"The one who is coming after me is stronger than I am. I’m not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire."
Ministry of John the Baptist
3 In those days John the Baptist appeared in the desert of Judea announcing, 2 “ Change your hearts and lives! Here comes the kingdom of heaven! ” 3 He was the one of whom Isaiah the prophet spoke when he said:
4 John wore clothes made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist. He ate locusts and wild honey.
5 People from Jerusalem, throughout Judea, and all around the Jordan River came to him. 6 As they confessed their sins, he baptized them in the Jordan River. 7 Many Pharisees and Sadducees came to be baptized by John. He said to them, “ You children of snakes! Who warned you to escape from the angry judgment that is coming soon? 8 Produce fruit that shows you have changed your hearts and lives. 9 And don’t even think about saying to yourselves, Abraham is our father. I tell you that God is able to raise up Abraham’s children from these stones. 10 The ax is already at the root of the trees. Therefore, every tree that doesn’t produce good fruit will be chopped down and tossed into the fire. 11 I baptize with water those of you who have changed your hearts and lives. The one who is coming after me is stronger than I am. I’m not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. 12 The shovel he uses to sift the wheat from the husks is in his hands. He will clean out his threshing area and bring the wheat into his barn. But he will burn the husks with a fire that can’t be put out. ”
The early centuries of the Christian era were marked by a variety of theological ideas in differing stages of development. Numerous theologians emerged with proposals about what the Christian church should believe and how theological ideas related to each other. Some of these theologians gained more prominent status and their ideas became sources on which others built. Patristic theology is thus a formative period, a time in which theological doctrines took on many stages of complexity.
This outstanding handbook by a leading specialist in Patristic Theology provides students and scholars with easy access to key terms, figures, sociocultural developments, and controversies of this period, extending to the ninth-century. McGuckin's introductory essay outlines the main intellectual issues in the early church. His concluding Bibliographic Guide Essay and General Bibliography also features a Website Resources Guide to assist readers with additional ways to study this period.