The Early Church

Peace be with you all!!
I stumbled on a great website: Christian Classics Ethereal Library. This site has numerous documents from all branches of Christianity; from St. Augustine to Martin Luther. Something that really caught my eye was the documentation on the early church.

ccel.org/fathers.html

This is an entire library on the pre-nicean and post-nicean fathers of the church and is a great resource on defending the Catholic truth. Check it out!

It is a great resource. Also perhaps worth noting that it is hosted by Calvin College, which is a Reformed Church institution.

That’s also something that I find interesting. A non-catholic christian institution is providing historical documentation of how the Catholic Church started. This is definetly something to show someone who either hasn’t seen these documents or thinks that the church made this history up.

Great find Alegare21! :smiley: This is of course a famous English translation of the Ante-Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, and is a classic of English Patristic editions. It is also virtually the ONLY English translation of these Fathers EVER done! The great work was begun by the Oxford Dons, during the early mid-19th century, including John Henry Newman, the leader of the Oxford Movement’s revitalized interest in the Early Church Fathers.

The original Oxford Library of Fathers was updated, revised and edited in the latter 19th Century. It is that edition that continues to be printed (and now, even online.)

It is also important to note that the original Oxford series was translated by Protestant Anglicans (including Newman who at the time, did the works of St. Athanasius.) However, for the most part a “catholic” understanding was central to the translators, as they never intended to use their translations in any sort of anti-Catholic manner.

The latter revisers, however, were a little more Protestant in their outlook, and tried to downplay and even excise the original translator notes as supposedly too polemical, or aimed against Protestantism. This, despite the fact that the whole original series was done by Protestants!

To give you an example, I have selected some quotes from the Editor’s Preface to the Works of St. Athanasius volume which was originally translated by a Protestant John Henry Newman:

Again, many opinions are expressed by Cardinal Newman which the present editor is unable to accept. It may not be invidious to specify as an example the many cases in which the notes enforce views of Church authority, especially of papal authority, or again of the justifiableness of religious persecution, which appear to be at any rate foreign to the mind of Athanasius; or the tacit assumption that the men of the fourth century can be divided by a broad and fast line into orthodox and heretical, and that while everything may be believed to the discredit of the latter, the former were at once uniform in their convictions and consistently right in practice. Such an assumption operates with special injustice against men like Eusebius, whose position does not fall in with so summary a classification. But it has been thought better to leave the notes in nearly all such cases as they stand, only very rarely inserting a reference or observation to call attention to another aspect of the case. And in no instance has the editor forgotten the respect due to the theological learning and personal greatness of Cardinal Newman, or to his peculiar eminence as a religious thinker.

But this has made it inevitable that many matters are regarded in one way in the notes of Newman, and in quite another where the present editor speaks for himself.

The fact that this great library is available on a Protestant website is therefore easily understandable, and also commendable! :smiley:

Or for refuting its claims :wink:

I don’t see how that would even be possible. This site is provinding us with the info that all other Catholic encyclopedia’s have. The fact that it’s being provided by a non-catholic christian website shows that this info isn’t being made up or changed in any way (as some non-catholics claim time and time again).

no, but as with Scripture, many non-catholic Christians bring a different perspective to the reading, and therefore find a different meaning in the text.

Exactly. Even the ECFs can be misinterpreted, or taken out of context, or used to support something that a preponderance of other ECFs were against.

Do you think Catholic Answers falls into that category? I think they do. Granted they give references which places the onus on the reader for learning the context. But let’s face it, it is disingenuous to publish a list of out-of context quotes, carefully selected to impress upon the reader that the early church supports whatever doctrine they are promoting. I wish more believers would take an interest in the works of the ECFs so as not to be fooled by such tactics.

No one is trying to “fool” anyone by quoting from the CFs on CAF. Rather, it is an attempt to whet the appetite to read them, which most people haven’t done, including me, I have to admit.

Besides, most of us don’t have the time to sort through all the documents. To do what? Question our beliefs? Once again, why? Ordinary history, hidden from no one and readily accessible, is much more on the side of the Traditional Church than on the side of those who protest against it. Seems like an exercise in futility to me. :wink:

Sure, people on CAF do that. Just as protestants often proof text the scriptures, many Catholics often proof text the fathers. That said, it is an opportunity to examine the sources for anyone interested in knowing Christian history and what was actually taught by the early Christians. Examine the sources for yourself and see what they say.

No, I’m sorry. I meant the quotes on the Catholic Answers website under faith tracts.

