This question came up partly as a result of debating with ceretain Catholic and “Orthodox” persons on Facebook. They have made reference to the Church “Fathers”- some of the early Christian writers from the era following the age of the New Testament and the original apostles. Now of course, being of the evangelical/Pentecostal persuasion (as I dare say is true of many here) I would be inclined to hold to some form of “sola Scriptura”- that the Bible is the only authoratative set of writings that are wholly divinely inspired (not sure if that makes sense).
But one might assume there are early Christians, especially prior to Constantine and the Council of Nicea, who might have something worth saying and shed some light on church history?
1. Is there anything anyone can recommend?
2. What are the best translations?
3. How does one answer those Catholic, Eastern/Oriental “Orthodox” persons who use the Fathers to support the positions of their churches? (For example, one guy cited Ignatius of Antioch in order to support the Catholic position, and also mentioned the likes of transubstantiation which appeared to be present in his works- is that what Ignatius is really saying?)
4. Or should I stick to the Bible? (I ought to be reading it a LOT more, that I do know!)
Any help much appreciated.