51 Quotations from the Early Apostolic Fathers about the Church of God

Who are the Apostolic Fathers?

1. The First Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians.1:1

“The Church of God which sojourns at Rome, to the Church of God sojourning at Corinth, to them that are called and sanctified by the will of God, through our Lord Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, from Almighty God through Jesus Christ, be multiplied…”

2. The Epistle of Polycarp to the Philippians.1

“Polycarp, and the presbyters2 with him, to the Church of God sojourning at Philippi: Mercy to you, and peace from God Almighty, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, our Saviour, be multiplied…”

3. The Encyclical Epistle of the Church at Smyrna Concerning the Martyrdom of the Holy Polycarp

“The Church of God which sojourns at Smyrna, to the Church of God sojourning in Philomelium, and to all the congregations of the Holy and Catholic Church in every place: Mercy, peace, and love from God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, be multiplied…”

4. IGNATIUS TO THE EPHESIANS Chapter XVII

“Let no one be anointed with the bad odour of the doctrine of [the prince of] this world; let not the holy Church of God be led captive by his subtlety, as was the first woman…”

5. IGNATIUS TO THE TRALLIANS Chapter 2

” For they are not ministers of meat and drink, but servants of the Church of God…”

6. IGNATIUS TO THE PHILADELPHIANS Chapter 1:1

“Ignatius, who is also called Theophorus, to the Church of God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, which is at Philadelphia, in Asia…”

7. IGNATIUS TO THE SMYRNEANS 1:1

Ignatius, who is also called Theophorus, to the Church of God the Father, and of the beloved Jesus Christ, which has through mercy obtained every kind of gift, which is filled with faith and love, and is deficient in no gift, most worthy of God, and adorned with holiness:1 the Church which is at Smyrna, in Asia…”

8. IRANAEUS – AGAINST HERESIES BOOK 1 CHAPTERS 1 TO 6

“Some of them, moreover, are in the habit of defiling those women to whom they have taught the above doctrine, as has frequently been confessed by those women who have been led astray by certain of them, on their returning to the Church of God, and acknowledging this along with the rest of their errors…”

9. IRANAEUS – AGAINST HERESIES BOOK 1 CHAPTERS 13 TO 18

“Moreover, that this Marcus compounds philters and love-potions, in order to insult the persons of some of these women, if not of all, those of them who have returned to the Church of God — a thing which frequently occurs — have acknowledged, confessing, too, that they have been defiled by him, and that they were filled with a burning passion towards him…”

10. IRANAEUS – AGAINST HERESIES BOOK 3 CHAPTERS 1 TO 9

” He it was who, coming to Rome in the time of Anicetus caused many to turn away from the aforesaid heretics to the Church of God, proclaiming that he had received this one and sole truth from the apostles, — that, namely, which is handed down by the Church…”

11. IRANAEUS – AGAINST HERESIES BOOK 3 CHAPTER 21 “We do indeed pray that these men may not remain in the pit which they themselves have dug, but separate themselves from a Mother of this nature, and depart from Bythus, and stand away from the void, and relinquish the shadow; and that they, being converted to the Church of God…”

12. IRANAEUS – AGAINST HERESIES BOOK 4 CHAPTERS 21 TO 29

“But such as rise up in opposition to the truth, and exhort others against the Church of God, [shall] remain among those in hell (apud inferos), being swallowed up by an earthquake, even as those who were with Chore, Dathan, and Abiron…”

13. IRANAEUS – AGAINST HERESIES BOOK 5 CHAPTERS 1 TO 10

“…and, labouring by every means in my power to furnish thee with large assistance against the contradictions of the heretics, as also to reclaim the wanderers and convert them to the Church of God, to confirm at the same time the minds of the neophytes, that they may preserve stedfast the faith which they have received, guarded by the Church in its integrity, in order that they be in no way perverted by those who endeavour to teach them false doctrines, and lead them away from the truth…”

