These early Christian leaders set the pattern of faith and practice still evident in the Church today. The spirit and impact of that heritage are presented to the reader unfamiliar with the actual writings of these Fathers of the early Church. The author carefully avoids technical and controversial elements that are of interest only to scholars. Historical matters are featured especially in regard to the teachings on the sacraments and the ministry. This emphasis upon the writings results in a concise, yet comprehensive pattern of the Fathers' major contribution to the life and teachings in the early Church. For theological students, ministers, and Christian laymen, this study of the Apostolic Fathers offers a compact introduction to the early foundation and consequent development of Christian beliefs. It illuminates the common faith and heritage that have united Christians throughout the ages. John Lawson taught Church History, Historical Theology, Wesleyan History, and Wesleyan Theology at Emory University's Candler School of Theology for twenty-one years. His other books include 'Introduction to Christian Doctrine' and 'Wesley Hymns as a Guide to Scriptural Teaching.'