What, if any, out of the works of the “Church Fathers” (or early Christian writers) is worth reading?

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?

So:

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.

God bless,
Richard

What do YOU think?

comments

Comments

  1. evstevemd says:

    Here is my 2cents. No one, apart from the Bible is inspired. But it is worth to read the first fathers. I know some of them little bit.There are second era fathers after Apostles like Polycarp; the disciple of John, the disciple of Jesus and his student Iranaeus. I love good work of Iranaeus in combating gnosis in his works against heresis (Advesus heresus).

    Be careful of catholic fathers and saints like Ignatius of Loyola the founder of dangerous Jesuit community. Anyway Servant of God, Dr. Schaff did good work which can be downloaded at http://www.ccel.org/ Here you will find good works of many stuffs. Just register, login and download

    Love of God
    Steve

  2. martydavis says:

    I agree with John. There are a lot of writings out there that are “historical”, but the bible is a sure thing you can rely on. Even within the bible versions I get an uneasy feeling when I read versions other than the King James or Geneva Bibles.

    Marty Davis
    Central Illinois

    If you died tonight in your sleep, do you know where you will be spending eternity?

    Has anybody ever taken a bible and showed you how you can know for sure you are going to heaven?

    Can I?

  3. I’m not too familiar with the church fathers. But I wouldn’t accept anything – either written or spoken – if it contradicts the Bible, because the testimony of the Apostles and Prophets is true and complete. I also think you can sense how you feel in your spirit about a document. If there is something “off” about a piece of literature, the Holy Spirit may give you a slightly uncomfortable feeling about it. It’s important not to ignore either of these two methods of being led by the Spirit: first and foremost, the BIBLE; and secondly, the INNER WITNESS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT in your spirit if you’ve been born again. If you ignore a prompting to avoid a manuscript, you might end-up reading something that could negatively affect your mind for quite some time, until you are brought back to the witness of the Bible and to the inner witness of the Spirit. Other times, even though the Bible is complete in every aspect, the Holy Spirit may genuinely lead you to some beneficial statements written by other men of God. So if we’re sincere, we’ll know whether the Holy Spirit is approving of our choice to read something.

    • rickyprediger says:

      Thanks John, worth a reminder. I am aware that there is some need to test something. I am mainly interested in the Church “Fathers” for historical reasons (in order to try and test the claims of , but from what I do read, it can sometimes affect one awkwardly. I was hoping

      Perhpas the only thing is, how we know the witness of the Holy Spirit apart from our own feelings on a subject- then again I have had times where I am pretty sure I have ‘known’ when something I have read or someone I have listened to is right or wrong. I am pretty sure this is one very good reason we need to know our Bibles as well- as someone said at church as an analogy: it’s like this bank manager who when there was a spate of forged notes told his sttaff to study in detail the real thing, and then when a forged one comes along, one knows what the difference is. In the same way, as we know the Bible is a wholly true revelation of God, we must study it throughly and when other things come along, we will be able to tell the forgeries. I suppose as well, though, if we are close to the Lord and get to know Him better, we will know when it is Him prompting us- as Jesus said, ‘My sheep KNOW My voice’.

      Something for me to think about (as well as not spending too long on computers- a failing of mine I am afraid).

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