Irenaeus’s World

In order to appreciate Irenaeus, we need to have a working knowledge of three major elements playing a crucial role in Irenaeus’s world.

First:  Persecution

In 177AD several old men were eaten by wild beasts while the crowd cheered their approval.  The crime committed by Alexander, Attalus, Espagathus, Maturus, Sactius and Pothinus?  They were Christians.

Under the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius (161-180AD) a persecution of Christians broke out in a region called Gaul (modern day France).  People from the two major cities in Gaul, Lyons and Vienne, wrote letters to other churches letting them know the horrendous persecution happening in their land.  These first-hand accounts were eventually preserved and published by the first great church historian, Eusebius (263-339AD).

The letter states, “The greatness, indeed, of the tribulation, and the extent of the madness exhibited by the heathen against the saints, and the sufferings which the martyrs endured in this country, we are not able fully to declare, nor is it, indeed, possible to describe them.”1

The letters do, however, go on to describe the horrors of the persecution in Lyons.  After enduring lengthy torture which killed some of the oldest Christians, the rest were taken into the Amphitheater in Lyons and eventually killed by wild beasts.

The city of Lyons and the outbreak of persecution become very important for our theologian: Irenaeus.

Second: Gnosticism

Many people in the second century flocked to a new form of the Christian message known as Gnosticism.  The Greek word gnosis simply means knowledge.  Gnostics let you know there’s some secret knowledge you need, in addition to the Bible, which will open your eyes to the real truth and make it possible for you to really be a Christian.  Would you like to know the secret?  I’m sure you do.  Ok, here it goes in a nutshell:

The ultimate God is an amazing God too great to know.  In the Pleroma (think heaven), God lives and has many sub-gods.  One of these sub-gods known as Sophia grew impatient and wanted to be like the unknowable supreme God.  Pride and arrogance led her to take matters into her own hands and birth a son known as Demiurge.  He had all the traits of his mother: sinful; prideful; arrogant and evil.  The Demiurge then created the world.  You might know him through another name, Yahweh.  He’s the evil god we read of in the Old Testament.  Everything Yahweh created is evil and his people, Jews, are especially evil.

The ultimate God placed on the evil earth some good spirits known as Aeons.  These Aeons would be inside evil bodies and when these “seeds of light” were turned on they would allow people to escape the world and rise to be part of the Pleroma.  How does your “seed of light” get turned on?  Well, let me quote a verse you probably already know, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)

You see the true God, not that evil Yahweh sub-god, sent another glorious sub-god named Christ to enlighten and open the eyes of the elect Aeons.  Christ had to join up with the evil body of a man named Jesus (luckily only for a little while) in order to give people the secret knowledge.  Would you believe in Jesus today?  He came for you to show you the way.  He is the way, the truth and the life.  No one comes to the unknowable God but through Him.  Here is a visual of Gnosticism:

One of the leading Gnostics, with a big following, was a man named Valentinus.  He will become a huge part of Irenaeus’s world.  Valentinus gained so much popularity he became a leading candidate to be the next Bishop of Rome.  He could possibly be one of the key leaders of the entire world-wide Christian church.

Third: Marcionism

I will not go into as much detail on Marcionism.  Marcion has many of the same ideas as the Gnostics but is known uniquely for his approach to the Bible.  Marcion rejected The Old Testament as the writings which spoke of an evil God.  He only liked the New Testament.  He didn’t, however, like all the New Testament.  He only liked one of the Gospels, the book of Luke.  He came up with a list of 11 total books which he believed to be the Scripture for Christians. 

This is the world upon which Irenaeus was called to come and fulfill his role in history.

Irenaeus’s Life

Little is known of Irenaeus’s life.  He was born in Asia Minor (modern day Turkey) in 130AD.  As a young man he saw and heard Polycarp of Smyrna.2  It is unclear how much Polycarp may have mentored Irenaeus.  Polycarp was the lead pastor (bishop) of a place called Smyrna.  Polycarp is famous for two things. 

First, he was directly discipled by John the Apostle.  Yes, the same John who wrote the book of Revelation.  How’s that for an impressive résumé?  Second, Polycarp is famous for how he died.  When Irenaeus was 25 years old the aged Polycarp was given an ultimatum: Worship the gods of Rome, reject Jesus, or you will die.  Honoring Polycarp for his old age the proconsul insisted if he would only curse Christ he would be free to go.  Polycarp’s response, “For eighty-six years I have served him, and he has done me no evil.  How could I curse my king, who saved me?”3

Polycarp was tied to a post and fires were lit to burn him alive, he was then stabbed when the fire failed to touch him.4  Irenaeus states this about Polycarp, “a man who was of much greater weight, and a more steadfast witness of truth, than Valentinus, and Marcion, and the rest of the heretics.”5

It is interesting for Irenaeus to think of Polycarp in light Valentinus and Marcion, men who were starting to win the minds of the people.

In 177 AD Irenaeus was offered a new job.  Pothinus, bishop of Lyons, had just been killed for being the bishop of Lyons.  There was now a job opening.  Your mentor, Polycarp, has been killed for his faith.  Your predecessor, Pothinus, has been killed for his faith.  Would you like to become the next bishop of Lyons?  The health benefits aren’t that good.  Would you accept the position?  Irenaeus courageously became the bishop of Lyons.

