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Writings of the early Church fathers from the beginning of Christianity to the time of the creation of the Nicene Creed will be found under this heading. Simply hold your mouse over this heading and click on the dropdown or click the links below.
THE APOSTOLIC FATHERS (95 – 165 A.D.) is the designation used for churchmen who wrote about Christianity in the late first and early second centuries A.D. Some of them were Clement of Rome, Ignatius, Polycarp, Hermas, and Papias. Some were contemporaries of some apostles. Thus, they should have been familiar with apostolic teachings. The New Encyclopædia Britannica says, “Taken as a whole, the writings of the Apostolic Fathers are more valuable historically than any other Christian literature outside the New Testament.”
THE CHRISTIAN APOLOGISTS (150 – 220 A.D.) were churchmen who are today simply referred to as the Apologists. They wrote in defense of Christianity and criticisms of paganism and other aspects of Greco-Roman culture. Among the Apologists who wrote in Greek were Justin Martyr, Tatian, Athenagoras, Theophilus, and Clement of Alexandria. Tertullian was an Apologist who wrote in Latin. Christian apologetics [Greek: apologia, “verbal defense, speech in defense”] is a field of Christian theology that endeavors to offer a reasonable and sensible basis for the Christian faith, defending the faith against objections. It is reasoning from the Scriptures, explaining and proving, as one instructs in sound doctrine, many times having to overturn false reasoning before he can plant the seeds of truth. It can also be earnestly contending for the faith and saving one from losing their faith, as they have begun to doubt. Moreover, it can involve rebuking those who contradict the truth. It is being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks the Christian evangelist for a reason for the hope that is in him or her. – Jude 1.3, 21-23; 1 Pet 3.15; Acts 17:2-3; Titus 1:9.
THE CHURCH FATHERS (220 – 700 A.D.) were ancient and influential Christian theologians and writers who established the intellectual and doctrinal foundations of Christianity.
- Ambrose (A.D. 340–397)
- Jerome (347–420)
- Augustine of Hippo (354–430)
- Pope Gregory I (540–604)
- Athanasius of Alexandria (c. 296 or 298 – 373)
- Gregory of Nazianzus (329 – c. 390)
- Basil of Caesarea (c. 330 – 379)
- John Chrysostom (347–407)