Sorry for the confusion.

I agree to a certain extent. I think that a lot of their quotes are taken out of context, but at the same time the quotes do have a significance that can’t be ignored. One of the reasons I hate apologetics though is because it tends to be superficial and the readings of the fathers or the scriptures tend to be superficial and simplistic.

You’ve got it backwards, friend Since the Early writers were all Catholic, it is only common sense that they promote Catholic Doctrine.

Do you have any idea when your church was founded and by whom? You may find this enlightening:

If you are of the Catholic faith, Jesus Christ founded your Church in the year A.D. 30.
If you are Lutheran, your religion was founded by Martin Luther, an ex-monk in the Catholic Church, in 1517.
If you are Anabaptist, your religion was founded by Nicholas Storch and Thomas Munzer in Germany in 1521.
If you belong to the Church of England (Anglican), your religion was founded by King Henry VIII in the year 1534 because the pope would not grant him a divorce with the right to remarry.
If you belong to the Mennonites, your church was started in 1536 by Menno Simons in Switzerland.
If you are a Calvinist, Jon Calvin started your belief system in 1555 in Switzerland.
If you are a Presbyterian, your religion was founded when John Knox brought the teachings of John Calvin to Scotland in the Year 1560.
If you are Unitarian, your group developed in Europe in the 1500s.
If you are a Congregationalist, your religion branched off Puritanism in the early 1600s in England.
If you are a Baptist, you owe the tenets of your religion to John Smyth, who launched it in Amsterdam in 1607.
If you are Dutch Reformed, Michaelis Jones founded your church in New York in 1628.
If you are a Methodist, your religion was founded by John and Charles Wesley in England in 1744.
If you are an Episcopalian, your church came from England to the American colonies. It formed a separate religion founded by Samuel Seabury in 1789.
If you are a Campellite Christian Church, your religion was started by Thomas and Alexander Campbell and Barton Stone at a revival held at Bushy Creek around 1836.
If you are a Mormon (Latter-day Saints), Joseph Smith started your church in Palmyra, N.Y. in 1830.
If you are Seventh Day Adventist, your religion was founded by Ellen Whitein 1844 in Washington, New Hampshire.
If you worship with the Salvation Army, your sect began with William Booth in London in 1865.
If you are a Christian Scientist, you look to 1879 as the year your religion was founded by Mary Baker Eddy.
If you are a Jehovah’s Witness, your religion was founded by Charles Taze Russell in Pennsylvania in the 1870s.
If you’re Church of Christ, your church broke of from the Campellites in 1906.
If you are Pentecostal, your religion was started in the Topeka, Kansas in 1901 by Charles F. Parkham
If you are Assemblies of God your church grew out of Pentecostalism in 1914 in Hot Springs, Az.
If you are a member of Four-square Gospel, your church was started by Aimee Semple McPherson in L.A. in 1917.
If your Church of Christ, your church broke of from the Campellites in 1906.
If you are Calvary Chapel, Chuck Smith founded your church in Costa Mesa, Ca, 1965
If your organization is “evangelical nondenominational Christian” your group started in the 1970s by protestant evangelists.

It would be common sense if you were right, but I don’t think you are. So do you believe Catholic Answers faith tracts are not misleading?

And my church, the Christian church, was founded by Jesus nearly 2000 years ago.

No your Christian church was not founded by Christ 2000 years ago. and yes he is right.

There is only one church founded by Christ; you are either a member of Christ’s body or you are not. If you believe and follow the teachings of Christ and His apostles, you are of His church. There is no “my church;” I belong to “His church.”

The early writers were not Catholic; they were members of Christ’s church, which they described as being catholic (universal). They did not practices and believe the doctrines your “Catholic Church” adopted throughout the years. That makes your church something different from “His church.”

Prove it. Show us the documentation, the historical backup for your claims.

If you did some research, you would see that what the Catholic church believes today is the same when it started. The only differences are prayers, devotions, formation in the priesthood, and a few other small things. The predominant beliefs are still, and have always been, the same. And no you don’t belong to his church. You belong to a breakaway church. You don’t just “believe” and you’re in. Many different people interpreted things for themselves over these 500 past years, “believed” in Christ and thought they were right. The fact is, they were not right, and neither are you.

The only historical documentation I can see him bringing up are from protestant encyclopedias based on the opinions of certain protestants. If he would research for actual historical documentation, or even open up a secular history book, he would see the truth.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.