Protestant preachers tend to stick to talking about the Bible and C.S. Lewis. No doubt, there is plenty to explore in the words of Sacred Scripture and in a great writer like Lewis. What you won't find is a comfortable Protestant who knows these quotes here...some of which are taken from men who were taught the Christian faith by the very authors of Scripture!
We should all be able to agree that if our particular view of a topic is correct, then there should not be periods like 1,000 years that go by in Christian history while the opposite view is preached historically and our view is never mentioned by anyone. That would be absurd, right?
I have already explored whether Protestantism is not like the early Church...
And now on to the top 5 list-
Top 5 Early Church Quotes That Protestants Don't Know
The apostles appointed men to succeed them in their ministry. In other words, they did not figure that future Christians would just need their writings (the New Testament) and no ecclesial leadership, which is what many Protestants imagine today.
Hear the words of Clement of Rome, writing in 96 AD. This is a man who learned the faith personally and was ordained by Peter and Paul:
The apostles have preached the gospel to us from the Lord Jesus Christ; Jesus Christ [has done so] from God. Christ therefore was sent forth by God, and the apostles by Christ. Both these appointments, then, were made in an orderly way, according to the will of God. Having therefore received their orders, and being fully assured by the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, and established in the word of God, with full assurance of the Holy Ghost, they went forth proclaiming that the kingdom of God was at hand. And thus preaching through countries and cities, they appointed the first fruits [of their labours], having first proved them by the Spirit, to be bishops and deacons of those who should afterwards believe.
21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.” 22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” (John 20)
16 “He who hears you hears me (Luke 10)
It is not hard to imagine that the apostles knew these words from Jesus and understood His mission was to continue on the earth, through His body, the Church. The Bishops are the successors of the apostles and Clement was aware of this. This became known as apostolic succession.
Notice that there are exactly zero great Christians in the first millenium of the Church to rail against apostolic succession or say it is not valid. Was there not a single wise Christian for over 1,000 years after the apostles?
Ignatius of Antioch, writing to the church at Smyrna, around 107 AD. This is a man who learned the faith personally from the apostle John over many decades, not a short period of time.
Chapter 7. Let us stand aloof from such heretics
They abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer, because they confess not the Eucharist to be the flesh of our Saviour Jesus Christ, which suffered for our sins, and which the Father, of His goodness, raised up again. Those, therefore, who speak against this gift of God, incur death in the midst of their disputes. But it were better for them to treat it with respect, that they also might rise again. It is fitting, therefore, that you should keep aloof from such persons, and not to speak of them either in private or in public, but to give heed to the prophets, and above all, to the Gospel, in which the passion [of Christ] has been revealed to us, and the resurrection has been fully proved. But avoid all divisions, as the beginning of evils.
Chapter 8. Let nothing be done without the bishop
See that you all follow the bishop, even as Jesus Christ does the Father, and the presbytery as you would the apostles; and reverence the deacons, as being the institution of God. Let no man do anything connected with the Church without the bishop. Let that be deemed a proper Eucharist, which is [administered] either by the bishop, or by one to whom he has entrusted it. Wherever the bishop shall appear, there let the multitude [of the people] also be; even as, wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church. It is not lawful without the bishop either to baptize or to celebrate a love-feast; but whatsoever he shall approve of, that is also pleasing to God, so that everything that is done may be secure and valid.
Let us also recall that Polycarp, the great Bishop of Smyrna who lived until the mid-second century, also was taught by John. In Polycarp's letter to the Philippians, he commends the letters of Ignatius and attaches them to his own letter. This is quite an endorsement. Polycarp was also in full communion with Rome, journeying there right in the mid-second century to discuss the proper calendar for Easter. Let us notice that there are exactly zero great Christians in the first millenium of the Church to contradict what Ignatius of Antioch says here, and let us recall that it was at Antioch that the disciples were first called Christians (Acts 11:26) and Ignatius was probably alive at that time. Was there not a single wise Christian for over 1,000 years after the apostles, who knew that Christians didn't need bishops in succession from the apostles, as Protestants would say today?
The First Apology of St. Justin Martyr, written in the mid-second century-
No one may share the Eucharist with us unless he believes that what we teach is true, unless he is washed in the regenerating waters of baptism for the remission of his sins, and unless he lives in accordance with the principles given us by Christ.
We do not consume the eucharistic bread and wine as if it were ordinary food and drink, for we have been taught that as Jesus Christ our Savior became a man of flesh and blood by the power of the Word of God, so also the food that our flesh and blood assimilates for its nourishment becomes the flesh and blood of the incarnate Jesus by the power of his own words contained in the prayer of thanksgiving.
Let us notice that there are exactly zero great Christians in the first millenium of the Church to contradict what Justin says here. Was there not a single wise Christian for over 1,000 years after the apostles who knew that communion was just a symbol, as Protestants would say today?
QUOTE 4- The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass
The Didache is an early Christian catechism, perhaps dating to the first century. The Didache affirms the The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass which is denied by Protestants today.
Chapter 14. Christian Assembly on the Lord's Day
But every Lord's day gather yourselves together, and break bread, and give thanksgiving after having confessed your transgressions, that your sacrifice may be pure. But let no one that is at variance with his fellow come together with you, until they be reconciled, that your sacrifice may not be profaned. For this is that which was spoken by the Lord: In every place and time offer to me a pure sacrifice; for I am a great King, says the Lord, and my name is wonderful among the nations.
Let us notice that there are exactly zero great Christians in the first millenium of the Church to contradict what the Didache says and to state what Protestants say about the Mass today. Was there not a single wise Christian for over 1,000 years after the apostles?
St. Ambrose, the great teacher of St. Augustine (De sacramentis, Bk. 4, chs. 4 and 5)
This bread is bread before the words of the Sacrament. But when the words of Christ come to it, it is the body of Christ. ... Before the words of Christ it is a cup full of wine and water. When the words of Christ become operative, the blood which has redeemed the people is caused to be there.
Let us notice that there are exactly zero great Christians in the first millenium of the Church to contradict what this prominent Bishop says about the true presence of Christ in Holy Communion! Was there not a single wise Christian to rebut Ambrose for another 1,000 years?
For another 12 quotes that Protestants don't know, continue on to this article.