‘Church Fathers’; Should We Trust ‘EM? Can What Was Written After the Apostles

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Be as Trustworthy in and of Itself as What Was Written by the Apostles? Should It Be as Trusted? What If They Were Wrong? Could They Have Been Wrong?…

Have you ever heard the term “church fathers”? The term is usually used in reference to the men who wrote about theology directly after the times of the apostles. Should we consider anyone to be “church fathers” other than those who penned the scriptures? Some do because they have been taught to believe that those who came shortly after the apostles are as much to be believed as the apostles themselves. What say you? Can what was written after the apostles be as trustworthy in and of itself as what was written by the apostles? Should it be as trusted? What if they were wrong? Could they have been wrong? 

Have you ever considered the possibility that those who so many have trusted as “church fathers” and formed their doctrines upon could have been wrong in some or all of their teachings? Why would one believe the things that men wrote who came so soon after the apostles, just because they were close to the time of the apostles? Some believe it is because they were so close to the time of the apostles that what they taught must be true. But, if that were true then what we see them teaching should align perfectly with what the apostles taught, right? But, is that what we see? 

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The apostles themselves spoke of false doctrine that was being taught by many claiming to be Christian even during their day. So it would be unwise for us to give the complete trust in what these said who came just after the apostles that we give to the writings of the apostles themselves. Here is a sampling of what I am referring to from the writings of those that so many refer to as “church fathers”. 

Tertullian who lived from about 160 to 240 AD said- “In pain shall you bring forth children, woman, and you shall turn to your husband and he shall rule over you. And do you not know that you are Eve? God’s sentence hangs still over all your sex and His punishment weighs down upon you. You are the devil’s gateway; you are she who first violated the forbidden tree and broke the law of God. It was you who coaxed your way around him whom the devil had not the force to attack. With what ease you shattered that image of God: Man! Because of the death you merited, even the Son of God had to die… Woman, you are the gate to hell.”

It seems incredible that anyone could derive from what God said to Eve, and Paul expounded upon, that it was meant to be a curse. Yet it is the dominate thought in many so called Christian circles today because they have believed the writings of these so called “church fathers”. 

10 mysterious curses

But, this comes not from the apostles, because they never referred to what God told Eve as a curse or a punishment. But, only as the result of now living in a world where death reigns. It’s death that causes the pain, not God’s punishment. This was never referred to as a curse by God or the prophets or the apostles. Never do we read that women are the gate of hell. What we do see is God saying that a man who finds a wife finds a good thing. And Paul taught plainly that sin was not imputed from Adam to Moses. Making the possibility that these things were curses placed on Adam and Eve by God for disobedience a theological impossibility. 

Or this from Origen who lived from about 184 to 254 AD- “Every soul… comes into the world strengthened by the victories or weakened by the defeats of its’ previous life. Its’ place in this world as a vessel appointed to honor or dishonor, is determined by its’ previous merits or demerits. Its’ work in this world determines its’ place in the world which is to follow this.”

Does this statement seem to be saying that Origen believed in reincarnation and karma? There is argument on both sides and even some other statements by Origen that would seem to contradict what he wrote here. Whatever he actually believed about reincarnation this is at least a statement that whatever we are in this life is determined by how we behaved in a former life. But, he is also touted as being a “church father” by many. How can this be? 

Or this from Irenaeus who lived from 130 to 202 AD- “One should not seek among others the truth that can be easily gotten from the Church. For in her, as in a rich treasury, the apostles have placed all that pertains to truth, so that everyone can drink this beverage of life. She is the door of life.”

In this statement Irenaeus claims that the repository of truth is in the church. When the apostles and Jesus Himself claimed that repository to be only in God Himself and His word. Jesus saying “I am the way the truth and the life”. The church expresses truth only when sharing what is found in what God has spoken through His servants He appointed to bring His truth to the world. The prophets and the apostles. Not men who came after them. The only truth that pastors, evangelists, and teachers share is what has been written by inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Truth that the apostles and prophets wrote. The church is not the door of life. Jesus is. 

And then there is Ignatius who lived between 50 and 140 AD believed- “He who died in place of us is the one object of my quest. He who rose for our sakes is my one desire.”

“In place of us”? This is a common misconception in the so called church that Irenaeus called the “door of life”, and “all that pertains to truth” concerning what actually happened in Jesus’ sacrifice. The apostles never said He died in our place. They told us in Heb.2:14,15 that Jesus died on our behalf by joining with us in our death so that by of the resurrection we could join with Him in His life. Paul taught that we were already dead in trespasses and sins. No one can die in the place of one who is already dead. So if we are to believe these so called “church fathers” we would  again have a completely different gospel than the one the apostles gave to us. 

And last but not least is the man considered the “doctor of theology” for the Roman Catholic religion that evangelicals and protestants also revere as a great teacher, along with her daughters who are the rest of the cults, Augustine of Hippo who lived from 354 to 430 AD said- “Free choice of the will was present in that man who was the first to be formed. But after he sinned by that free will, we who have descended from his progeny have been plunged into necessity. By the greatness of the first sin, we have lost the free will to love God. By subverting the rectitude in which he was created, he is followed with the punishment of not being able to do right. The freedom to abstain from sin has been lost as a punishment of sin.”

John 3:16-17 Subway Art | lovebakesgoodcakes | Flickr

This man would have us believe that God determined who is going to heaven and who is going to hell before we were made. And that men have no free will to decide whether or not we will believe God. But, that God forces His will upon us so that we either go to hell or to heaven apart from any choosing on our part. This means that God hates most men and only loves the few that Jesus said go in at the narrow gate. Making John3:16,17 and 2Peter3:9 a complete lie. This is indeed a different gospel than the one given to us by the apostles. But, if we are to believe these so called “church fathers” we must reject the plain teaching the apostles and prophets left to us. 

