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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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 ...
15
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1answer
175 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" ...
12
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2answers
645 views

Did the Church Fathers advocate celibacy?

What were the Church Fathers' views on celibacy? Did they see celibacy as a higher or more spiritual calling than marriage? Did they see marriage as incompatible with a spiritual life? Was there ...
12
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1answer
682 views

Origin of “The Marks of the True Church”

In Reformed Theology, "the marks of a true church" are often delineated, to the effect of: Church discipline Teaching/preaching Administration of the sacraments (These are the marks often denoted ...
11
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1answer
95 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 ...
10
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2answers
642 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?
10
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2answers
415 views

Did the church fathers or OT talk about the visible and invisible church?

In the Reformation, the doctrine of the distinction between the visible and invisible church was important in the Reformers' claim not to have started a rogue church. I am wondering... Given that it ...
10
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2answers
305 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 ...
9
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1answer
172 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 ...
9
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3answers
507 views

What support is there in the Patristic writings for Marian Devotion?

Specifically, I want to know if there is evidence in the early Church of Christians venerating Mary. Evidence from the time following Mary's earthly life is preferred, though not required.
9
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5answers
3k views

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 ...
9
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1answer
644 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 ...
9
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3answers
217 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 ...
9
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2answers
258 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
288 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?
9
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1answer
192 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 ...
9
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1answer
542 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?
8
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2answers
2k views

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 ...
8
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1answer
168 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 ...
8
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1answer
132 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 ...
7
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1answer
169 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 ...
7
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1answer
63 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 ...
7
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1answer
122 views

What are the main points of dissent between Cyril of Alexandria and John Chrysostom?

What were the main differences or points of dissent between Cyril of Alexandria and John Chrysostom? Can anyone give a summary, please?
7
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1answer
391 views

John Wesley's influence by ancient fathers

I have been told that John Wesley read the pre-Schism fathers a lot, and was influenced by them. Is this so, and if so, to what extent and how was his doctrine influenced by them?
7
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3answers
280 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 ...
6
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1answer
901 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 ...
6
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3answers
104 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 ...
6
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1answer
164 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 ...
6
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1answer
161 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 ...
6
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1answer
993 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 ...
6
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2answers
308 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?
5
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3answers
1k views

Why is Mark not the first gospel?

We all know that Mark was the first gospel ever written. Why then is it that when the New Testament was compiled, Mark was not listed as the first book in the New Testament? What are the reasons that ...
5
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1answer
715 views

Is it true that Martin Luther never considered the works of the early Church Fathers?

Is it true that Martin Luther never considered the works of the early Church Fathers while he was developing and defending his teaching? Here is the list of some of those Fathers (from Wikipedia): 1 ...
5
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2answers
79 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 ...
5
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1answer
999 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.
5
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1answer
81 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 ...
5
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2answers
226 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?
5
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1answer
1k views

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 ...
5
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1answer
2k views

What was Paul's “revelation” (mentioned in Galatians 2:2)?

Then after an interval of fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titus along also. It was because of a revelation that I went up; and I submitted to them the gospel which ...
5
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2answers
380 views

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 ...
5
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1answer
50 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 ...
5
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1answer
139 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?
5
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1answer
94 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", ...
5
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1answer
173 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 ...
4
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4answers
5k views

Protestant rejection of the Catholic implementation of confession

(Pardon the length - my original post was more concise, but wasn't clearly conveying my question.) Background: I am currently studying the Spiritual Disciplines at a Protestant seminary. For those ...
4
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2answers
137 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 ...
4
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2answers
130 views

How diverse or united is Christian history on the imagery of “Father” and “Son”?

The original languages of the Bible itself and, to my knowledge, most of Christian history, are replete with the filial language of God being known as a “Father” and Jesus being known as his “Son”. ...
4
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1answer
432 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 ...
4
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3answers
177 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 ...
4
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1answer
67 views

“καὶ στρατείας κλῆσις” - Cyril, Procatechesis, §1

In Procatechesis, §1, Cyril was talking about events that had occurred before a Christian was baptized. He wrote, Ὀνοματογραφία τέως ὑμῖν γέγονε, καὶ στρατείας κλῆσις· καὶ νυμφαγωγίας λαμπάδες, ...