In this passage, Clement of Rome claims several facts. (1)The gospel or good news of the Kingdom of God was the major Christian message. (2)This gospel had been given to the apostles by Jesus himself even as it came from God. (3)Jesus’ resurrection provided the assurance of the truthfulness of these teachings.
1 Therefore, some well-known works such as the Shepherd of Hermaswill not be included in this discussion at all, since it contains little that might be counted as historical information concerning Jesus.
2 Quotations from the apostolic fathers are taken from J.B. Lightfoot, The Apostolic Fathers.
3 Clement of Rome, Corinthians, 42.
From Gary R. Habermas, The Historical Jesus – Ancient Evidence For The Life Of Christ (in print at Amazon)
(4)With the additional certainty of Scripture, the apostles spread the gospel. (5)Wherever the gospel was preached and local congregations were started, leaders were chosen to minister to the believers.
This certification of a chain of authority from God to Jesus to the apostles to the early Christian elders is interesting not only in that it was the basis for early doctrinal proclamation and church organization. Additionally, Clement of Rome anchors this authority in the belief that Jesus was raised from the dead and in the Scripture. A miraculous event in history was thus taken as the basic sign of authority behind the preaching of the earliest Christian message. Ignatius
As bishop of Antioch and a leader in the early church, Ignatius was condemned to death in Rome. On the way to his execution he addressed seven letters to six churches and one individual (Polycarp). These letters are early witnesses to Christian doctrine and to early church hierarchy, being written about AD 110–115. They also contain several historical references to Jesus. In his epistle to the Trallians, Ignatius states: Jesus Christ who was of the race of David, who was the Son of Mary, who was truly born and ate and drank, was truly persecuted under Pontius Pilate, was truly crucified and died in the sight of those in heaven and on earth and those under the earth; who moreover was truly raised from the dead, His Father having raised Him, who in the like fashion will so raise us also who believe on Him.^4 In this portion, Ignatius affirms several facts concerning Jesus. (1)He was of the lineage of David and (2)born of Mary. (3)As such, he really lived, ate and drank on the earth. (4)Jesus was crucified and died at the hands of Pontius Pilate. (5) Afterward God raised him from the dead, (6)as an example of the believer’s resurrection. Again we perceive how the resurrection was the chief sign for believers, in this case that they would be raised from the dead like Jesus.