When contemplating the term “forefathers,” what images come to mind? Perhaps you envision wise, old, gray-haired men who impart and safeguard essential values within a community. These figures exist in different walks of life, including Christianity. Whether we realize it or not, our faith lineage traces back to the apostles, with significant doctrinal forefathers emerging along this unbroken chain of history. We must respect our elders.
Solomon urges us to heed their counsel: “Do not move the ancient landmark that your fathers have set” (Prov 22:28). What boundaries have our doctrinal forefathers erected? The ancient creeds loom large—Nicaea in 325, Nicaea-Constantinople in 381, Ephesus in 431, and Chalcedon in 451. Among other teachings, these four creeds bear witness to the non-negotiable confession regarding the incarnation of the Lord Jesus Christ. The council of Chalcedon nails this point by stating, “Following the holy fathers, we all with one voice teach the confession of one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ: the same perfect in divinity and perfect in humanity, the same truly God and truly man.”
Were our faith forefathers wrong at times? Absolutely. However, the landmarks they have collectively erected should remain. We do not surpass them in wisdom. Anyone who rejects their united voice flirts with doom. Do not depart from the orthodox faith they have delivered to us, for that faith is the very one Christ delivered to the apostles.