I post this with sadness. It stuns me how even former church elders are openly questioning the authority of the word of God on Facebook, only ‘liking’ comments that encourage their theory that we aren’t accountable to live according to New Testament teaching. So now we don’t have to meet together to even try to worship in Spirit and in truth. I sometimes call it the anti-Ephesians-4:11-16 movement in which Jesus’ prayer in John 17:20-26 is also ignored. Jesus promised to give us His glory so that we would be ‘ONE’ with each other in Him, “that the world will know.”
Endless Facebook and coffee shop conversations, and going to Hollywood movies are in. The GREATEST commandment is out. And no one seems to be hearing from God, as the written word of God is now openly mocked, as well as those who defend it. It’s a travesty.
To be clear, I believe the teachers in the New Testament were led by the Holy Spirit, and most of what they taught is timeless (some applied directly to their situation only), and the Holy Spirit wants to lead us directly too. But if we refuse to do the basics taught in the New Testament, the lack of holiness will open the door to familiar spirits to confuse the new, trendy ‘Christians,’ so they don’t seem to be able to hear God directly at all. And they don’t seem to care, for some reason, to my utter dismay.
I would like to re-write the above two paragraphs when hopefully the carefully chronicled new covenant teachings of the New Testament are again appreciated for the clear teaching that they are.
This is part 2 of my posts defending the Bible.
We have a large body of work written by the ‘early church fathers,’ theologians who wrote during the centuries directly following the life of Christ and the apostles. The entire set of their work is here: “The Early Church Fathers, 38 Volumes.”
Broken into three sections, this authoritative collection of writings by the Early Church Fathers is essential for understanding patristic thought. Series I of the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers consists of eight volumes of the writings of St. Augustine, the greatest and most influential of the early Fathers, as well as six volumes of the treatises and homilies of St. Chrysostom. The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers Series II contains in fourteen volumes the works of the Greek Fathers from Eusebius to John of Damascus and the Latin Fathers from Hilary to Gregory the Great. The Ante-Nicene Fathers represent the first primary sources of Christian history following the canon of the New Testament, and include writings from the Apostolic Fathers as well as various third and fourth century sources.
My favorite period is the ante-nicene fathers, because they lived before Constantine declared Christianity to be the state religion, after which it became institutionalized and mostly died spiritually. Miracles of healing, which had been prevalent became almost unheard of. At that point, pride became more evident and ecclesiastical authority could even surpass scriptural authority, which we now know as papal authority within the Catholic church.
The indexes of each book are filled with New Testament quotes that they cited before all of the 27 New Testament books were officially decided upon. In fact, much of the New Testament can be reproduced from what the early church fathers quoted in their writings. Most fully believed and accepted these writings as God’s truth applying to them, from what I remember from my in-depth study 20 years ago, and what Geoffrey Bromiley says here: “all writers accepted the inspiration and authority of Holy Scripture as self-evident. … There was no temptation to restrict its range to favored passages of the Bible.”
Of the four men Bromiley specifically cites, Clement of Alexandria and Irenaeus lived mainly in the second century, while Gregory Nazianzus and Augustine lived about two centuries later.
Geoffrey W. Bromiley, “The Church Doctrine of Inspiration,” Carl F.H. Henry, ed., Revelation and
the Bible. Contemporary Evangelical Thought. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1958 / London: The Tyndale
Press, 1959, p. 207-8
II. THE PATRISTIC PERIOD
When we turn to the patristic period, we are struck at once by the way in which all writers accepted the inspiration and authority of Holy Scripture as self-evident. The actual writings of the Old and New Testaments are seen to derive from the Holy Spirit and therefore carry the divine message. Nor is this merely a general inspiration; it extends to the detailed phraseology of the Bible in accordance with the saying of Christ in Matthew 5:18. Thus Clement of Alexandria tells us that not one jot nor tittle can pass because all has been spoken by the mouth of the Lord (Protrepticus, IX, 82, 1); and Gregory Nazianzus writes that even the smallest lines in Scripture are due to the minute care of the Holy Spirit, so that we must pay careful attention to every slightest shade of meaning (Orat., 2, 105). In order to emphasize the perfection and authority of the Bible, Irenaeus can say that they are actually spoken by God himself through his Word and Spirit (C.O.H., II, 28, 2). What the authors say is really said by God himself, and must be received and studied not merely or primarily as the word of man but as the Word of God. This emphasis on the divine inspiration of the Bible is obviously reflected again in the many statements in the Fathers which refer to the supreme authority of the Bible in the Church, as in the dictum of Augustine quoted in Cranmer’s Confutation of Unwritten Verities: “For I do not account Cyprian’s writings as canonical, but weigh them by the canonical scriptures; and that in them which agreeth with canonical I allow to his praise; but that that agreeth not, by his favour I refuse” (Parker Society ed., II, p. 33).
There can be little doubt that a sound and scriptural doctrine of inspiration was for the most part maintained and developed in the patristic period. The primary fact of inspiration was never in doubt. There was no temptation to restrict its range to favored passages of the Bible.
Jesus’ statements in ‘Revelation’ support the apostles’ NT church life teaching and also present a balance to the trendy, lovey-dovey view of God. Jesus also added a strict warning to not be altered :: The Bible can be trusted!
The Gospels are New Covenant and Apply To Us Today — Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to lead the disciples into all truth and to REMIND them of what He taught them to do. Then they did it and we can too — unstoppable!
The Didache (70-100 AD): Reconciliation was required to attend early church meetings! “Let no one who is at odds with his fellow come together with you, until they be reconciled, that your sacrifice may not be profaned.”
Who-Goes-To-Heaven Scriptures — Narrow is the Way | Who are the Children of God? — “There is therefore now *no condemnation* to those who are IN CHRIST Jesus, who don’t WALK according to the flesh, but ACCORDING TO THE SPIRIT.”