Date of Award


Document Type

Seminar Paper

Degree Name

Master of Sacred Theology (STM)


Historical Theology

First Advisor

Quentin Wesselschmidt

Scripture References in this Resource (separated by semi-colons)

Ephesians 3:1; Romans 2:1; Romans 9:2; Romans 4:1; Ephesians 13:1; Ephesians 3:2; Ephesians 4:1-2; Ephesians 10:1-3; Ephesians 9:1-2; Ephesians 6:1; Ephesians 15:1; 2 Corinthians 12:15;


This paper will seek to identify the basic understanding of those Church Fathers who spoke most directly to this topic, namely, Ignatius of Antioch, Gregory of Nazianzus, St. John Chrysostom, and Gregory the Great. The rationale for the selection of these Fathers is twofold. Firstly, their proximity and place in what we identify as the era of the Early Church. Ignatius of Antioch stands closest to the Apostolic Age while Gregory the Great provides the other bookend, standing at the end of what is commonly accepted as the era of the Early Church. Secondly, this wall provide a reasonable expectation of development on the teaching of the Pastoral Office and its purpose. Indeed, as expected in this age of orthodoxy and heresy, of persecution and acceptance, development, or at least, explanation of the purpose of the Office occurred in the crucible of challenge as did many of the church’s teachings. “[T]he church often came to terms with its ministry in response to errant views and practices, and in the process was forced back to Scripture for clarification, support, or redirection” even as “with its other doctrinal understandings, such as the Trinity, Christology, [and] Soteriology.”3 In fact, to ignore this history is considered “the height of foolishness not to consult those of our faith and commitment who have had to deal with situations similar to our own. And church history is the discipline that best permits us to have these conversations with the past.”

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.