Archive for the ‘Apostolic Fathers’ Category

Instructions to a Minister – An Ancient Voice Speaks

June 17, 2008

V. A bishop must be no accepter of persons; neither revering nor flattering a rich man contrary to what is right, nor overlooking nor domineering over a poor man. For, says God to Moses, “Thou shalt not accept the person of the rich, nor shalt thou pity a poor man in his cause: for the judgment is the Lord’s.” [Leviticus 19:15 and Exodus 23:3] And again: “Thou shalt with exact justice follow that which is right.” [Deuteronomy 1:17 and 16:20]

Let a bishop be frugal, and contented with a little in his meat and drink, that he may be ever in a sober frame, and disposed to instruct and admonish the ignorant; and let him not be costly in his diet, a pamperer of himself, given to pleasure, or fond of delicacies.

Let him be patient and gentle in his admonitions, well instructed himself, meditating in and diligently studying the Lord’s books, and reading them frequently, that so he may be able carefully to interpret the Scriptures, expounding the gospel in correspondence with the prophets and with the law; and let the expositions from the law and the prophets correspond to the gospel. For the Lord Jesus says: “Search the Scriptures; for they are those which testify of me.” [John 5:39] And again: “For Moses wrote of me.” [John 4:46] But, above all, let him carefully distinguish between the original law and the additional precepts, and show which are the laws for believers, and which the bonds for the unbelievers, lest any should fall under those bonds. Be careful, therefore, O bishop, to study the word, that thou mayest be able to explain everything exactly, and that thou mayest copiously nourish thy people with much doctrine, and enlighten them with the light of the law; for God says: “Enlighten yourselves with the light of knowledge, while we have yet opportunity.” [Hosea 10:12]

The above ancient advice is part of the so-called “Apostolic Constitutions,” Book II, Section II, Paragraph V. Translation taken from Donaldson et al. (Edinburgh, 1870) “Ante-Nicene Christian Library: Translations of the Writings of the Fathers Down to A.D. 325,” Volume XVII, page 29. Book II was actually translated by Rev. Thomas Smith, D.D. It’s tough to date these “Constitutions,” but the best guess would seem to be third or fourth century.

It is interesting to note the primary method for minister (bishop) to be taught is from studying the Bible.

-TurretinFan

Another Calvinistic Jewel in the Apostolic Fathers

March 3, 2008

CAVEAT: “Calvinistic” is an anachronism. Calvin wasn’t born yet. The proper chronological way to describe the situation is to say that Calvin was being Ignatian — or (better yet) that both Calvin and Ignatius were being Scriptural.

As I was concluding my reading of one book of selections the apostolic fathers, I read through the Syriac versions of Ignatius (in English translation) and came across this Calvinistic gem, taken from Ignatius’ Second Epistle to the Ephesians:

Ignatius, who is Theophorus, to the Church which is blessed in the greatness of God the Father, and perfected; to her who was separated from eternity to be at all times for glory that abideth and changeth not, and is perfected and chosen in the purpose of truth, by the will of the Father of Jesus Christ our God; to her who was worthy of happiness; to her who is at Ephesus in Jesus Christ in joy unblamable; much peace.

(source)

-Turretinfan

Gems of Calvinism from the Early Church: Ignatius

March 1, 2008

CAVEAT: “Calvinistic” is an anachronism. Calvin wasn’t born yet. The proper chronological way to describe the situation is to say that Calvin was being Ignatian — or (better yet) that both Calvin and Ignatius were being Scriptural.

In my reading of the Apostolic Fathers, another gem from the Apostolic Fathers caught my eye, this one from the Epistle of Ignatius to the Ephesians (opening sentence):

Ignatius, who is also called Theophorus, to the Church which is at Ephesus in Asia, deservedly thought happy, blessed in the greatness and fulness of God the Father, predestinated before the worlds to be for ever for a glory abiding, not to be overturned, united and elect in the true passion, by the will of the Father and of Jesus Christ our God, much joy in Jesus Christ and in blameless grace.

(source)

-Turretinfan


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