Sunday, August 23, 2015

One

Irenaeus of Lyon
"There is one body and one Spirit, and God chose you to have one hope. There is one Lord, one faith, and one baptism. There is one God and Father of us all, who rules over everyone. He works through all of us and in all of us."

(Letter to the Ephesians chapter 4 verses 4 - 6, ERV)


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Irenaeus was a leader, thinker, and writer in the early Christian Movement. He had grown up in the church at Smyrna (in today's Turkey) led by Polycarp, a legend in the early church. Polycarp had been a student of John the Apostle himself, and he passed on stories and teachings from John and other "elders" in the Movement. Irenaeus absorbed it all with the fabulous mind he had. As an adult he moved east to Lyons, France where he cared for the Movement's outpost there and handed on the 'deposit of faith' as he had heard it from Polycarp, who had received it from St. John the Apostle who received it from... Well, I imagine you can see what makes Irenaeus so important in the history of the Christian Movement.

Today, Irenaeus describes what was in the revelation Jesus entrusted his Apostles with, and how carefully it was handed on.
Now the Church, although scattered over the whole civilized world to the end of the earth, received from the apostles and their disciples its faith in one God, the Father Almighty, who made the heaven, and the earth, and the seas, and all that is in them, and in one Christ Jesus, the Son of God, who was made flesh for our salvation, and in the Holy Spirit, who through the prophets proclaimed the dispensations of God—the comings, the birth of a virgin, the suffering, the resurrection from the dead, and the bodily reception into the heavens of the beloved, Christ Jesus our Lord, and his coming from the heavens in the glory of the Father to restore all things, and to raise up all flesh, that is, the whole human race, so that every knee may bow, of things in heaven and on earth and under the earth, to Christ Jesus our Lord and God and Saviour and King, according to the pleasure of the invisible Father, and every tongue may confess him, and that he may execute righteous judgment on all. 
The spiritual powers of wickedness, and the angels who transgressed and fell into apostasy, and the godless and wicked and lawless and blasphemers among men he will send into the eternal fire. But to the righteous and holy, and those who have kept his commandments and have remained in his love, some from the beginning [of life] and some since their repentance, he will by his grace give life incorrupt, and will clothe them with eternal glory.

Having received this preaching and this faith, as I have said, the Church, although scattered in the whole world, carefully preserves it, as if living in one house. She believes these things [everywhere] alike, as if she had but one heart and one soul, and preaches them harmoniously, teaches them, and hands them down, as if she had but one mouth. For the languages of the world are different, but the meaning of the [Christian] tradition is one and the same. Neither do the churches that have been established in Germany believe otherwise, or hand down any other tradition, nor those among the Iberians, nor those among the Celts, nor in Egypt, nor in Libya, nor those established in the middle parts of the world.

Irenaeus of Lyons (early 2nd century – c. AD 202)
Against All Heresies book 1 chapters 10 sections 1 - 2 (written about AD 180)

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Intersection

(This is a slightly expanded repeat of a previous post. I'm still at a conference.)

Jesus of Nazareth taught his students that, "For when two or three gather together in My name, I am there in the midst of them," (Gospel of Matthew 18.20, Voice). The rest of the New Testament, particularly the Acts of the Apostles, is permeated with the idea that he, through the Holy Spirit, is there at meetings of Christians.

This means that church is not a club where we get together for donuts on Sunday, it's a place where Heaven and Earth interlock. Just like Israel's temple in Jerusalem, only more so. Paul the Apostle taught,

What mutual agreement does the temple of God have with idols? For we are the temple of the living God, just as God said, “I will live in them and will walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people."
(Second Letter to the Corinthians 6.16 )

Assuming we haven't forgotten this, the Lord Messiah will quite often speak there.

Are we listening?

"If the voice calls you again, I want you to say, “Speak, Eternal One. Your servant is listening”,” (First Book of Samuel, 3.9, Voice ).






Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Errr... ummm...

I just wanted to apologize for Authentic Light's outage, which some of you encountered yesterday. We recently changed domain hosts and the move went into effect yesterday. All of the Internet didn't get the message all at once, including my part. As a result there was nothing to see here for awhile. 

But Authentic Light is back on now. Thank you for your patience!





Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The Story

(This is a repeat of a previous post while I am at a conference.)

