Four Witnesses: The Early Church in Her Own Words

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However his real purpose seems to be — to show that Protestantism is not historical, which is subtle. His main purpose seems to be to show that Sola Scriptura and Protestantism is wrong, especially when we read the afterward and the appendix of all the Roman Catholic distinctive doctrines that are the main issues that Protestants have against the doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church.

They were not. When I pointed this out, Rod eventually agreed with me that he will need to add information in a subsequent edition on that issue. The way Clement is left, he has made it appear that the early church from the beginning had a three office structure, rather than just two.


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Getting a grip on early church is hard work, and Rod provides us with some handles, such as the context of the Roman persecutions and the heroic Christianity of Polycarp, Ignatius, Justin Martyr in dying for the sake of Christ, and Irenaeus in defending the doctrines of Christ against Heresies. Rod has also challenged evangelicals to know and study church history and for that, we are grateful for his contribution.

But there are many things that he leaves out, that, if they had been included, would weaken his case against Protestantism. He is a former Protestant, a Southern Baptist, and evangelical, and by leaving out certain parts of Irenaeus and Clement, at the exact places that balance these men and their writings a little more toward Protestantism, his purpose seems clear. I am not saying that these four men, or the early church was Protestant or Evangelical in the modern, fully developed forms of Baptists, Presbyterians, etc. Not at all. Now, there is nothing wrong with being selective, and no one can include everything in his or her research, otherwise, one would just have to rehash too much material with no analysis, and what would be the point of that?

And certainly, I realize that I would be accused of the same thing, if I wrote an apologetic for Protestantism and the early church and I leave out some parts of Irenaeus and Tertullian that seem to teach Mary as the New Eve that, according to R. Those three issues have Protestant responses; my point is that I understand that this tendency can work both ways, and it is a massive task to thoroughly cover all the issues in a small book.

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Some ancient passages are anachronistically interpreted to be something about the Roman Catholic church, the Pope, etc. An author has every right to pick and choose what he wants to in order to make his case; my only point is that someone else also the right to come along and show how certain things have been left out, and at just the precise place, so as to seemingly, although innocently, skew the evidence. Giving Rod the benefit of the doubt, I wish to say that leaving these things out may be just an oversight that, as he said to me when I pointed this out, did not occur to him at the time.

But he later agreed with me on that. Clement of Rome In his section on Clement, on page 87, Rod Bennett stops the quote short of confirming that episcopais overseer or bishop and presbuteras elder are used interchangeable and teach that they are the same office in the local church.


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  • Clement agrees with this, with the Scriptures, that elders and bishops are the same, so this is hardly an early church document in which teaches a papacy or Roman Catholicism. Historic Protestants agree with the early centuries and the develpment of the doctrine of the Trinity and the early councils and creeds on doctrinal issues — Nicean, Constantinople, Chalcedon, Athanasian Creed , because it was all based on consistent exegesis of all the texts.

    Also, in the Irenaeus section, he cuts the quotes and re-arranges them out of order in such a way as to give a false impression. Irenaeus On page , he leaves out part of the quote that shows that Irenaeus is using Scriptural proofs for his arguments against the Gnostics. To Scripture always. Where is the proof of this? I have not found this anywhere in Irenaeus. Rod is making it seem like Protestantism is like Gnosticism.

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    Actually, Irenaeus says just the opposite! He says that the Gnostics: a. Against Heresies, b.

    Four Witnesses Brought Me Home

    But these 3 things are what the Roman Catholic church actually does do. They have other sources of authority that the Scriptures.

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    Properly understood, there is no problem with these words as originally meant. When reading the early church fathers, those words come up a lot; but that does not mean that the early church was Roman Catholic. We're sorry, something went wrong. Please try again. About this product. Stock photo. Brand new: lowest price The lowest-priced, brand-new, unused, unopened, undamaged item in its original packaging where packaging is applicable. Author:-Bennett, Rod.

    The Four Witnesses: The Early Church in Her Own Words (Rod Bennett)

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