Friday, September 5, 2014

Beware of false teachers

In the Epistle to the Ephesians written by St. Ignatius, we read, among other things, about the false teachers (Chapter VII), and how all Christians need to be careful of these people. During the course of history many have claimed to be a certain Prophet, Saint, or even Jesus Christ. However, all these people have been proven wrong. Here St. Ignatius explains:


“For some are in the habit of carrying about the name (of Jesus Christ) in wicked guile, while yet they practice things unworthy of God, whom ye must flee as ye would wild beasts. For they are ravening dogs, who bite secretly, against whom ye must be on your guard, inasmuch as they are men who can scarcely be cured. There is one Physician who is possessed both of flesh and spirit; both made and not made; God existing in flesh; true life in death; both of Mary and of God; first passible and then impassible,- even Jesus Christ our Lord.
But some most worthless persons are in the habit of carrying about the name (of Jesus Christ) in wicked guile, while yet they practise things unworthy of God, and hold opinions contrary to the doctrine of Christ, to their own destruction, and that of those who give credit to them, whom you must avoid as ye would wild beasts. For ‘the righteous man who avoids them is saved for ever; but the destruction of the ungodly is sudden, and a subject of rejoicing’. For ‘they are dumb dogs, that cannot bark’, raving mad, and biting secretly, against whom ye must be on your guard, since they labour under an incurable disease. But our Physician is the only true God, the unbegotten and unapproachable, the Lord of all, the Father and Begetter of the only-begotten Son. We have also as a Physician the Lord our God, Jesus the Christ, the only-begotten Son and Word, before time began, but who afterwards became also man, of Mary the virgin. For ‘the Word was made flesh’. Being incorporeal, He was in the body; being impassible, He was in a passible body; being immortal, He was in a mortal body; being life, He became subject to corruption, that He might free our souls from death and corruption, and heal them, and might restore them to health, whey they were diseased with ungodliness and wicked lusts”.
In Chapter XVI of the same Epistle, St. Ignatius continues on the fate of false teachers, explaining: “Do not err, my brethren. Those that corrupt families shall not inherit the kingdom of God. If then, those who do this as respects the flesh have suffered death, how much more shall this be the case with anyone who corrupts by wicked doctrine the faith of God, for which Jesus Christ was crucified! Such an one becoming defiled (in this way), shall go away into everlasting fire, and so shall every one that hearkens unto him.
Do not err, my brethren. Those that corrupt families shall not inherit the kingdom of God. And if those that corrupt mere human families are condemned to death, how much more shall those suffer everlasting punishment who endeavour to corrupt the Church of Christ, for which the Lord Jesus, the only-begotten Son of God, endured the cross, and submitted to death! Whosoever, ‘being waxen fat’, and ‘become gross’, sets at nought His doctrine, shall go into hell. In like manner, every one that has received from God the power of distinguishing, and yet follows an unskilful shepherd, and receives a false opinion for the truth, shall be punished. ‘What communion has light with darkness? Or Christ with Belial Or what portion has he that believes with an infidel? Or the temple of God with idols? And in like manner say I, what communion has truth with falsehood? Or righteousness with unrighteousness? O true doctrine with that which is false?”

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