For questions about the Church Fathers, a term applied to eminent theologians and church leaders of the immediate post-apostolic age.

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When did the immutability of God become entrenched in Christian literature?

The immutability of God means God does not change, and it is considered heresy to disagree. However, this concept seems so close to the Greek's idea of perfection, and to conflict with the well-known ...
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1answer
156 views

Do we know of any case of the concept of the Holy Spirit being a person existing among Christians before the Constantinople council of 381 A.D.?

Do we know of any case of the concept of the Holy Spirit being a person existing among Christians before the Constantinople council of 381 A.D.? The reason I am asking this question is because one ...
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1answer
64 views

Refusing to Baptize Illegitimate Infants

Who started the withholding of baptism from children born out of wedlock in the Catholic Church? Who is responsible for this belief? Was a Church Father, Pope, Priest etc? I now know that Pope ...
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1answer
42 views

Did Lactantius ever say why it was good for Christians to be ruled by a Christian emperor?

Lactantius was a Christian who had been a part of the Roman government (which was hostile to Christians) prior to his conversion. Sometime between 303 and 311 he wrote a systematic theology, in which ...
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1answer
159 views

Why were none of the Apostolic fathers' writings included in the last canon accepted in the Ecumenical Councils?

Why is it so that none of the Apostolic fathers' writings was included in the last canon accepted during the time of the Seven Ecumenical Councils? By the "last canon" I mean the one that we have ...
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210 views

Do any church fathers express sentiments opposing authorities? [closed]

Are there any examples of church fathers (especially pre-Nicean, but also post-Nicean) expressing sentiments like: Protests against state-/government-sponsored injustice Arguments against the ...
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1answer
45 views

Why First Epistle to St. John by St. Ignatius of Antioch is considered to be spurious?

Why First Epistle to St. John by St. Ignatius of Antioch is considered to be spurious? Were there any valid reasons put forth to consider it as spurious? The wiki page and this Catholic source only ...
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1answer
151 views

When was the word “trinity” first applied to God in Christianity?

The word "trinity" does not occur in the Bible. When, in early Christian writings and creeds, was the word "trinity" first used in reference to God? After that first (known) occurrence, what are ...
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44 views

In what ways did orthodox trinitarianism diverge from Tertullian's proto-trinitarianism?

Tertullian is well known as the first Latin writer to use the word "trinity" (trinitas) and as a proponent of trinitarian doctrine in general. But there were many trinitarian controversies between his ...
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171 views

When in the development of trinitarian doctrine was the word “persons” first applied to God?

In the Bible, the word "persons" is not used in reference to God, nor are the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit called "persons." When, in early Christian writings and creeds, was the word "persons" ...
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What is the difference between pre-Nicene Trinitarianism and Arianism in terms of their Christology?

In the middle of the first volume of his five-volume work on the history of Christian theology, Jaroslav Pelikan writes, The truth, even the truth of the Gospels, is never pure and clear, and ...
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107 views

Was Emperor St. Justinian an Aphthartodocetist?

Ss. Eutychius of Constantinople and Anastasius of Antioch were deposed and exiled because they openly opposed Emperor St. Justinian's edict in 564 on Aphthartodocetism. On the Hagiography of Eutychius ...
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1answer
188 views

Is there a patristic precedent for understanding “foreknew” as “foreloved”?

In the Bible, to know often means an intimate knowledge and regard for someone. This doesn't just mean sexually (though that is where the phrase "known in the Biblical sense" came from, as in Genesis ...
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1answer
96 views

What are the Church Fathers' arguments that Peter is the rock?

What are the Church Fathers' arguments that Peter is the rock upon which Christ founded his Church? What do they say is the significance of Peter as rock as regards the identity of Christ's Church?
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131 views

What is the Catholic understanding of “the thousand-year reign of Christ and his people”?

What is the Catholic understanding of the thousand-year reign of Christ and his people? What is the Catholic biblical interpretation and what have the Church Fathers said on the matter?
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148 views

According to Catholic Teaching, what is the meaning of true “freedom of religion?”

This @Geremia's answer to "For Catholics who have expressed concern about Pope Francis and are wary of his pontificate, what are the key issues?" raised as an error and heresy of Vatican II, ...
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368 views

According to Catholic Teaching, what is sinning against the Holy Spirit?

