Archive for June 28th, 2019

Issues, Etc.

Dr. Allan Carlson, What Happened in the 1960s?

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Bio:  Irenaeus (ca. AD 130-200), believed to be a native of Smyrna (modern Izmir, Turkey), studied in Rome and later became pastor in Lyons, France. Around 177, while Irenaeus was away from Lyons, a fierce persecution of Christians led to the martyrdom of his bishop. Upon Irenaeus’ return, he became Bishop of Lyons. Among his most famous writings is Adversus Haereses (Against Heresies). This work condemned several errors but focused especially on Gnosticism, which denied the goodness of creation. In opposition, Irenaeus confessed that God has redeemed his creation through the incarnation of the Son. Irenaeus also affirmed the teachings of the Scriptures handed down to and through him as being normative for the Church. (From The Treasury of Daily Prayer/CPH)


In the reading selected for this commemoration in  The Treasury of Daily Prayer, St. Irenaeus wrote regarding the heresies of his day and the truth of Scripture:

For error is plausible and bears a resemblance to the truth but requires to be disguised;  while truth is without disguise and, therefore, has been entrusted to children.

Liars always want to hide their lies. Error, St. Irenaeus also wrote, is, “…craftily decked out in attractive dress”.  We are living in these days amidst quite a fashion show of error and false doctrine, and so was Irenaeus.  This should not surprise as our Lord taught us that Satan is the father of lies.  St. Paul wrote that Satan disguises himself as “an angel of light”. The Lord warned us of wolves in sheep’s clothing, and a sheep wouldn’t hurt a fly.  The sheep’s clothing can be a business suit of a televangelist, the book cover of a recent heresy, or a seminary that denies Biblical truth.    The only different aspect of these errors in our day  is the velocity by which they are published on the internet in cyber-speed. These heresies have infiltrated into church bodies with their guards down. The culture is forming churches, not the Lord in His Word.

The truth has “…has been entrusted to children” and people who receive the Kingdom as child as the Lord prayed and taught:

At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; 26 yes, Father, for such was your gracious will.    St. Matthew 11


2And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them 3and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.   St. Matthew 18

Adults like to think in terms of “moral grays”, a child does not:  it is either right or wrong.  When a father loves his child, the child knows it and believes it. No two ways about it. It is that way with the Gospel:   a child gets it. I have done wrong, God is great as He loved me upon the cross to save.  We are forgiven in Jesus. This is truth without disguise.  The Father reveals His truth to children not the “learned and the wise”. The learned and wise are those who love the wisdom of God as a obedient and loving child his father and mother. Jesus Himself entrusts it to children:  even if the child is 100. It is in keeping with Irenaeus and his love of Scripture is the lyrics of the old Sunday School song:

Jesus loves me! This I know,  For the Bible tells me so; Little ones to Him belong, They are weak but He is strong. Yes, Jesus loves me! Yes, Jesus loves me! Yes, Jesus loves me! The Bible tells me so.

Jesus loves me! He who died, Heaven’s gate to open wide; He will wash away my sin, Let His little child come in. Yes, Jesus loves me! Yes, Jesus loves me! Yes, Jesus loves me! The Bible tells me so.

 Yet, the undisguised truth of God’s Word has so much in it that even the most able minds can not understand it all.  In Irenaeus’ day there were the Gnostics who said creation is evil, spirituality is good. Plausible…except it is not the Scripture:  see Genesis 1. In fact,  God became FLESH, His own creation to redeem us from our flesh to walk in the Spirit.  It is the heretics, who have a enough of God’s own truth, to disguise and then complicate the truth of God’s own Word,  looking to themselves and a ‘superior’ spirituality. Again, it looks good but it is a wolf disguised in sheep’s clothing (see Matthew 7:15).  Beware,  said the faithful Bishop Irenaeus.

 Irenaeus also famously said, “The glory of God is man fully alive.”  How?  

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Answer: Jesus loves me.  Upon Him, the solid rock, I stand, all other ground is sinking sand.  We can grow and be edified, built-up by the Holy Spirit.  A child can get it and it is entrusted to His children of all ages and for all the ages until He comes again. 

Almighty God, You upheld your servant Irenaeus, giving him strength to confess the truth against every blast of vain doctrine.   By Your mercy, keep us steadfast in the true faith, that in constancy we may walk in peace on the way that leads to eternal life; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

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