14. HERMAS – THE PASTOR BOOK 3 PART 3

“In this way, then, will the Church of God be purified. For as you saw the stones rejected from the tower, and delivered to the evil spirits, and cast out thence, so [they also shall be cast out, and] there shall be one body of the purified; as the tower also became, as it were, of one stone after its purification. In like manner also shall it be with the Church of God, after it has been purified, and has rejected the wicked, and the hypocrites, and the blasphemers, and the waverers, and those who commit wickedness of different kinds. After these have been cast away, the Church of God shall be one body, of one mind, of one understanding, of one faith, of one love. And then the Son of God will be exceeding glad, and shall rejoice over them, because He has received His people pure.” (Eph_5:27) “All these things, sir,” I said, “are great and glorious…”

15. CLEMENT – INSTRUCTOR BOOK 2 CHAPTERS 1 TO 2

“For every one taketh beforehand in eating his own supper; and one is hungry, and another drunken. Have ye not houses to eat and to drink in? Or despise ye the church of God, and shame those who have not?”

16. CLEMENT – STROMATA BOOK 6 CHAPTERS 4 TO 8 “Now also Valentinus, the Coryphaeus of those who herald community, in his book on The Intercourse of Friends, writes in these words: “Many of the things that are written, though in common books, are found written in the church of God…”

17. TERTULLIAN – RESSURECTION CHAPTERS 15 – 26

“…and that the beast Antichrist with his false prophet may wage war on the Church of God; and that, after the casting of the devil into the bottomless pit for a while, (Rev_20:2) the blessed prerogative of the first resurrection may be ordained from the thrones; (Rev_20:4-6) and then again, after the consignment of him to the fire, that the judgment of the final and universal resurrection may be determined out of the books…”

18. TERTULLIAN – AGAINST PRAXEAS CHAPTER 30

“He it was, who coming to Rome,” says Irenaeus, (Vol. 1. p. 416, this series) “in the time of Anicetus, caused many to turn away from the aforesaid heretics (viz. Valentinus and Marcion) to the Church of God, proclaiming that he had received this one and sole truth from the Apostles.”

19. TERTULLIAN – ON VEILING VIRGINS
“If any,” he says, “is contentious, we have not such a custom, nor (has) the Church of God.” (1Co_11:16)

20. TERTULLIAN – TO HIS WIFE

“Equally (are they) both (found) in the Church of God; equally at the banquet of God; equally in straits, in persecutions, in refreshments…”

21. TERTULLIAN – DE PRINCIPIS BOOK 1 CHAPTER 5 “Paul and Peter are undoubtedly proved to have been men of a spiritual nature. When, therefore, Paul is found to have acted contrary to religion, in having persecuted the Church of God, and Peter to have committed so grave a sin as, when questioned by the maid-servant, to have asserted with an oath that he did not know who Christ was…”

22. TERTULLIAN – DE PRINCIPIS BOOK 4 CHAPTERS 1 TO 12 “the disciple of the Spirit himself being enjoined to make known, no longer by letters, but by living words, to the presbyters of the whole Church of God, who have become grey through wisdom…”

23. TERTULLIAN – AGAINST CELSUS BOOK 1 CHAPTER 49 “I do not know how Celsus should have forgotten or not have thought of saying something about Paul, the founder, after Jesus, of the Churches that are in Christ. He saw, probably, that anything he might say about that apostle would require to be explained, in consistency with the fact that, after being a persecutor of the Church of God, and a bitter opponent of believers…”

24. TERTULLIAN – AGAINST CELSUS BOOK 3 CHAPTERS 1 TO 30 “Comparing the inner mysteries of the Church of God to the cats, and apes, and crocodiles, and goats, and dogs of Egypt…”

25. TERTULLIAN –  AGAINST CELSUS BOOK 3 CHAPTERS 31 TO 58

“… at some future time, after a greater interval than in the case of those who were admitted at first, but not placing in any office or post of rank in the Church of God those who, after professing the Gospel, lapsed and fell…”

