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7 September, 2012 12:38

September 7, 2012

APOSTLES: AS SEEN BY THE EARLY CHURCH FATHERS.

I recently read the following from William Barclay’s exposition of John’s Epistle. I couldn’t help but wonder how times have changed. Here is what he writes:

…But the wandering prophets and preachers did present a problem. Their position was one which was singularly liable to abuse. They had an enormous prestige; and it was possible for the most undesirable characters to enter into a way of life which they moved from place to place, living in very considerable comfort at the expense of the congregation. A clever rogue could make a very comfortable living as an itinerant prophet… The Didache* clearly saw this danger and laid down quite definite regulations to meet it. The regulations are long, but so vivid a light do they throw on the life of the early Church, that they are worth quoting in full ( Didache 11 and 12).

“Whosoever therefore, shall come and teach you all these things aforesaid, receive him. But if the teacher himself turn and teach another doctrine to pervert, hear him not. But unto the increase of righteousness and knowledge of the Lord receive him as the Lord. And as touching the apostles and prophets, according to the decree of the gospel, so do ye. But let every apostle that cometh unto you be received as the Lord. And he shall stay one day, and, if need be, the next also, but if he stay three, he is a false prophet. And, when the apostle goeth forth, let him take nothing save bread, till he reach his lodging, but, if he ask money, he is a false prophet. And every prophet that speaketh in the Spirit ye shall not try nor judge: for every sin shall be forgiven, but this sin shall not be forgiven. But not everyone that speaketh in the Spirit is a prophet, but if he has the manners of the Lord. By their manners, therefore, shall the prophet and the false prophet be known. And no prophets who ordereth a table in the Spirit shall eat of it, else he is a false prophet…. Whosoever shall say in the Spirit: Give me money, or any other thing, ye shall not hearken unto him, but, if he bid you give for others who are in need, let no man judge him.”

*Didache

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Didache (

/ˈdɪdək/; Koine Greek: Διδαχή) or The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles (Didachē means "Teaching"[1]) is a brief early Christian treatise, dated by most scholars to the late first or early 2nd century.[2] But J.A.T. Robinson argues that it is first generation, dating it c.40-60.[3] The first line of this treatise is "Teaching of the Lord to the Gentiles (or Nations) by the Twelve Apostles"[4]

The text, parts of which constitute the oldest surviving written catechism, has three main sections dealing with Christian ethics, rituals such as baptism and Eucharist, and Church organization. It is considered the first example of the genre of the Church Orders.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. godsabundantgirl permalink
    September 8, 2012 10:03 am

    Thank you SO much for posting this. I wonder if more people knew about this would we wake up? I don’t know, it seems we are just like the Isrealites. We get invited to the mountain but bid another go for us because it costs too much of self. We find ourselves a flashy king that promises us health wealth and every kind of prosperity with absolutely no requirement on our part to live lives humbly obedient before a Holy God….all we have to to is send in a check for $100.

    Whoops, I got a little soap box-y. I do have a question, why do you think they made a rule that a true apostle only stays one or two nights? Paul stayed longer than that in many of the cities he went to.
    Thanks!

    • godsabundantgirl permalink
      September 9, 2012 8:24 pm

      ….never mind, I remembered Paul was a tent maker!

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