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The Early Church

Learning from the Earliest Christians

Pictured are clay pots found with the Dead Sea Scrolls in the community of the Jewish Essenes.  We draw on resources related to the early church, especially the first 400 - 500 years.  Our materials either expand on early Christian teaching or activity, or draw upon that well as a resource or inspiration.


ethics: children

Human Dignity:  Does Every Human Being Matter?

Children in the Early Church

Christian Restorative Justice: Beyond Charity - God's Restorative Justice for Children and Families

ethics: slavery and abolition

Slavery and Abolition in the Early Church: How the Early Church Got It Right a long ppt presentation

Slavery and Abolition in the Early Church: How the Early Church Got It Right a short ppt presentation

Slavery in Christianity, Part 1: Slavery in the Bible, Slavery Today (and ppt)

Slavery in Christianity, Part 2: Christianity from the 1st to 15th Centuries 

Slavery in the Bible - Worksheet

Will the Truth Really Set You Free? The Bible and Slavery ppt slides and Facebook video part 1 and part 2

Will the Truth Really Set You Free? The Bible and Mass Incarceration ppt slides and Facebook video

ethics: women

Women in the Early Church part 1 and part 2

Women in Church Leadership part 1 and part 2

The Rights of Women in the Bible part 1 and part 2

Paul's View of Headship in Marriage: How 1 Corinthians Interprets Ephesians and Colossians

Men and Women in Worship Together (notes on 1 Corinthians 11:2 - 16)

ethics: laws, public policies, and governance

The Impact of Jesus (and ppt)

The Role of Jesus in Revolution and the Pursuit of Justice

White American Evangelical Political Attitudes and Behavior: Explanation and Correctives a presentation given to the staff of Emmanuel Gospel Center, Apr 18, 2018, as a follow-up to how Christian restorative justice impacts ministry in light of white American evangelical political attitudes; audio file here

Christian Ethics: The Church, Organizations, and Organizational Authority

Military Service According to Ambrose of Milan (TBD)

Just War Theory According to Augustine of Hippo (TBD)

judaism and christianity 

The Qumran Community: A Proto-Christian Sect and What It Means for Jewish-Christian Relations

new testament 

The Formation of the New Testament: Why Not the Gospels of Thomas and Judas?

spirituality, trauma care, and emotional life 

Christian Mysticism: Are We Missing Something? 

Jesus and the Shaping of Desire: An Exploration of Early Church Spiritual Practices

theology, humanity, and metaphysics: a Good God and an originally good humanity

The Son of God Shared in Our Fallen Human Nature That We Might Share in His Healed Human Nature a short devotional on the Gospel of Matthew 1:18 - 25 using quotes from early church sources, showing how the Christian God, in Jesus and by the Spirit, heals human evil

Why God is Not Evil, Not One Bit, According to Irenaeus of Lyons an attempt at reconstructing a lost work by Irenaeus, the most important theological writer in the second century AD and the first "biblical theologian" after the New Testament writers, based on his existing writings

Irenaeus, Theodicy, and the Problem of Evil: His Lost Work "That God is Not the Author of Evil" and Evangelism Today a paper submitted to the Pappas Patristics Institute in March 2019.

The Good God and the Healing of Creation According to Athanasius of Alexandria a presentation given Feb 4, 2019 to my class in Orthodox Dogmatics at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Seminary, at the kind invitation of Father Emmanuel Clapsis

C.S. Lewis' Theology of Atonement an essay exploring Lewis' atonement theology ("medical substitution") and dependence on Irenaeus and Athanasius, submitted originally as a final paper to Dr. Gary Deddo for his class, The Theological Thought of C.S. Lewis

The Council of Nicaea, the Origin of "the Trinity,"and the Limitations of Human Language on the linguistic and logical dimension of how theological language works

The Council of Nicaea, the Origin of "the Trinity," and the Role of Political Power on the political history of the Council of Nicaea in 325 AD, and its later political significance

Big Questions About God: Comparing the Earliest Christian Theology with High Federal Calvinist Theology, and Why It Matters workbook style, with quotes and questions

Penal Substitution vs. Medical Substitution: A Historical Comparison an analysis of the atonement theology ("medical substitution") of early church theologians, including Ignatius of Antioch, Irenaeus of Lyons, the Odes of Solomon, Justin Martyr of Rome, Melito of Sardis, Tertullian of Carthage, Methodius of Olympus, Athanasius of Alexandria (paper in progress to include later theologians, bishops, and councils)

Free Will in Patristic Theology quotations from early church theologians; refutes determinism, which inevitably makes God the author of evil

Hell as the Love of God (and ppt) (short ppt) a full exploration of how hell is the love of God because (1) the united church taught that for over a thousand years; (2) God's Triune nature requires all other activity of God to flow out of His love; (3) literary exegesis of "fire" shows that it is God's call to purification

bible studies and messages from the anastasis center