“In opposition to those in Rome who were discarding the sound ordinance of the church, Irenaeus composed various letters.
He addressed one to Blastus On Schism, another to Florinus, On the Sole Sovereignty or That God is not the Author of Evil, for Florinus seemed to be defending this opinion.
For his sake too, when he was attracted by the Valentinian error, a work was composed by Irenaeus On the Ogdoad, in which he also indicates that he had himself received the first succession of the apostles, and in it, at the end of the work, we find a most acceptable notice from him which we are obliged to given in this book and it runs as follows:
“I adjure thee, who shalt copy out this book, by the Lord Jesus Christ, by his glorious advent when he comes to judge the living and the dead, that thou compare what thou shalt transcribe and correct it with this copy whence thou art transcribing, with all care, and thou shalt likewise transcribe the oath and put it in the copy.”
May his words be spoken to our profit and be narrated in order that we may keep those primitive and truly sacred men as the best example of the most zealous care.
In the letter to Florinus, wihch we have spoken of above, Irenaeus again mentions his intercourse with Polycarp, and says:
‘These opinions, O Florinus, that I may speak sparingly, do not belong to sound doctrine. These opinions are inconsistent with the church, and bring those who believe in them into the greatest impiety.
These opinions not even the heretics outside the church ever dared to proclaim.
These opinions those who were presbyters before us, who accompanied the apostles, did not hand on to you. For while I was still a boy I knew you in lower Asia in Polycarp’s house when you were a man of rank in the royal hall and endeavoring to stand well with him.
I remember the events of those days more clearly than those which happened recently, for what we learn as children grows up with the soul and is united to it, so that I can speak even of the place in which the blessed Polycarp sat and disputed, how he came in and went out, the character of his life, the appearance of his body, the discourses which he made to people, how he reported his intercourse with John and with the others who had seen the Lord, how he remembered their words, and what were the things concerning the Lord which he had heard from them, and about their miracles, and about their teaching, and how Polycarp had received them from the eyewitnesses of the word of life, and reported all things in agreement with the Scriptures.”
(Eusebius, c.260 AD – c.339 AD, Bishop of Caesarea, Ecclesiastical History, V. XX. pp. 495-499 by Kirsopp Lake in The Ecclesiastical History – Cambridge: Harvard University Press 1926, volume one)
Irenaeous fought these two ancient errors which was influencing Christianity as ‘the father of Church History’, Eusebius himself writes in the quote above:
(i) First Ancient Error
In opposition to those in ROME who were discarding the sound ordinance of the church —-> eventually became known as ‘Roman Catholicism’.
Do note that Eusebius quotes specifically an apostasy in Rome from the time of Irenaeous himself onward (implied). So, not everything from the Roman Catholic Church’s Doctrine (especially after both Ireaneous’ & Eusebius’ Time can be taken as ‘true or orthodox’ – Can you see it?).
I don’t see Eusebius speaking as highly of ‘Roman Catholicism’ (or Rome) during that time as a ‘Center of TRUE Christian Doctrine’. Can you see this too regarding the REAL FIRST CHRISTIANITY?
Do you that during his time, Eusebius ‘highly’ endorsed say Clement of Alexandria who taught Christ Centered Universalism calling this Clement to have been deposited the ‘ancestral apostolic seeds*’ just like Irenaeous in the above?
(ii) Second Ancient Error
That God is not the Author of Evil, for Florinus seemed to be defending this opinion. —-> some among the ‘Calvinists or Universalists’ also ERR LIKEWISE in ‘falsely’ attributing God to Doing Evil instead of realizing the TRUTH that ‘God does NOT Influence or DO EVIL AT ALL’ (James 1:13) and He only JUDGES EVIL by RETURNING the SAME EVIL back to the Perpetrators in this life or next (Galatians 6:7, Isaiah 3:11) as ancient Christianity CORRECTLY taught say regarding the meaning of Isaiah 45:7.
God does Good ONLY (James 1:17).
How does evil in us happen? (James 1:14). Please see “P/S 2” below and see how BOTH Calvinism and Arminianism are only partly correct and partially wrong. Who says so? St. Irenaeous of Lyons.
Let us NOT be deceived into thinking otherwise regarding this Topic (James 1:17, ‘Context of Consecutive Verses; in James 1).
Yes, it’s ‘not’ my invention or ‘clever explanation’ but St. Irenaeous of Lyons himself both ‘quotes and discusses Isaiah 45:7’ likewise as it is discussed further in our recent book titled ‘Lost Orthodoxy’ in Page 12. It will be edifying to ‘understand’ this in full by considering Pages 10 – 12.
This FREE downloadable PDF-Book may be found in link below:
P/S: Authority of Doctrine – St. Clement of Alexandria
*Clement of Alexandria —-> is claimed to have received the ‘ancient apostolic seed’ from a lineage of authority which includes APOSTLE PAUL himself by Eusebius (proof of it is in the Book ‘Lost Orthodoxy’ in Page 188) —-> making sense of Clement’s DEEP Knowledge regarding ‘Christ Centered Universalism’ as apostle Paul FIRST REVEALED this MYSTERY of CHRIST in his epistles (e.g. Colossians 1:16 – 20, 1 Corinthians 15:24 – 28, Ephesians 1:9 – 10) in the Context of God Saving ALL MEN eventually too (1 Corinthians 15:21 – 22, Titus 2:11, 1 Timothy 2:4-KJV, 1 Timothy 4:10).
