Apostolic Fathers

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Justin

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1

Justin

Intended to persuade the Romans that Christians are good citizens of the empire.

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2

Justin

He argues the injustice of persecuting Christians just because they are Christians.

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3

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.

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4

Justin

Christ is a King, but not an earthly ruler, so Christians cannot be regarded as insurrectionists.

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5

Justin

Describes the moral standards of Christianity to indicate their benefit to Roman society.

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6

Justin

He argued that Christ is anticipated, even among pagan philosophers:

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7

Justin

The attempt to make Christianity intellectually respectable, is one of the most common and deadly mistakes of Christian apologists and philosophers throughout history.

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8

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.

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9

Justin

The title Martyr sealed the testimony of his life. Accused of cannibalism and sexual immorality he was beheaded.

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10

Justin

Further, this common-ground approach leads to distortions in Christian theology itself.

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11

Justin

impressive in his personal faith and in his allegiance to Jesus.

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12

Justin

He was a genuine believer and got so many things wrong, including the Trinity, creation, and free will.

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13

Irenaeus

Bishop of Lyons in modern France, but born in Smyrna, Asia Minor.

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14

Irenaeus

A disciple of Polycarp, the disciple of the apostle John.

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15

Irenaeus

has little interest in proving his philosophical credentials.

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16

Irenaeus

His whole interest is to warn his flock against dangerous teaching.

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17

Irenaeus

Still, he knows the Gnostics well, and his treatment of them is biblically and philosophically astute.

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18

Irenaeus

He is considered by many to be the first systematic theologian.

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19

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.

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20

Irenaeus

the authority of “the faith” is established through the direct line of elders in the church back to the apostles.

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21

Irenaeus

He was the first to state the four Gospels as canon.

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22

Irenaeus

opposed the Gnostic attitude toward creation by affirming both creation and redemption as the acts of God.

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23

Irenaeus

He believed “the Virgin Mary is the obedient Eve.”

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24

Irenaeus

More Pauline than the apostolic fathers.

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25

Irenaeus

He was also more biblical and less philosophical than the Greek church fathers who came later.

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26

Irenaeus

Although a contemporary with the apologists and their work, he was the first to write as a theologian for the church.

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27

Tertuillian

African Latin theologian and moralist

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28

Tertuillian

Lived in Carthage all his life

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29

Tertuillian

He enjoyed a superior education, including literary, rhetorical, and legal training, and instruction in Greek and Latin.

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30

Tertuillian

Very probably he practiced law at some point.

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31

Tertuillian

Sometime in his late thirties, he was converted to belief in Christ

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32

Tertuillian

He was married to a Christian wife, and after her death he remained a widower.

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33

Tertuillian

He served the church at Carthage as a gifted teacher.

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34

Tertuillian

Out of his intense Christian commitment, his experiences with the Carthage church prompted much dissatisfaction over perceived laxities.

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35

Tertuillian

Consequently, about 206, he joined the Montanists, a separatist yet largely non heretical Christian sect.

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36

Tertuillian

Eventually he led a segment of this group called the Tertullianists.

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37

Tertuillian

Except for separatist ideas on Church life, he remained doctrinally orthodox until his death.

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38

Tertuillian

The Tertullianists rejoined the church at Carthage several decades later.

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39

Tertuillian

Soon after conversion, he began the large output of Christian writings occupying his last twenty-five years.

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40

Tertuillian

Three types of content: apologetic, dogmatic, and moral.

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41

Tertuillian

Moral essays presented a rigorous approach but he was mainstream in all his other writings.

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42

Tertuillian

Some of Christianity’s most time-honored sayings derive from his apologetics:

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43

Tertuillian

“See how they [Christians] love one another”

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44

Tertuillian

“The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church.”

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45

Tertuillian

“If God will,” “God bless,” and “God grant” made their first appearance in writing.

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46

Tertuillian

His ideas influenced Athanasius and Augustine and other church fathers, and on the Councils of Nicea (325) and Chalcedon (451).