So what do we mean when we talk about the "revelation" Jesus brought or the "deposit of faith" or the faith "given once and for all to the saints?" What was it that the Apostles were so busily "passing down" to the members of the Christian Movement? Yes, certainly the New Testament, but read on for a minute to see where I'm coming from. Before word one of the New Testament was committed to writing, Jesus' emissaries were teaching this revelation face to face.

I'm taking this from my site's 'Prologue' up at the top of the page. The other red boxes break up and discuss what this Prologue says. It's fairly short and I'll expand on it in future articles, but I'd ask that you notice two things as you read it through: First, how bare-bones it is. Jesus left a lot of the work up to his Movement. Another topic for a future post, I think!

And second, notice... that it's a story! The revelation Jesus left us with did not consist of a list of rules or a detailed chart of how Bible prophecy works out. When the last Apostles died they left us with a story.


___________________

Personally, I like a religion that can be summed up in a short poem.

In ancient times, when someone decided to follow Jesus of Nazareth, they would first have this poem recited to them, line by line. And after each line they would be asked, "Do you believe this?" "Yes," they would respond, "I believe."

Then they would be baptized.

That poem, of course, is the Apostle's Creed, dating back to the earliest days of the movement Jesus founded. During the first ages of that movement, Christian documents were expensive, cumbersome, and prone to be confiscated and burned by the authorities. But, although you might not be able to carry the Bible with you, you could carry this poem (composed of artfully arranged quotes from Scripture) in your mind.

Today, whatever else they may squabble about, Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican and Protestant are united on the truth of these words. Even those groups that claim to eschew creeds will usually agree with it's teachings.

It is this poem that we present here. These are the core truths Jesus and his Apostles taught. This is what the ancient martyrs died for. This is the Authentic Light.


~~~

I believe in God the Father Almighty,
Maker of heaven and earth.

And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, dead, and buried.
He descended into hell.

On the third day he rose from the dead;
he ascended into heaven,
and sits on the right hand of God the Father Almighty.
From there he shall come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,

the holy catholic Church,

the communion of saints,

the forgiveness of sins,

the resurrection of the body,

and the life everlasting.

Amen.



Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Gone With the Wind

Hi! Just want to let you all know that I'll be at a conference all next week and won't be able to post here. So what I'll do is re-post some older things I wrote, possibly with a little editing.  I hope you enjoy them.



Sunday, August 9, 2015

Siblings

When we started out all those years ago, this is what members of the Christian movement were known for. Is it still?

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So then, whenever we have an opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who belong to the family of faith.



The Christians love one another. They do not neglect widows. Orphans they rescue from those who are cruel to them. Every one of them who has anything gives without reserve to the one who has nothing. If they see a traveling stranger they bring them under their roof. They rejoice over them as over a real brother or sister, for they do not call one another brothers and sisters after the flesh, but they know they are siblings in the Spirit and in God.

If one of them sees that one of their poor must leave this world, they provide for their burial as well as possible. And if they hear that one of them is imprisoned or oppressed by their opponents for the sake of their Christ’s name, all of them take care of all that person's needs. If possible they set them free.

If anyone among them is poor or comes into want while they themselves have nothing to spare, they fast two or three days for them. In this way they can supply any poor person with the food they need.

Apology of Aristides, Chapter 15 (c. AD 124)






Sunday, August 2, 2015

Not a Ghost


God born through a peasant girl. What kind of being did that make Jesus of Nazareth? Here's how the early Christian movement described it.

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The Voice took on flesh and became human and chose to live alongside us. We have seen Him, enveloped in undeniable splendor—the one true Son of the Father—evidenced in the perfect balance of grace and truth.

(Gospel of John 1.14, Voice)



Believe then that this only-begotten Son of God, for our sins, came down from heaven to earth and took upon himself this human nature with the same emotions and urges as we have. He was begotten of the Holy Virgin and the Holy Spirit, and was made human, not seemingly or as a mere show, but for real. And not by passing through the Virgin like a stream, but through her becoming actual flesh. He was actually nursed on milk, and actually ate and drank as we do.  For if the incarnation was a just a ghost, then salvation is a ghost as well.

The Christ had two natures, human in what was visible, but God in what was invisible. As a human, actually eating like us, since He had the same feelings in his body as us, but as God feeding the five thousand from five loaves. As a human actually dying, but as God raising a man [Lazarus] that had been dead four days. Actually sleeping in the ship like a human, and walking upon the waters as God.

Cyril of Jerusalem (AD 313 - 386)
Catecheses number 4 section 9