Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Church Fathers: A Door to Rome

(HT: Mark Shea)

That's the title of a blog post by the Rev. David Cloud on his website, Way of Life Literature. According to the Rev. Cloud, a Baptist minister:
Many people have walked into the Roman Catholic Church through the broad door of the “church fathers,” and this is a loud warning today when there is a widespread attraction to the “church fathers” within evangelicalism.

The Catholic apologetic ministries use the “church fathers” to prove that Rome’s doctrines go back to the earliest centuries. In the book Born Fundamentalist, Born Again Catholic, David Currie continually uses the church fathers to support his position. He says, “The other group of authors whom Evangelicals should read ... is the early Fathers of the Church” (p. 4).

The contemplative prayer movement is built on this same weak foundation. The late Robert Webber, a Wheaton College professor who was one of the chief proponents of this back to the “church fathers” movement, said:

“The early Fathers can bring us back to what is common and help us get behind our various traditions ... Here is where our unity lies. ... evangelicals need to go beyond talk about the unity of the church to experience it through an attitude of acceptance of the whole church and an entrance into dialogue with the Orthodox, Catholic, and other Protestant bodies” (Ancient-Future Faith, 1999, p. 89).

The fact is that the “early Fathers” were mostly heretics!

The only genuine “church fathers” are the apostles and prophets their writings that were given by divine inspiration and recorded in the Holy Scripture. They gave us the “faith ONCE delivered to the saints” (Jude 3). The faith they delivered is able to make us “perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). We don’t need anything beyond the Bible. The teaching of the “church fathers” does not contain one jot or tittle of divine revelation.

The term “church fathers” is a misnomer that was derived from the Catholic Church’s false doctrine of hierarchical church polity. These men were not “fathers” of the church in any scriptural sense and did not have any divine authority. They were merely church leaders from various places who have left a record of their faith in writing. But the Roman Catholic Church exalted men to authority beyond the bounds designated by Scripture, making them “fathers” over the churches located within entire regions and over the churches of the whole world.....

A more recent convert to Rome is FRANCIS BECKWITH, former president of the Evangelical Theological Society. In May 2007 he tendered his resignation from this organization after converting to Rome. His journey to Rome was sparked by reading the church fathers. He said, “In January, at the suggestion of a dear friend, I began reading the Early Church Fathers as well as some of the more sophisticated works on justification by Catholic authors. I became convinced that the Early Church is more Catholic than Protestant...” (“Evangelical Theological Society President Converts,” The Berean Call, May 7, 2007).

Again, he is correct in observing that the church fathers were very Catholic-like, but that proves nothing. The truth is not found in the church fathers but in the Bible itself.

This is a loud warning to those who have an ear to hear the truth. We don’t need to study the “church fathers.” We need to make certain that we are born again and have the indwelling Spirit as our Teacher (1 John 2:27), then we need to study the Bible diligently and walk closely with Christ and become so thoroughly grounded in the truth that we will not be led astray by the wiles of the devil and by all of the fierce winds of error that are blowing in our day.

“That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive” (Ephesians 4:14).

Read the whole thing here here.


Anonymous said...

Good grief. It's not possible that he is wrong, of course; therefore, the Church Fathers were obviously heretics! The lack of logic and humility astounds.

HIS daughter said...

As I've said all day, "In the land of blind men, the one eyed man is king"....

The "King" has spoken. All of those heretics for all those years acting like cannibals and hiding leather Bibles that had chapters and verses to make it easier to put together your theology.

That was awful! I've heard better explanations from the southern fundamentalist with 20 members in a tiny concrete building/church.

I'm sorry you are attacked. Father forgive them. I truly pray that they do not know what they do.

Peace of Christ be with you.

Shammah said...

I'm astonished, too. Good thing those heretics were able to preserve the faith until the next generation!!!

The fact is, the record that they left shows that they lived for Christ, lived in unity, and astounded the world with their love. In the meantime, American Evangelical Christianity astounds the world with its division, intolerance, and political views. As Jesus said, "By their fruits shall ye know them."

I'm not Roman Catholic, by the way. The early church fathers were part of churches that had no official authority above local.

Check out Canon 6 of the Council of Nicea. Only in A.D. 325 was the authority of the Alexandrian bishop, the Roman bishop, and the bishop in Antioch acknowledged as being over a country. That was relatively new, which is why it had to be acknowledged at the council.

The early church fathers don't support the Roman hierarchy, but they do make it clear that there's a reason that there's a reason that the Protestant faith is so unsuccessful with its purely symbolic sacraments and its "trust Jesus and do what you want" Gospel.

TJ said...

This pastor David Cloud reminds me of my kids when they were little and I was trying to reprove them. They clapped their hands over their ears tightly and yelled "I am not hearing this, I am not listening, I can't hear you..."

John Thayer Jensen said...

When I was in process of becoming Catholic, I read some of David Cloud's stuff. C. S. Lewis is evil, according to Pastor Cloud. Opus Dei (of which my wife is now a member and I am a cooperator) sends their members to join Protestant churches, pretending to be converted from Catholicism, in order to cause dissension and break them up. Of course the only infallible translation of the Bible is the King James version (which I love, but not for David Cloud's reasons).

One person who corresponded with me sent me a book that argued that the apostasy goes right back into the New Testament, citing the Acts 15 Council of Jerusalem as evidence that the church even then was getting big ideas about bossing others around.

I think the anti-Catholic books helped me become a Catholic as much as the pro-Catholic ones did :-)