Heroic Age - characterized by waves of intense persecutionStarted in the NT with Jews. Christianity was seen as another Jewish sect. Thus at the beginning Christianity was actually protected from persecution by the Roman state. However, as more and more Gentiles became Christians, it became recognized as a new religion.64-nero blames christians – Tacitus: In spite of every human effort, of the emperor’s largesse, and of the sacrifices made to the gods, nothing sufficed to allay the suspicion nor to destroy the opinion that the fire had been ordered. Therefore, in order to destroy this rumor, Nero blamed the Christians… This persecution was likely limited to Rome.70-Christianity becomes distinct from Judaism – persecution of Jews causes persecution of Christians under Domitian. Book of Revelation likely written during this persecution98-(edict-no new conversions) –Pliny and Trajan – don’t ask don’t tell – Christians persecuted no for crimes committed before being brought for court, but for contempt of court when commanded to worship the Gods.249-(certificates) wanted to restore Rome to her formal glory – those who refused to worhsip the gods were guilty of high treason - the purpose was not to create martyrs but apostates303 – Wife and daughter were christians, but complied with the order to sacrifice to the gods – Christians removed from government positions - 311 – Galerius made this edict, after persecuting the christians, on his death bed for fear that the Christians might be right.313-(Constantine)How do you think the American Church would stand up to persecution today?
I Cor. 4:15: 15For(A) though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers. For(B) I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel.Gal. 4:19: 19(A) my little children,(B) for whom I am again in the anguish of childbirth until Christ(C) is formed in you! They defended the church against physical, spiritual, and intellectual attacksExpressed Christian truthsNo authoritative
So Pelagius was not a father3. So John Piper is not a fatherCredit-JosefFessler
11:10-We learn that the church saw martyrdom as a blessing (the blood of the martyrs was the seed of the early church). Ignatius had heard of plans to rescue him, and he did not want rescue. He wrote, “If you remain silent about me, I shall become a word of God. But if you allow yourselves to swayed by the love in which you hold my flesh, I shall again be no more than a human voice.” Hebrews 11:35: 35(A) Women received back their dead by resurrection. Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life.-There were several factions arising among the Christians in Antioch. Ignatius felt a great burden for the spiritual well-being of his congregation, so he urged them to submit to the authority of their local bishop. He encouraged his congregants to remain strong in the face of bitter persecution (Domitian and Trajan).
-he wished to be martyred also, but his mother hid his clothes. So he sat at home and wrote a treatise on martyrdom. -The Hexapla is an edition of the Old Testament in six columns: Hebrew, a Greek transliteration, and four different Greek translation. He also created a system of symbols for indicating variants, omissions, and additions (therefore, in many ways it was the first textual criticism). Against Celsus was an apologetic work, and On First Principles is the first systematic theology.-He theorized that there were two creations (a spiritual and then a physical), that all (including Satan) will one day be saved and will become pure spirit, and that since we will still be completely free, the cycle of fall and restoration may potentially go on forever. It’s interesting that although Armenians emphasize complete freedom of the will, most of them believe that we will once again be in bondage once we are in heaven and that we won’t be able to fall again. They say that love must be free, but claim that we can truly love God with a will in bondage in the world to come.
-He wrote of Trajan’s rule (don’t hunt Christians down, but punish them if they are accused): “What a necessarily confused sentence! It refuses to seek them out, as if they were innocent and orders that they be punished as if they were guilty…If you condemn, why do you not inquire? And if you do not inquire, why do you not also absolve?”-In On the Witness of the Soul, he places the human soul on the witness stand and demonstrates that it bears testimony to its Creator.-APraescriptio was a legal argument presented before a case was begun. If one party could show that the other had no right to sue, the case was ended before it began. Tertullian argued that heretics had no right to the Bible, because it belonged to the church both through formal and doctrinal succession. Interestingly, this argument was used against the Reformers. However, the Reformers claimed that the Catholic church had not preserved the continuity of doctrine, and so that argument did not carry much weight.-He believed that once one has found the truth of Christianity, one should abandon any further search for truth. Tertullian believed that a Christian who is still searching for further truth lacks faith. “I believe because it is absurd. God’s Son has died. That is credible because it is foolishness. And He was buried and is risen. That is certain because it is impossible.” Connection to Mormonism. Origen over-speculated and Tertullian did not seek and study enough. Both were led into heresy.-Montanism was a cult that emphasized the continuing specific revelation of the Holy Spirit through the mouths of believers. They claimed that they were the beginning of a new age of the Holy Spirit, and that with them, the last age of history had dawned. This age was characterized by a more rigorous moral life, which is probably what appealed to the legal-minded Tertullian. “Montanus’ conviction that the end of the age was at hand led him to call on Christians to abstain from marriage, dissolve marriages already contracted, and gather in an appropriate place to await the descent of the heavenly city.”
-How would you respond to Anthony’s interpretation of Jesus’ command?-The four stages of Monasticism were Asceticism, individual separation, cloister monasticism, and monastic orders. Anthony took the church through the first 3. At the end he would travel around to his disciples and mentor them.-To what extent is it acceptable for Christians to withdraw from society?
-There were many rumors and misunderstandings about the early church that the apologists defended against: That Christians worshiped a donkey, that they were incestuous, that they were cannibals, that they were atheists. It boiled down to “Christians being an ignorant lot, whose beliefs were foolish and self-contradictory.” The enmity was deeply rooted in class prejudice. -They responded to and disproved the false allegation that had been made and also provided a rational defense of the faith.-They defended against the claims by pointing out the folly of the Greek and Roman gods.
-sought to explain the connection between Christianity and classical wisdom. -From your knowledge of ancient philosophy what are points of possible connection? Life beyond physical death and a greater reality beyond the present world (Plato’s cave).
-Tatian's approach was to throw out all of pagan culture instead of trying to show links to it. All that the Greeks have that is a value they took from the barbarians, he attacked the pagan gods (they are inferior to us). He didn’t try to show connections between Christianity and culture, but pointed out its flaws.-Justin sought to draw the connections between the two. To point out where classical philosophy got a glimpse of truth and use that to lead people to a better understanding.
Church History 1
A brief examination of church history
“Heroic Age” of the church 64 Rome burns; 70 Destruction of Jerusalem 111 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
“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).
Orthodox doctrine and learning Holiness of life A certain antiquity (primarily the Roman age)
As an elderly man, Ignatiuswas 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.
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.
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?
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
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?
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
Tatians 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?