Sunday, July 29, 2012

Cairns 5: ECF recap

So Earle Cairns did a whole chapter on describing some early church fathers and their writings.  That wasn't enough for me.  I decided to read all the men he mentioned.  So let's recap.

Clement of Rome: this was such an encouraging letter to Corinth.  At this point, Jerusalem is in the destruction process, the whole world these Christians knew was falling apart, and Clement encouraged them.  This is encouraging for us average Americans who see America falling apart by the seams.  What we see can fall apart, but nobody can take away Christ's love for us.

Ignatius of Antioch: I read his seven letters.  He anticipated martyrdom at some point in writing them, so I guess he was giving them final words.  He seems to take an extreme view of martyrdom being a great honor and privilege.  It is.  It is a great honor and humility to love Christ so much that the state takes your life over it.  Again, I can see this happening in America.  It happens all over the world.  Again, you can take my money, freedom, and life, but you can never take my religious freedom or my freedom in Christ.

Polycarp: He is known for the government taking his life.  He truly loved the Lord, and when asked to recant at an old age he said, "I've served him 86 and he has done me no wrong.  I'm not going to leave him now."  The people who chronicled his death added some supernatural details, like him not burning and emitting a smell of incense.  I don't know if that's all true or not, but we do know that life was not more important to him than his status with Jesus.

Pseudo-Barnabas:  I like this one this best.  It seems to be another Galatians: calling people to trust in Christ and not in works to either earn or keep salvation.  There is a bit of over-allegorizing.  Some is good.  Some is too much.  I don't disagree with any of it, but you gotta be careful in making allegories of everything.

Letter to Diognetus:  I thought this letter had a good presentation of the bad news and the good news.  Sin, Law, and the Gospel. 

2 Clement: since nobody believes Clement wrote this, I can safely say that his letter is a shambles.  It promotes working to keep your status with the Lord instead of trusting him to make you holy.  This is a baby form of Pelagianism.

Papias: I don't know what happened to this, but most of it is missing.  It has cool background info on the apostles, but I'm not sure if most of it is true.  Both 2 Clement and Papias were written in the middle of the 2nd century and would not really prove any of this info the people Jesus knew. 

We also have Shepherd of Hermas, which almost made it into the Bible and the Didiche.  I did not get to read those and probably won't, but the disciples used the Didiche for much of church organization, and it still influences the Church today.

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