Some of the earliest extant writings of the church, after the apostles, were written by Ignatius of Antioch. Unfortunately very little is known about him. At least not with much certainty.
We can, with reasonable confidence, know that he lived in the first and second centuries during the reign of Trajan (98-117). This is based on the following set of evidence:
- Polycarp, a contemporary of Ignatius, is a recipient of one of the extant letters written by Ignatius. Writing his own Letter to the Philippians, Polycarp mentions Ignatius as a role model (chap 9). With this letter, Polycarp also attaches some of Ignatius’ letters, esteeming them because they explore “faith and patience, and all things that tend to edification in our Lord” (chap 13).
- Irenaeus, writing in the late second century, anonymously quotes a portion of Ignatius’ Letter to the Romans (chap 4) in Ad Haer (V.28.4).
- Origen, writing in the third century, quotes Letter to the Romans (chap 7) and Letter to the Ephesians (chap 19) in two of his commentaries. 
Martyrdom for the Faith
Ignatius is remembered for his courage as he faced martyrdom for his faith in Christ, sometime between 105 and 115 AD. He was arrested, taken into military custody, and taken from Syria across Asia Minor to Rome. In Rome he would be executed, being torn apart by wild beasts. It is on this journey that he wrote the letters that we have in our possession today. Continue reading
Most of us have read through the church discipline passages and probably have given them very little thought as to how they might be applied. Unfortunately as an elder of a local church we are forced to wrestle with them not just from a theological perspective but from a very practical sense.
As many readers likely know, Matthew 18:15-20 is the standard passage used to define the church discipline process. The process involves four successive steps:
- private meetings between the sinner and the offended party.
- discussions between the sinner and the offended party with witnesses to establish whether the alleged sin is occurring.
- bringing the matter to the attention of the church is typically when elders start to get involved and has its own set of steps.
- The elders, similar to step 2, will investigate the matter and determine whether sinful activity is occurring.
- If the sinful activity is verified the elders will often meet with the person who is sinning to discuss the situation and encourage them to repent.
- If the person refuses to repent the congregation is informed of the matter, with the goal of aiding in the process of reconciliation. The unrepentant, sinning person is given some additional time to change their actions.
- treating the sinner as a Gentile and a tax collector
- this final step is reserved for people who stubbornly refuse to acknowledge their sin and continue in their sinful activity.
The goal at every step in this process is for there to be an end to the sinful activity and reconciliation between the sinner and offended party. The hope is that this can be done in as few steps as possible.
The Calling of St. Matthew
What did Jesus mean when He said treat them as Gentiles and Tax Collectors? Continue reading
Matt Anderson tweeted this as a reminder to all those responding to the World Vision decision to first hire Christians who are in a same-sex marriage and then the reversal of that decision a few days later.
As this was unfolding, a friend of mine, knowing that I have blogged through some of John Wesley’s sermons, asked me what I knew of the relationship between Wesley and Augustus Toplady. Not knowing much I did what anyone would do and fired up “Google”.
[if you are scratching your head at this point,the connection between these two events will be clear soon]