According to Catholic Teaching, what is sinning against the Holy Spirit and why is this unpardonable? [cf. Matt 12:31-32 (RSVCE)] What are the the sins that are considered sinning against the Holy ...
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72 views

What is the Catholic Church's answer to whether one is really Catholic if they don't accept some of the Church's teachings?

A reader posed this question to CRUX magazine and obtained an answer. This question is seeking the Catholic Church's answer to whether one is really Catholic if they pick and choose in what they ...
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88 views

By what ordinary methods has God preserved infallibility in the Catholic Church?

The Catholic Church teaches that in order for the saving truths of the faith to be preserved, explained, or observed, Christ endowed his Church with the charism of infallibility.1 It is not uncommon ...
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3answers
174 views

What is the basis from the Church's Sacred Deposit of the Faith for the concept of “gradualism”?

During the 2014 Extraordinary Synod on the Family, there has been a reference to the [theological] concept [/law/principle] of "gradualism", mention here and here in the media. It is also mentioned ...
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219 views

What is the Catholic explanation for the Catholic Church's apparent vacillation on abortion?

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that from the very first century, it has always been the perennial teaching of the Church that procured abortion is a very grave moral evil. CCC 2271 ...
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159 views

Creation order of events: Was there unanimous consent among the Church Fathers?

Is there unanimous consent (as described here and here) among the Fathers of the Church who wrote on the interpretation of Genesis that the order of events of creation actually occurred in the order ...
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1answer
280 views

Did any other early church fathers besides Origen teach the pre-existence of souls?

Origen taught about the pre-existence of our souls, which, among many other of his teachings, was later condemned as heresy. Did any other early church fathers teach this doctrine?
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Did the early church fathers view “monogenes” as “only” or “only-begotten”?

Did the early church fathers view "monogenes" as "only" or "only-begotten"? The following Bible verses have "monogenes" in it: Verse KJV NET John 1:14 only ...
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94 views

Did Augustine often complain that his contemporaries burdened the church with their traditions?

In Martin Luther's Table Talk we find: Augustine was the ablest and purest of all the doctors, but he could not of himself bring back things to their original condition, and he often complains ...
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163 views

Does Jesus's soul exist before his incarnation?

I am referring to the following clause ( clause III) in "The Anathematisms of the Emperor Justinian Against Origen" If anyone says or thinks that the soul of the Lord pre-existed and was united ...
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954 views

How did “credibile est, quia ineptum est” become “credo quia absurdum”?

The quote "Credo quia absurdum" (I believe, because it is absurd) is ascribed to Tertullian. But Tertullian never wrote this: what he wrote (De Carne Christi, V, 4) was "Prorsus credibile est, quia ...
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107 views

Complete online editions of the Church Fathers

Where can one find a complete version of all the Church fathers online or digital? This is probably not a regular Christianity.SE question, since it is more of an external reference query. I am more ...
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303 views

Do any Early Church Fathers ever argue that the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil (Gen. 2:9) is the Law/ Torah?

Did any early Church fathers ever reason that the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil (Gen. 2:9) either is or symbolizes the Torah/ Law?
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1answer
855 views

Why Origen is considered a Church Father but not a saint?

Why Origen is considered a father of the church but not a saint by the Roman Catholic / Eastern Orthodox Church? I've heard and read in "Worlds Made by Words: Scholarship and Community in the Modern ...
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130 views

Are there any surviving (English translated) works by Athanasius about the Apollinarian heresy?

As I've looked around the internet at reactions to Athanasius' magnum opus On the Incarnation, I've seen some accusations of latent Apollinarism. The work was published before the Apollinarian heresy ...
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Did Origen castrate himself under a literal interpretation of Matthew 19:12?

I was just reading some history on extreme forms of asceticism and monasticism. In passing the subject of Origen it said he had castrated himself. Is this generally considered true by church ...
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158 views

When was it first said in Christianity by a Church Father that heretics must be tortured physically?

This question is very similar to the one I had asked before: "When was it first said in Christianity by a Church Father that heretics must be put to death?", however, there is still a difference. In ...
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2answers
357 views

Any instructions given by the church fathers on how to receive the gift of tongues?

