People of the Early Church vs. People of Today's Church
One of the reasons we study Church history is to meet our relatives. Who have you met so far that you admire? How do you see a family similarity between this person and people in the Church today? Have you met a relative in our study so far that you didn’t like? How do you picture that person's impact on today’s Church?
One person I admire is Polycarp. Here was a man who was the last to know Jesus and stated a very important Truth; "Since Christ is a living Lord you do not need to know someone who knew Him when He was alive". Here once again was a group of people who looked for something in the physical world to link to the spiritual...they had to have a "link", they saw importance in a physical person knowing Jesus and not getting to the Truth...Jesus is the Son of God who is alive and present even after His death, resurrection, and ascension. He is Our Lord who hears every thought and sees every action as He watches over His flock.
I see a link between Polycarp and those in the Church today who have an obvious and fulfilling relationship with Our Lord. There is a big difference between those who speak about faith and those who have a living faith. This faith is present in their face, actions, words, and speech. There are those who know Christ and those who claim to know Him.
There were several relatives that I did not like. I will choose a small quote to emphasize one example...the textbook "Women in Early Church History" stated on page 18, that Jerome believed that the parable of the sower was speaking about the "one hundred fold harvest" as pertaining to the greater blessing of virginity to be twisted. Some of these "Early Church Father's" spoke with such authority that history was influenced greatly by them. I understand some of the points between celibacy and working hard at fulfilling the Lord's will, but to take one of the parables of Jesus and speak about it as if it was pertaining to virginity, widowhood, and marriage to be a teacher who can lead their flocks astray. Yes, parables have "layered meaning", but I cannot help but notice an agenda by some of the early Church Fathers that spun around some "logic" or "rational deduction".
This is true today too! I hear a "prosperity" gospel out there that emphasizes material wealth using twists of Christ's words in order to make the sermon seem that Jesus Himself spoke it. There are wolves in sheep's clothing out there...thank the Lord that we have the Son of God through the Holy Spirit protecting, watching, and helping us uncover the Truth.