This week we will be covering the Apostolic Fathers. These are the church leaders est. 90 AD to 300 AD. This period begins at the end of the apostles and end at the Council of Nicaea. 

Please read the following letters for the next class and develop questions and answers to share in class on who they thought Jesus was. Make observations about how they quoted scripture and spoke about the function of the church. If you can't read the letters fully through, please apply the above instructions to the pages labeled under each letter.  Please check this page later in the week before class, as I will be adding more detailed information about these church fathers. 

The first church father we will look at is Clement and his letter to the Corinthians. 

Clement - Please read pages on PDF

Page 47, 53, 60

Ignatius - Epistle to the Ephesians 

                                                    Chapter VII.—Beware of false teachers.

For some are in the habit of carrying about the name [of Jesus Christ] in wicked guile, while yet they practise things unworthy of God, whom ye must flee as ye would wild beasts. For they are ravening dogs, who bite secretly, against whom ye must be on your guard, inasmuch as they are men who can scarcely be cured. There is one Physician who is possessed both of flesh and spirit; both made and not made; God existing in flesh; true life in death; both of Mary and of God; first possible and then impossible,--534 even Jesus Christ our Lord.

But some most worthless persons are in the habit of carrying about the name [of Jesus Christ] in wicked guile, while yet they practise things unworthy of God, and hold opinions contrary to the doctrine of Christ, to their own destruction, and that of those who give credit to them, whom you must avoid as ye would wild beasts. For “the righteous man who avoids them is saved for ever; but the destruction of the ungodly is sudden, and a subject of rejoicing.”535 For “they are dumb dogs, that cannot bark,”536 raving mad, and biting secretly, against whom ye must be on your guard, since they labour under an incurable disease. But our Physician is the only true God, the unbegotten and unapproachable, the Lord of all, the Father and Begetter of the only-begotten Son. We have also as a Physician the Lord our God, Jesus the Christ, the only-begotten Son and Word, before time began,537 but who afterwards became also man, of Mary the virgin. For “the Word was made flesh.”538 Being incorporeal, He was in the body; being impassible, He was in a passible body; being immortal, He was in a mortal body; being life, He became subject to corruption, that He might free our souls from death and corruption, and heal them, and might restore them to health, when they were diseased with ungodliness and wicked lusts.

Polycarp- Epistle to the Phillippians

                                                                               Chapter XII.--
                                                       Exhortation to various graces.

For I trust that ye are well versed in the Sacred Scriptures, and that nothing is hid from you; but to me this privilege is not yet granted.404It is declared then in these Scriptures, “Be ye angry, and sin not,”405 and, “Let not the sun go down upon your wrath.”406 Happy is he who remembers407 this, which I believe to be the case with you. But may the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and Jesus Christ Himself, who is the Son of God, and our everlasting High Priest, build you up in faith and truth, and in all meekness, gentleness, patience, long-suffering, forbearance, and purity; and may He bestow on you a lot and portion among His saints, and on us with you, and on all that are under heaven, who shall believe in our Lord 36Jesus Christ, and in His Father, who “raised Him from the dead.”408 Pray for all the saints. Pray also for kings,409 and potentates, and princes, and for those that persecute and hate you,410 and for the enemies of the cross, that your fruit may be manifest to all, and that ye may be perfect in Him.

Justin Martyr 

PDF File

Chapters XLIX - 477
Chapter LX - Plat's doctrine of the cross - 

Tertullian - Read the Pages on the PDF

Pages 424, 1199-1202

Next week we will be going over John 1:1 and other various texts in John that have been debated over the centuries concerning the deity of Christ. First I would like us all to take this personality test as we will discuss our different personalities and how it would affect the way we interpret the bible.

