Monday, March 7, 2011

What Did Early Christian's Believe?: Jimmy Akin's "The Fathers Know Best"

Jimmy Akin's Book The Fathers Know Best

Once I finished doing the "Happy Happy, Joy Joy Dance," after receiving my copy of Jimmy Akin's The Fathers Know Best in the mail, I settled down to read it. Now, I had a clue as to what I'd find inside this treasure chest--the teachings from the early Christians. Way cool, right? If you've been following his BLOG, you know what I'm talking about. You can also find him on YouTube. Watch his vid on The Didache. Learn about this super early Christian document and you'll already know what it is when you read quotes from it in The Fathers Know Best.

I found much more than I anticipated in the book. He of course explains who are the Church Fathers  (and why they are Church Fathers) and he explains the other sources. You got maps, a section called "Know Your Heresies" and another called "Know Your Councils." I'm telling you, this is a history book/encyclopedia thingy everybody should have.

The meat of the book is organized by topics such as "Infant Baptism" and "The Authority of the Pope." So, if you wonder what early Christians said about them, you've got a bunch of quotes at your fingertips. This is super because it really shows that what the Catholic Church teaches has been around from the beginning. 

Let's take one topic and I'll show you a tiny bit of what Akin includes about it. In topic 42, "The Real Presence" Jimmy Akin begins by telling us the doctrine itself, then tells us what's written about it in Scripture, giving us various Bible passages such as Jn 6:32-71.

You know what's kinda funny about this particular topic? The next person he quotes is a Protestant historian. I kid you not:

The early Church Fathers interpreted these passages literally. In summarizing their teachings on Christ's Real Presence, Protestant historian of the early Church J.N.D. Kelly writes: "Eucharistic teaching, it should be understood at the outset, was in general unquestioningly realist, i.e., the consecrated bread and wine were taken to be, and were treated and designated as, the Savior's body and blood" (Early Christian Doctrines, 440)

And he goes on to quote more. Akin then quotes St. Ignatius of Antioch from c. A.D. 110, St. Justin c. A.D. 151, The Council of Nicaea I, and much much more.

It's clear the early Christians believed Jesus when He said "...who feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has life eternal..." Jn 6:54

((A quick aside--Be sure to read that whole thing Jn 6:32-71. People were freaked at what he's saying--that he's God and that he's giving his flesh to eat. Along with that bit, read Jn1:1 "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." I get so excited because you know what this means--Jesus IS the WORD (the second person of the Trinity) and the WORD was made FLESH for us!  Sorry. Back to your regularly scheduled blog))

See, when I called this book a treasure chest, I wasn't kidding.  But you'll want your Bible handy while reading it. I also like some sticky notes and a pencil because I'm pedantic like that. :)

And if you aren't already Catholic, get ready to become so. In the words of Cardinal Newman: "To be steeped in history is to cease to be Protestant."


  1. Good post!

    This sounds like a very informational and good book to read. I'll be adding this to my list of books I want to read.

  2. Thanks, Teresa. :)
    Oh yes, it's a super book to sit and pour through and keep handy when you have a question or when somebody asks you, "Where do Catholics get that believe?"

  3. Thanks so much for reminding me about this book. I keep hearing about it but have yet to pick it up. I know I'm late to the party, but I googled the book an this came up. Nice to see you again. I think we've crossed paths before out here in the blogosphere!

    1. You are welcome. I think you will enjoy it. It's nice to see again too! :)