History of the Church
By: Avery May
Background Chapter~ The Roman Empire
Chapter 1~ Jesus and The Founding of the Church
Chapter 2~ The Early Christians
Chapter 3~ Persecution of "The Way"
Chapter 4~ The Church Father's and Heresies
St. Thomas Aquinas defined a heresy as "a species of unbelief, belonging to those who profess the Christian faith, but corrupt its dogmas. A material heresy is merely a heresy that is a mistake, albeit a grave mistake that needs correction. A formal heresy makes it possible to freely choose with full understanding of the Church, it carries with it a degree of culpability. A number of great and holy leaders arose to lead the Church, explain the faith, and meet the unique challenges posed by different heresies, they were known as the Church Fathers. The study of the Church Fathers and their many writings is known as patristics, the writings of the Fathers provide a unique opportunity to learn and appreciate the wealth of the earliest Christian tradition. Some important Church Fathers are: St. Athanasius, St. Ambrose of Milan, Pope St. Gregory the Great, and St. Hilary of Poitiers.