Read over how the Jehovah Witnesses interpret John 1:1 and apply the same principles that we learned in class.
Jehovah Witnesses

Find other groups who view John 1 in a different light as your own. Come to class ready to discuss. We may cover some or all depending on time. 
The Way International 
Anthony Buzzard 
Islam Websites
Oneness Pentecostals 

Read over the entirety of John 1:1-18 
A. Ask questions of the text
B. Try to answer those questions
C. Consult Commentaries
D. Do a word study

Preliminary Reflection

     It was five years ago when I married my wife. She was a part of a group named “The Way International.” It is a small group on the outskirts of orthodox Christianity, not known to many. The theology they held is that Jesus Christ was and is not God. Through this, I started investigating the claims in that book. It caused me to doubt my own faith intensively. I began to research the claims that caused strong doubts, but to my surprise, it grounded my belief in Christ’s deity stronger than before. Consequently, I started to have serious questions about the Trinity and the Greeks’ influence on the New Testament writings. For example, Paul quoted from Greek philosophers, the use of the word logos, makes me question many doctrinal stances we believe today.

Paul was born in Tarsus (1). Tarsus is located near the Cydnus River where Greek culture and oriental thought converged, putting Paul in a Greek atmosphere since birth (2). There is great evidence that this affected Paul’s theology even though he went to Jerusalem to become a Pharisee (3). Regardless of this debate, Colossians 1:16-17 is heavily influenced by Stoic thought (4). The passages in Acts 17:28, Titus 1:12, and 1 Corinthians 15:33 all use words from the Greek Poets (5). These points suggest a significance influence of Greek Culture and Philosophy in the lines of the New Testament.

Possibly one of the deepest introductions in the whole of the Bible is John 1. From verse 1 to 18, there is a large, sophisticated picture that many philosophers would dream of constructing. Every section carries with it the topics of the Greek thinkers of that time period. The Greek word λογος (logos) being repeated is hard to miss. The concept of the Logos was well known to the entire Greek world (6). That it could be argued that it was known to them as the Big Bang is to us today. In 600 BCE Heraclitus, was the first on record to having used the word logos (7). It was further developed by classical philosophers Socrates (8), Plato (9) and Aristotle (10) and first century Plutarch (11). A Hellenized Jewish philosopher named Philo used it as a way to represent Yahweh to the Greek and Roman world (12). The Apostolic Fathers (the church leaders in the first and second centuries after the apostles) continued the thought of the Logos from Clement to Tertullian (13).  Putting together the pieces I have collected, the picture we are given for the word logos in John should carry a Greek emphasis.

Through these preliminary inquiries, including my review of “Jesus Christ is not God”, I have developed some questions that must be answered. How much influence does Greek philosophy have on the New Testament? What is the effect of Stoic philosophy on Colossians 1:16-17? Are there any other links like this with other passages that no one has found? How does the logos affect who Jesus is and the concept of the Trinity? If Jesus is God, why does he not come out and say it in a manner everyone can understand? In my first steps in research, I hope to uncover avenues to explore, so that, I can add new truths to the academic community. 

 1. Brand et al., eds., Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary, (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2003), s.v. “Tarsus,” Logos Bible Software, 1558.
 2. Powell and Mark Allan, eds., The HarperCollins Bible Dictionary, 2nd ed. (New York: HarperCollins, 2011), s.v. “Tarsus,” Logos Bible Software, 1010. 
 3. Powell and Allan, 1012
4. Drane and John William, Introducing the New Testament (Oxford: Lion Publishing plc, 2000), 271, Logos Bible Software.
5. Drane, 271
 6. John D. Barry and Wentz Lazarus, eds., The Lexham Bible Dictionary, (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2012), s.v. “The reception of the Logos Concept in Early Church History,” Logos Bible Software.
7.  “Lexicon Strong's G3056- Logos,” Blue Letter Bible, October 12, 2013, accessed October 12, 2013,
8. George Hanfmann, “Socrates and Christ”, Harvard Studies in Classical Philology 60 (1951): 205-33, accessed October 12, 2013,, 216.
9.  R.C. Cross, “Logos and Forms in Plato”, Mind, New Series 63 no. 252 (October 1954): 433-50, accessed October 12, 2013,
10.  John Marshall, A Short History of Greek Philosophy (London: Percival and co, 1891), 64, Ibooks.
11. Scott Kennith, “Plutarch and the Ruler Cult”, Transactions and Proceedings of the American Philological Association 60 (1929): 127, accessed October 12, 2013,
12. John D. Barry and Wentz Lazarus, eds., The Lexham Bible Dictionary, (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2012), s.v. “Philo Judaeus,” Logos Bible Software.
13. M. J. Edwards, “Clement of Alexandria and His Doctrine of the Logos”, Vigiliaw Christianae 54, no. 2 (2000): 159-163, accessed October 12, 2013,

