Monday Mornings with The Early Church Fathers: Their Thoughts on Baptism, Communion and Prayer

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.  There 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 7-9 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.  Chapters one through four discuss the first of two ways:

Chapter 7: Concerning Baptism

7:1 Concerning baptism, you should baptize this way: After first explaining all things, baptize in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, in flowing water.

7:2 But if you have no running water, baptize in other water; and if you cannot do so in cold water, then in warm.

7:3 If you have very little, pour water three times on the head in the name of Father and Son and Holy Spirit.

7:4 Before the baptism, both the baptizer and the candidate for baptism, plus any others who can, should fast. The candidate should fast for one or two days beforehand.

Chapter 8: Your Fasts and prayers

8:1 Your fasts should not be with the hypocrites, for they fast on Mondays and Thursdays. You should fast on Wednesdays and Fridays.

8:2 And do not pray like the hypocrites, but rather as the Lord commanded in the gospel: Our Father in heaven, holy be your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us enough bread day-by-day. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And do not bring us to the time of trial, but rescue us from the evil one.

8:3 Pray this three times each day.

Chapter 9: Concerning the Eucharist

9:1 Concerning the Eucharist, give thanks this way.

9:2 First, concerning the cup: We thank you, our Father, for the holy vine of David your servant, which you made known to us through Jesus your servant. To you be the glory forever.

9:3 Next, concerning the broken bread: We thank you, our Father, for the life and knowledge which you made known to us through Jesus your servant. To you be the glory forever.

9:4 Even as this broken bread was scattered over the hills, and was gathered together and became one, so let your church be gathered together from the ends of the earth into your kingdom. To you is the glory and the power through Jesus Christ forever.

9:5 Allow no one to eat or drink of your Eucharist, unless they have been baptized in the name of the Lord. For concerning this, the Lord has said, “Do not give what is holy to dogs.”

10 After the Eucharist

10:1 After the Eucharist when you are filled, give thanks this way:

10:2 We thank you, holy Father, for your holy name which you enshrined in our hearts, and for the knowledge and faith and immortality that you made known to us through Jesus your servant. To you be the glory forever.

10:3 You, Master Almighty, have created all things for your name’s sake. You gave food and drink to all people for enjoyment, that they might give thanks to you; but to us you freely give spiritual food and drink and life eternal through Jesus, your servant.

10:4 Before all things we thank you because you are mighty. To you be the glory forever.

10:5 Remember, Lord, your church. Deliver it from all evil and make it perfect in your love, and gather it from the four winds sanctified for your kingdom which you have prepared for it. For Yours is the power and the glory forever.

10:6 Let grace come, and let this world pass away!

Hosanna to the Son of David! If anyone is holy, let him come; if anyone is not holy, let him repent. Maranatha! Amen.

[10:7 But permit the prophets to make thanksgiving as much as they desire.]

To read chapters 1-4 follow this link.

To read Chapters 5-6 follow this link.

For our now world famous On the Border salsa recipe, follow this link: My Authentic “On The Border” Salsa Recipe (Just like the Restaraunt)

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About Jim

Not For Itching Ears is a blog dedicated to discussing the American Evangelical church. It is a place for 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 10, 2011, in Christianity, Early Church History, The Christian Life, Theology and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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