Wednesday, July 02, 2008

rote rewind: it's happened before


"Not everyone believes what you do Morpheus."
"My beliefs do not require them to..."





here's something i found just a few hours after finishing my last post. i will post what i have here although the language can be a little strange to read if you are not used to it, considering he speaks in very long sentances translated in older english. i trust you are able to follow...

"When they [the heretics] are refuted out of the Scriptures they betake them to accusing the Scriptures themselves as if there were something amiss with them and they carried not authority, because the Scriptures, they say, contain diverse utterances, and the truth cannot be found in them by those that know not the traidition. For that, they say, has been handed down not by means of writings but by means of the living voice; wherefore Paul also said:'Howbeit we speak wisdom among the perfect: yet a wisdom not of this world.' And this wisdom each one of them claims to be that which he has found by himself, that is, a thing invented...

Yet when we appeal again to the tradition which is derived from the Apostles, and which is safeguarded in the churches through the successions of presbyters, they then are adversaries of tradition, claiming to be wiser not only than the presbyters but even than the Apostles, and to have discovered the truth undefiled... Thus it comes about that they now agree neither with the Scriptures nor with tradition... Such, beloved, are our adversaries in this conflict, men after the fashion of slippery snakes, seeking to escape every way..." - Irenaeus, from Adversus Haereses, c. 180AD


this is a good example of old theology and discussion. irenaeus is obviously of the othodox and "apostolic tradition." when looking for opposing viewpoints of old, you generally only find them in writings such as these which spell out the problems that the church fathers had with any particular group of people for going against tradition. you get a small glimpse of what the heretics believed, but not without shading and personal commentary.

however, it looks to me as if BOTH traditions have a long heritage. and the things we are finding now are nothing new. just things that refuse to die. irenaeus goes on to spell out the correctives for this and why it is important to pay heed to those men who have been appointed to position. he also speaks of those who have "unauthorised gatherings" outside of the offical church gatherings and how they should be stopped immediately... obviously i am caught up in a tension that has been going on for well over 1828 years. hmmm....

15 comments:

Valorosa said...

LOL

It was less than 50 years ago that the catholics decided to let their parishioners know what they were saying during mass.

Nothing new under the sun.

I have discovered one of those snakes they talk of. You never really know for sure until you get close enough for them to hiss at you.

walkingawayfromreligion said...

Wow, you've got an interesting blog here glad you left me a comment so that I could find it!!! I'll be back (you've been warned)

Katherine Gunn said...

Hmm... I wonder what would qualify as an unauthorized 'gathering?'

Susan said...

Jon, does the fact that this tension has been around for over 1828 year make you feel better about it or worse?

That is, a sense of relief that you are not experiencing anything that others have not experienced OR a sense of annoyance that these things are still go on.

jON said...

it depends on the day, susan.

sometimes i feel strong and confident in my connection w/god and nothing can get me down. other days not so confident, and i wonder if i'm fooling myself and am all of the things that "they" think i am.

jON said...

no, thank YOU for stopping by, WAfR.

we'll all be here with bated breath eagerly awaiting your return. ;-)

seriously...

jON said...

according to him an unauthorised gathering is one that takes place lead by people not chosen in the succession of apostolic teachers in a place other than the offical meeting place for your local parish.

Erin said...

I think Apples to Apples HAS to be an unauthorized gathering, then. Darn it, we're all heretics.

It is good to know that there really is nothing new...it seems to make it more bearable that this isn't a new tension. I, too, sometimes wonder if I'm fooling myself...

Katherine Gunn said...

Yikes! By that definition, even a time of family prayer could be an unauthorized gathering.

One Voice of Many said...

It is comforting to think that from the beginning of the church there have been differing viewpoints. Maybe it's a bit unclear for a reason - maybe to give way for a variety of interpretations and that be ok? The problem is, it's not ok - at least not to most people. The desire seems to be for a strict and definable outline that can be prescribed and checked off as followed. I tried that life as did many of us here only to find that it led to a very dead end.

There is a part of me that still has that painful cringe of 'what if I'm wrong' but that surfaces less and less lately. When it does, looking back to know that these issues and questions have been tossed around since the very beginning helps me at least see that many others have had these same struggles. I also see grace in a such a way now that I don't worry about the consequences as much. Honest questions can't be held against us. I say that not with some proof of knowledge but that it would make no sense to think that they would be.

Katherine Gunn said...

Hmm... I think, at the heart of it, is a desire to be in control. If we have it all mapped out - know what is the right and wrong thing - then there are no surprises and we are comfortable. We want to define what God is.

To let go of the religious rules and fall into His grace requires letting go of the control of 'what is truth' and letting Him define it for us. A friend said to me a while back, that "sometimes, to be right on the inside, we have to be willing to appear wrong on the outside." This has proven to be true in my life.

One Voice of Many said...

Katherine,
Earlier in these comments you asked what might qualify as an unauthorized gathering. A few years ago I started an online message group (a simple yahoo group) for moms that attended my same church. Staying home with babies can cause one to be quite secluded and my idea was for a convenient chat group to start up between friends. That was a great idea, at least until the church leadership decided that I should have it come under the "umbrella" of the church as an official church ministry. When I said 'no', I was told that I was in rebellion. It was insisted that I issue a statement to the group that the group was in no way affiliated with "____ church". A few moms that had joined from a "sister church" of "____church" unsubscribed shortly thereafter.

All of that to say - I would be willing to bet that THIS group that we've found ourselves in within the blogosphere would be an authorized gathering!
:-)

Michelle

Katherine Gunn said...

Michelle~

Hmm... the church I left kept a pretty tight 'unofficial' control over meetings and things outside the four walls. It is ugly. It is fear-based. Anyway.... ;-)

Nate said...

Michelle,
We warned you when you first started talking to us that we were big flippin heretics. But you joined us anyway. Rebel.

Erin said...

Michelle - That story reminds me of something similar...we had a small group of couples with little kids and wanted to get a "babysitter" to hang with the kids (in the same house) while we had our group. So we "hired" someone's daughter, she was 13 I think. It went well until the church found out and told us we had to have a "church sanctioned" babysitter who had had a background check and special training. Notwithstanding that this girl would have been there at our group ANYWAY, we couldn't have her play lego with the little kids and give them a snack and pay her a little something...even though they were all there in the same house with the parents.