The Ante-Nicene Fathers are those early Church fathers (and their associated writings) from the beginning of Christianity to the time of the creation of the Nicene Creed (the prefix "ante" means "before"). People in this category include Polycarp, Tertullian, Julius Africanus, Ignatius, Origen, and Clement.
The writings of the Ante-Nicene Fathers are the subject of controversy within Christianity.
Supporters contend that the positions held by the Fathers represent Christian doctrine of the first centuries after the New Testament, and are thus presupposed by certain Christian apologists to be uncorrupted by later distortions and departures introduced by heretics and apostates. When there was conflict about the truly catholic and orthodox interpretation of the Scriptures, theologians sought backing for their position in the writings of "the Fathers". By this they meant teachers of an earlier era who demonstrated how the apostolic scriptures were understood and applied by the apostles and their immediate successors.
The 20 Canons of the Council of Nicaea demonstrate absolutely no syncretistic compromise with pagan religion, as some have charged. There is no evidence in any readings of the texts of the documents of the Council of Nicaea to support the charge that the emperor Constantine dictated to the council of bishops any change in doctrinal teaching or that he decreed or mandated any revision in any definition of Christian terms to accommodate any pagan beliefs, Roman or Greek or Babylonian.
- Epistles of Ignatius
- Apostolic Fathers
- Apostolic succession
- Great Apostasy
- Ecumenical council
- Biblical Canon
- See The Canons of the Council of Nicaea (christian-history.org) The commentary by the author rejects and even condemns outright some of the canons as being Catholic, sinful, and opposed to the Bible, but most significantly he says nothing about any pagan religious beliefs being evident in any of them.
- Ante-Nicene Fathers (biblestudytools.com)
- Early Christian Writings A.D. 30 through 380 (earlychristianwritings.com)
- Early Church Fathers Overview: Snapshot of the Fathers, by Marcellino D'Ambrosio (Dr. Italy) (crossroadsinitiative.com) Summaries of their doctrines and influence on Christianity.
- Theology Adrift: The Early Church Fathers and Their Views of Eschatology, by D. Matthew Allen (bible.org) Baptist article on evidence of false doctrine in Ante-Nicene Fathers.
- The Great and not-so-Great Apostasy (catholicbasictraining.com)
- The Apostasy: An Era of Spiritual Darkness (thegreatapostasy.com).