What did the early Christians believe regarding baptism, communion and succession?

michaelp wrote about Christians between 100 and 300 AD,

"Debatable Points that are hard to determine exactly what they believed:

  1. Theology of Baptism (i.e. the affects of baptism)
  2. Theology of the eucharist (i.e. the affects of the eucharist)
  3. That Scripture is the ultimate authority.
  4. That there was two deposits of faith, both equal."

Is this true? Is it hard to determine exactly what they believed? In my studying of the early Church one of the things that surprized me as an Evangelical was the fact that these beliefs (excluding of course number 3) were way to easy to determine because they were so obvious. I was particulary amazed at the uniformity in regards to baptism and the Eucharist.

[quote=dennisknapp]michaelp wrote about Christians between 100 and 300 AD,

"Debatable Points that are hard to determine exactly what they believed:

  1. Theology of Baptism (i.e. the affects of baptism)
  2. Theology of the eucharist (i.e. the affects of the eucharist)
  3. That Scripture is the ultimate authority.
  4. That there was two deposits of faith, both equal."

Is this true? Is it hard to determine exactly what they believed? In my studying of the early Church one of the things that surprized me as an Evangelical was the fact that these beliefs (excluding of course number 3) were way to easy to determine because they were so obvious. I was particulary amazed at the uniformity in regards to baptism and the Eucharist.
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I do not know a whole lot but I do know St. Paul took the Eucharist very seriously.:whistle: God Bless

I don’t think I have the mental capacity to answer your question, nor posess the knowledge either! However, I am curious about your findings regarding scripture as the ultimate authority, as scripture in itself cannot be authoritative due to its need of interpretation.
God Bless,

Justin

[quote=dennisknapp]michaelp wrote about Christians between 100 and 300 AD,

"Debatable Points that are hard to determine exactly what they believed:

  1. Theology of Baptism (i.e. the affects of baptism)
  2. Theology of the eucharist (i.e. the affects of the eucharist)
  3. That Scripture is the ultimate authority.
  4. That there was two deposits of faith, both equal."

Is this true? Is it hard to determine exactly what they believed? In my studying of the early Church one of the things that surprized me as an Evangelical was the fact that these beliefs (excluding of course number 3) were way to easy to determine because they were so obvious. I was particulary amazed at the uniformity in regards to baptism and the Eucharist.
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Well NO.1 and 2 are very clear in the Scriptures themselves and the early Fathers reference these Scriptures often in their writings.

3 can’t be shown because it is not found either in the Scriptures of the early writings. St. Paul does apeal to the “Scriptures” in some of his writings however he was not refering to the Bible as a whole, which didn’t exist at that time. He was refering to specific writings in the Old Testament.

#4 There never has been any reference to two deposits of Faith. There is only ONE deposit of Faith.

[quote=mikworld]I don’t think I have the mental capacity to answer your question, nor posess the knowledge either! However, I am curious about your findings regarding scripture as the ultimate authority, as scripture in itself cannot be authoritative due to its need of interpretation.
God Bless,

Justin
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I am hope I am clear that I do not except numbers 3 and 4 on this list. I just bring this up because it was stated that these belief are debatiable. If someone can provide text or references for what was believed about baptism and the Eucharist, the deposite of faith etc. The reason I ask this is that we as Catholics need to be rooted in history and so too our Protestant brother and sisters as well.

Also, most of the debates between Protestants and Catholics on this forum ultimately become circular with different people speaking past each other. One of the reason for this is that the groups are using different standards for determining the truth. On the one hand, Protestants will us their interpretation of Scriture as the ultimate authority, while looking at history through the filter of those interpretations. On the other hand, Catholics use the authority of the Church, the Scriptures, history, etc. So, what I purpose it that we use something that can be varifiable in both camps–history. Let’s see where the historical paper leads. We can also include beliefs on Mary and the Papact, as well.

What do you say?

What do I say? I say the burden of proof is on michaelp. Like we used to say when we were kids, his saying so doesn’t make it so.

The next question is: even if there were differing opinions (and I’m even talking about not just a few isolated instances, but true non-consensus), what would it prove? No Catholic apologist says (or should say)that the ECF are authoritative, only that their writings reflect the thinking of the early Church. It is what the Magisterium has taught from the beginning that matters. Taken as a whole, the ECF do this.

The list itself is pretty vague to the point of being useless. I don’t remember michaelp posting this, but if he did, he has set up the straw men he reminds others to avoid.

Here is Michael’s full post:

[quote=michaelp]Goodness, where do I begin:

The earliest agreements (100-300):

  1. Early Christian’s believed and refered to the Scriptures as authority.
  2. The early Christians believed that people must trust and believe in Christ.
  3. The early Christians believed that living a Christian life was an essential part of what it means to be Christian that separated them from a Pagan society.
  4. The early Christians believed in the communion of the saints.
  5. The early Christians believed in the Apostle’s Creed.
  6. The early Christians believed the Christ was the Messiah (although it took time for them to fully realize what that meant).
  7. The early Christians believed in the Holy Spirit.
  8. The early Christians believed that one must submit to local bishops (although, this does not imply absolute authority, just authority)
  9. The early Christians were primarily concerned with pastoral care among their flock (i.e. Ignatius and Clement), and did not have the oppertunity to develop much in doctrinal areas.
  10. The early Christians believed that Christ died and rose again.
  11. The early Christians believed that Christ was coming again (most were premillenial).
  12. The early Christians believed in the grace of God.
  13. The early Christians believed that God is revealed in the truth of most philosophies (except for some people’s interpretation of Turtullian.
  14. Early Christian’s believe in an educational institution the Catechemenate.
  15. The early Christians believed in water baptism as an initiation rite of passage that involved three stages (protecting against mere professors, and those who had been converts from other religions and did not understand Christianity).
  16. That Christ was a man and divine.

What the earliest Christians believed that both Catholics and Protestants don’t:

  1. That Christ was ontologically subordinate to the Father (although I believe that this was done out of ignorance since the early Church had not dealt with this issue yet. Martyr and Origen.
  2. That man will is totally free and able to choose God without aid.
  3. Premillennialism (although some Protestants do believe this).
  4. That the atonement was a price paid to Satan, not God (understandable since they did not have time to deal with these doctrinal issues and they were heavely influenced by Greek dualism).

What the earliest Christians did not have any conception of (even in seed form) that either Protestants or Catholics believe today:

  1. Marian theology (assumption, co-redemtrix)
  2. Prayers to the saints
  3. Rapture
  4. Seven distinct Sacraments
  5. Definition of the sacraments as drawing form a deposit of Grace purchased by Christ.

Debatable Points that are hard to determine exactly what they believed:

  1. Theology of Baptism (i.e. the affects of baptism)
  2. Theology of the eucharist (i.e. the affects of the eucharist)
  3. That Scripture is the ultimate authority.
  4. That there was two deposits of faith, both equal.

Certianly, all would agree, none of these existed *in the current articulations in which they exist today no matter what tradition you are from. *This does not make them wrong. It was understandable since they were more concerned with pastoral guidence and doctrines are only articulated in the midst of controversy.

These are all off the top of my head and I know that there are many more.

Michael
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