40 Comments

  1. irishanglican

    Concerning Marcellus of Ancyra (d.c. 374) here is just a little history.

    Bishop of Ancyra in central Anatolia. The oldest Greek text of the Old Roman Creed is preserved in his letter to Pope Julius I as recorded by Epiphanius. At the Council of Nicaea, Marcellus was a supporter of Athanasius and a defender of the Homoousian position, but was deposed from his see in 336 because of his notion that the Son and the Holy Spirit were only emanations from God who became distinct persons at the time of creation and the Incarnation and in whom they will be reabsorbed at the consummation. The words in the Nicene Creed, “whose kingdom shall have no end,” were added to debar his teaching. In exile, he sought asylum with Julius in Rome who secured his clearance from charges of heresy at the councils of Rome (341) and Sardica (343). He was temporarily restored to his see but was deposed again under Constantius. After his death, his teachings were condemned at the first Council of Constantinople in 381.

    Some historians say that his offending ideas were merely conjectures? But the Eastern Orthodox have been more critical of his orthodoxy and here the Nicene party found his support embarrassing. Thus the clause added.

    Fr. Robert

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  2. irishanglican

    Joel,

    Perhaps one of my favorite books on the Fathers is by a German scholar from the 1950’s and 60’s. Hans von Campenhausen, one time chair of ecclesiastical history at Heidelberg. Also he was an honorary fellow of the British Academy. He was then one of the leading authorities on the thought and doctrines of the early Church. He had several other books therein. He is more Western friendly perhaps?

    I have his two books combined into one: The Fathers of the Greek Church, and The Fathers of the Latin Church: The Fathers Of The Church. It is a very good read! He is not Catholic, Roman or Anglo..and no doubt Reformed in some manner.

    Fr. Robert

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  3. irishanglican

    Perhaps I should have given this in your “Discussion”? But anyway.

    Fr.R.

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  4. Fr. Robert, I think that these comments fits here properly.

    As I stated, I fill strongly aligned with Marcellus’ Economic position and intend on studying him a bit more.

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  5. irishanglican

    Joel,

    I am glad then..as to my posts. Though we obviously don’t agree on many things, we do agree that we must study the Fathers. The history of the Church is ours warts and all! The Church is always a Pilgrim reality as “In Christ”!

    Yours and really everyone’s myself,

    Fr. Robert

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  6. As I’m the original writer of the post, I just wanted to clarify my point. I’m not saying don’t point out heresies, even in the Fathers, but I am saying understand that the formulations of early Fathers are not going to be as precise as later ones. That, I think, is good historical analysis and understanding. The Fathers can be critisized on many fronts, but let’s, at least, be fair in our critisism and don’t expect precision on a point that hasn’t been clarified yet.

    Peace,
    Phil

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  7. Phil, I believe that I understood your point, and in turn was attempting to stress the point to my fellow fundamentalists. There is much to be gleaned from the Church Fathers, far more than to be dismissed, even by those of us that might strongly disagree with them in many areas.

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  8. irishanglican

    Phil Snider

    Is there not a doctrinal development in the Fathers, early to later. Apostolic to post-Nicene?

    Fr. Robert

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  9. irishanglican

    As Eric Osborn said in his book: ‘Tertullian, first theologian of the West’…with the strength of known scripture, Tertullian had “the rarer gifts of paradox, metaphor and wit, all necessary for a thinker who fashions a language.”

    I so agree, we simply must have paradox and metaphor…these are also Pauline!

    Fr. Robert

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  10. Sorry, Father Robert, I had forgotten to get back to you until I was going back over Polycarp’s site for Patristics Carnival material.

    The answer to your questions is, yes, there is doctrinal development which was rather my point in my original entry. That is, I was arguing that, before we decide a Church Father was a heretic using a later standard, we take into account doctrinal development and that, frequently, early Fathers might either lack precision or put things in ways that later Fathers or theologians might avoid in order to escape a confusion which has come up since.

    Peace,
    Phil

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  11. irishanglican

    Phil,

    I would agree, I had made my statement for I know our friend Polycarp does not believe in doctrinal development. I find it hard not see both historical and doctrinal development myself. From GOD’S giving both the Biblical Canon, and the doctrinal and spiritual oversight in the first seven Church Councils. The Oecumenical Councils, though certainly part of the pilgrim church, are to be held in great theological esteem and honor. There is also some real aspect to oecumenical authority. And here is God’s promise of divine tradition but within an again pilgrim Church. Again the Holy Spirit is the vicar of Christ within the Church! But also here we find the gift of the Fathers to the Church, not infallible but still very highly esteemed! (See, 1 Cor.12:28 / Eph.4:11-13)

    One of the very good writers on the second-century is the Aussie Eric Osborn! He has also written a good book on Irenaeus.

    Fr. Robert

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  12. fuzzysoul

    “I relish the thought of being a heretic hunter, of stamping out false doctrines where they arise, with a steady word and a heavy hand.”

    In the immortal words of Capt. Jack Sparrow: “You need a girl, mate.”

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  13. Fuzzywuzzy,

    I am married to a wonderful woman already. Thanks, though – I think.

    Reply

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