These are cuts from my sermon last weekend. I hope you enjoy. I apologize for the technical difficulties with my IPAD 's notes (sometimes I had to go by my slides that were not sync'd) were messing up.
Addiction to Pornography
Nathan Lauderback 

        The world has become more increasingly saturated with pornographic, or close to pornographic images, even in the public arena. The overall worldview and acceptance of what is considered morally correct has seemed to change with the wide acceptance of “sexual freedom”. Is this freedom a true freedom, or is it a wolf in sheep’s clothing? I say it is a wolf in sheep’s clothing.  Walking down this path, we fade, and change values, beliefs, so that whatever we deem as sacred will be lost. The song by Casting Crowns, “slow fade”, gives a vivid description of how pornography changes the mind, opening it up to even darker elements of the natural man. However, through advances in psychology and neurosciences,the Bible is not the only source screaming about the consequences of pornography.

          We have a personal computer called the brain, which is a complex mechanism  affected by chemicals and circuitry, un-paralleled by any super computer. As un-paralleled as it is, this computer in man has the ability to change the direction of the current flow in his own natural computer. Substance abuse can change these current flows using chemicals to drive or change perceptions, feelings, attitudes, and the brain altogether. Recent discoveries in the sciences have uncovered a link between substance abuses and other compulsions. Changes in the brain's circuitry that affects behavior can even occur in the absence of drug taking. This is best described by Satinover’s letter to the U.S. Senate in Satinover's supporting materials: “Addiction occurs when a habit hijacks brain circuits that evolved to reward survival-enhancing behavior such as eating and sex.” (Satinover). The problem is not just drugs; it is self-destructive behavior that can change the brain's schematics. Dr. Judith A. Reisman says this in response to neuroscience: “We now know that emotionally arousing images imprint and alter the brain, triggering an instant, involuntary, but lasting, biochemical memory trail." (Reisman). 

Images do not take long to ingrain them into the brain's memory. This can occur in 3/10s of a second (Reisman). A larger problem is that the imagery from pornography that is so quick in interring the brain is more immediate of an effect that non-pornographic imagery. Soon, people, either find or do not know that they are trapped in its grasp. This applies to soft-core as well as hard-core pornography. These computers suck up images so fast. Men can not comprehend the images going straight to subvert the left hemisphere of cognition in the brain. We become trapped, even by the erotic images that seem ok on a television ad, but which in seconds change the brain's neuron pathways so that it becomes easier for the brain to be accessed. This is not the only consequence to the brain caused by abusing natural urges like food and sex. When someone takes illegal drugs, it produces toxins in the brain affecting behavior, thought, attitudes, performance of the body, desire and belief. Dr. Jeffrey Satinover makes this statement: “addiction to pornography is chemically nearly identical to a heroin addiction.” (Satinover). He continues on to explain that the only differences are in the delivery system and the sequence of steps. Another similar addiction shows cravings that are similar to alcohol and even closer to that of cocaine. This is due to looking through a fMRI at the part of the brain called the amygdala (Reisman). Cravings are linked to endorphin depletion, and endorphins are the chemical early steps in conjunction with an orgasm. For instance, users of heroin addicts give up sex, comparing their “rushes” to “orgasms” due to endorphin use. Pornography is doing the same thing.  This results in addicts needing to “move” to more stimulating sexual experiences. Just as the heroin addict needs more and more heroin in order to get the rush, the pornography addict needs more and more intensive sexual images to have the better orgasm.

