If the word trinity isn't in Scripture, why is it such an important part of our faith? And if the Bible can be interpreted in many ways, how do we know what to make of it? And who decided what should be in the Bible anyway? The Church Fathers provide the answers! Marcellino D'Ambrosio dusts off what might have been just dry theology to bring you the exciting stories of great heroes such as Ambrose, Augustine, Basil, Athanasius, John Chrysostom, and Jerome. These brilliant, embattled, and sometimes eccentric men defined the biblical canon, hammered out the Creed, and gave us our understanding of sacraments and salvation. It is they who preserved the rich legacy of the early Church for us.
©2014 Marcellino D'Ambrosio (P)2014 Franciscan Media
"Dr. D'Ambrosio has accomplished the rare feat of combining scholarship with readability. Christians of all traditions can trace their faith to these pioneers; their story is our story."--Right Honourable David Baron Alton, M.P. and Liverpool University professor
"Gripping, compelling, and fast-moving." Sarah Reinhard, blogger, SnoringScholar.com
Absolutely. I have read other books on the early Church and the Church Fathers, but this book brings both to life. Each Father has an intriguing and compelling story that is told in a conversationalist manner so as to leap off the page.
Dr. D'Ambrosio is a skilled orator. Hearing a passionate author speak in his own words is a great experience.
This book does an outstanding job explaining heresy’s within the early Church such as Gnosticism and Aryanism and shows how each was debunked and defeated and by whom. We present day Christians take difficult topics like the Trinity for granted. This book is a reminder of how it wasn’t always so and how Christian thought solidified through apostolic Tradition.
Perhaps most importantly, this book reminds us that early Christians were willing to die for their faith. How many present day Christians are ready to do the same? In those days it was expected and embraced.
The pithy recap of the apostolic Tradition’s points of convergence in Chapter 26 is brilliant and concise.
The early Church Fathers would be outraged to see the many divisions within present-day Christianity. Their words and, in many ways, this book is a call for unity. Thank you, Dr. D’Ambrosio for writing and compiling it.
One of the best books on the Church Fathers. Easy to follow because it is laid out chronologically, rather than covering one Father at a time. This makes it easier to see the relationship of the Fathers to each other .
I love listening to books while I walk and drive.
Hearing the letters of the Fathers
The discovery of how the Traditions started with the Apostles and were handed down.
He has the conviction and makes the words come alive
The beginning of the Church today.
This book like so many try to make the letters of the Fathers available to all people who want to know the truth. If read with an open mind, one might have to consider that the so called great Martin Luther might have been wrong on a few key points. If you ask me who I will believe it will always be those who walked with Jesus and the Apostles. Rather then someone who came later and said he was enlightened by the Holy Spirit. I know the Holy Spirit works in all who accept him but I believe those early Church guys had the Holy Spirit or how would they have been able to die the horrible deaths they bore with joy for our Savior.
Yes, I would listen to this book again and I want to listen to other books of the author.
The performance is great.
Great story telling. Timely work. The past has informed the present but it can be difficult to pin point why things look the way they look or why we do things a certain way. This book helped pull down some walls of judgment and confusion. We are not so different from the early church--stuggle, impatience, and the pursuit of God.
D'Ambrosio is a good writer, the book moved along at a nice pace. I did quickly discover the book is written from an overtly catholic perspective and was likely intended for a catholic audience. The main emphasis of the book is how concepts like apostolic succession, Transubstantiation, prayer to saints, the emasculate conception, the elevation of Mary to the "Mother of God", paying penance, infant baptism, etc... were taught by the church fathers, and therefore, it should be assumed that they originated from the Jesus' apostles. However, some of the church fathers arguments, for these doctrine listed above, in response to the damnable "heretics" who opposed them, sounded absolutely illogical, silly and ridiculous, yet D'Ambriosio presented them as knock down irrefutable proofs for Catholic doctrine... but just because a beloved Saint says 2+2=5 doesn't make it so Joe. But yeah, overall, I did enjoy the book and I liked D'Ambrosio's high admiration for the church fathers, it helped bring the history to life.
This could have done without unfounded comments aga9nsy Constantine. I found it odd to condemn the man and later speak praises of him. I would recommend this for an uninformed person regarding Church History.
The narration was excellent right up to the very last couple of sentences during which crept in the spectre of modernist heresy. This makes one wonder therefore what also had been tainted before the author's hand was revealed.
This string of biographical narratives seemed theologically light and gave what seemed to me a superficial treatment of successive church fathers in support of the Roman Catholic faith.
It seems this work would be most edifying to the devout catholic lay person who wishes to get "the lay of the land" before diving deeper into the church fathers.
I would not recommend for am evangelical or reformed seminarian except perhaps to see the church fathers from a catholic perspective.
All that being said, the author did paint a vivid picture of each father, allowing the reader to "put a face to the name," and perhaps laying a foundation for more in depth study.
"Traditional presentation of the early church"
This book has much to recommend it, but also much that the reader (or listener) must take with caution. It’s a very pleasant and edifying listen. However, it has a number of fundamental problems. D’Ambrosio is constantly at pains to give the impression that the position currently held by the Roman Catholic church on any given issue is identical with that held by the early church fathers. For example, when discussing the Didache, he draws attention to the following passage: «οὐ μαγεύσεις, οὐ φαρμακεύσεις, οὐ φονεύσεις τέκνον ἐν φθορᾷ οὐδὲ γεννηθὲν ἀποκτενεῖς» (“do not engage in sorcery, do not make use of potions, do not abort a foetus or commit infanticide”). The prohibition of abortion and infanticide is repeated in the Epistle of Barnabas (19.5). But D’Ambrosio muddies the water by arguing that «οὐ φαρμακεύσεις» is a prohibition of “abortifacients and contraceptives.” This is not the case. In fact the first two prohibitions in this list refer to two different kinds of magic, the first carried out by incantations or ceremonies, and the second by the use of magical potions, for example to make the recipient fall in love with the operant of the magic. By arguing that the didache prohibits contraception rather than enchanted potions, D’Ambrosio evidently wishes to give the impression that the Roman Catholic church’s current prohibition of contraception has the seal of antiquity. Such distortions of the text undermine the reader’s trust, and lead to the suspicion that the author has an axe to grind.
Another problem with D’Ambrosio’s work is his approach to the question of heresy. Modern scholarship rejects the traditional notion that there was a pure core of belief that remained unchanged from the time of Jesus to the present, which various orthodox fathers merely articulated in increasingly more perfect terms. This view, promulgated by the church historian Eusebius, has now yielded to a more pluralistic view of the early church. Those who came to call themselves “orthodox” and “Catholic” were only one element in a much more complicated drama in which various groups, each believing themselves to hold correct beliefs about Jesus, all jockeyed for dominance. We have always known about these other groups. The orthodox apologists give us detailed, though naturally partisan, presentations of the beliefs of many of them. Modern scholars try to get behind the claims of the orthodox apologists to hear what these other groups were saying, without privileging the claims of any one of these groups. However, D’Ambrosio presents the traditional view, which takes the truth claims of the Catholic/orthodox party at face value. This results in a simple dichotomy between the goodies (Catholics) and baddies (heretics) which just doesn’t get us very far in our understanding of the dynamics of early Christianity.
In summary, the book is ok, but those looking for a more critical view might be better served by the books of Bart Ehrman, also available on Audible.
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