As I mentioned last week, I have joined a reading group that literally spans the globe that is reading through all 38 volumes of the early church fathers. There are an estimated 300-400 people in the group with people still joining! So far there have been a number of encouraging sections and things that have shed light on how the early church thought. So far the most notable thing that has caught my attention is how saturated with Scripture their writing is!

Since I realize there are probably many people who would like to read through the fathers but will not, I have decided (as best I can) to share with you a weekly post with excerpts of my weeks reading that have stood out. It will be called Fridays with the Fathers. The excerpts will come from what I have read from Saturday-Thursday. I may give a one sentence context to the quote but the content of the post will mostly be excerpts with the source. Who knows, maybe reading these will ignite a desire to begin reading the fathers along with us!

So, here are some excerpts for this weeks reading:

Epistle to the Ephesians IX:

Nevertheless, I have heard of some who have passed in among you, holding the wicked doctrine of the strange and evil spirit; to whom ye did not allow entrance to sow their tares, but stopped your ears that ye might not receive that error which was proclaimed by them, as being persuaded that that spirit which deceives the people does not speak the things of Christ, but his own, for he is a lying spirit. But the Holy Spirit does not speak His own things, but those of Christ, and that not from himself, but from the Lord; even as the Lord also announced to us the things that He received from the Father. For, says He, “the word which ye hear is not Mine, but the Father’s, who sent Me.” And says He of the Holy Spirit, “He shall not speak of Himself, but whatsoever things He shall hear from Me.” And He says of Himself to the Father, “I have,” says He, “glorified Thee upon the earth; I have finished the work which, Thou gavest Me; I have manifested Thy name to men.” And of the Holy Ghost, “He shall glorify Me, for He receives of Mine.” But the spirit of deceit preaches himself, and speaks his own things, for he seeks to please himself. He glorifies himself, for he is full of arrogance. He is lying, fraudulent, soothing, flattering, treacherous, rhapsodical, trifling, inharmonious, verbose, sordid, and timorous.

Epistle to the Magensians XIII:

Study, therefore, to be established in the doctrines of the Lord and the apostles, that so all things, whatsoever ye do, may prosper both in the flesh and spirit; in faith and love; in the Son, and in the Father, and in the Spirit; in the beginning and in the end; with your most admirable bishop, and the well-compacted spiritual crown of your presbytery, and the deacons who are according to God. Be ye subject to the bishop, and to one another, as Jesus Christ to the Father, according to the flesh, and the apostles to Christ, and to the Father, and to the Spirit; that so there may be a union both fleshly and spiritual.

Epistle to the Philadelphians II:

Wherefore, as children of light and truth, avoid the dividing of your unity, and the wicked doctrine of the heretics, from whom “a defiling influence has gone forth into all the earth.” But where the shepherd is, there do ye as sheep follow. For there are many wolves in sheep’s clothing, who, by means of a pernicious pleasure, carry captive those that are running towards God; but in your unity they shall have no place.

Epistle to the Smyrneans VIII:

See that ye all follow the bishop, even as Christ Jesus does the Father, and the presbytery as ye would the apostles. Do ye also reverence the deacons, as those that carry out [through their office] the appointment of God. Let no man do anything connected with the Church without the bishop. Let that be deemed a proper Eucharist, which is [administered] either by the bishop, or by one to whom he has entrusted it. Wherever the bishop shall appear, there let the multitude [of the people] also be; even as where Christ is, there does all the heavenly host stand by, waiting upon Him as the Chief Captain of the Lord’s might, and the Governor of every intelligent nature. It is not lawful without the bishop either to baptize, or to offer, or to present sacrifice, or to celebrate a love-feast. But that which seems good to him, is also well-pleasing to God, that everything ye do may be secure and valid.