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Apostolic Fathers

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Justin
Intended to persuade the Romans that Christians are good citizens of the empire.
Justin
He argues the injustice of persecuting Christians just because they are Christians.
Justin
He denies the charge that Christians are “atheists”: Although they do not worship the gods of Rome, they do worship one God, the Author of all being and life.
Justin
Christ is a King, but not an earthly ruler, so Christians cannot be regarded as insurrectionists.
Justin
Describes the moral standards of Christianity to indicate their benefit to Roman society.
Justin
He argued that Christ is anticipated, even among pagan philosophers:
Justin
The attempt to make Christianity intellectually respectable, is one of the most common and deadly mistakes of Christian apologists and philosophers throughout history.
Justin
It ignores the fundamental biblical principle that people sinfully repress the truth and need to be given new hearts and minds by God’s Spirit.
Justin
The title Martyr sealed the testimony of his life. Accused of cannibalism and sexual immorality he was beheaded.
Justin
Further, this common-ground approach leads to distortions in Christian theology itself.
Justin
impressive in his personal faith and in his allegiance to Jesus.
Justin
He was a genuine believer and got so many things wrong, including the Trinity, creation, and free will.
Irenaeus
Bishop of Lyons in modern France, but born in Smyrna, Asia Minor.
Irenaeus
A disciple of Polycarp, the disciple of the apostle John.
Irenaeus
has little interest in proving his philosophical credentials.
Irenaeus
His whole interest is to warn his flock against dangerous teaching.
Irenaeus
Still, he knows the Gnostics well, and his treatment of them is biblically and philosophically astute.
Irenaeus
He is considered by many to be the first systematic theologian.
Irenaeus
In his primary work, Against Heresies, he gave his theology as statements of the Christian faith to refute the heresies of Valentinus (a Gnostic) and Marcion.
Irenaeus
the authority of “the faith” is established through the direct line of elders in the church back to the apostles.
Irenaeus
He was the first to state the four Gospels as canon.
Irenaeus
opposed the Gnostic attitude toward creation by affirming both creation and redemption as the acts of God.
Irenaeus
He believed “the Virgin Mary is the obedient Eve.”
Irenaeus
More Pauline than the apostolic fathers.
Irenaeus
He was also more biblical and less philosophical than the Greek church fathers who came later.
Irenaeus
Although a contemporary with the apologists and their work, he was the first to write as a theologian for the church.
Tertuillian
African Latin theologian and moralist
Tertuillian
Lived in Carthage all his life
Tertuillian
He enjoyed a superior education, including literary, rhetorical, and legal training, and instruction in Greek and Latin.
Tertuillian
Very probably he practiced law at some point.
Tertuillian
Sometime in his late thirties, he was converted to belief in Christ
Tertuillian
He was married to a Christian wife, and after her death he remained a widower.
Tertuillian
He served the church at Carthage as a gifted teacher.
Tertuillian
Out of his intense Christian commitment, his experiences with the Carthage church prompted much dissatisfaction over perceived laxities.
Tertuillian
Consequently, about 206, he joined the Montanists, a separatist yet largely non heretical Christian sect.
Tertuillian
Eventually he led a segment of this group called the Tertullianists.
Tertuillian
Except for separatist ideas on Church life, he remained doctrinally orthodox until his death.
Tertuillian
The Tertullianists rejoined the church at Carthage several decades later.
Tertuillian
Soon after conversion, he began the large output of Christian writings occupying his last twenty-five years.
Tertuillian
Three types of content: apologetic, dogmatic, and moral.
Tertuillian
Moral essays presented a rigorous approach but he was mainstream in all his other writings.
Tertuillian
Some of Christianity’s most time-honored sayings derive from his apologetics:
Tertuillian
“See how they [Christians] love one another”
Tertuillian
“The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church.”
Tertuillian
“If God will,” “God bless,” and “God grant” made their first appearance in writing.
Tertuillian
His ideas influenced Athanasius and Augustine and other church fathers, and on the Councils of Nicea (325) and Chalcedon (451).
Tertuillian
His use of the Latin trinitas as the first application of the term trinity to Deity.
Clement
First Christian writer to show extensive knowledge of pagan and Christian writings
Clement
Probably born in Athens of pagan parents and became a Christian through his study of philosophy.
Clement
After traveling to the centers of learning in the Greek-speaking East, he joined Pantaenus’s school in Alexandria.
Clement
Pantaenus impressed him by his ability to interpret the Scripture. The school which began with Pantaenus in 180 later became the official church catechetical school of Alexandria under Origen. He succeeded Pantaenus as head of the school circa 190.