When dealing with cocaine, there are changes in the endorphin levels. Just as the cocaine addict becomes tolerant of their high, the porn addict will also take more to get there. Dr. Mary Anne Layden says,  “Research indicates that even non- sex addicts will show brain reactions on PET scans while viewing pornography similar to cocaine addicts looking at images of people taking cocaine. This material is potent becoming addictive and permanently implanted in the brain.”

A new type of problem is occurring in the brain when someone comes in contact with pornography. Knowing the effects of pornography on the brain, either changing structures or releasing similar chemicals to that of cocaine and heroin, we can look at the neurochemical pathways that change the way the brain operates. Dr. Judith A. Reisman says, “Once our neurochemical pathways are established they are difficult or impossible to delete.” The newly developed pathways in the brain produce intensive arousal states that are joined to the conscious state of libidinous arousal, combined with unconscious emotions of fear, shame, anger, and hostility. These pathways that are developed through pornography cause more and more problems in the psychology of the mind. In the same article Judith describes what is found through the new sciences: pornography triggers internal toxins produced by the brain that she labels as erototoxins. Basically, the brain of the person who is viewing pornography is producing natural mind-altering drugs. She says that these erotoxins will change one's memory at an unconscious level and so remains inconspicuous to the pornography viewer. One of the largest problems facing society today is the internet. Pornographic images can be shown in the secrecy of one's home. Consequentially in today's world, not just magazines but also the internet are bringing these images into houses unnoticed. As the ease of accessibility of pornography goes up, so will pornography alter its viewers' beliefs. Pornography distorts the point and reason for sex. Consequently sex becomes a highly predatory self-gratification. It is not about love, procreation, marriage, or especially anything biblical. Rather it becomes about casual recreation, body parts, violence, faces, strangers, children, animals, and use of women for entertainment. Dr. Mary Anne Layden notes this trend, and she continues to write about Permission-Giving Beliefs that are developed through involvement in pornography; she observes that as the brain changes, so do the values guiding what a person considers as normal permitted behavior and behavior that he or she thinks does not hurt anyone. This is consistent with the changes in the brain. For instance , "Women like sex mixed with violence”, and “children enjoy sex with adults”. The result is miseducation about sexuality and relationships. Not only is it the beliefs that are affected, but also  experiences of regular sex. They will develop problems with premature ejaculation and erectile dysfunction. Along with that they will find it difficult to have sex with a real human being. 

The reason is the rise of the demand for the experience in quantity and type. Per Dr. Mary Anne Lydenne, “ There are no studies and no data that indicate a benefit from pornography use.” (Lyndenne). She also notes that if there is, then the users, performers, spouses, and children would reap the most benefit. The problem is that they are not, and with a society that is awash or bombarded with images that are sexually filled and mostly pornographic in nature, if it was good for the single, or married  person, it would have already made us healthy, but the reality is it has broken, scared and torn so many people and relationships. Let's move beyond the lies and into the truth. Recognize the harmful hazard that pornography presents, and remove the evils that are plaguing lives. Speak out against it, and, for example, how much we focus on homosexuality. Rather, focus on the drug of pornography. So that, relationships and life will not slowly fade into darkness but be brought into the light.

Addiction to Pornography Bibliography 

Layden, A. (2004). The brain science behind pornography addiction and the effects of      addiction on families and communities",. Retrieved from http://

Reisman, J. (2004). The brain science behind pornography addiction and the effects of addiction on families and communities",. Retrieved from

Weaver, J. (2004). Effects of pornography addiction of familes and communities. Retrieved from

Satinover, Dr. Jeffrey. Letter to Senator Brownback, Honorable Members of the Committee. 17 Nov. 2004. <>.

These are cuts from my sermon last weekend. I hope you enjoy. I apologize for the technical difficulties with my IPAD 's notes (sometimes I had to go by my slides that were not sync'd) were messing up.
These are cuts from my sermon last weekend. I hope you enjoy. I apologize for the technical difficulties with my IPAD 's notes (sometimes I had to go by my slides that were not sync'd) were messing up.