1. Clement of Rome (30-100)
Serious disturbance arose at Corinth due to men rebelling against the elders. Clement, a bishop in Rome, wrote in order to persuade these men to end their disturbance. He was not commanding them; rather he was intending to persuade them. He had not authority, and recognized such, in that he was not their bishop. This work is valuable for its information concerning the exalted position of the bishop in the Church at the end of the 1st Century. On a side note, the theory of two imprisonments at Rome for the Apostle Paul and a period of release in the interim is built upon a reference in Clement’s letter (5:5-7).
2. Ignatius (1st-2nd Cent.)
Bishop of Antioch in Syria, he was arrested and sent to Rome to be killed by beasts in the Imperial games. His letters are thanks to the churches who were kind to him along the way. He warns the churches about heresies that threaten the peace and unity of these churches. Mostly they are directed against Gnostic and Docetic philosophies. He emphasizes subjection to the bishop in order to avoid heresy. He is the first to place the office of bishop in contrast with the office of presbyter and to subordinate the presbyters to the monarchal bishop and the members of the church to both.
3. Polycarp (70-155)
A disciple of the Apostle John, he is a good source to the life and belief of the Early Church. The story of his martyrdom has great devotional value. His great faith is a testament to holiness that all Christians should strive for. It also describes the style of persecution and method the Romans would use during this time frame.
4. The Epistle of Barnabas
Most likely written by a Christian from Alexandria around 130 A.D. (not the Barnabas in Scripture). It was intended to help converts from paganism who some Jewish Christians were trying to persuade that the law of Moses should be observed because it was still, so they thought, in force. He consistently goes beyond legitimate Typology to Allegory. This type of exegesis was typical of Alexandrian theology.
5. The Epistle of Diognetus
Diognetus was the tutor of Marcus Aurelius. This letter was, most likely, anonymously written to him in the late 2nd or early 3rd century. He shows the folly of idolatry, the inadequacy of Judaism, and the superiority of Christianity in its beliefs.
6. The Second Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians
It is not a letter but a sermon. It was not written by Clement. It is an interesting illustration of the content of preaching during the 2nd Century.
Bishop of Hierapolis in Phrygia, in order to record the information that he had received from older Christians who had known the apostles. He states Mark wrote his Gospel as the interpreter of Peter and that Matthew wrote his work in the Hebrew language.
8. Apocalyptic LIterature
The Shepherd of Hermas, modeled after the Book of Revelation, was probably written about 150 by Hermas, who was considered, by the writer of the Muratorian Canon, to be the brother of Pius, the bishop of Rome. He was a freed slave who became a wealthy businessman. In the process he neglected his family and they fell into vile sin. He and his wife repented but his children rejected the faith. His work calls sinners to repentance and a holy life.
9. Catechetical Literature
The Didache contrasts the way of life and way of death. Then it discusses liturgical problems, instructions on how to distinguish false prophets from true, how to find worthy officials and other disciplinary matters. Some date the book early in the 2nd Century.
This is not a full list of all the Early Church Fathers but it is a group of the major ones. I would encourage anyone to sift through their literature. Often we are arrogant as to forget that many major doctrinal and apologetic battles have already been fought and won by Christians in the past.