Irenaeus spent his life doing two things: shepherding the flock given to him by God; and refuting the beliefs of the Gnostics and Marcionites.  Only two of his literary works survived: the Demonstration of Apostolic Faith, and the famous On the Detection and Overthrow of the So-called Gnosis – more popularly known by its Latin title Adversus Haereses (“ Against Heresies”).

Tradition attributes the death of Irenaeus (some say by martyrdom) to the first years of the next century (202AD). 6  He survived for 25 years as the bishop of Lyons.

Irenaeus’s Thoughts

Irenaeus may justly be called the first biblical theologian; for him the Bible is not a collection of proof-texts as it is for the church leaders who came before him, but a continuous record of God’s self-disclosure and his dealings with man, reaching its culmination in the person and work of Christ.7

With Gnostics and Marcionites in mind he upholds the importance of the entire Old and New Testaments.  Jeffrey Bingham writes:

What distinguished Irenaeus from the heretics was his theme of unity and his commitment to interpreting Scripture within the parameters of the faith passed down from apostle to bishop.  What has been entrusted from one faithful Christian to another always plays an important role in interpretation.8

Irenaeus saw the Bible speaking to the importance of interpretive tradition:

Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to your care.  Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge, which some have professed and in so doing have wandered from the faith. (1 Tim. 6:20-21)

What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus. Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you – guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us. (2 Tim. 1:13-14)

The things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others. (2 Tim 2:2)

It is clear to Irenaeus Gnosticism and Marcionism were never taught by Jesus, the apostles, nor the earliest followers of Christ.  We do not need secret knowledge to unlock the Bible.  There is no hidden layer of meaning which re-interprets all of the Bible.  He declares:

All Scripture, given to us by God (2 Tim. 3:16), will be found consistent.  The parables will agree with the clear statements and the clear passages will explain the parables.  Through the polyphony of the texts a single harmonious melody will sound in us, praising in hymns the God who made everything.9

No one can change the message of God, he writes:

Nor will any one of the rulers in the Churches, however highly gifted he may be in point of eloquence, teach doctrines different from these (for no one is greater than the Master); nor, on the other hand, will he who is deficient in power of expression inflict injury on the tradition. For the faith being ever one and the same, neither does one who is able at great length to discourse regarding it, make any addition to it, nor does one who can say but little diminish it.10

Irenaeus becomes the first human being to fully articulate the extent of the Word of God.  He classifies as Scripture not only the entire Old Testament but most of the books known today as the New Testament.  He quotes from 21 of the 27 New Testament books, while clearly excluding many Gnostic books which had been flourishing in the 2nd century.  Where Marcion only accepted a heavily edited form of Luke’s gospel, Irenaeus asserted there were four Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.  He states:

It is not possible that the Gospels can be either more or fewer in number than they are…he that sits on the churbim and holds all things together, when he was manifested to humanity, gave us the gospel under four forms but bound together by one spirit.11

Irenaeus focuses a great deal of his effort in refuting the Gnostic view of God and Christ.  He possesses an advanced view of the incarnation of Christ and of the Trinity.  He writes, “The Father is Lord and the Son is Lord, and the Father is God and the Son is God; for that which is begotten of God is God.12  This wording will not be so clearly articulated at a wide level until the Council of Nicea; 200 years later!

Making sure it is clear the Trinitarian God, not the Demiurge, created the world Irenaeus writes:

For always with him are his Word and Wisdom, the Son and the Spirit, through whom and in whom he made everything freely and independently, to whom he also speaks when he says, ‘Let Us make man after our image and likeness’ (1:26), taking the substance of the creatures from himself as well as the pattern of things he adorned.13

Irenaeus spends volumes articulating what he believes to be the biblical teaching on a whole range of topics which were being used by the Gnostics and Marcionites to confuse, mislead, and threaten the pure Bride of Christ.

Irenaeus’s Influence

In a pivotal era that some contemporary scholars frame to be a struggle for various Christianities, and either imply or insist on the legitimacy of all voices that claim any version of Jesus, Irenaeus is the distinct figure viewed as shaping orthodoxy.14  The bishop from Lyons, with a Bible in his hand and a heart to accurately shepherd his people in the Way effectively labored to keep the church from embracing Gnosticism and Marcionism.

His articulation on Scripture, which was not yet in canonical form throughout Christian communities, helped to show most churches everywhere in the late second century saw a certain collection of writings to be Scripture.15

His surprisingly advanced views of the Trinity, along with some contemporaries like Tertullian, became the foundation upon which the Church would ultimately make the famous articulation all of church history would stand on at the Council of Nicea in 325AD.

John Lawson applauds the talent behind his legacy by saying, “Irenaeus is a man of many-sided genius.”16

Irenaeus’s Foibles

If Irenaeus is removed from the 2nd century, if he is removed from the chaotic influence of Gnosticism and Marcion which he was strongly refuting, his thoughts can be harmfully taken out of context. 

