Category Archives: Church Fathers

The Great Write-in Write-out Campaign

There is nothing in history that a little creative Roman editing can't fix.
There is nothing in the historical record that a little creative Roman editing can’t fix.

We concluded our last series on The Sacrifice Challenge with a few citations from Cyril of Jerusalem, so we thought it opportune to use him to demonstrate one of the ways Rome “finds” her doctrines in the Early Church. As we noted last week, Cyril’s Catechetical Lectures were part of a late-fourth century trend during which Rome’s novel Mass Sacrifice was invented. Catholic Answers used a few select quotes to prove Cyril’s belief in transubstantiation, but as we demonstrated, those quotes were truncated in order to isolate them from their context, and Cyril—even in the midst of his other errors—nevertheless maintained his conviction that the elements of the Lord’s Supper were only figuratively Christ’s body and blood, and remained so even after the consecration.
Continue reading The Great Write-in Write-out Campaign

“A significant turning point…”

The conception of Mary occurred 400 years before Rome even dreamed of its immaculacy.
Mary’s conception was understood by the Early Church to be no different than ours, until “a significant turning point” occurred toward the end of the 4th century.

Readers who have been following this blog are familiar with our position that Roman Catholicism as a religion originated in the latter part of the 4th century A.D. The religion of Rome is not of apostolic origin. As we explained in The Rise of Roman Catholicism, distinctively Roman Catholic dogma can be traced to the late 300s A.D., no earlier. In that article, we touched briefly on the late development of the immaculacy of Mary in the imagination of Rome. This week, we explore the magnitude of Rome’s historical revisionism in its attempt to prove the apostolicity of the dogma of her “Immaculate Conception.” Continue reading “A significant turning point…”

That He Might Purify the Water, part 6

The Early Church did not teach Baptismal Regeneration.
The Early Church did not teach Baptismal Regeneration.

This week we conclude our series on Baptismal Regeneration in the Early Church. The purpose of this series has been to evaluate Called to Communion‘s attempts to find Baptismal Regeneration in the Early Church Fathers, and we have limited our discussion to a critique of their analysis. We encourage our readers to read the full text of Called to Communion‘s arguments at the link above. Each week in this series we have provided hyperlinks to the Church Fathers where we cite them, so that our readers may read them in their context. We have thus far covered Ignatius of Antioch, Barnabas of Alexandria, the Shepherd of Hermas, Justin Martyr, Theophilus of Antioch, Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian, Hippolytus, Origen, Cyprian of Carthage, Gregory Thaumaturgus and Pamphilus of Caesarea. Continue reading That He Might Purify the Water, part 6

That He Might Purify the Water, part 5

The Early Church did not teach Baptismal Regeneration.
The Early Church did not teach Baptismal Regeneration.

We are now in our fifth week of analyzing Called to Communion‘s efforts to find Baptismal Regeneration in the Early Church Fathers. Thus far, we have covered Ignatius of Antioch, Barnabas of Alexandria, the Shepherd of Hermas, Justin Martyr, Theophilus of Antioch, Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian, Hippolytus and Origen. We have found in many cases that the Church Father saw the Word, the Holy Spirit, Christ, His Passion or the preaching ministry of the Church as the “laver” of washing, illumination, regeneration, repentance and knowledge, but Called to Communion simply interpreted “the laver” to be the Roman baptismal font, and  concluded that the Church Father supported Baptismal Regeneration. We have also seen in several cases that a Church Father was writing or speaking metaphorically about baptism, or in some cases he was talking about something entirely different from baptism, and Called to Communion simply separated the father from his context and placed him in the Baptismal Regeneration column. Continue reading That He Might Purify the Water, part 5

That He Might Purify the Water, part 4

Water
The Early Church did not teach Baptismal Regeneration.

We are now in our 4th week of evaluating Called to Communion‘s analysis of the Church Fathers on Baptismal Regeneration. We originally planned to limit this to a four-week series, but we will continue beyond four weeks due to the volume of material.

Thus far, we have seen Called to Communion read Baptismal Regeneration into Ignatius of Antioch and the Shepherd of Hermas, and we have seen them read regenerate baptism out of Barnabas of Alexandria, Justin Martyr, Theophilus of Antioch, Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria and Tertullian.

To this litany of interpretive errors, Called to Communion adds its mishandling of both Hippolytus and Origen. The former refers to Christ’s Passion as “the laver of washing,” and the latter refers to the Holy Spirit as “the laver of regeneration.” True to form, Called to Communion can only see Baptismal Regeneration whenever the laver is mentioned by a Church Father. But context tells a different story. Continue reading That He Might Purify the Water, part 4

That He Might Purify the Water, part 3

The Early Church did not teach Baptismal Regeneration
The Early Church did not teach Baptismal Regeneration.

