How Do We Know the Early Church? – Dr William Marshner
Former Lutheran scholar Dr. William Marshner explores the sources of information about the early church used by early Christian historians. How did early Christians learn and pass on the faith? (This talk was originally given in 2004 at the CHNetwork’s “Deep in History” conference)
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-How did the fourth century Church know the Church of the first and second century? Why is this an important question?
-What impression did Dr. Marshnerʼs listing of the succession of the Early Church Fathers (bishops) have on you? Does this give you confidence in their writings?
-What does Dr. Marshner say to the question: Was all that evidence by the Early Church Fathers too late to be trusted?
-What point does Dr. Marshner make regarding the response to change and the evolution of religions?
-Read 1 Corinthians 1: 1-24, 1 Corinthians 8: 6, Philippians 2: 6-10, and John 1. How does Proverbs 8 illuminate the highly mysterious person of Jesus, according to Dr. Marshner?
Gnostic: A member of any of certain sects among the early Christians who claimed to have superior knowledge of spiritual matters, and explained the world as created by powers or agencies arising as emanations from the Godhead; Salvation by knowledge.
Form Criticism: Sorting parts of Scripture into their correct literary genre, particularly the Psalms and the sayings of Jesus. Rudolf Bultmann, a Lutheran theologian, sorted the stories chronologically, with the intention of proving which verses were actually attributed to Jesus and which were “invented later.”