Thursday, November 17, 2011

How Do We Know the True Religion?

On the curious question of how Christians know heresy from orthodoxy, I found a great quote from St. Irenaeus of Lyons in his book Against the Heresies:

"Anyone who keeps unswervingly in himself the canon of truth received through baptism will recognize the names and sayings and parables from the Scriptures, but this blasphemous hypothesis of theirs [viz. of the heretics] he will not recognize. For if he recognizes the jewels, he will not accept the fox as the image of the king. He will restore each one of the passages to its proper order, and having fit it into the body of the truth, he will lay bare their fabrication and show that it is without support." (via:

It is interesting that St. Irenaeus does not point us in this instance, to a magisterium, but rather to the Gospel, which is signified in baptism (one of the ordinary means of grace).

1 comment:

  1. Andrew,

    Irenaeus in other passages points to the Apostolic Tradition preserved in the churches founded by the Apostles and their successors, in agreement with the preeminent church of Rome. AND he points to the Scriptures themselves (as understood through the Apostolic Tradition and not the Gnostic false one).

    And all of that is true: baptism where we are regenerated and the Spirit comes to us and leads us, the Scriptures which are inspired by God, and the Tradition of the Church as safeguarded by the Spirit with the successors of the Apostles.