In Part 3 of this series, we continue where we left off last week with Called To Communion‘s efforts to find Baptismal Regeneration in the Early Church Fathers. In the first week, we covered Ignatius of Antioch, Barnabas of Alexandria, The Shepherd of Hermas, and Justin Martyr. Last week, we covered Theophilus of Antioch, and Irenaeus.

What we find as we proceed through the Patristic writers is that the Fathers often referred to Christ Himself, His Passion, His Word, His Gospel and the preaching ministry of the Church as the “laver of washing” or the “laver of regeneration.” Because the “laver of washing” under the Old Covenant was a basin of water placed “between the tabernacle of the congregation and the altar” (Exodus 30:18), the Church Fathers saw it as a figure or a type of Christ Who would wash the nations by His Passion, His Word, His Gospel, etc…. Roman Catholics, on the other hand, see the Old Covenant basin of water as a figure or type of yet another basin of water—the Roman Baptismal font. Carrying the full weight of that assumption into their reading of the Fathers, Roman apologists then seek to prove that the Fathers taught Baptismal Regeneration. Continue reading That He Might Purify the Water, part 3

That He Might Purify the Water, part 2

The Early Church did not teach Baptismal Regeneration
The Early Church did not teach Baptismal Regeneration.

This week, we continue where we left off last week with Called To Communion‘s efforts to find Baptismal Regeneration in the Early Church Fathers. Last week, we covered Ignatius of Antioch, Barnabas of Alexandria, The Shepherd of Hermas, and Justin Martyr. In each case Called to Communion either interpolated its own beliefs into the Church Father, took the Church Father grossly out of context, or ignored the Church Father’s own statements which clarified his position. This week we cover Theophilus of Antioch, and Irenaeus, and we find that Called to Communion continues in the same pattern. Continue reading That He Might Purify the Water, part 2

That He Might Purify the Water, Part 1

Baptismal Regeneration was not taught by the early Church.
The Early Church did not teach Baptismal Regeneration.

Called to Communion is a Roman Catholic organization comprised of former Protestants. The desire of Called to Communion is “to effect reconciliation and reunion between Catholics and Protestants, particularly those of the Reformed tradition.” Of course, there can never be “reunion” unless there had first been a “union,” and Roman Catholicism as it is practiced today was never a part of the Church of Jesus Christ. As we have noted in The Rise of Roman Catholicism, Roman Catholicism was formed out of a great apostasy that took place in the late 4th century and many of its doctrines—its own apologists admit this—cannot be traced any earlier than that.  As we noted in When ‘Mary’ Got Busy, Eucharistic Adoration did not even arrive on the scene until the 11th century. Roman Catholicism simply is not as old as it claims to be, and is certainly not as old as the Church of Jesus Christ.

Continue reading That He Might Purify the Water, Part 1

Eating Ignatius

Ignatius of Antioch was not a Eucharistic Devotee
Ignatius of Antioch was not the staunch defender of transubstantiation that Roman Catholicism makes him out to be.

One does not have to study the Roman Catholic doctrine of Transubstantiation very long before finding how important Ignatius of Antioch is to its defense. As a martyr of the late first, or early second century, he is alleged to be the first witness in the sub-apostolic era for Transubstantiation and the “real presence” of Christ in the Eucharist. Fr. John Hardon, in his The History of Eucharistic Adoration lists Ignatius first after the apostle Paul in defense of the doctrine: Continue reading Eating Ignatius

One Kingdom Too Late

Revelation 13
Roman Catholicism was 300 years too late to be “the stone that … became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth” (Daniel 2:35).

[This is the third installment of a three part series.]

When former Protestant, Taylor Marshall, wrote Eternal City, he sought to explain why Christianity is necessarily Roman. “The Church,” he wrote, “receives the Roman empire” from its previous custodians. But in concluding this, Marshall has mistakenly transposed two kingdoms—both of which Daniel addressed, and both of which Daniel set against the background of the rise and fall of four world empires. One kingdom is of earth and the other of heaven, and Marshall has unfortunately confused the two. Continue reading One Kingdom Too Late

What the Fathers Feared Most

St. Augustine
Augustine was worried that what was about to happen… was about to happen.

There is a tendency in some Christian circles to view all things eschatological through the lens of current events. This was epitomized in the late 1980s and early 1990s by a popular T-shirt that read, “If you want to understand the Book of Revelation, just read the headlines!” Every earthquake, every war, every powerful new politician was understood as evidence that the end times were now upon us. This method of interpretation is nothing new.

In some senses, we can say that Luther used this method to interpret Daniel and Revelation: Continue reading What the Fathers Feared Most