An Evangelical Introduction to Church History (Part 1)

Updated: May 11, 2020

A Short Summary View

The Amplitheatre in Ephesus mentioned in Acts chapter 19  

Photo by Ken Temple (Ephesus, Turkey)

This article is by no means exhaustive, but here are some highlights from early church history with references and sources for further study that show that Protestant Evangelicals can be deeper in understanding church history properly and more Biblical and stand against the false claim of John Henry Newman, that “to be deep in history is to cease to be Protestant”, that has been attracting so many to Roman Catholicism in recent years.

What follows will be a short outline summary of some examples from early church history that lean more toward the Protestant understanding of doctrines and Scripture, rather than the modern Roman Catholic view.  In future articles, Lord willing, I will elaborate more on each issue and writer; for now it is valuable to see an overview of the evidence for an early church that is not Roman Catholic, and compatible with what will later become Protestantism in the 16th and 17th centuries.

Clement of Rome ( 96 AD) – Presbyters and Bishops are the same office – I Clement 44, confirming Acts 14:23; 20:17, 28; Titus 1:5-7; I Peter 5:1-4.

Clement also has an early statement on justification by faith apart from good works wrought by us within us.  I Clement 32.

See also Mathetes, Epistle to Diognetes (9).