Questions tagged [church-fathers]

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

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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
163 views

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 the ...
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2answers
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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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709 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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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
627 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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1answer
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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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1answer
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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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1answer
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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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414 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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397 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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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
148 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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684 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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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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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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312 views

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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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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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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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 Christological difference between the early Church fathers and the Arians?

Arius wrote to Eusebius of Nicomedia referring to the eternal Word that, '[B]efore He was begotten ... He was not, for He was not without beginning.'1 Where he qualified his argument on the fact that ...
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335 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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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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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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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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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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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 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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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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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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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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Did Ignatius believe in the doctrine of Eternal Generation of the Son?

Ignatius wrote in A.D. 110 that Jesus was gennetos kai agennetos, meaning “begotten and not begotten.” Did Ignatius believe in the doctrine of Eternal Generation of the Son? Why did he say that Jesus ...
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1answer
141 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 that ...
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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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803 views

Is the title of Jesus “Son of God” synonymous with “Messiah”?

How did the New Testament writers view Jesus' title of "Son of God"? What did the early church believes about what it means?
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“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, ...
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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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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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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", "thoughts",...
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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?