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Philosophy & Methodology Introduction

By Tim Warner
Copyright The Pristine Faith Restoration Society

The Pristine Faith Restoration Society believes that the foundational philosophies for discovering God's truth of the Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant Churches are all seriously flawed. We realize that every Christian organization and denomination claims to hold to the original Christian Faith. But, with the extensive variety of beliefs and practices among the plethora of denominations, the real "Pristine Faith" has been obscured within the diversity of opinion, claims, and counterclaims. The genuine seeker of God's truth must have an objective method of finding the truth. None of the organizations listed above have such an objective method.

PFRS rejects the claim that Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox traditions, creeds, and confessions, are authoritative and binding on Christians. The universal "Church" has no authority to decree anything. It is our opinion that only the Apostles whom Jesus personally called and sent had any authority to establish Christian doctrine. Those twelve men, not the Church in general, fully established the Christian Faith in the first century as they were guided by the words of Christ and direct revelation of the Holy Spirit.

The Apostles Jesus personally sent "kept back nothing profitable" (Acts 20:20), and did not fail to deliver to the first century churches "the whole counsel of God" (Acts 20:27). The complete Christian Faith was deposited by the Apostles in many independent local Apostolic churches (plural). The plurality of independent local churches, each independently entrusted with the "the Faith once for all delivered to the saints" (Jude 1:3) and the written Scriptures, insured that the pristine Christian Faith would survive uncorrupted well beyond the lifetimes of the Apostles. No local church had any authority over another. And no hierarchy was established nor intended beyond the local church. The "universal Church," what the early Christians called "the holy Catholic and Apostolic Church," was merely the sum total of local Christian congregations, and included all true believers both in earth and heaven (cf. Eph. 1:10 & 3:14-15). It was not an organization of itself. It had no offices. Church officials beyond the local church level are of human origin and have usurped positions never authorized by Christ, the Holy Spirit, or the Apostles. There is absolutely no authority for such offices from Scripture or Apostolic tradition. Each local church, founded and discipled by the Apostles, was an independent custodian of the pristine Faith — the "Apostles' doctrine" (Acts 2:42). They had no right to change it, alter it, refine it, or add to it. Their job was to defend "the common Faith" (Titus 1:4) against all heresies from within or without. Paul instructed Timothy and Titus to ordain faithful men in every local city-wide church. "And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also" (2 Tim. 2:2). PFRS seeks to do what the Apostles commanded.

The Protestant (Reformed) philosophy of "sola scriptura" is good as far as it goes, but not sufficient. PFRS agrees that the Scriptures are the only completely reliable source of absolute truth today. However, there are two problems with a simple "sola scriptura" stance. First, the Scriptures themselves clearly state that the oral tradition of the Apostles as well as the written text was to be preserved and defended by the churches. "Sola scriptura" ignores the oral tradition of the Apostles for which much historical evidence remains in the writings of the earliest Christians (Apostolic Fathers). This oral tradition recorded by the earliest Christians tells us how those taught by the Apostles handled the Scriptures and understood the "Apostles' doctrine." While this is not an infallible source, it is a valuable source. Second, "sola scriptura" does not address the methodology for interpreting the Scriptures. It is fine to say that the Bible is the final and sole authority. But, how one interprets the Bible is just as important. Following faulty interpretive methods, or illogical arguments, is just as prone to error as accepting Church tradition as infallible. "Sola Scriptura" is a fine idealistic concept. But, it doesn't work in the real world.

At PFRS, we do not claim to have all the answers. We are researching, learning, and growing in understanding. Nor do we present a body of doctrine claiming it is "the whole truth." Rather than defending a particular system, we seek to apply the following four principles: the absolute authority of Scripture, the grammatical historical (literal - normal) method of interpretation, sound logic, and historical precedent (in that order of importance). We are convinced that following these sound principles will lead to the truth in every area of theology.

I. Absolute Authority of Scripture

"Sola Scriptura" was a reaction against the Roman Catholic Church's claim of authority over Christian doctrine, practice, and even Scripture itself. This authority was based on an alleged unbroken chain of Apostolic succession. Roman Catholicism claims the authority to add to the Christian Faith. Consequently, a vast amount of written tradition from the early Church up to the present pope is considered to be authoritative. Much of it is self contradictory, and therefore requires the current leadership to be the arbiter of absolute truth. Roman Catholic "Christianity" is ever evolving. The Eastern Orthodox Church is not much different, except that the authority of the church is spread out to the consensus of all the bishops.

