What is a church father?
Here's the answer:
A church father is a teacher in the very early days of Christianity. They taught us to defend the truth.
The church fathers can be broken down into three categories—the apostolic fathers, the ante-Nicene church fathers, and the post-Nicene church fathers.
The apostolic fathers would have been around during the times of the original Apostles. They would have been taught by Jesus’ Apostles. One of the apostolic fathers is Clement of Rome. Clement became the bishop of Rome after taking Linus’ place. Another apostolic father was Polycarp, who was a disciple of the Apostle John.
The ante-Nicene fathers were Irenaeus, Ignatius, and Justin Martyr. These church fathers came after the apostolic fathers and were before the Council of Nicea in A.D. 325. The post-Nicene fathers were Augustine, Eusebius, Jerome, and Ambrose. Each of these church fathers from different periods of time have done great things to help others learn about the Bible. The apostolic fathers’ main concern during their time was proclaiming the Gospel exactly the way the disciples proclaimed it.
The ante-Nicene church fathers spent most of their time defending the church from false beliefs. They still focused on sharing the Gospel, but they had many false doctrines trying to sneak into the church. The post-Nicene church fathers’ main task was defending the Gospel against heresies. Heresies are false beliefs that go against the Bible. None of the church fathers were perfect, but they are good role models for us today.
"Brothers and sisters, remain strong in the faith. Hold on to what we taught you. We passed our teachings on to you by what we preached and wrote" (2 Thessalonians 2:15).