the Early Christians Still Matter and Always Will by Mike Aquilina

Faith of the Early Fathers, Volumes 1,2 and 3 by William A. Jurgens

The Shocking Truth About the Pope and the Church Fathers by Tim Staples

Apostolic Fathers: Handing On The Faith by Steve Ray

 

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