Monday, December 12, 2011

St. Athanasius Incomparably Better than Origen

"Thus each of these heresies, in respect of the peculiar impiety of its invention, has nothing in common with the Scriptures. And their advocates are aware of this, that the Scriptures are very much, or rather altogether, opposed to the doctrines of every one of them; but for the sake of deceiving the more simple sort ... they pretend like their 'father the devil John 8:44 ' to study and to quote the language of Scripture, in order that they may appear by their words to have a right belief, and so may persuade their wretched followers to believe what is contrary to the Scriptures. ... The Lord spoke concerning them, that 'there shall arise false Christs and false prophets, so that they shall deceive many Matthew 24:24.' ... Wherefore the faithful Christian and true disciple of the Gospel, having grace to discern spiritual things, and having built the house of his faith upon a rock, stands continually firm and secure from their deceits. But the simple person, as I said before, that is not thoroughly grounded in knowledge, such an one, considering only the words that are spoken and not perceiving their meaning, is immediately drawn away by their wiles. Wherefore it is good and needful for us to pray that we may receive the gift of discerning spirits, so that every one may know, according to the precept of John, whom he ought to reject, and whom to receive as friends and of the same faith. Now one might write at great length concerning these things, if one desired to go into details respecting them; for the impiety and perverseness of heresies will appear to be manifold and various, and the craft of the deceivers to be very terrible. But since holy Scripture is of all things most sufficient for us, therefore recommending to those who desire to know more of these matters, to read the Divine word, I now hasten to set before you that which most claims attention, and for the sake of which principally I have written these things." - St. Athanasius (#4 Here)

St. Athanasius is a little low-church for me here, I mean, he shouldn't have said that people should read the Scriptures and trust in their individual discernment by God's grace. He should've told them to read the dogmatic pronouncements of their bishops... because they're the successors of the apostles after all, carrying the apostles' orthodoxy and faith... except when they confess heresies like Arianism... at which point only the bishop of Rome is the successor of the apostles... unless he confesses monothelitism... in which case all his dogmatic pronouncements don't count as dogmatic pronouncements... I think that's how the logic goes...

Anyway, while St. Athanasius could suggest such a methodology to stop the Arians, I wish he'd written advice on how to deal with the Anabaptists... (until then, we'll just keep administering 3rd baptism I suppose).

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