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Ancient Church Fathers by Ken Johnson, Th.D. (history in the first three centuries)

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  • Ancient Church Fathers by Ken Johnson, Th.D. (history in the first three centuries)

    Ancient Church Fathers
    What the Disciples of the Apostles Taught
    Ken Johnson, Th.D.

    I am both pleased, and a little disappointed, with this book.

    As a caveat, I haven't read the whole book, but I have read significant portions of it,
    as it is more like a miniature encyclopedia than a text.

    This book starts out with a short "Who's Who" of the Church Fathers, and when they lived, beginning with the Apostles, a list of what is thought to be the Seventy Disciples, and Eyewitnesses of the Apostles. It also includes the next few of generations of church leaders, giving a short paragraph on each.

    Until I read this, I was unaware that anyone had made a list of "The Seventy" But there is a caveat. The list comes from Hippolytus, who lived around 200 AD and not only did he not see any of the Apostles while they were here on Earth, but he didn't see anyone who saw them alive. His is a good accounting, but it is a third hand account.

    The book does provide a short, 3 page, timeline of events from the time of Christ until 325 AD. (I would have liked more, but he uses a timeline provided by one of the Church Fathers, so I certainly won't fault him here.)

    What is listed so far is what I actually bought the book for, but that only comprises the first 20 pages. While I didn't buy it for the following, I appreciated his discussions of the following subjects.

    The book now moves into Major and Secondary Doctrines of the Church
    and what each of the Church Fathers wrote about them.

    For Major Doctrines, it lists
    Authority of the Bible
    - Apostolic Succession
    - Roman Catholic Authority (including how to witness to Catholics)
    - Which Books are Scripture
    - - provides about a dozen lists that were used in the first three centuries.
    The Deity of Jesus Christ
    - Church Fathers on Jesus Divinity
    - Church Fathers on Jesus Physical Body
    - Church Fathers on Jesus Relationship with the Father
    - Church Fathers on Jesus Pre-existence

    There is a list of Denominations that hold to the Trinity and a list of cults who do not.
    Neither pretends to be all inclusive.

    There is a Bibliography at the back for those so inclined.
    It lists 9 books, 2 of which he wrote.
    More importantly, thought, he mentions several other books in the main text of his book,
    that are not listed in his bibliography. Personal preference, I would have listed them.

    All of the above are good points, but then the bulk of the book (75%) covers what he calls Secondary Doctrines, and what the Church Fathers said about them, and in several cases he allows his own opinion to shade how he presents them, at least once he even uses the Book of Jasher for support (see why that bothers me, below).

    While his opinion seems to be in concert with the opinions of the majority of Fundamentalists today, I would have preferred a more Bible centered approach, since men have been known to have incorrect interpretations of Scripture.

    End Times
    False Works
    Moral Issues
    The Gospel
    Spiritual Gifts
    Text of the Scripture
    Other Teachings

    (Oddly, tithing, which is widely disputed doctrine, isn't covered.)

    Other info:

    This is the thread where I asked for advice to find a book on Church History.
    Post #6 references Ken Johnson

    Someone mentioned another Book by Ken Johnson (questionable value)
    Question: "What is the Book of Jasher/Jashar and should it be in the Bible?"

    Answer: Also known as the “Book of the Upright One” in the Greek Septuagint and the “Book of the Just Ones” in the Latin Vulgate, the Book of Jasher was probably a collection or compilation of ancient Hebrew songs and poems praising the heroes of Israel and their exploits in battle. The Book of Jasher is mentioned in Joshua 10:12-13 when the Lord stopped the sun in the middle of the day during the battle of Beth Horon. It is also mentioned in 2 Samuel 1:18-27 as containing the Song or Lament of the Bow, that mournful funeral song which David composed at the time of the death of Saul and Jonathan.
    There is a book called “The Book of Jasher” today, although it is not the same book as mentioned in the Old Testament. It is an eighteenth-century forgery that alleges to be a translation of the “lost” Book of Jasher by Alcuin, an eighth-century English scholar.
    Another book by this same name, called by many “Pseudo-Jasher,” while written in Hebrew, is also not the “Book of Jasher” mentioned in Scripture. It is a book of Jewish legends from the creation to the conquest of Canaan under Joshua, but scholars hold that it did not exist before A.D. 1625.
    In the end, we must conclude that the Book of Jasher mentioned in the Bible was lost and has not survived to modern times. All we really know about it is found in the two Scripture quotations mentioned earlier. The other books by that title are mere fictions or Jewish moral treatises.