The word “pastor” is just the Latin word for “shepherd.” Why were so many of the famous leaders of God’s people actual shepherds? asks Aphrahat. It’s because they needed to know how to care for creatures that were completely helpless. Jacob was a pastor, and Joseph was a pastor and his brothers were pas­tors. Moses was a pastor, and David also was a pastor. So Amos was a pastor. These all were pastors who fed the sheep and led them… Read more

St. Augustine tells a familiar tale of peer pressure. As a teenager, he was ashamed to be thought of as a “good boy,” so he ignored the advice of his mother. Many years later, he realized that God was speaking to him through her warnings. Whose words were they, God, but yours that your poured into my ears by my mother, your faithful servant? None of them sank into my heart to change my behavior. For she told me—I remember… Read more

St. Irenaeus of Lyons was an expert on heresies—you might say he wrote the book on them. Everyone who thinks he’s smarter than the Church, says St. Irenaeus, is doomed to failure. To keep from being caught up in that failure, we should run to the Church and stay there. Those who desert the preaching of the Church call into question the teachings of the holy elders. They don’t even consider how much more a re­ligious man is worth—even in… Read more

Jim Papandrea is a teacher, author, speaker, and musician.  After graduating from the University of Minnesota with a bachelor’s degree in music and theatre arts, Jim went on to receive his M.Div. degree from Fuller Theological Seminary, with a concentration in youth ministry, then spent several years in full time ministry, focusing on youth and music ministry, and serving as a consultant in youth ministry.  Jim holds a Ph.D. in the history and theology of the early Christian church from… Read more

St. Irenaeus of Lyons warns us against people who claim to know what they can’t possibly know. Listen to the teaching of the Church, and ignore those who claim to know better. The Church has been planted in this world like a Garden of Eden. Thus the Spirit of God says, “You may freely eat of every tree of the garden” (Genesis 2:16)—that is, “Eat from every Scripture of the Lord, but you must not eat with a proud mind,… Read more

Review by Pete Socks I have often written and in my podcasts spoken of, the very real battle surrounding all of us. Spiritual warfare is real. When it is said that the devil prowls around the earth looking to ruin the souls of man……it’s true. Adam Blai explains the demonic in his must-read book Hauntings, Possessions, and Exorcisms. What Adam does in this book is offer a guide for readers to understand how to defend themselves against the demonic. You… Read more

The book of Tobit is one of the Old Testament books left out of the Jewish canon; yet although St. Jerome tended to agree with the Jews, he believed it was more important to submit to the decision of the bishops, as he says here in a letter accompanying his translation of the book. One man can’t set Church doctrine aside, no matter how smart he is. Jerome, to Cromatius and Heliodorus, bishops in the Lord: Salutations. I never cease… Read more

St. Ignatius of Antioch tells the church in Magnesia, which had suffered from divisive politics, that God is not to be found in strife and division. When I was with you, I shouted, I spoke with a loud voice, “Listen to the bishop, and to the priests and deacons.” Some suspected that I said this because I had inside information beforehand about the division caused by some among you. But he for whose sake I am in captivity is my… Read more

How do we know what belief is truly Catholic? St. Vincent of Lerins gives us a simple rule to tell us when we’re safely within the bounds of Catholic truth. In the Catholic Church itself, moreover, we must take all possible care to hold that faith that has been believed in all places, at all times, by all. What is truly and in the strictest sense “Catholic” is—as the name itself and the reason for it tell us—what takes in… Read more

With withering sarcasm, St. Pacian tramples the arguments of the Novatians, a sect that said no one could repent after baptism. When one loner disagrees with the whole Catholic Church, it seems more likely that the whole Church is right. The whole treatise of the Novatians, which you have addressed to me thronged with propositions on all sides, amounts to this, brother Sympronian: that there is no room for repentance after baptism; that the Church cannot remit mortal sin; that… Read more

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