Are the Church Fathers Obsolete?
We trust you are enjoying our account of the All Stars Reunion! However, it has recently come to our attention that a growing number of people are no longer impressed with the “church fathers”. This is shocking news! Those who are devoted to the writings of prestigious theologians from antiquity may find this very upsetting! If believers begin to doubt the relevance, indeed even the truth, of archaic theology what will become of us? Could the Kingdom of God even survive such a calamity? In the spirit of brotherly love we invite you to pause and consider a perspective that is sure to provide a measure of comfort.
Should We Be Allowed to Think?
Theologians from the distant past felt free to think for themselves, but modern believers should not attempt this on their own. Everyone knows that ancient theologians were probably a LOT better at thinking than we are! All the really good thinking was done long ago and we should just leave well enough alone. It is our duty to faithfully repeat their words and thoughts and that is enough! Everyone knows this is true. Just because those ancient ideas no longer ring true today, we should trust them anyway.
The Earth is Flat
The ancients believed the earth was flat. (There are still some who believe this very thing today!) Everyone knew that if you sailed too far you would fall right off the edge of the world. Interestingly, no matter where you are in the world it still looks flat! It took a long time before people finally realized the earth is actually a sphere. That, however, is no reason at all to lose confidence in the wisdom of those who said it was flat! Who knows how many lives were saved and how many disasters were averted by believing in a flat earth? Perhaps it changed from flat to spherical and we just don’t know when or how it happened. It is a great mystery. This should not shake our confidence in ancient authorities. No! Not in the least! Perhaps they didn’t get this issue right… but maybe they did better on other things!
What Seems True Around a Campfire?
The Greeks also believed earth, air, fire and water were the four elements that make up everything in the world! Aristotle added ether and made it five elements since he figured the stars couldn’t be made of the same stuff we have here on earth. Modern science claims the four “elements” of the Greeks aren’t elements at all but so what? The Greek theory sure makes more sense than believing in a bunch of invisible atoms when you’re sitting around a campfire! Besides, do you really want to disagree with someone as smart as Aristotle? If you want to think like people thought a couple thousand years ago, we say go right ahead!
They Created a Triune Pantheon
Greek philosophers were very sophisticated and their religion was intricate and complicated. It took a lot of personalities (persons) to make up the Greek Pantheon of Gods. Is it any surprise that the trinity they proposed for Christianity was cut from the same cloth? They mixed Greek philosophy with the Bible and came up with some of the most impressive unbiblical ideas ever invented! The Triune Pantheon (trinity) they proposed even sounded Biblical in a strange kind of way! You have to love those Greek philosophers! They took themselves very seriously… and expected everyone else to take them seriously too.
Are Women Just Defective Men?
Plato and Aristotle had some pretty impressive ideas about women too. Plato was known to have said, “I give thanks to nature that I was born a human being and not a dumb animal, and that I was born a man rather than a woman.” The Greeks were convinced that men were superior to women! Aristotle wrote, “A woman is an imperfect male. She is female because her body is not properly made.” I beg to differ! To my eyes they look just perfect and they are certainly not inferior to men. Could it be that Grecian thought about women was also wrong?
Are the “Church Fathers” Irrelevant?
Can anyone imagine a gospel of salvation that dares to ignore what those old Greeks had to say? Shockingly, some modern believers have actually decided to read the Bible for themselves and reach their own conclusions! These radicals view the “church fathers” as relics from a bygone era that have become irrelevant. This is an appalling trend! Greek thinking people should reject this approach before it completely ruins their appreciation for Platonic philosophy and trinitarian thought!
Were the Ideas of Antiquity Just Wrong?
Is it true that ideas from the distant past are somehow better than anything we can envision today? Based on the wisdom of many centuries ago can we safely assert that the earth is or was flat? Do we believe the four elements that make up the world are earth, air, fire and water? Is it true that men are superior to women? Are we also convinced that God is a trinity of three “persons” just like the ancient Greeks said? Or was the ancient world of Greek thought wrong about a lot of things… including the nature of God?
This is How We Think Today
The earth is a globe and was never flat after all! There are many elements that make up the world but they are certainly not earth, air, fire and water. Women are not inferior to men. Most importantly, God is not a pantheon of three divine persons! He is one God! The God of Israel is the singular and supreme Being that created everything. We know Him as the Father and Jesus Christ is His only Son! Jesus is the uniquely and miraculously conceived human Son of the God of Israel. He is our Messiah, and Mediator and Kinsman Redeemer. This may not square with the trinitarian view of God inspired by Greek philosophy but it squares very nicely with the Bible. There now, doesn’t it feel better to bring your thinking up to date?
PS: Do not be afraid of sailing away from the flat earth theology we inherited from long ago! You will not fall off the edge of Christianity. In fact, there’s a very good chance you will sail right right into the faith that was once delivered to the saints!
Copyright 2021 by Bob Shutes