I could go on and on sharing these unBiblical statements from those that many consider to be “church fathers”. Those who are depended upon for truth as if their doctrines were in agreement with the teachings of the apostles themselves. And as worthy of acceptance as anything the apostles and prophets taught. It’s really quite amazing. Because when compared to the teachings of the apostles there are no similarities between these statements and the teachings we find in our Bibles. 

I am not saying that these men never said anything that was right. I’m saying that to trust their teachings as we would the doctrines of the apostles and prophets we find in the Bible would be a grave error in judgment for anyone who wants to know the truth. Because as you have seen from these few quotes these men made grave errors themselves concerning what they believed about God, Jesus, and the atonement. 

But, how did things get so far off so soon after the apostles? How did these men who were taught by the apostles or taught by those who were taught by the apostles come to such unBiblical conclusions? They did so by leaning upon their own understanding and the influence of the false teachers in the days of the apostles and afterward as men can sometimes do. Instead of relying solely upon what the scriptures plainly say. The teachings of the apostles and prophets of God who spoke as they were inspired by the Holy Spirit. 

Some even making the Genesis account into a diatribe on a perversion of God’s justice and it’s penalty for disobedience to law that Paul plainly says did not exist until Moses. Rom.5:13,14. Stating plainly that death’s reign was not the result of Adam’s sin being imputed to him or to anyone else. So by trusting in these so called “church fathers” these have determined that the truth is actually the opposite from what Paul taught. Saying that death is the penalty for the sin of Adam that has been imputed to all men. 

The relevance in this for us today can not be overstated. Because what or who you believe has the truth becomes your go to place for that truth when interpreting what you read in the Bible. This would then determine for you what was meant in the Genesis account and elsewhere that led to man’s need for Jesus and the atonement. And actually gives us our foundational understanding of who God is. 

Did man become a sinner by nature after Adam ate the fruit? So that he must sin so that in turn God’s justice would demand the bloody and torturous death of the innocent to appease his wrath against that sin as some so called “church fathers” taught? Or is God one who has made man a being who is completely innocent with free will as the apostles taught? One who by his free will made a choice that resulted in death for all mankind(Rom.5:12-14)? Not as a punishment for sin, but because Adam became as one of us to know good and evil, no longer having access to the tree of life(Gen.3:22). And not because death was a penalty for their sin that was passed to all men by imputation. A God who instead of condemning mankind to hell because he was bad, loved man so much(John3:16,17) that He joined with man in our death. So that by the resurrection He could conquer death for us, so that we could join with Him in His eternal life(Heb.2:14,15). One thing we know now for sure. We can not trust these so called “church fathers” any further than we can throw them. Nor should we trust any man just because he says he has the truth. We must trust what the prophets and apostles taught in our Bibles. And compare and contrast what we are told with what these men wrote. 

The Prison of Death

The difference in these “church fathers” and what we find in our Bibles in many areas is as night from day. It is as far as the east is from the west. Trusting in the former joins you with the religion of these men. Which from these statements they made appears not to be the religion of the Bible. So to avoid being joined to a false god like Molech whose justice demanded the bloody and torturous death of the innocent to appease his wrath, we must be careful that we find the truth where God said it resides. In His word the Bible. 

Now just as Joshua said to Israel I say to you and all who will hear- “Now therefore fear the Lord, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the Lord.

And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

If you have been deceived by the false doctrines of sin nature and original sin you must turn from those false doctrines with their false gods so you can have eternal life through faith in Jesus. So that you can know Him in Spirit and in truth as Jesus said we must in John4:24. By trusting in Him as He trusted the Father. This is “the faith of Christ” that Paul says in Gal.2:16-21 delivers from death to life. That justifies mankind so that he can know the true and living God and His great love wherewith He has loved us. Please pray with me if you want to be free from doctrines that are not of God-

Dear Jesus, thank you for showing me your truth. Thank you for your deliverance from death to life. Save me Jesus from the errors I have formerly believed in. Make me to know your truth. I trust in you and you alone for eternal life. In Jesus’ name, amen. 

God bless you now as you seek Him in His word written by the only true church fathers. The apostles and prophets God gave inspiration from His Holy Spirit to teach His truth. Come back often to hear the word of God preached. The truth of the true church fathers, the apostles and prophets. Truth that delivers from death to life. 

See you there or in the air!

Even so… Maranatha!!

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Edward O'Hara


  1. Daniel on September 12, 2020 at 2:52 am

    From the excellent article – Church Fathers’; Should We Trust ‘THEM? Can What Was Written After the Apostles

    FOR ALMOST 2,000 Years
    Mens churches did not teach the supremacy of Gods Word
    Mens churches did not teach that salvation was a gift from God
    Mens churches took upon themselves what God ordained was the calling and responsibility of Fathers and Mothers

    Gods Pattern For His Church

    Gods Pattern For Families

    Be prepared to think for yourself.
    Your money has no value there.

    Best to all in Christ, Daniel

    • Edward O'Hara on September 12, 2020 at 10:29 am

      So very true Daniel. We must search for ourselves the truths from God’s word. Because all too often it has not been, and is not being, preached from the pulpits. And the apostles have always said we must do this. It is how we examine ourselves to see whether we be in the faith. It is our responsibility to make sure that what we have heard is true by searching the scriptures. God has no grandchildren.

      Even so… Maranatha!!

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