To be his holy bride
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To Be His Holy Bride. A brief examination of church history. The Early Church Fathers. Historical Context. “Heroic Age” of the church 64 Rome burns; 70 Destruction of Jerusalem 98 Trajan persecution 249 Persecution under Decius 303 The Great Persecution under Diocletian

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To be his holy bride

To Be His Holy Bride

A brief examination of church history

The early church fathers
The Early Church Fathers

Historical context
Historical Context

  • “Heroic Age” of the church

  • 64 Rome burns;

  • 70 Destruction of Jerusalem

  • 98 Trajan persecution

  • 249 Persecution under Decius

  • 303 The Great Persecution under Diocletian

  • 311 Edict of Toleration (Galerius)

  • 312 Constantine becomes sole emperor

  • 313 Edict of Milan

What do we mean by church father
What do we mean by "church father"?

  • “Father” in the NT means “teacher of spiritual things.” 1 Cor. 4:15; Gal. 4:19.

  • They are the parents at whose knee the church of today was taught her belief.

  • They defended the church against attacks.

  • They expressed Christian truths in concrete ways.

  • Important note: the church fathers are not authoritative. While worthy of study, they can be contradictory and prone to err (not divinely inspired).

What constitutes a father
What constitutes a "father"?

  • Orthodox doctrine and learning

  • Holiness of life

  • A certain antiquity (primarily the Roman age)

Ignatius of antioch 30 100
Ignatius of Antioch: 30?-100?

  • As an elderly man, Ignatius

    was imprisoned and taken to Rome to be martyred.

  • During his imprisonment, he wrote seven letters from which we learn much of the very early church.

  • We especially learn about the early church’s attitude toward suffering/martyrdom, and we see the rise of the first authority structures in the church.

  • Ignatius was likely martyred shortly after arriving in Rome. He was over 70 years old.

Origen 185 254
Origen 185-254

  • His father suffered martyrdom under Septimius Severus

  • He contributed a large body of literature to the early church, including the Hexapla, several commentaries, Against Celsus, and On First Principles.

  • He affirmed orthodox teaching and held that “nothing which is at variance with the tradition of the apostles and of the church is to be accepted as true.”

  • However, he felt free to take many speculative flights.

  • He was tortured to death as an elderly man.

Tertullian 160 220
Tertullian 160-220

  • Great legal mind; studied law until his conversion to Christianity when he was about 40.

  • His many defenses of Christianity bear the stamp of a legal mind.

  • On the Witness of the Soul

  • Prescription Against the Heretics

  • He condemned all speculation.

  • He later joined a cult known as Montanism.


  • “You are to seek until you find, and once you have found, you are to believe. Thereafter, all you have to do is to hold to what you have believed. Besides this, you are to believe that there is nothing further to be believed, nor anything else to be sought.” –Tertullian.

  • Agree or disagree? Why?

  • How do we see this belief expressed among Christians today? What is an appropriate response?

St anthony 251 356
St. Anthony 251?-356

  • Considered the father of Monasticism

  • Took Jesus’ command to the rich young ruler, “…sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven…” Matt. 19:21

  • Lived alone in a fort in the Egyptian desert for 20 years without seeing the face of another man

  • Thought that asceticism and contemplation could set him free from temptation.

  • Four Stages of Monasticism

The apologists
The Apologists

  • Apologia - A defense of the faith

  • The need for the apologists

  • The task of the apologists

  • What are we primarily defending the church against today?

Justin martyr 100 165
Justin Martyr 100–165

  • Converted to Christianity in his 40’s

  • Was trained in the school of the Greek Philosophers

  • Was Martyred for his beliefs

  • He took upon himself the task of Christian Philosophy

Two approches to apologetics justin and tatian
Two Approches to Apologetics: Justin and Tatian

  • Tatian's Approach

  • Which is a better approach? Should we try to show connections between culture and Christianity or should we point out the flaws in culture?