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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What is the source of the quote attributed to Origen, that “the soul has neither beginning nor end”?

Related answer: Is there any substance to the claim that Origen supported reincarnation? The following quote is widely attributed to Origen in books and on the internet (e.g., here and here): ...
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137 views

Why is Pontius Pilate blamed for killing Jesus in the Apostles' Creed?

In Apostles' Creed, the name of Pontius Pilate is forever associated with the infamy of being Jesus Christ's persecutor. I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth. ...
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153 views

When was “pistis christou” first understood as a statement about Christ’s faith?

There is an ongoing debate among translators and commentators of Paul’s letters about how to understand the phrase Πίστις Χριστοῦ (pistis christou)1 -- “[the] faith[fulness] of Christ" vs. “faith in ...
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80 views

What is the origin of the interpretation of the Song of Solomon as a picture for Christ and the Church?

For today's average Christian, it is commonplace to read Song of Solomon as a prophetic picture of Christ, as the Bridegroom, and the Church, as the Bride. But where did this view have its beginning? ...
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103 views

Where the church should gather?

Ok, where i gather, we have a Brethren-like "house church" system, which means that we have no building for the chuch meeting. But the number of members are increasing and we are about to face a ...
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129 views

What did the early church fathers (pre-5th c.) teach with regards to the doctrine of baptism as a necessity for salvation?

The title says it all, really. What did the ECF believe and teach with regards to baptism being or not being necessary for salvation? Related: What did the early church fathers (pre-5th c.) teach ...
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45 views

What did the early church fathers (pre-5th c.) teach with regards to baptismal regeneration?

The title says it all, really. What did the ECF believe and teach with regards to baptismal regeneration? Did they generally subscribe to it or deny it? Related: What did the early church fathers ...
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371 views

What is the origin of the story that the Apostle John taught only “love one another”?

I've heard in a sermon that there is a story about Apostle John's last days, when he was working in Ephesus. The story tells that usually, at the Lord's Supper, John was invited to give a little ...
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Why did Clement and Eusebius believe that Paul was married?

In an answer to a related question (What is the evidence that suggests that the Apostle Paul was married?), I encountered the following quote from Eusebius: Clement, indeed, whose words we have ...
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55 views

Did Origen support the idealist view of Christian eschatology?

I've seen it suggested that Origen was in line with the idealist understanding of Christian eschatology. Is anyone able to clarify this? What is the evidence that Origen was in support of the Idealist ...
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How do the early church fathers expound upon the “exaltation of Christ” (Philippians 2:9-11) in light of the immutability of Jesus Christ?

Philippians 2:9-11 NIV 9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on ...
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Did the early Church fathers see a distinction between Matthias' and Paul's apostleship appointment, considering Paul's peculiar verbiage choice?

When reading the appointment of Matthias, you come across very specific actions and precise language. Consider, of course: Acts 1:21-26 ESV 21 So one of the men who have accompanied us during all ...
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92 views

Have any ante-Nicene writings been discovered in the past 20 years?

Have an writings or fragments of ante-Nicene Church Fathers previously unknown (that is the actual words were not known, not necessarily that the name of the work was also previously unknown) to ...
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1answer
36 views

Gregory of Nazianzus - First Oration - Translation of καὶ ἡ ἀρχὴ δεξιὰ

At the very beginning (§1) of his first oration entitled, "On the Holy Pascha and on His Reluctance/Delay," Gregory writes, Ἀναστάσεως ἡμέρα, καὶ ἡ ἀρχὴ δεξιὰ... Browne/Swallow translate καὶ ἡ ...
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178 views

What did the early church believe about the “rapture”?

There are a lot of differing opinions on when the rapture will take place (pre-tribulation, post-tribulation, or mid-tribulation). From my own attempts to research the topic and look at Scripture ...
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How did the Church fathers of the first four centuries understand 2 Corinthians 5:21?

God made the one who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that in him we would become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:21, NET) I'm interested in an overview of the understanding of ...
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What view of eschatology did the early church believe?

I have recently been studying eschatology and have been looking at the main views of eschatology. So far, I have found four (I apologize in advance if I have misrepresented your view. I would ...
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271 views

Besides Paul, were there any other enemies of the early church who converted to Christianity?

As I was listening to a debate between Drs. William Lane Craig and Richard Carrier on the historicity of Jesus' resurrection, something Dr. Carrier said caught my attention. He claimed that "[Paul] is ...
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310 views

Who first distinguished between the inerrancy of the Bible and the inerrancy of the original autographs?

It's common these days among those who believe in the inerrancy* of the Bible to limit the statement to the original manuscripts. For example, the Chicago Statement reads: We affirm that ...
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67 views

Which Ante-Nicene Church Fathers believed that Jesus is the “eternal Son” of the Father?

Economic trinitarianism, in the pre-Nicene sense of the phrase, says that God is a monad who becomes tripartite for the purposes of creation and redemption. Forms of this view were held by Justin ...
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203 views

What evil things did Alexander the copper-smith do to Paul in 2 Tim. 4:14 that led to Paul saying God will recompense him?

In 2 Tim. 4:14, Paul said that Alexander the copper-smith did many evil things to me; the Lord will recompense him according to his works. Is there any tradition on what exactly Alexander did ...
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123 views

Did Augustine believe in Purgatory?

Purgatory was one of the doctrines the Reformers reacted most strongly against, though many Reformers claimed Augustine of Hippo as being in agreement with their theology. Did Augustine teach a ...
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162 views

When did the early church begin reciting the Lord's Prayer in corporate worship?

I'm reading a book on prayer, and one of the claims that the author makes is that the Lord's Prayer was not intended to be recited word-for-word in corporate worship. Part of his argument relates to ...
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115 views

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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214 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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163 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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60 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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203 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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2answers
292 views

What is an overview of early church opposition to authorities?

What is an overview of early church father expressions of opposition against authorities? I'm looking for things like: Protests against state-/government-sponsored injustice Arguments against the ...
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146 views

What is the evidence that Ignatius of Antioch was ordained by the Apostles?

What evidence do we possess today indicating that Ignatius of Antioch was ordained by the Apostles?
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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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In what way did the ante-nicene church read Sapiental passages like Proverbs 8:22 christologically?

Commentators like Ellicott indicate that the ante-nicene Christian writers (from A.D. 100 to the Council of Nicaea) read Proverbs 8:22 christologically, that is, in reference to Christ. In what way ...
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294 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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70 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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277 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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156 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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223 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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439 views

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

The Roman Catholic Church asserts that the Bishop of Rome, the Pope, is the legitimate successor of the apostle Peter, the "rock" upon whom the Lord Jesus Christ founded his Church, according to its ...
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217 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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775 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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79 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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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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184 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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402 views

Did Calvinism borrow its scheme of predestination from Valentinian Gnosticism?

How does the Calvinist notion of predestination differ from that of the Valentinian Gnostics' predestination? There are several sources outlining the Valentinian Gnostic system (anti-heretic "church ...
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166 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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385 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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247 views

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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101 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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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 ...