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Questions tagged [church-fathers]

Theologians and church leaders of the post-apostolic period up to the 7th century.

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3answers
238 views

Are there biblical passages supporting a “quasi-incarnation” attributed to the mystical union of the Holy Spirit and Mary?

The Logos or the Incarnate Word became flesh in what known to be "hypostatic union". Jesus Christ the Second Person of the Most Holy Trinity became flesh and dwelt among us having two nature both ...
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1answer
161 views

What prompted the second century writers to adopt the concept of οὐσία to refer to God's nature?

My question When did the concept of οὐσία begin to refer to God's nature? has been answered and the answer was actually great. However, the answer has led me to ask another question. Conceptually, I ...
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770 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 ...
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3answers
632 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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1answer
489 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 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 from ...
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1answer
174 views

When did the concept of οὐσία begin to refer to God's nature?

In the NT, the Greek word οὐσία means "possession, property (substance)." To simply put, it is a thing or stuff that someone owns. And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the ...
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1answer
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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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2answers
138 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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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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497 views

Was there a non-Augustinian response to universalism in the early Church?

Most are aware of Augustine's abandonment of his universalism and his later adoption of eternal conscious torment in literal fire. His rejection of universalism is ultimately founded upon a ...
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1answer
196 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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225 views

Has the term “born again” always been synonymous with baptism with the Christians of the Early Church?

Has the term "born again" always been synonymous with baptism with the Christians of the Early Church? St. Irenaeus (202) wrote the following in 185, which many claim it refers to infant baptism: ...
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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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Do any church fathers directly connect “speaking in tongues” with anything other than existing human languages?

One of the arguments made by those who believe that the gift of speaking in tongues has ceased (cessationists) is that the "tongues" spoken of in both Acts and 1 Corinthians 12–14 are "real" human ...
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Are there any writings from the church fathers teaching Original Sin before Augustine?

It has been said by some that Augustine was the first to teach Original Sin, "It was Augustine (354-430 A.D.) who first promoted the idea that; "the fallen nature of Adam was transmitted ...
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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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2answers
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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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Did Christ know who He was as a youth? [closed]

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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Was universalism the majority belief of the early church?

I recently came upon an article that made this statement: According to historical records, Universal Reconciliation was the majority belief of the church during the first five centuries of the ...
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1answer
373 views

What are the historical arguments against a literal interpretation of Luke 22:44?

This question led me to reread Luke 22:44 in various translations, and I noticed that all of them used a comparison, as if Jesus’s sweat was similar to great drops of blood, but not actually great ...
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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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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): The ...
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653 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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615 views

Do any of the Church Fathers draw a connection between Eve and the Holy Spirit?

In Wild at Heart, author John Eldredge takes some effort to describe the language used in Genesis 2:18 to refer to Eve. While some translations and commentors translate the hebrew "עֵ֖זֶר כְּנֶגְדּֽוֹ׃...
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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. I ...
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2answers
114 views

Sources for baptismal exorcism of infants?

Are there any Christian texts before 600 CE which discuss the exorcism of infants or suggest that due to ancestral sin or for similar reasons infants are under the power of evil spirits? In ancient ...
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8answers
360 views

Why does the Son have a source of existence?

Why does the Son have a source of existence? Early church fathers believed that the Son has an source or origin of existence (reference). To have an origin is different from having a beginning. ...
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1answer
394 views

Did anyone understand the Holy Spirit to be a person prior to the Council of Constantinople in AD 381?

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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2answers
459 views

Did any early church fathers, other than Augustine, condemn or write about numerology?

I came across this quote by St.Augustine: “The good Christian should beware of mathematicians. The danger already exists that mathematicians have made a covenant with the devil to darken the ...
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1answer
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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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3answers
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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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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 ...
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1answer
5k views

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

I've heard and read in "Worlds Made by Words: Scholarship and Community in the Modern West" (book by Anthony Grafton, page 222) that Origen was considered a Church Father but not a Saint by either the ...
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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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1answer
271 views

How were women to serve the church according to the Apostolic Fathers?

Did the Apostolic Church Fathers write about the capacity in which women were to serve in the early church, or expand the capacity in which they served the church? In other words, what were they ...
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4answers
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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 ...
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1answer
254 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?
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1answer
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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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460 views

What do Protestants think about canon laws given by the Church Fathers?

In the seven ecumenical councils, and throughout early Christian history, various Church Fathers gave certain canon laws, or rules that the clergy and laity had to follow. What do Protestants think ...
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How old was St. Joseph when he married the Blessed Virgin Mary?

According to the Church Fathers or other Catholic theologians, how old was St. Joseph when he married the Blessed Virgin Mary?
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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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1answer
751 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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1answer
11k 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 ...