At PFRS, we agree with the Reformers that the Bible alone is the only infallible source of truth. We reject Apostolic Succession, and all claims of authority by the Roman Catholic and Greek Orthodox Churches based on Apostolic Succession. We totally reject the concept of an organized  "Universal Church" with official offices. Therefore, we do not accept either the Catholic or Orthodox Churches (or any other denomination) as being the true "holy Catholic and Apostolic Church." We also reject any independent authority being placed on extra-biblical writings of the Church, Roman Catholic, Orthodox, or Protestant. The Bible alone is the infallible Word of God. All other Christian writings are the opinions of men. Some are good opinions, others are in error. Some preserve much Apostolic tradition. Others inject the philosophies of men. All must be judged by the only completely reliable source of faith and practice — the Bible. The Apostles alone carried authority given them by Jesus and sustained in them by the spirit of prophecy. They handed down the pristine Faith to the next generation through both oral instruction and the New Testament canon. The New Testament canon is fixed and unchangeable, and therefore reliable. Apostolic oral tradition gradually became corrupt within two or three centuries.

II. Grammatical Historical Interpretation

The only way the Bible can be the absolute authority is when it is interpreted objectively. God has chosen to reveal Himself and His truths through words and sentences. Unless those words and sentences mean what they say and say what they mean, we can never have a firm foundation for our faith. If we use subjective methods to interpret the Scriptures we have elevated ourselves to the place of "authority" over the Scriptures. The Bible becomes a mystical book entirely dependent on another source of truth to reveal its meanings or hidden secrets.

Being entirely objective requires faithfulness to the grammar. At times this requires our looking at the Greek or Hebrew text in cases where the English language is less expressive. We must pay attention to the tenses of verbs, gender, number, person, and all of the normal grammatical concerns. Our interpretation must be consistent with the rules of grammar and the normal style of the writer. Therefore, we often look for similar constructions, usage of particular words or phrases, etc., when analyzing a given passage.

We also pay particular attention to the context. We must not take verses out of context. All verses were written as part of a larger thought or series of logical thoughts. In every book there is a logical flow of ideas which relate to one another and follow a sequence. The immediate context is the most important consideration. But, the larger context, including the purpose for the book and the concerns of the original audience to whom it was addressed, are also important.

All Scripture was spoken or written to a primary audience. It was first intended to be understood by those to whom it was originally addressed. Therefore, we must interpret all Scripture in its historical setting, understanding it as the original audience would have understood it given their circumstances, current knowledge, and cultural pressures. Only after we are certain how the meaning applied to the original audience can we apply the same principles to ourselves.

Most Christians interpret Scripture by asking the question, "What does this Scripture mean to me?" That is the wrong approach, because no Scripture was written directly to us. It was only preserved for us. All Scripture was written to an intended audience, usually identified in the particular book. The correct question must be, "What did this Scripture mean to the audience to whom it was addressed?"

By holding to an entirely objective methodology, we are not in any way discounting the working of the Holy Spirit in illuminating our minds and hearts. We recognize that the carnal mind cannot understand the things of God because they are spiritually discerned (1 Cor. 2:14). But this does not mean the Bible is a mystical book and cannot be understood by applying the normal rules of grammar, context, and historical setting. Rather, it means the unconverted (un-illuminated) man has his thinking so warped by sin, and his own justifying his current state, that he cannot comprehend the depth and breadth of the truths taught in Scripture. The carnal mind has an entirely wrong world view and concept of holiness, judgment, love, grace, and mercy, because he has not experienced God personally. Personally experiencing the forgiveness of God that flows from His love and mercy, and the renewing of our minds by the Holy Spirit, is a prerequisite to understanding the things of God as they are presented in Scripture. And of course the pursuit of truth above any agenda is essential.

III. Sound Logic

In building our systematic theology, sound logic is essential. Many theological systems are supported with faulty logic and circular reasoning. Employing poor logic does not necessarily mean a conclusion is wrong, only that the arguments being offered in support of it are wrong.

