Sunday, January 01, 2006

I thoroughly enjoyed reading J.N.D. Kelly’s book Early Christian Doctrine. I found it to be very informative and consider every minute I spent reading, underlining and researching what I read to be time well spent.

This is not an easy book to read and it can be confusing, because the Early Church Fathers arguments/treatises can be confusing as well. I crawled through this book and still I’m not confident that I understand all that Kelly brought up, but I did learn a lot and look forward to reading more of the writings of the Fathers themselves and books on them.

My readings in the Fathers, so far, have shown me that modern Evangelicals need to know something of the Fathers and how they relate to us as our elder brothers in the Lord our God. The Christians Church (past, present, future) is an organic unity. Still, Evangelicals see no need for knowing, nor do they care what the Fathers believed or taught. I believe they are impoverished and ignorant because of this. They also have a grossly truncated understanding of the Church. For most Evangelicals “that old time religion” only goes back a generation or two (if that much). Considering that the New Covenant Church began 2,000 years ago (50 generations) that is pathetic.

Roman Catholics do, far more than Protestants, understand the organic unity of the church. They believe that what the Fathers have to say is important. But my readings of and about the Early Church Fathers have shown me that the Roman Catholic Church claims too much from the Fathers. Roman Catholics understand that the Church is one --past, present and future—but I find that they try to make the Fathers conform to their current teachings, and on many points, certainly not all, they have to distort or exaggerate what was taught or believed by the Fathers to justify some current teachings and practices that I believe to be unbiblical.

Coram Deo,

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