Monday Mornings with The Early Church Fathers: How to “do” Church, How to choose pastors, and What the last Days will be like

Do you ever  grow weary of all the new fads and techniques the modern church creates?  I  do!  What is important to us, may not have been important to those who were personally discipled by Jesus Christ and those whom they disicpled.

I am continually challenged when I read the history and the writings of the early church.   I am drawn to them over and over again because of how close they were in time to the Apostles.  Their writings are not scripture, but neither are the writings of Luther, Calvin or John Stott.  These writings shed tremendous light on how the Apostles and the early church viewed the Christ event and the implications of it.   Anyone who wants to follow Jesus Christ faithfully owes it to themselves to read the writings of these Godly men.

Today, I am posting chapters 9 and 10 of the “Didache”, also known as  “The Teaching of The Twelve Apostles.”  It is one of the most fascinating documents to emerge from the early church.  It was probably in circulation somewhere close to the end of the first century
Some of the things described in it reflect a time closer to James and Paul (who died in the 60′s) than Ignatius (who died sometime after 110).   Some believe the teachings recorded in this document may have been used by the Apostles themselves.  That is uncertain.  What is certain is that the this represents the teachings of the very early church.

It reads like the New Testament.  I have included the final three chapters of this work, chapters 14 -16

14 On the Lord’s Day

14:1 On the Lord’s day, gather yourselves together and break bread, give thanks, but first confess your sins so that your sacrifice may be pure.

14:2 However, let no one who is at odds with his brother come together with you, until he has reconciled, so that your sacrifice may not be profaned.

14:3 For this is what the Lord has said: “For from the rising of the sun to its setting my name is great among the nations, and in every place incense is offered to my name, and a pure offering; for my name is great among the nations, says the of hosts. . . . For I am a great King, says the Lord of hosts, and my name is reverenced among the nations.”

15 Appoint Bishops for Yourselves

15:1 Appoint bishops for yourselves, as well as deacons, worthy of the Lord, of meek disposition, unattached to money, truthful and proven; for they also render to you the service of prophets and teachers.

15:2 Do not despise them, after all, for they are your honored ones, together with the prophets and teachers.

15:3 And reprove one another, not in anger, but in peace, as you have it in the gospel. But to anyone who acts amiss against another, let no one speak to him, nor let him hear anything from you until he repents. But your prayers and alms and all your deeds so do, as you have it in the gospel of our Lord.

16 Watch Over Your Life

16:1 Watch over your life, that your lamps are never quenched, and that your loins are never unloosed. Be ready, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming.

16:2 Come together often, seeking the things that are  good for your souls. A life of faith will not profit you  if you are not made perfect at the end of time.

16:3 For in the last days false prophets and corrupters  will be plenty, and the sheep will be turned into  wolves, and love will be turned into hate.

16:4 When lawlessness increases, they will hate and persecute and betray one another, and then the world-deceiver will appear claiming to be the Son of God, and he will do signs and wonders, and the earth will be delivered into his hands, and he will do iniquitous things that have not been seen since the beginning of the world.

16:5 Then humankind will enter into the fire of trial, and many will be made to stumble and many will perish; but those who endure in their faith will be saved from under the curse itself.

16:6 And then the signs of the truth will appear: the first sign, an opening of the heavens; the second sign, the sounding of the trumpet; and the third sign, the resurrection of the dead—

16:7 not of every one, but as it is said: “Then the Lord my God will come, and all the holy ones with him.”

16:8 Finally, “Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven’ with power and great glory.”

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About Jim

Not For Itching Ears is a blog dedicated to discussing the serious issues that exist within the American Evangelical church. It is a place for like-minded people to share their thoughts on a host of issues relating to this subject. Jim is available to speak at weekend services, and retreats at no cost to churches in Florida. Contact us for more information.

Posted on October 31, 2011, in Christianity, Early Church History, The Christian Life, Theology and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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