On the Christian calendar, today (June 28) is the day we celebrate the accomplishments of a bishop of the early (180 A.D.) Church, Irenaeus. He lived in Lyons, France, and argued that his conception of orthodox Christianity was passed down to him from the apostles who knew Jesus personally, while the Gnostics and Marcionites of his time were distorting this apostolic tradition.

While the Gnostics offered salvation through secret knowledge available only to a few, Irenaeus contended that the true doctrines of the Christian faith were the same taught by bishops in different areas. While many of the Gnostics viewed the material world as flawed and from which believers sought to escape to an eternal realm of spirit, Irenaeus saw creation as good and ultimately destined for glorification. He referred to I Corinthians 15:50 quite often, which says, “I tell you this, brethren: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.” I John 3:2 says, “When He is revealed, we shall be like Him.”…..He, Jesus, rose physically from the grave. (John 20: 27). We shall rise, physically, to be with Him.

Irenaeus also polemicized against  Marcion of Sinope, who preached that the creator God of the Hebrew Bible and the Father of Jesus Christ were two different gods. Irenaeus argued that the same God who sent Jesus to the Earth also led man through history by way of the Jewish law and prophets. Marcion forgot the verse where Jesus said, “I and the Father are one.” (John 10:30).

Irenaeus went on to be the “champion of Christian orthodoxy” in the 2nd century; defending the doctrine of the Trinity without rival. Pray that God would send another “champion” to the Church today! With so many supposedly “Christian” churches denying or ignoring the Trinity we need more warriors for the faith; those who would uphold the true teachings of Holy Scripture! While Jesus does say that in the latter day's men would, overall, deny the faith, (Matthew 24:22)(cf. I Timothy 4:1), pray that workers would be sent to the “holy, Christian Church” to uphold the souls of those who desire to be faithful. Irenaeus had a difficult time with various heretics. We do too. But the love of Christ continues to draw us to profess the Truth of God’s Word in its purity until He comes again. May His love, mercy, grace, and forgiveness fill
us for this task. For we ask it in Jesus’ Name, Amen.