Church History Loose Ends
He taught during the persecution and developed his theology under fire.
In “Against Heresies” he wrote against Gnosticism…and most importantly for our loose ends today, against the leaders of the various Gnostic sects.
Heretics like Marcion claimed to have received their doctrines straight from either Christ or the Apostles and while Irenaeus refuted that, he also drew distinct lines linking the bishops of the various cities back to the Apostles.
Irenaeus himself was a disciple of Polycarp, who was a disciple of John…thus the apostolic teachings were handed down from the apostles to the bishops in an unbroken chain of custody.
Thus, began the doctrine of apostolic succession.
The intent was to assure that we could trust that there was an unbroken chain from Jesus and the Apostles to the current time.
The concept of the rule of faith was also introduced to preserve sound doctrine.
Irenaeus pointed to Rome as an example of how that apostolic succession of doctrine and bishops worked…while he was the bishop of Lyons in France.
Why did the early medieval church take the Bible out of the hands of the people?
The motives weren’t evil…the objective was to protect the people from false interpretations of scripture such as the Gnostic heresies. The church pulled the Bible in and gave the clergy authority to preach it under it’s authority to protect it from heretics and ensure that doctrine and traditions remained consistent.
As Dr. Frank James points out, when the Reformation returned the Bible to the masses a lot of guys ran through that door.
Where does the soul come from?
There were three views:
1. Creationism was the view that each soul was individually created by God in the womb.
2. Origen held that the souls of men were preexistent before creation.
3. Tertullian held a view called traducianism that believed that the child got its soul from the parent just as it gets its body. Some Lutherans and a few Reformed hold to a type of this view.
Cyprian said a couple controversial things that took things even beyond Irenaeus.
“Rebellion against the bishop is rebellion against the church.”
“There is no salvation outside the church.”
I’m trying to get stuff cleaned up before we tackle Augustine and the incredible 5th century of the church…
If you have questions or there are areas that you would like to see us write on, let us know.