Actually the first Early Church Fathers who extensively quoted from the Bible lived at the end of the 2nd century as Irenaeus and Tertullian. Those who were before them as Ignatius, Polycarp, Barnabas and Justin Martyr quoted very few verses from the Bible and their quotes from the New Testament were even fewer. Besides, a large portion of these few quotes were not really quotes, but they were only narrations by meaning. It could have been that there was a common source from where the Gospels were copied, and there is already a theory telling that there was a common source for the Synoptic Gospels called the Q source, and many theologians adopt this theory. You can make sure of what I am saying concerning the quotes of the Church Fathers by downloading E-sword program from e-sword.net and installing the book of Ante-Nicene Fathers on the program, it will be highlighting the verses quoted, and you can easily distinguish them with no need to read all these books.
Heresies of Early Church Fathers
What is more important is that many early Church Fathers adopted heretical opinions, let’s see some of these opinions below:
Theophilus of Antioch:(c. 183 AD)
In his book “To Autolycus”, Theophilus of Antioch said in Chapter 15 that the Trinity is “God, His word and His Wisdom”, and in Chapter 10 that “the Word is the Spirit of God” which is against what the Trinity teaches that it is God, His word and His spirit. And for sure the word is NOT the spirit as this will lead to the Monarchian heresy which tells that the Father is the Son is the Holy Spirit; one person not three different persons one God.
Papias of Hierapolis: (c. 155 AD)
Papias gives an interesting account on Judas’ death saying
” Judas walked about in this world a sad example of impiety; for his body having swollen to such an extent that he could not pass where a chariot could pass easily, he was crushed by the chariot, so that his bowels gushed out. ” (Source here)
This doesn’t match at all with what the Gospels say:
Matthew 27:5 And he cast down the pieces of silver into the sanctuary, and departed; and he went away and hanged himself.
It’s important to mention here that Papias is commonly used by Christian scholars to prove the authenticity of Gospel of Matthew because of what he said about it:
Matthew put together the oracles [of the Lord] in the Hebrew language, and each one interpreted them as best he could. (Source here)
So we see that Papias was talking about a gospel of Matthew and saying that Judas died with a different way from which the gospel of Matthew in hand talked about. It seems that he knew a different gospel of Matthew.
Irenaeus (c. 202AD)
This is also against Christian teachings that Jesus died at 33. Did the Holy Spirit inspire Irenaeus the church father who fought against heresies with a false teaching? Or was Irenaeus himself preaching heresies?
Tertullian (c.225 AD)
Tertullian followed and defended the heretical Montanus:
In Africa there was a lot of interest in the new prophecy, and Tertullian came to believe that it was genuine, accordingly mentioning it and defending it strongly in his later works. Unfortunately his work in defence of it, De ecstasi, in 7 books is lost. Tertullian fiercely attacks those who condemned the new prophecy, and in attacking the church authorities as more interested in their own political power in the church than in listening to the Spirit, he foreshadows the protestant reaction to papal claims. (Source here)
Origen: (c.253 AD)
Although being a main source for Christians as an early church father, Origen actually adopted many heretical opinions, Philip Schaff tells concerning him:
”For — and in this too he is like Schleiermacher — he can by no means be called orthodox, either in the Catholic or in the Protestant sense. His leaning to idealism, his predilection for Plato, and his noble effort to reconcile Christianity with reason, and to commend it even to educated heathens and Gnostics, led him into many grand and fascinating errors.” (Source here)
How could Heretic fathers be a proof for the truth?
All this proves that the Christian belief wasn’t settled even in the 3rd century, which gives the conclusion that the real Gospels were not that genuine, and that a lot of theological problems were present even among early church fathers whom are supposed to be a main evidence for the Bible through their quotes and the defenders of their Christian faith against heresy. How could they be evidence to the New Testament and to Christian belief when they are actually adopting opinions that are obviously against what the Gospels teach and what Christians now believe? Aren’t these church fathers orthodox Christians who were filled with the Holy Spirit and were actually quoted by Christians as the conquerors of heresy? How could they be conquerors of heresy when they themselves adopted heresies?