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The Church and the Sacraments (Early Views of the Church)

The Church and the Sacraments (Early Views of the Church)

Continuing with the early views of the organiza­tion of the church as entertained by the early church fathers, we now call attention to Irenaeus. In our preceding article we called attention to the views as expressed by Ignatius, one of the apostolic fathers and bishop of the church at Antioch. The great esteem in which he held the office of bishop appears from all his writings, although we also called attention to the fact that Ignatius also held the office of the presbyter or elder in high regard. Later the office of bishop was held in much higher esteem.

Irenaeus is reputed to have been the first to have advocated the institution of bishop as a diocesan of­fice and as the continuation of the apostolate. From him we quote the following quotation:

It is within the power of all, therefore, in every church, who may wish to see the truth, to contemplate clearly the tra­dition of the apostles manifested throughout the whole world; and we are in a position to reckon up those who were by the apostles instituted bishops in the churches, and to demonstrate the succession of these men to our own times; those who neither taught nor knew of anything like what these heretics rave about. For if the apostles had known hidden mysteries, which they were in the habit of imparting to the “perfect” apart and privily from the rest, they would have de­livered them especially to those to whom they were committing the churches themselves. 

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God's Providence and Sin

God's Providence and Sin
The subject of God's providence and sin places us before an unfathomable mystery. This we readily concede and confess. And we have no intention of comprehending and understanding this mystery. On the one hand, man is a free responsible being. He performs iniquity because he loves it. He is unmolested in his sinning, is never forced or coerced. Besides, he never wills or desires anything else than sin, does not rest until and unless he commits evil, is a slave of iniquity, but always a very willing slave. He is always free, only however in this moral sense of the word. He is never sovereignly free. On the other hand, God is the living God. He alone is God. We cannot afford to lose this truth. If we lose this truth we lose God. And, losing God, we lose all.  Read More

The Justified Believer

“The just shall live by faith.”—Romans 1:7  Righteous, or just, by faith!  This is indeed the heart of the gospel. The apostle is not ashamed of the gospel of Christ because it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth, to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. Imagine if this gospel were merely a general, well-meaning offer of salvation! Imagine if a sinner must contribute something to his salvation! Imagine if the love of God...

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