1 Corinthians 14:39 (NIV) Therefore, my brothers and sisters, be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues. In the early church, the gift of tongues was a common gift which ...
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92 views

When Meister Eckhart deliniates the “ground” and “powers” of the soul, what is he differentiating?

I'd like to know where to look for scholarly articles that could help elucidate unclear points in ancient writings. For instance, Desert Fathers speak a lot about "heart", "spirit", "mind", ...
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620 views

When was it first said in Christianity by a Church Father that heretics must be put to death?

When was it first said in Christianity by a Church Father that heretics must be put to death? Who was the first one of the Church Fathers who came up with this idea and presented it?
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529 views

What did the Early Church Fathers think about pets (animals) going to Heaven upon death?

Many people believe that a pet goes to Heaven upon its death. I was curious, what did the Early Church Fathers (e.g., Augustine, John of Damascus, Tertullian, etc.) say about this?
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How do Orthodox Bishops and theologians view the Church Fathers' definition of the word “catholic?”

While perusing the Orthodox Church in America (OCA) website I came across this question. I fully understand what the word catholic by itself means. Orthodox Christians (like many liturgical ...
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1answer
615 views

How is the Catholic interpretation of the Woman of the Apocalypse as being Mary reconciled with the dogma of perpetual virginity?

In the Book of Revelation, 11:19—12:1-18, where the Woman of the Apocalypse is introduced, the passage describes "she wailed aloud in pain as she labored to give birth." Catholic tradition identifies ...
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221 views

When the humans' freedom of choice was firstly stated in Christianity?

When and where was it firstly stated in the history of Christianity that a human being has a personal freedom of choice and that God respects it?
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276 views

Did any other philosophical systems have as much influence on the early Church as Platonism and Stoicism?

Many historians agree that the philosophical systems of Platonism and Stoicism had an important role in the efforts of the early Church to communicate the message of the Gospel to unbelievers, and ...
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2answers
258 views

What cautionary advice have evangelists given that address Gandhi's concern about “Rice Christians”?

Not too long ago we had a question here that raised the issues of bribery, cultural "destruction," and use of harsh language against nonbelievers during evangelization efforts in developing countries. ...
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1answer
171 views

How have Christians who affirm traditional sin doctrines handled 'pathological' guilt in their preaching?

Contemporary "theological liberals" have often argued that traditional doctrines about guilt and sin and repentance lead to feelings of guilt that can become pathology. This claim shouldn't be too ...
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257 views

Why did the Catholic Church decide to have a Bible?

As far as I know, the Catholic Church considers God's revealed truth in Sacred Scripture to be part of, but by no means the sum total of Divine Revelation. Sacred Scripture is the written part of our ...
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Do Rob Bell and Tullian Tchividjian represent sides of any prior Christian controversy?

Both Rob Bell and Tullian Tchividjian have each taken heat for talking too much about grace.[*] Here is, for example, an interview on John Piper's objections to Rob Bell, and here is David Murray's ...
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620 views

What is the basis for the claim that the entire New Testament can be reconstructed apart from original and copied manuscripts?

Bit of a mouthy title, but I remember reading a few years ago that the entire New Testament (perhaps with the exception of very few verses) and most of the Old Testament could be reconstructed from ...
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380 views

Did the early Church Fathers have a complete agreement on how to interpret 1 Peter 3:18-20?

Did the early Church Fathers have a complete agreement on how to interpret 1 Peter 3:18-20 or did they also have some differences in the way they interpreted these words by Peter? I specifically mean ...
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Did Christ know who He was as a youth?

Did Jesus Christ know as a baby that He was the Son of God? When He worked carpentry with Joseph, His earthly father, did He know then Who or What He was? Did He sense in anyway prior to being a ...
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102 views

What makes a Council's conclusions authoritative?

I was just reflecting on an answer to a question I recently asked, and began to wonder... How do we know the conclusions of a given Council were true? Are all findings by Christian Councils ...
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965 views

How many writings of those who were disciples of the first 12 apostles (including Paul) are available today?

How many writings of those who were disciples of the first 12 apostles (including Paul) are available today? I guess, no need to include Mark and Luke as their writings are included in the Bible.