The Scriptures were given progressively over a period of several centuries, each new revelation building upon previous revelation. New revelation should assume the recipients were familiar with past revelation and would understand the new revelation in light of past revelation. (They could not interpret new revelation in light of something that had not yet been revealed). Therefore, to build a theological case, we must lay a foundation from Scripture, and show how this foundation is developed following the sequence of progressive revelation.

PFRS strives to progressively build a theological foundation that can be proven from Scripture properly interpreted. Our studies attempt to trace a particular doctrine through its sequential development in the Bible. We attempt to adhere to the normal rules of good logic and avoid logical fallacies. Of course, none of us is perfect, and we make mistakes. In such cases, we welcome others pointing out any logical fallacies.

IV. Historical Precedent

The Reformation was an attempt to throw off many corrupt doctrines of Roman Catholicism. We owe a debt of gratitude to the Reformers for the great progress they made in clearing away a thousand years of debris piled onto the foundation laid by Jesus and the Apostles (Ephesians 2:20). They exposed many errors of the Latin Church, and went back to a much more ancient theology.

However, the Reformation left us with some areas of theology still corrupted by Greek philosophical thought. These foreign ideas penetrated Christianity prior to the rise of Roman Catholicism in the fourth century. While the Reformers threw off a great deal of Latin Church tradition, the theological views they eventually settled on were largely those of St. Augustine. This included amillennialism, replacement theology, and the basis of unconditional election taught by Calvin. The Reformation was in part a return to fourth century Augustinian Christianity, not necessarily a return to the Pristine Faith as delivered to the Church by Jesus and the Apostles four hundred years earlier.

After the Reformation some Christians began to return to pre-millennialism (the millennial view of the ancient Church) largely due to the rise of dispensationalism. Dispensationalists removed more debris from the foundation of the Pristine Faith by developing sound principles of biblical interpretation long ago abandoned by the Church. Dispensationalists championed a more literal (grammatical - historical) method of interpreting Scripture, particularly Old Testament prophecy. In doing so, they overturned some of the fourth century Augustinian theology held by the Reformers, and brought us closer to the Pristine Faith of the early Church. However, dispensationalists are not really consistent in applying their methodology, particularly in the New Testament. We believe that a consistent application of the Grammatical Historical method (in both Testaments) demands a radical modification of dispensationalism. Like the Reformation, we believe dispensationalism was another step in the right direction, overturning wrong ideas that have gained a foothold within Christianity. But, it did not go far enough. Traditional dispensationalism still maintains some of the errors that crept into the early Church from Greek philosophy and mysticism.

At PFRS, we believe there is still more debris that needs to be cleared away from the foundation laid by Jesus and the Apostles. We believe the earliest Christian writings after the close of the New Testament canon provide a valuable two-fold resource. First, they contain a discernible record of the penetration and progress of foreign ideas into the Pristine Faith, helping us trace heretical ideas back to their sources. Secondly, they are witnesses to the labor of the Apostles. We do not seek authority from these writings, but view them as imperfect witnesses to the oral teaching of the Apostles. The Apostles of Jesus Christ wrote the documents that now make up our New Testament. They also devoted their lives to founding local churches, and training the next generation of Christians in the Pristine Christian Faith, sending them out to carry on the Great Commission. These second and third generation Christians left a record of their struggle in a pagan culture hostile to the Pristine Faith, and reflect the training of their mentors to a large degree. Therefore, we can find within the early Church literature many elements of the Pristine Faith.

Paul called the Pristine Apostolic Faith "the Common Faith" in Titus 1:4. Jude called it "the Faith once for all delivered to the saints" in Jude 1:3, and instructed the early Church to "earnestly contend" for it, keeping it pure from corruption by the opinions of men. Paul instructed Timothy to seek out "faithful men" and train them to be defenders of his own Apostolic tradition (2 Tim. 2:2). Finally, Paul instructed the Thessalonian believers to "stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word (oral tradition), or our epistle" (2 Thess. 2:15). Obviously, the oral tradition of the Apostles was just as important to Paul and the early Church as his written Epistles.

