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Four Witnesses: The Early Church in Her Own Words
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Four Witnesses: The Early Church in Her Own Words

4.36 of 5 stars 4.36  ·  rating details  ·  131 ratings  ·  22 reviews
What was the early Church like? Contrary to popular belief, Rod Bennett shows there is a reliable way to know. Four ancient Christian writers--four witnesses to early Christianity --left us an extensive body of documentation on this vital subject, and this book brings their fascinating testimony to life for modern believers. With all the power and drama of a gripping novel ...more
Paperback, 343 pages
Published March 1st 2002 by Ignatius Press
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Jeff Miller
Having just read Jimmy Akin’s “The Fathers Know Best” and Michael O’Briens “Theophilos” I found Rod Bennett’s book “Four Witnesses: The Early Church in Her own Words” to fit right in a reading theme of the early church and the Church Fathers. I had previously heard plenty of good things about this book and I found my high expectations to be exceeded.

This book runs along two basic themes. The first being related to conversion and apologetics as Rod Bennett tells the story in the introduction how
I'm quite impressed with this book! I wanted to read up on the Church Fathers a bit, but was afraid it would overtax my peanut brain. But I am finding this book to be a very easy, yet enlightening read! I wish I had read it last year, actually. Its one of those books that makes me so glad I had the good sense to join the Church!
As a lapsed Catholic, this book changed my life.
"Four Witnesses: The Early Church" covers the key figures of the 2nd Generation leaders of Christianity from 90 AD to 170 AD; Clement of Rome, Ignatius of Antioch, Justin Martyr, and Irenaeus of Lyon. They faithfully transmit the Christian message given to them by Apostles and disciples of Apostles. They also stand against teachings that are different from the Jewish-based Christian understanding of God, nature, and man.

The central Christian message is -- Jesus lived, died and was resurrected as
This book was a tough slog, but it was well worth it. It was cool to read excerpts from the writings of these four early Church fathers. I did not even realize that there was a "gap century" or two from Pentecost until when the Bible was written and accepted by the early Church. How did the early Church survive until then? Also, lots of other faux Christian cults were popping up everywhere. Perhaps my favorite early Church leader to read was Justin Martyr. A Greek, he studied Socrates and Aristo ...more
Truly inspirational and immensely informative. The early church's struggles and successful outcome are nothing short of miraculous. So many faithful martyrs refused to denounce the faith in the face of every imaginable torture, and so many tests for those who followed the apostles. Really presents a fantastic view into the early development of the church.

Protestants, beware. There's a great deal of information presented that highlights Catholicism as the true faith of the apostles and schisms a
Laura Manske
A must read for Christians, well written history of four of the early fathers of the Church written by a Protestant trying to prove that the Roman church has fallen from its roots. He discovers along the way that he was wrong.
Matthew Shaw
I enjoyed Bennett's careful positioning of source documents from Early Christianity. This book gives us an insightful look into the practice and faith of the primitive, post-apostolic era of the Church.
Rod Bennett is a convert to Catholicism from Protestant Evangelicalism. It was his study of the early church that convinced him that the Catholic Church as it is now is the same as the original church. His writing is clear and easy to follow, and the excerpts from the early church witnesses have been aptly chosen and revealing of their struggles. Not only did they have to deal with persecution, but there were many heretical off shoots of Christianity that corrupted the true faith. The final chap ...more
Searching for "Truth" takes us back to the start. The more you read the more you/I realize that the early Church was Catholic.

Dagmara R
One of the best books I have read recently. Read it! Well worth your time.
Robert Corzine
This book really does tell the story of the early Church in Her own words. Bennett has put the patristic material into a narrative form and provided some historical context to make it read like a story. But the original words of Clement, Ignatius, Justin, and Irenaeus are printed in bold so that you can clearly see which parts Bennet is adding and which parts are by the ancient writers themselves. It looks to me like about 40% of the text is the work of these original "witnesses." Excellent book ...more
"To be steeped in history, is to cease being a Protestant." This book takes excerpts from the authentic writings of four early Church Fathers who lived and died for the early Christian faith and weaves these excerpts into a novel form. Two of these men had learned from the apostles themselves. It has been said "the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church." If you look at the church they describe, it looks very much Catholic...and that church is still around today. If you are searching fo ...more
Erin Henry
Very flowery writing style which didn't appeal to me. The information however was interesting. I kinda wish he'd put his afterword as the preface since it details his journey from evangelicalism to Catholicism. As he learned about the early church (as in right after the apostles), especially studying Polycarp, Ignatious, Justin the Martyr and Clement he came to believe that authority was passed down to govern and guide the church.
I enjoyed this book. It's a nice painless introduction to the writing of the men who learned the faith as students of the original apostles. The author occasionally imagins what it might have been like during that early period of the Church, but not to excess and I can forgive him because I do the same thing too.
Christopher Raffa
An easy read and intro into four fathers of the early church. I could have done without the afterword; an interesting apology for those who have traveled to Rome having been disheartend by the bland American Evangelicalism that pervades our religious landscape.
This was a really heavy book. It is a slow read but has a lot of good information. We did it for the Spiritual Book club at church and it really needed a lot longer than a month to be read in. It took me several months.
Ted Leon
A very interesting book that discusses the Church in the period right after the Apostles. The writings of four early Church Fathers shows the development of the Church, including its beliefs, worship, structure and governance.
Good summary of the early church. Easy to read. I highly recommend this book for people that are interested, but not committed enough, to read the early fathers for themselves.
I found this book is absolutely incredible - both spiritually and emotionally impacting. Read it!
Bennett did his homework, and as a bonus, his prose is sometimes lyrical.
One of the best books I've read in a long time. I plan to re-read it soon, something I almost never do!
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My first published writing appeared when I was 15 years old in the pages of the legendary Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine. Since then, I've been featured in other national publications, ranging from Rutherford and Gadfly to Catholic Exchange and Our Sunday Visitor. I spoke on film and television topics for 10 years at Jesus People USA's Cornerstone Rock Festival, leading seminars on the cinem ...more
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