Friday, April 11, 2008

The Apostolic Fathers

a short collection of Early Christian Writings (translated by Maxwell Staniforth and Andew Louth, published by Penguin). This collection contains The First Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians; The Epistles of Ignatius (there are seven: to the Ephesians, Magnesians, Trallians, Romans, Philadelphians, Smyrnaens, and Polycarp); The Epistle of Polycarp to the Philippians and The Martyrdom of Polycarp; The Epistle to Diognetus; The Epistle of Barnabas; and The Didache. These writings date from the 2nd century and are generally known as the writings of "The Apostolic Fathers." Some of the authors may have been disciples of the original apostles.

In reading through these letters, epistles, and treatises, he noted that He observed several things.

1. Trinitarianism

2. Concern for false teaching

3. Glory in the Cross

4. Joy in persecution

5. The priority of unity, love, and holiness in the church

In his conclusion he notes some troubling items: "their views on the sacraments, some occasional hints of asceticism, extremely allegorical interpretations of the Old Testament (especially in The Epistle of Barnabas). So, I think there are good reasons why these documents were not included in the New Testament canon".

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