The Rule of Faith in the early church

True Apostolic succession is the passing down of correct apostolic doctrine, which is in the canonical Scriptures. The only way to know what the apostles taught is to go back to their writings, “the holy and God-breathed Scriptures”. The early church in first 3-4 centuries called the doctrinal content “the rule of faith”. True apostolic succession is not on fallible people (presbyters, bishops, pastors) as people holding an ecclesiastical office, (in a magical sense or ex opere operato sense based on their office), but rather on those ministers holding to the “the faith once for all time delivered to the saints” (Jude 3). It is “the faith” / the content of doctrine – if held to in subsequent generations, that is the key.

Apologetics and Agape

Roman Catholic apologists like to emphasize the tradition of the early church, and claim that other unwritten oral apostolic traditions that Paul mentions in 2 Thessalonians 2:15, are brought out later in church history.  The problem is, the main early church fathers, when they explicate what “the tradition of the apostles”, or “the faith” or “the preaching” or “the rule of faith” is, the content is all Biblical content.  It is all doctrinal points that are in Scripture, and based on and outlined from the baptismal formula of Matthew 28:19, organized around The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and these are very similar in content to the early creeds such as the Apostles Creed, and the Nicean-Constantinopolitan Creed.

Nowhere do these early fathers mention anything that Rome has deemed as dogmatic centuries later in these passages.  There is nothing about a Pope, or  Marian dogmas or piety (except…

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About Ken Temple

I am a follower of Jesus Christ. I am a sinner who has been saved by the grace of God alone (Ephesians 2:8-9), through faith alone (Galatians 2:16; Romans 3:28; 4:1-16), in Christ alone (John 14:6). But a true faith does not stay alone, it should result in change, fruit, good works, and deeper levels of repentance and hatred of my own sins of selfishness and pride. I am not better than you! I still make mistakes and sin, but the Lord is working on me, conforming me to His character. (Romans 8:28-29; 2 Corinthians 3:16-18) When I do sin, I hate the sin as it is an affront to God, and seek His forgiveness in repentance. (Mark 1:15; 2 Corinthians 7:7-10; Colossians 3:5-16 ) Praise God for His love for sinners (Romans 5:8), shown by the voluntary coming of Christ and His freely laying down His life for us (John 10:18), becoming flesh/human (John 1:1-5; 1:14; Philippians 2:5-8), dying for sins of people from all nations, tribes, and cultures (Revelation 5:9), on the cross, in history, rising from the dead (Romans 10:9-10; Matthew 28, Mark 16:1-8; Luke 24; John 20-21; 1 Corinthians chapter 15). His resurrection from the dead proved that Jesus is the Messiah, the eternal Son of God, the word of God from eternity past; and that He was all the gospels say He was and that He is truth and the life and the way to salvation. (John 14:6)
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1 Response to The Rule of Faith in the early church

  1. Pingback: Part 2 of third response to John Fisher | Apologetics and Agape

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