26. TERTULLIAN – AGAINST CELSUS BOOK 6 CHAPTERS 26 TO 49

“But that we may win over to the reception of our views those who are willing to accept the inferences which flow from our doctrines, and to be benefited thereby, we say that the holy Scriptures declare the body of Christ, animated by the Son of God, to be the whole Church of God, and the members of this body – considered as a whole – to consist of those who are believers…”

27. TERTULLIAN – AGAINST CELSUS BOOK 8 CHAPTERS 60

“Those who are ambitious of ruling we reject; but we constrain those who, through excess of modesty, are not easily induced to take a public charge in the Church of God. And those who rule over us well are under the constraining influence of the great King, whom we believe to be the Son of God, God the Word. And if those who govern in the Church, and are called rulers of the divine nation – that is, the Church – rule well, they rule in accordance with the divine commands, and never suffer themselves to be led astray by worldly policy. And it is not for the purpose of escaping public duties that Christians decline public offices, but that they may reserve themselves for a diviner and more necessary service in the Church of God – for the salvation of men…”

28. CYPRIAN – EPISTLE OF CYPRIAN CHAPTERS 39 TO 50 “how much greater is the joy in earth, no less than in heaven, over confessors who return with their glory and with praise to the Church of God, and make a way of returning for others by the faith and approval of their example?…”

29. CYPRIAN – EPISTLE OF CYPRIAN CHAPTERS 67 TO 71“Yet although, in these last times, evangelic rigour has not so failed in the Church of God, nor the strength of Christian virtue or faith so languished, that there is not left a portion of the priests which in no respect gives way under these ruins of things and wrecks of faith; but, bold and stedfast, they maintain the honour of the divine majesty and the priestly dignity, with full observance of fear. We remember and keep…”

30. CYPRIAN – EPISTLE OF CYPRIAN CHAPTERS 74

“But also the time of Valentinus and Basilides is manifest, that they too, after the apostles, and after a long period, rebelled against the Church of God with their wicked lies…”

31. CYPRIAN – EPISTLE OF CYPRIAN CHAPTERS 75 TO 79

“But if the flock is one, how can he be numbered among the flock who is not in the number of the flock? Or how can he be esteemed a pastor, who, — while the true shepherd remains and presides over the Church of God by successive ordination…”

32. CYPRIAN – 7TH COUNCIL OF CARTHAGE

“Another Secundinus of Carpi37 said: Are heretics Christians or not? If they are Christians, why are they not in the Church of God? If they are not Christians, how come…”

33. GREGORY – COMMENTARY ON ECCLESIASTES “These words speaketh Solomon, the son of David the king and prophet, to the whole Church of God, a prince most honoured, and a prophet most wise above all men…”

34. GREGORY – WRITINGS – CANONICAL EPISTLES

“And all persons of that spirit are excommunicated from the Church of God. ..”

35. DIONYSIUS – FRAGMENTS PART 1 VERSE 1

“For it would have been but dutiful to have suffered any kind of ill, so as to avoid rending the Church of God…”

36. DIONYSIUS – FRAGMENTS PART 2 VERSE 2

“…them at the beginning of his reign; and his whole house was filled then with the pious, and it was itself a very church of God…”

37. ARCHELAUS – ACTS OF DISPUTATION 27 TO 35 “For this is he who formerly was a persecutor of the Church of God, but who afterwards appeared openly before all men as a faithful minister of the Paraclete; by whose instrumentality His singular clemency was made known to all men…”

38. METHODIUS – ORATION ON THE PSALMS

“…even so the miracles that have been handed down by the holy Gospels, one after the other, lead on the Church of God, which delights in festivity, and refresh it, not with the meat that perisheth, but with that which endureth unto everlasting life…”

39. Dionysius – Against the Sabellians Chapter 1 verse 1

“Now truly it would be just to dispute against those who, by dividing and rending the monarchy, which is the most august announcement of the Church of God, into, as it were, three powers, and distinct substances (hypostases), and three deities, destroy it…”

