Friday, 14 March 2008

Unity of the Faith of the Church Throughout the Whole World

This is the title of chapter ten in Irenaeus' Adversus Heareses. He opens by defining this faith in what he, and the church after him, called the "rule of truth." How universal is this rule today within the global church?

The Church, though dispersed throughout the whole world, even to the ends of the earth, has received from the apostles and their disciples this faith:
[She believes] in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are in them; and in one Christ Jesus, the Son of God, who became incarnate for our salvation; and in the Holy Spirit, who proclaimed through the prophets the dispensations of God, and the advents, and the birth from a virgin, and the passion, and the resurrection from the dead, and the ascension into heaven in the flesh of the beloved Christ Jesus, our Lord, and His [future] manifestation from heaven in the glory of the Father “to gather all things in one,” and to raise up anew all flesh of the whole human race, in order that to Christ Jesus, our Lord, and God, and Saviour, and King, according to the will of the invisible Father, “every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth, and that every tongue should confess” to Him, and that He should execute just judgment towards all; that He may send “spiritual wickednesses,” and the angels who transgressed and became apostates, together with the ungodly, and unrighteous, and wicked, and profane among men, into everlasting fire; but may, in the exercise of His grace, confer immortality on the righteous, and holy, and those who have kept His commandments, and have persevered in His love, some from the beginning [of their Christian course], and others from [the date of] their repentance, and may surround them with everlasting glory.
Roberts, A., Donaldson, J., & Coxe, A. C. (1997). The Ante-Nicene Fathers Vol.I : Translations of the writings of the Fathers down to A.D. 325. The apostolic fathers with Justin Martyr and Irenaeus. Against Heresies, I.x (330). Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems.

Although you can read the whole book for free on the Internet, the version here is citable for an essay.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It's an interesting question, since the Tillichian sort of denial of Nicene orthodoxy has largely been on the wane. Your "revisionists" today, causing schism, aren't existential demythologizers, they're revising Christian sexual anthropology. Compare Rowan William's "A Body's Grace" with Karol Wojtyla's Love and Responsibility and theology of the body homilies. There's much congruence, but there is a discernable fault line, to which the Roman Catholic Church will never pass, nor Evangelicals, so the question is where the mainline Prots will go (and it looks like schism).