Quick help for Early Church info!


I’ve been talking to a non-Catholic who’s asking about foundational Christian doctrine, the “non-negotiables” of Christianity, and where to draw the line on what is a basic doctrine (virgin birth, resurrection, etc.) and what isn’t (guaranteed salvation, etc)…

It wouldn’t be appropriate in the forum we’re in for me to come right out and tell him that the Church is the answer to what he’s seeking. I know this through experience.

So, I am guiding him to do some research on the Early Church Fathers, church history, development of doctrine, etc.
What could I recommend to him as a good starting point?

I’m thinking along the lines of Aquinas, Ignatius, and…?

Any help is greatly appreciated! :slight_smile:


Ignatius of Antioch’s letter to the church at Smyrna.

Aquinas is too late in history to begin with. Maybe later on.

Also, you might ask him where he gets the idea that some things are negotiable? I’m thinking here of Baptism in particular.
Baptism~ Necessary or Not?


You might want to discuss why early Christians felt it necessary to meet at Nicaea and come up with the Nicene Creed as precisely that… a list of the minimum requirements necessary to call someone Christian. You’ll want to make sure to explain what Gnosticism, Docetism, and Arianism was, bring up issues with the canon (in other words, that it wasn’t settled, and some regions were using apocryphal books, and others were leaving out some like Revelation), and discuss how Christianity would likely have fragmented into a thousand small denominations with no chance of survival (due to the isolation and long distances between congregations) if it weren’t for the role of bishops and church hierarchy (which were clearly present before Constantine).

The book Four Witnesses: The Early Church in her Own Words by Rod Bennett is a great place to start.


a site I found and use is earlychristianwritings.com./ It contains the new testement,apocrypha, gnostic and Early Church Fathers,[eg:Pope Clement 1st , Tetullian ,ect.ect.]and even some historians like Josephus. I hope this will help you. happy reading

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