40. Constitution of the Apostles Book 2 part 1

“But if any one be in want by gluttony, drunkenness, or idleness, he does not deserve any assistance, or to be esteemed a member of the Church of God. For the Scripture, speaking of such persons, says: “The slothful hideth his hand in his bosom, and is not able to bring it to his mouth again.” (Pro_19:24)

41. Constitution of the Apostles Book 2 part 2

“As, therefore, the ox that labours in the threshing-floor without a muzzle eats indeed, but does not eat all up; so do you who labour in the threshing-floor, that is, in the Church of God, eat of the Church: which was also the case of the Levites, who served in the tabernacle of the testimony, which was in all things a type of the Church…”

42. Constitution of the Apostles Book 2 part 3 “He came and preached peace to you that are nigh, and them that are far off, whom the Lord knows to be His,” (Isa_57:19; Eph_2:17; 2Ti_2:19) much more is it incumbent on those that enter into the Church of God before all things to pray for the peace of God…”

43. Constitution of the Apostles Book 3 “…but only in the laying on of hands the bishop shall anoint her head, as the priests and kings were formerly anointed, not because those which are now baptized are ordained priests, but as being Christians, or anointed, from Christ the Anointed, “a royal priesthood, and an holy nation, the Church of God, the pillar and ground of the marriage-chamber,” (1Pe_2:9; 1Ti_3:15) who formerly were not a people, but now are beloved and chosen, upon whom is called His new name…”

44. Constitution of the Apostles Book 6 part 1 For on this “account the devil himself is very angry at the holy Church of God: he is removed to you, and has raised against you adversities, seditions, and reproaches, schisms, and heresies…”

45. Constitution of the Apostles Book 8 part 2

“All those of the faithful that enter into the holy church of God, and hear the sacred Scriptures, but do not stay during prayer and the holy communion, must be suspended, as causing disorder in the church…”

46. Clement – 2 Epistles concerning virginity

“on this account we must be “on our guard that we be to no one a stumbling-block, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor yet to the Church of God; and we must not seek that which is profitable to ourselves only, but that which is for the profit of many, so that they may be saved.” (1Co_10:32,1Co_10:33)

47. origen – gospel of john book 4 and 5

“Yet I see the heterodox assailing the holy Church of God in these days, under the pretence of higher wisdom, and bringing forward works in many volumes in which they offer expositions of the evangelical and apostolic writings, and I fear that if I should be silent and should not put before our members the saving and true doctrines…”

48. origen – gospel of john book 6 part 3

“His current, flowing in the descending stream, makes glad, as we find in the Psalms, (Psa_46:4) the city of God, not the visible Jerusalem – for it has no river beside it – but the blameless Church of God, built on the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets, Christ Jesus our Lord being the chief corner-stone…”

49. origen – gospel of matthew introduction

“Concerning the four Gospels which alone are uncontroverted in the Church of God under heaven, I have learned by tradition that the Gospel according to Matthew, who was at one time a publican and afterwards an Apostle of Jesus Christ, was written first; and that he composed it in the Hebrew tongue and published it for the converts from Judaism….”

50. ORIGEN – GOSPEL OF MATTHEW BOOK 10 part 1 And according to this the whole world might be called a field, and not the Church of God only, for in the whole world the Son of man sowed the good seed, but the wicked one tares, – that is, evil words, – which, springing from wickedness, are children of the evil one.

51. ORIGEN – GOSPEL OF MATTHEW BOOK 3 part 1

“In this place it does not appear to me that by Elijah the soul is spoken of, lest I should fall into the dogma of transmigration, which is foreign to the church of God, and not handed down by the Apostles, nor anywhere set forth in the Scriptures; for it is also in opposition to the saying that “things seen are temporal,”

SOURCE: THE ANTE-NICENE FATHERS (THE EARLY CHURCH FATHERS) VOLUMES 1 TO 9

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