Unfortunately, oral tradition by its very nature degrades with time, while the written text of Scripture remains fixed. Therefore, the value of mining the early Christian writings for Apostolic oral tradition diminishes rapidly the farther we move from the time of the Apostles. By the time of Constantine and the Nicene Council (AD 325), Christianity had already begun to stray away from the Pristine Faith in doctrine, practice, and organization, largely because of Greek philosophical thinking. We see little value in studying the works of Christian writers after the Council of Nicea. Being three hundred years removed from the Apostles, they cannot provide a faithful witness to the Apostolic tradition evident in the earliest writings. The most valuable witnesses are those who lived contiguous to the time of the Apostles, or had a traceable link back to the Apostles. For example, Polycarp was personally trained by John. And Irenaeus, who wrote a great deal of apologetic material, was taught by Polycarp. Therefore, Irenaeus can claim an indirect linkage to John's oral tradition through Polycarp. And he occasionally spoke of things he had heard from Polycarp that were spoken by John.

We saw that the grammatical - historical method asks the question, "What did this passage mean to the audience to whom it was written?" If we are interested in the actual interpretations of the original audience, we should also be interested in the actual interpretations of Scripture passed down by the original audience to the next generation. Therefore, it follows that our examining the Christian writings of those who were taught by the Apostles, and those who knew them, is the logical next step of the grammatical - historical methodology. In effect it asks, "What are the actual interpretations of Scripture the original audience passed down to the next generation of Christians?" The grammatical - historical method allows us to deduce how the intended audience would have interpreted the text. But it does not usually record how the original audience actually interpreted the text. Examining the early Christian writings provide us with historical evidence of the actual interpretations of Scripture by the original audience and those very close to the original audience, in culture, language, personal relationship, and time, being the heirs of the traditions passed down by the Apostles and their original audience.

At PFRS, we view the early Ante Nicene (pre-AD325) Christian writings as primitive commentaries on the Scripture, and imperfect witnesses to the oral teaching of the Apostles. The earliest of these writings are testimonies to the lifetime of labor by the Apostles. The fruit of this labor is imperfectly preserved in second and third generation Christian writings. We believe it is possible to roughly discern the consensus of opinion of the orthodox churches regarding a variety of theological issues from these ancient documents. While the opinions of those taught by the Apostles are not authoritative, they are valuable as ancient secondary witnesses regarding our interpretations of Scripture. They can provide a historical link to the early Church and the Apostles for a particular interpretation of Scripture. Whenever we can find clear harmony between objective interpretations of the Scriptures and the opinions of the orthodox early writers, we have a very strong case for a theological position. We do not seek to rigidly follow the Ante Nicene writers. Rather, we seek to understand the early Church and why they held the positions they did, whether the result of Apostolic teaching or other cultural factors.

An important premise of the PFRS philosophy is that all new doctrines are false doctrines. If they were not handed down by the Apostles to the early Church they are not a part of the Pristine Faith once and for all delivered to the saints. And we should not be contending for them. The true Apostolic Faith should not evolve or accumulate over time. The Pristine Faith handed down by the Apostles was not in need of refinement by later generations or modern scholarship. The original Christian Faith was complete as taught to the early Church by the Apostles under the direction of the Holy Spirit. Just as we reject the Roman Catholic claim to refine and add to Christian doctrine, we also reject the popular Protestant mindset that modern scholars can improve on the original body of Christian doctrine. Since our premise is that the Christian Faith in its purest form was what was personally taught by the Apostles to the early Church, our task in modern times is to use every means available to us to uncover the historic Pristine Faith as taught in the earliest times. When we find agreement between Scripture, interpreted using sound principles, and the views of the early Church, we can hold these views with all confidence.

It is the view of PFRS that, as the primary heirs of Apostolic teaching, the earliest Christians had a very mature understanding of Christian doctrine. The interpretations reflected in their writings must not be summarily dismissed as underdeveloped or immature just because they happen to disagree with modern theologians. Such a suggestion implies that the Apostles themselves were miserable failures in their primary task as teachers of the next generation of believers. Jesus did not command His Apostles to write the Bible. He commanded them to make disciples of all nations, and to teach them to observe all things Jesus had taught to them. The writing of the New Testament documents was merely a part of their efforts to obey Jesus' command. To suggest that modern scholarship (including that of the Reformers) is superior to the early Church's understanding and handling of the Scriptures (under the training of the Apostles) is absurd unless one accepts the notion of continuous revelation. But this notion is totally incompatible with "sola scriptura."

The advantages of our studying the earliest Christian writers over modern scholars and commentators are enormous.

