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Giants of the Early Church

James the Great Son of Zebedee, James the Great was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus. He was a son of Zebedee and Salome, and brother of John the Apostle. He is also called James the Greater to distinguish him from James, son of Alphaeus, who is also known as James the Less. James is described as one of the first disciples to join Jesus. The Synoptic Gospels state that James and John were with their father by the seashore when Jesus called them to follow him, (Matt. 4:21-22, Mk. 1:19-20.) James was one of only three apostles whom Jesus selected to bear witness to his Transfiguration. The Acts of the Apostles records that Herod Agrippa I, King of the Jews, had James executed by sword in A.D. 44.

John the Apostle Brother of James the Great. John was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus. He was a son of Zebedee and Salome, and brother of James the Apostle. John died around 99/100 a.d. He was the last of the apostles to die, and the only one to have died a natural death.

James the Less James the Less, stoned to death in AD 62 by scribes and Pharisees, who had asked James, the leader of the church, to dispel the rumor that Jesus was The Christ. In their dismay James boldly testified that Christ "Himself sitteth in heaven, at the right hand of the Great Power, and shall come on the clouds of heaven." Author of The Epistle of James. The first of the Seventy Apostles, and the author of the Apostolic Decree of Acts 15. James was called "James the Just" because of his righteousness and piety. Also known as James the Righteous, James of Jerusalem, James Adelphotheos, the Brother of the Lord, was an important figure in Early Christianity. James the Just was the leader of the Christian movement in Jerusalem in the decades after Jesus' death. Several early sources described him as the brother of Jesus; historians have variously interpreted this description as perhaps meaning a brother in a spiritual sense, or more literally as meaning that James was a close family relative of Jesus'- perhaps his full brother, half- or stepbrother, a cousin, or some other relation. The oldest surviving Christian liturgy, the Liturgy of St James, called him "the brother of God" (Adelphotheos).

Polycarp Disciple of John the Apostle, martyred in 155 a.d. burned on a stake in a Roman arena, then stabbed. But when the Pro-Consul pressed him and said: "Take the oath and I let you go, revile Christ," Polycarp said: "For eighty and six years have I been his servant, and he has done me no wrong, and how can I blaspheme my King who saved me?"

Athanasius 293-373 a.d./Named 'The Father of Orthodoxy' Christian theologian who championed the cause for orthodoxy in the 4th-century struggle against Arianism. At the Council of Nicea in 325, Athanasius opposed Arius, the Alexandrian priest who advanced the doctrine known as Arianism. Tradition holds that 318 Bishops attended the council where Arianism was condemned and the Trinity was completely codified in the creeds. Arianism continued to try to manipulate the orthodoxy of the creeds for many years after however. The Catholic tenets of Rome and Athanasius finally triumphed for good as the first council of Constantinople (a.d. 381) upheld the decrees of Nicea. Athanasius formulated the "homoousian" doctrine, according to which the Son of God is of the same essence, or substance, as the Father. Arius, on the other hand, maintained that the Son was of a different substance from that of the Father and was merely a creature, much more perfect than any other creature, who was used by God in subsequent works of creation. The author of the Athanasius Creed is unknown but was named for Athanasius because it codifies the orthodox beliefs of Athanasius and the early Church, and their work done at the 1st. Council of Nicea.

Blaise Pascal 1623-1662 1.) Mathematical prodigy, physicist, and Christian apologist. 2.) Founded the modern theory of probability, discovered the properties of the cycloid, and contributed to the advance of differential calculus. His experimentation led to the invention of the hydralic press. Father of modern computer programming languages. Pascal invented the adding machine and the calculator. 3.) Quotes; "Truth is so obscure in these times and falsehood so established, that unless we love the truth, we cannot know it". 4.) "Pascal's Wager" If a man trusts in Christ as Savior, dies, and then discovers that Jesus was not the Christ then that man would have lost nothing. However if the man does not trust in Christ as Savior, dies, and then discovers that Jesus was the Christ; that man will have lost EVERYTHING! I will bet on God!

Anselm 1033-1109 Anselm was born of a well-to-do family at Aosta, in England. Anselm was a Christian Theologian and a Classical Apologist. Influenced by Plato philosophically and Augustine theologically. In his study of the nature of God, Anselem originated Theistic philosophy which later became known as the ontological argument. Anselm also elaborated on many forms of the cosmological argument prior to presenting his ontological argument for God.

John Calvin 1509-1564 Born in France and influenced with the writings of Augustine, Anselm, and Thomas Aquinas. The acronmym t-u-l-i-p was formulated at the Synod of Dort in 1618-1619.
T - Total Depravity
U - Unlimited Election
L - Limited Atonement
I - Irresistable Grace
P - Perserverance of the Saints.