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47

Tertuillian

His use of the Latin trinitas as the first application of the term trinity to Deity.

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48

Clement

First Christian writer to show extensive knowledge of pagan and Christian writings

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49

Clement

Probably born in Athens of pagan parents and became a Christian through his study of philosophy.

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50

Clement

After traveling to the centers of learning in the Greek-speaking East, he joined Pantaenus’s school in Alexandria.

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51

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.

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52

Clement

During his years as a teacher in Alexandria (190–202) he wrote most of his works.

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53

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.

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54

Clement

adopted Philo’s allegorical method of interpreting Scripture, often quoting Philo at length and using his thought.

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55

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.

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56

Clement

fled Alexandria during the persecution under Roman emperor Septimius Severus about 202 and died in Asia Minor.

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57

Origen

Born of a Christian family (most likely in Alexandria), the oldest of seven children

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58

Origen

he was initially trained in both secular and religious literature by his father Leonides

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59

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.

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60

Origen

The burden of caring for the family fell upon him at the age of seventeen, so he began to teach.

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61

Origen

His classes proved so popular that he had to divide them, leaving beginners to an assistant, reserving the more advanced for himself.

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62

Origen

His range of learning was vast.

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63

Origen

In addition to his father’s instruction, he also studied under Clement of Alexandria.

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64

Origen

For the sake of biblical exegesis, he learned Hebrew.

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65

Origen

His knowledge of the philosophies of the day, especially Platonism, was profound.

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66

Origen

While still living in Alexandria, he began to write and compile books.

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67

Origen

One of the earliest and most significant was De principiis, one of the first efforts toward a systematic theology.

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68

Origen

Another work was his Hexapla, an enormous edition of the Bible arranged in six columns.

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69

Origen

It contained the Hebrew text, a Greek transliteration of the Hebrew, the Septuagint, and the Greek versions by Symmachus, Aquila, and Theodotion.

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70

Origen

The Hexapla was a great aid in the study of the Scriptures.

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71

Origen

He became so famous that the mother of Emperor Alexander Severus summoned him to Antioch to instruct her.

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72

Origen

On his way to Greece, he was ordained as a priest by the bishop of Caesarea.

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73

Origen

That action was uncanonical and was protested by his own bishop of Alexandria.

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74

Origen

As a result, he never returned to Egypt but settled down in Caesarea, where he taught for the remainder of his life.

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75

Origen

Christ was the center—all Scripture must be interpreted in his light.

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76

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.

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77

Athanasius

born in Alexandria and was trained there as a theologian.

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78

Athanasius

He moved up rapidly as reader, deacon, and theological adviser for Bishop Alexander, accompanying him in 325 to the Council of Nicaea

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79

Athanasius

He succeeded Alexander as bishop upon Alexander’s death in 328.

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80

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.

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81

Athanasius

Arius was condemned by Alexander in 319

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82

Athanasius

But Arian views spread rapidly in the East, where prominent bishops held similar views.

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83

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.

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84

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.

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85

Athanasius

There was ambiguity in the way the bishops understood the creed they had signed.

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86

Athanasius

As a result, Arius eventually signed the creed himself (with a few private additions).

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87

Athanasius

The emperor then ordered him, now bishop of Alexandria, to restore Arius.

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88

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.

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89

Athanasius

he sanction of Arian views by the emperor threatened to turn Christianity into a philosophy mixed with pagan thought.

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90

Athanasius

Arians believed in a single supreme God who made contact with the world through lower creatures such as the son and the spirit.

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91

Athanasius

The Son was a suffering divine hero who was to be worshiped, very much like the hero gods of the Greeks.

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92

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.

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93

Athanasius

He recognized the danger and frequently called the Arians heathens.

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94

Athanasius

As Arianism’s greatest opponent, he emphasized redemption and the necessity of the Incarnation of the Word (Christ) for man’s salvation.

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95

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.

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