A. They Spoke Greek
The same Greek in which the New Testament was written was the native tongue of many of these writers. They did not have to learn an obsolete foreign language in seminary to read the Greek New Testament. Therefore, their opinions and interpretations of Scripture are not encumbered by the language barrier and uncertainties of our understanding of ancient Greek grammar. Their understanding of particular passages was in keeping with the common usage of Greek in their day.

B. Ancient Biblical Manuscripts
The earliest writers had many manuscripts of the Bible in their possession that predate all of the manuscripts we have today (both Old Testament and New Testament). Also, some of them used Latin translations made early in the second century, only fragments of which still exist today. The many quotations of Scripture from both the Greek and Latin writers are extremely valuable witnesses to the earliest form of the New Testament text, and in many cases can actually settle disputes regarding variant readings in our English Bibles.

C. Less Theological Baggage & Familiar Cultural Context
They did not have the baggage of two thousand years of tradition and theological systems ingrained into their thinking. However, we must also point out that all of them had some kind of cultural baggage, just as we all do today. And in some cases, this baggage was in the form of Greek philosophical thinking which dominated their culture. This is most apparent in the Alexandrian writers who lived in the epicenter of philosophical speculation, Alexandria, Egypt. Yet, Paul's and John's books in particular were written to believers in this very culture, and deal specifically with the struggles of Christians within these cultural concerns and pressures. The early Christian writers who lived within the Greco-Roman culture were in a much better position to judge Paul's and John's writings than modern commentators. They were intimately familiar with all the cultural concerns addressed by these writers of Scripture. However, the Ante Nicene Fathers theoretically are less reliable when it comes to expounding the New Testament books written to (and about) Jewish believers for the same reasons modern Gentile Christians often misunderstand them ― the cultural divide between Jew and Gentile.

D. Apostolic Oral Tradition
They were privy to oral tradition either directly or indirectly passed on to them by the Apostles of Jesus Christ. Of course, we must be very cautions here, and not take everything they claim was handed down at face value. All claims must be viewed against Scripture. However, there was a certain broad theological base that was uniformly passed down by all the Apostles, which can be gleaned from the writings as a whole. Obviously, we place greater weight on doctrines that were universally held, and less weight in the idosyncracies of particular writers.

E. Heresies Documented
The Early Christian writers also documented and refuted the earliest heresies that entered the Christian arena. Some of the earliest writers, like Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, and Tertullian, were primitive Christian apologists, defending the Faith against paganism, Judaism, and Gnosticism. These writings are extremely valuable. Unlike the pastoral documents which deal mostly with Christian living, these deal with doctrinal issues and demonstrate for us how the early Church handled the Scriptures in a struggle with heresies and competing philosophies. By viewing the progression of Christian writings from the Apostolic age until the fourth century, we can observe the gradual penetration of foreign ideas, that were once refuted by the earliest writers, being absorbed and even canonized as the Church became more and more tolerant of Greek philosophy and even paganism. This allows us to trace wrong doctrine back to its source, and in some cases actually trace modern accepted "Christian" ideas back to heretical sources. Tertullian described the source of heresies that gradually invaded the early Church.

"These are "the doctrines" of men and "of demons" produced for itching ears of the spirit of this world's wisdom: this the Lord called "foolishness," and "chose the foolish things of the world" to confound even philosophy itself. For (philosophy) it is which is the material of the world's wisdom, the rash interpreter of the nature and the dispensation of God. Indeed heresies are themselves instigated by philosophy. From this source came the Aeons, and I known not what infinite forms, and the trinity of man in the system of Valentinus, who was of Plato's school. From the same source came Marcion's better God, with all his tranquillity; he came of the Stoics. Then, again, the opinion that the soul dies is held by the Epicureans; while the denial of the restoration of the body is taken from the aggregate school of all the philosophers; also, when matter is made equal to God, then you have the teaching of Zeno; and when any doctrine is alleged touching a God of fire, then Heraclitus comes in. The same subject-matter is discussed over and over again by the heretics and the philosophers; the same arguments are involved. Whence comes evil? Why is it permitted? What is the origin of man? and in what way does he come? Besides the question which Valentinus has very lately proposed — Whence comes God? Which he settles with the answer: From enthymesis and ectroma. Unhappy Aristotle! who invented for these men dialectics, the art of building up and pulling down; an art so evasive in its propositions, so far-fetched in its conjectures, so harsh, in its arguments, so productive of contentions — embarrassing even to itself, retracting everything, and really treating of nothing! Whence spring those "fables and endless genealogies," and "unprofitable questions," and "words which spread like a cancer?" From all these, when the apostle would restrain us, he expressly names philosophy as that which he would have us be on our guard against. Writing to the Colossians, he says, "See that no one beguile you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, and contrary to the wisdom of the Holy Ghost." He had been at Athens, and had in his interviews (with its philosophers) become acquainted with that human wisdom which pretends to know the truth, whilst it only corrupts it, and is itself divided into its own manifold heresies, by the variety of its mutually repugnant sects. What indeed has Athens to do with Jerusalem? What concord is there between the Academy and the Church? what between heretics and Christians? Our instruction comes from "the porch of Solomon," who had himself taught that "the Lord should be sought in simplicity of heart." Away with all attempts to produce a mottled Christianity of Stoic, Platonic, and dialectic composition! We want no curious disputation after possessing Christ Jesus, no inquisition after enjoying the gospel! With our faith, we desire no further belief. For this is our palmary faith, that there is nothing which we ought to believe besides." (Tertullian, Prescription Against the Heretics, ch. vii).