Clement
During his years as a teacher in Alexandria (190–202) he wrote most of his works.
Clement
In his works he followed Philo (c. 20 B.C.–A.D. 50), an Alexandrian Jewish writer who had used Greek philosophy to interpret the Old Testament.
Clement
adopted Philo’s allegorical method of interpreting Scripture, often quoting Philo at length and using his thought.
Clement
To pagans, he wrote Exhortation to the Gentiles with the same arguments employed by the Christian writers known as the Apologists, but with a more sophisticated style.
Clement
fled Alexandria during the persecution under Roman emperor Septimius Severus about 202 and died in Asia Minor.
Origen
Born of a Christian family (most likely in Alexandria), the oldest of seven children
Origen
he was initially trained in both secular and religious literature by his father Leonides
Origen
Very early he developed a passion for martyrdom, but he was restrained by his mother when he attempted to join his father in martyrdom.
Origen
The burden of caring for the family fell upon him at the age of seventeen, so he began to teach.
Origen
His classes proved so popular that he had to divide them, leaving beginners to an assistant, reserving the more advanced for himself.
Origen
His range of learning was vast.
Origen
In addition to his father’s instruction, he also studied under Clement of Alexandria.
Origen
For the sake of biblical exegesis, he learned Hebrew.
Origen
His knowledge of the philosophies of the day, especially Platonism, was profound.
Origen
While still living in Alexandria, he began to write and compile books.
Origen
One of the earliest and most significant was De principiis, one of the first efforts toward a systematic theology.
Origen
Another work was his Hexapla, an enormous edition of the Bible arranged in six columns.
Origen
It contained the Hebrew text, a Greek transliteration of the Hebrew, the Septuagint, and the Greek versions by Symmachus, Aquila, and Theodotion.
Origen
The Hexapla was a great aid in the study of the Scriptures.
Origen
He became so famous that the mother of Emperor Alexander Severus summoned him to Antioch to instruct her.
Origen
On his way to Greece, he was ordained as a priest by the bishop of Caesarea.
Origen
That action was uncanonical and was protested by his own bishop of Alexandria.
Origen
As a result, he never returned to Egypt but settled down in Caesarea, where he taught for the remainder of his life.
Origen
Christ was the center—all Scripture must be interpreted in his light.
Athanasius
He did more than anyone else to bring about the triumph of the orthodox Nicene faith over Arianism, a struggle to which he devoted forty-five years and for which he was exiled five times.
Athanasius
born in Alexandria and was trained there as a theologian.
Athanasius
He moved up rapidly as reader, deacon, and theological adviser for Bishop Alexander, accompanying him in 325 to the Council of Nicaea
Athanasius
He succeeded Alexander as bishop upon Alexander’s death in 328.
Athanasius
A great conflict soon to engulf the whole church began when Arius advocated the view that Christ was not eternal but was created by the Father.
Athanasius
Arius was condemned by Alexander in 319
Athanasius
But Arian views spread rapidly in the East, where prominent bishops held similar views.
Athanasius
The Council of Nicaea was called in 325 by the Roman emperor Constantine to settle the issues and to bring unity to the church and civic peace to the area.
Athanasius
Condemnation of Arius by the council and even the adoption of the Nicene Creed did not bring the peace and unity which Constantine desired.
Athanasius
There was ambiguity in the way the bishops understood the creed they had signed.
Athanasius
As a result, Arius eventually signed the creed himself (with a few private additions).
Athanasius
The emperor then ordered him, now bishop of Alexandria, to restore Arius.
Athanasius
When the order arrived, he refused to readmit Arius—whereupon false charges were brought against him at the synod of Tyre (335), and Constantine exiled him.
Athanasius
he sanction of Arian views by the emperor threatened to turn Christianity into a philosophy mixed with pagan thought.
Athanasius
Arians believed in a single supreme God who made contact with the world through lower creatures such as the son and the spirit.
Athanasius
The Son was a suffering divine hero who was to be worshiped, very much like the hero gods of the Greeks.
Athanasius
Since that view was so similar to paganism, Arianism made the monotheism of Christianity acceptable to many who were adopting the religion of the emperor.
Athanasius
He recognized the danger and frequently called the Arians heathens.
Athanasius
As Arianism’s greatest opponent, he emphasized redemption and the necessity of the Incarnation of the Word (Christ) for man’s salvation.
Athanasius
He taught that it was necessary for the Word to be as eternal as God if he was to form the divine image in man.