How to understand say ‘Romans 5:18 – 19’? Please consider the explanation in Pages 207 – 208 in the same book.
Thank you for even considering reading it!
P/S 2: Irenaeous – Universal Salvation via Free Will too
How about St. Irenaeous himself explaining the ‘God Worketh ALL things after the Counsel of His Will part in regards to FREE WILL which by HIS INTERVENTION causes UNIVERSAL SALVATION eventually‘?
Please consider Irenaeous’ own words HIGHLIGHTED below to UNDERSTAND this TRUTH of CHRIST CENTERED UNIVERSALISM in regards to FREE WILL too:
“This expression [of our Lord], “How often would I have gathered thy children together, and thou wouldest not,” set forth the ANCIENT LAW of HUMAN LIBERTY, because God made man a FREE [agent] from the beginning, possessing his own power, even as he does his own soul, to obey the behests (ad utendum sententia) of God VOLUNTARILY, and NOT by COMPULSION of God. For there is NO COERCION with God, but a good will [towards us] is present with Him continually. And therefore does He give good counsel to all…
No doubt, if any one is UNWILLING to follow the Gospel itself, it is in his power [to reject it], but it is NOT expedient. For it is in MAN’s POWER to DISOBEY God, and to FORFEIT what is GOOD; but [such conduct] brings NO small amount of injury and mischief…
But because MAN is possessed of FREE WILL from the beginning, and God is possessed of FREE WILL, in whose LIKENESS man was created, advice is always given to him to keep fast the good, which thing is done by means of obedience to God…
In the same manner therefore the Lord, both showing His own goodness, and indicating that MAN is in HIS OWN FREE WILL and his own power, said to Jerusalem, “How often have I wished to gather thy children together, as a hen [gathereth] her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Wherefore your house shall be left unto you desolate…
The Lord has therefore endured all these things on our behalf, in order that we, having been instructed by means of them all, may be in all respects circumspect for the TIME TO COME and that, having been RATIONALLY taught to love God, we may continue in His perfect love:
for God has displayed LONG-SUFFERING in the case of MAN’s APOSTASY; while man has been instructed by means of it, as also the prophet says, “THINE OWN APOSTASY shall HEAL THEE; ”
God thus DETERMINING ALL THINGS BEFOREHAND [Ephesians 1:11] for the BRINGING of MAN to PERFECTION [Ephesians 1:9 – 10], for his edification, and for the revelation of His DISPENSATIONS, that goodness may both be made apparent, and righteousness perfected, and that the CHURCH may be FASHIONED after the IMAGE of His Son, and that MAN may FINALLY be brought to MATURITY at SOME FUTURE TIME, becoming ripe through such privileges to see and comprehend God.”
(St. Irenaeous of Lyons, ‘Against Heresies’, Book 4, Chapter XXXVII.-Men are Possessed of Free Will, and Endowed with the Faculty of Making a Choice. It is Not True, Therefore, that Some are by Nature Good, and Others Bad)
Highlight, how does this FREE WILL part eventually leads to UNIVERSAL SALVATION for ALL MEN in Irenaeous’ own words above?
God has displayed LONG-SUFFERING in the case of MAN’s APOSTASY [This is how Irenaeous understands 2 Peter 3:15] —> “THINE OWN APOSTASY shall HEAL THEE” —-> God thus DETERMINING ALL THINGS BEFOREHAND [Ephesians 1:11] —> for the BRINGING of MAN to PERFECTION [Ephesians 1:9 – 10] —> for the revelation of His DISPENSATIONS [‘times’, Acts 3:21, 1 Timothy 2:6, Ephesians 1:9] —> MAN [All Men, Collectively Spoken] may FINALLY be brought to MATURITY [Saved, Restored to Perfection] at SOME FUTURE TIME [in the “Ages or AEONS to come” – Ephesians 2:7].
Please note the reason why God allowed Apostasy —> namely to HEAL ALL who are held in Apostasy first –> so, there is NO ETERNAL APOSTASY in an ETERNAL HELL or ANNIHILATION without RESTORATION of HEALING type of APOSTASY —> Can you REALLY SEE this ONLY BIBLICAL TRUTH? —> as Irenaeous’ Phrase ‘THINE OWN APOSTASY shall HEAL THEE’ means IRREFUTABLY. Isn’t God Alone Good? Yes, (Mark 10:18).
Isn’t it Amazingly Crisp Clear?
The CHURCH is a Special Subset = Believers in Faith (1 Timothy 4:10) —> of whom Irenaeous remarks ‘further’ that —> the CHURCH may be FASHIONED after the IMAGE of His Son (James 1:18).
Simple Theology of ‘Sound Doctrine’ with NO funny or strange explanations, isn’t it?
God has ONLY PREDESTINED the SALVATION of ALL MEN as it is clearly implied in Irenaeous’ take in the Proper Biblical Context of ‘Free Will’ too. The ‘other opinions are heretical or half truths’.
Please, read ‘carefully’ and ‘be Wise’.
“But the WISDOM from ABOVE is first PURE, then peaceable, gentle, REASONABLE, FULL of MERCY and good fruits, unwavering, WITHOUT HYPOCRISY.” – apostle James (James 3:17, NASB)
Peace to you & All Glory to God in Lord Jesus Christ Alone!