Augustine-354-430 a.d./Named 'The Father of Theology' 1.) Augustine was a hound after women. Shortly after his conversion, he returned to his hometown. One of the girls came up and said,"Augustine, Augustine, it is I!" Augustine looked her in the eye and said, "It is not I." Quoted by Ben Haden.
2.) Augustine was Bishop of Hippo near modern Algeria.
3.) Considered the founder of Christian theology.
4.) Wrote autobiography "Confessions" and "City of God".
5.) Church Father and one of the 8 doctors of the church.
6.) Famous quote used today in apologetics: "In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, and in all things charity".
7.) Though not a direct quote, a catch phrase used by Augustine: "You do not need to understand so that you may believe, you only need to believe so that you may understand."
8.) Augustine, one of the only early apologists to consider the apocrypha as scripture, ultimately admitted that the apocrypha had secondary status to the rest of the old testament.
9.) Baptised in 387a.d.
10.) Popularized the phrase "His-story" describing God's sovereignty in the affairs of men throughout history. This was also a part of Augustine's Theisic mindset which harmonizes with Calvin, Anselm, Aquinas and Geisler.
~ If two friends ask you to judge a dispute, don't accept, because you will lose one friend; on the other hand, if two strangers come with the same request, accept because you will gain one friend.
~ Thou must be emptied of that wherewith thou art full, that thou mayest be filled with that whereof thou art empty.

Origen 185-254 (Origines Adamantius), Christian philosopher, pupil of Clement of Alexandria-taught in Alexandria for 28 years.

Tertullian 160-220 Roman Catholic theologian converted 197 a.d. Left Catholicism in 213.

Flavius Josephus 37-97 Jewish Pharisee and Historian during the Apostolic era whose writings greatly assisted Christian Protestant Apologetics.

Jonathan Edwards 1703-1758 Supported Calvinism-Primary leader of the Great Awakening which swept the American colonies in the mid 18th. century (1734).

John Wesley 1703-1791 Founder of the Methodist church. Named so because of his "methodical" approach to the bible. Quote: "My ground is the bible. Yea I am a bible bigot. I follow it in all things both great and small."

Polycarp 69-155 Apostolic Father and bishop at Smyrna. Polycarp was martyred at Smyrna at the age of 86, According to the Christian martyr and theologian Irenaeus, who was his pupil.

Ambrose Close friend of Augustine's mother.

Jerome 347-419 Biblical scholar. Produced the Latin Vulgate Bible.

William Paley 1743-1805 British theologian and utilitarian philosopher. Paley's watchmaker theory: If you were walking in a field and discovered a watch lying on the ground, you would not believe that the watch evolved out of the field. You would rather believe that the watch had an intelligent designer who made watches. Likewise when we look at the complexity and the design of our Earth and Universe, we assume that it did not just evolve. Rather an Intelligent Designer made and fashioned the earth on which we live.

Ignatius of Antioch died 107 a.d. Christian martyr and apologist against heresy. Ignatius was condemned under Roman emperor Trajan to be devoured by wild beasts in Rome. First Christian writer to use the term "catholic church" as a collective term for the faithful.

Thomas Aquinas 1224-1274 Theologian, philosoper, and consumate apologist of the medieval church. Philosopher and shaper of Theistic thought. Famous for his teleological and cosmological arguements in Theism. Born in Italy.

Arius 256-336 Alexandrian priest who taught the heresy that Jesus was a supernatural being, not quite human, not quite divine, and who was created by God. Arianism was condemned at the first council of Nicea (325). The conflict continued as several bishops and emperors sided with Arius. The Catholic tenets of Rome and Athanasius finally triumphed, and the first council of Constantinople (381) upheld the decrees of Nicea.

Charles Haddon Spurgeon 1834-1892 "Tragedy is not in dying young, but in living long and never using your life for what is of eternal significance." "The Old Covenant was a covenant of prosperity. The New Covenant is a Covenant of adversity whereby we are being weaned from this present world and made mete for the world to come."

Justin Martyr 100-165 One of the earliest Christian apologist for Christianity. Opened a school of Christian philosophy at Rome where he was martyred during the reign of Emperor Marcus Aurelius.

Irenaeus 140-202 Christian Apologist converted after hearing the preaching of Polycarp.

Martin Luther 1483-1546 Augustine monk. German leader of the protestant reformation. Luther quoted "I cannot and will not recant anything, for to go against concience is neither right nor safe. Here i stand, i can do no other, so help me God. Amen." In 1517 Luther nailed his 95 theses to the Wittenberg church door.

Clement of Alexandria 150-203 Greek theologian. Christian convert.

Cornelius Tacitus 55-120. Roman historian.

Eusebius of Caesarea 260-340 Third century historian. Leader of the semi-Arians. Eusebius held that the nature of the Father, and the nature of Jesus Christ, were of similiar substance rather than the same substance. At the council of Nicea in 325 he accepted the Athanasian position, but leaned toward Arianism at the Synod's of Antioch (324), and Tyre (335).

Eastern Orthodox Church Eastern orthodoxy rejects the doctrine of purgutory. They reject the infallibility of the pope. They reject the immaculate conception that teaches that at the moment of conception Mary received immunity from original sin. They hold that the apocrypha is not on the same level as the 66 inspired books of the Protestant Bible.