There is one major disadvantage in considering the consensus of the early Christian writings. All of the writers were converted Gentiles; none were Jews. They were all fully saturated in Hellenistic thinking before coming to Christ. They had a very "Greek" world-view, which in crucial ways was contrary to the Semitic world-view. This difference shows up most pronounced in the Greek concept of the "immortality of the soul," -- a view not found in the Hebrew Scriptures and not held by the orthodox Jewish mind.

The presuppositions of these Greek writers founded in Greek philosophical thought were very hard to overcome. In other words, the alleged "immortality of the soul" was a lens through which many of them interpreted Scripture. Clement of Alexandria and Origen were very heavily influenced by Hellenistic thinking, and sought to mold Christianity into a Hellenistic mold. Other earlier writers, who seem orthodox in every other way, also did not hold the Old Testament view of what a "soul" is, what a "man" is, or what "death" is. Since Apostolic Christianity was based on a Jewish world-view, derived exclusively from the Hebrew Scriptures, these vastly different world-views eventually proved to be too much for the Hellenistic Christians. The end result was the development of Roman Catholicism, with its prayers to the dead saints, purgatory, etc. Thus, PFRS urges caution when reading the early Hellenistic Christians, to recognize this tendency on their part.

Obviously because of these flaws, and the fact that the early writings are not authoritative Scripture, PFRS does not base any doctrine solely on Early Church writings. The Bible is our only absolute authority. Early Christian writings are only consulted after we believe that we have found perfect harmony in Scripture between both the Old Testament and New Testament teachings. If we then find this teaching among the earliest writers, we have complete confidence that we have arrived at the truth. But in those cases where we believe we have found the true biblical doctrine, yet the early Christian writings seem to conflict with what we have found, we are left with one final task -- to explain what led these men into error. We ought to be able to explain the cause, based on Hellenistic culture, deficiencies in the Greek Septuagint (Greek OT that they used), or other factors.

We do not give all of the early writers equal weight. Some were quite orthodox, and demonstrate a very high regard for the Biblical text and sound principles of interpretation. Others show disregard for the text, and employ very subjective (and sometimes quite bizarre) methods of interpretation. Some offer philosophical speculations that conform to the Greek culture, but are foreign to Scripture. But, this is really no different than the spectrum of modern Christian scholarship. As we become more and more familiar with the various ancient writers, we can develop an appreciation for those who tended to be more concerned with handing down apolostic tradition, and those more concerned with philosophy -- merging Greek philosophy with Christianity.

At PFRS, the Bible alone is our final authority. We seek to be faithful to the grammatical historical method, and simply go where sound hermeneutics and sound logic leads (paying little attention to theological sacred cows). When possible, we seek secondary confirmation from Apostolic oral tradition preserved for us in the earliest writings of the Church. We also attempt to trace modern theological positions back to their most ancient sources, whether that turns out to be from Apostolic tradition, Greek philosophy, or Gnostic mysticism. This last feature is what makes PFRS somewhat unique in the Christian theological community. Our goal is to clear away as much debris as possible from the foundation laid by Jesus and the Apostles, and bring the Pristine Faith into sharper focus (Ephesians 2:20 & Jude 1:3).