Who wrote the Gospel of Mark (Part II)

Modified from original published on September 10, 2009

As we continue to look at the history of the early church to learn what we can about the gospel of Mark, we next can look at the works of a man named Irenaeus. His information regarding the book is ultimately tied to the same sources that Papias had since Irenaeus knew about Papias’ works (Ad Haer 5.33.4) and both he and Papias knew Polycarp (Ad Haer 3.3.4; 5.33.4). Polycarp,bishop of Smyrna, is said to have learned about the Christian faith from the apostles (Ad Haer 3.3.4).

John MarkIrenaeus was an apologist defending the Christian faith against the Gnostic heresies writing 5 books (Against Heresies) dealing with them. He also wrote a book Demonstration of the Apostolic Preaching, describing Christian teaching. All of these works are available to us today. In Against Heresies Book 3 (circa 180), Irenaeus describes how the gospel message was handed down from the apostles first through preaching, then by writing the Scriptures all with the power of the Holy Spirit.

We have learned from none others the plan of our salvation, than from those through whom the Gospel has come down to us, which they did at one time proclaim in public, and, at a later period, by the will of God, handed down to us in the Scriptures, Continue reading

Unto us a Child is Born



Irenaeus was a theologian and apologist during the 2nd century. He lived in Asia Minor (Turkey) before becoming Bishop of Lyons (in France). While in Asia Minor, Irenaeus was was taught by Polycarp who was the Bishop of Smyrna and who was himself trained by the Apostle John. He even made Parchment and Pen’s Top Ten Theologian list.

Around 180 AD Irenaues wrote a treatise – Against Heresies – which defended the Christian faith handed down by the apostles against various heretical teachings at the time. As he writes about Christ’s coming into this world one can see the influences of the Gospel of John. Keep in mind as well that this was written nearly 150 years before the Council of Nicea. Continue reading

What is Orthodoxy? [Part 2] Irenaeus weighs in



The question as to whether orthodoxy is narrow or wide was considered in the last post?  A narrow orthodoxy is one in which the basic set of Christian doctrine is defined. It does not incorporate speculative theological ideas but only what has been held by the historic church as essential truth. A wide orthodoxy is one that encompasses all the varying and often speculative teachings found in church history. Based on a sampling writers ancient and contemporary I asserted that orthodoxy is narrow. In this post I will share some research into what a narrow historic orthodoxy includes.

Before starting with an creedal examination, the first tenet of historic orthodoxy would include the reliance on the Scriptures as the trustworthy source of knowledge about God: Continue reading