For example, Irenaeus refutes the Gnostics by showing Christ to be the second human Adam.  He must be fully human.  In order to show the Gnostics the extent of Christ being human he depicts Mary as the second Eve.  His mother was fully human as well.  In equating Mary and Jesus people could charge Irenaeus with teaching something which is today known in some Roman Catholic circles of Mariology as the Co-Redemptrix (Mary as the co-redeemer of humanity).

Several of our Top Ten Theologians will have a large “Foibles” section. We know little of Irenaeus’s life. Most of the areas we should stay away from relate to taking his thoughts too far in a direction Irenaeus never intended.

Irenaeus’s Effect on Us

I hope a person reading this will be filled with new courage to step into an unknown situation and do anything to shepherd those around them in the entire Word of God.  Irenaeus helped to direct his people to Jesus through every page of Scripture.  Jesus is not only a messenger, but the message of all Scripture.

I hope you will find a renewed passion for the importance of the Word of God, the importance of understanding and teaching the Trinity, and the importance of living for a Savior who is both completely like us and completely God.  The world of Irenaeus threatened to erase all of those ideas from humanity.  Please let Irenaeus direct you to courageously uphold and live out these important realities in the sphere of your world.

What do you think of Irenaeus?  Please comment below on our first Top Ten Theologian.  Up next, a completely different type of person in a completely different
situation.  The stakes, however, are just as high.


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Further Reading:


1 Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History, 5.1.4

2 Bettenson, Henry. The Early Christian Fathers. Page 12.

3 Gonzalez, Justo.  The Story of Christianity.  Page 44.

4 The Martyrdom of Polycarp

5 Irenaeus, Against Heresies. III.3.4

6 Bettenson. The Early Christian Fathers. Page 12.

7 Bettenson. P 13.

8 Bingham. Pocket History of the Church. P 42.

9 Irenaeus. Against Heresies. 2.28.3

10 Ibid. 1.10.2

11 Irenaeus. Against Heresies. 3.11.8

12 Irenaeus. Demonstration. P 47

13 Against Heresies. 4.20.1

14 Green. Shapers of Christian Orthodoxy. P 59.

15 Ibid., P 51.

16 Ibid., p 60.

C Michael Patton
C Michael Patton

C. Michael Patton is the primary contributor to the Parchment and Pen/Credo Blog. He has been in ministry for nearly twenty years as a pastor, author, speaker, and blogger. Find him on Patreon Th.M. Dallas Theological Seminary (2001), president of Credo House Ministries and Credo Courses, author of Now that I'm a Christian (Crossway, 2014) Increase My Faith (Credo House, 2011), and The Theology Program (Reclaiming the Mind Ministries, 2001-2006), host of Theology Unplugged, and primary blogger here at Parchment and Pen. But, most importantly, husband to a beautiful wife and father to four awesome children. Michael is available for speaking engagements. Join his Patreon and support his ministry

    46 replies to "Top Ten Theologians: #10 – Irenaeus"

    • John Hobbins

      Hi Tim,

      Thanks for this. I would add a few details.

      Besides being a heresy-fighter, Irenaeus was a great ecumenist in the proper sense of that term. He counseled the bishop of Rome (already a first among equals) to maintain fellowship with the Montanists – an equivalent stance today would be bridge-building between non-Pentecostals and Pentecostals. He also fought to make sure that the emerging and soon-to-be-victorious Catholic party maintained fellowship with those who refused to innovate on the date of Easter. The equivalent stance today might be sticking up for the Orthodox who celebrate Christmas on a date different than western Christians.

      The Christology of Irenaeus is wonderful. He emphasized the union of the two natures ante litteram. He called Christ “the living man” – a fitting and beautiful title.

      One cannot read him deeply and not become a creedal Christian, with a regula fidei derived from scripture that serves as a hermeneutical key.

      • Ed Kratz


        Thanks for the additional details. Good stuff. Trying to do justice to Irenaeus in roughly 2500 words meant I had to leave out many painful details I wish I could have included. The aspects you added in your comment are right on and continue to show the genius and beauty of Irenaeus. Your quote of him calling Christ “the living man” was such a beautifully powerful refutation of the Gnostics. I hope everyone reads your comment.

        thanks again,

    • Eluros


      Thanks for the great post! Question for you, however, about something you stated:

      “First, he was directly discipled by John the Apostle. Yes, the same John who wrote the book of Revelation. How’s that for an impressive résumé?”

      While it’s certainly possible that John the Apostle wrote revelation, I’m under the impression that it’s far from clear, and Revelation 21:14 can be taken to imply that the author of Revelation wasn’t John the Apostle. Do you think it’s an open-and-shut case, that John the Apostle wrote Revelation, or is the answer less clear?


    • Susan

      Thanks, Tim, for this primer. I haven’t studied church history so it’s nice to have this ‘nutshell’ view. It’s always encouraging to read of those who courageously took a stand for the true gospel of Jesus Christ. I’m looking forward to the rest of the series!

    • Nick

      I recently read volume 1 of the ECF and I did enjoy Irenaeus more than others due to his sharp sarcasm many times.

      Care if we place guesses on the next theologian? I suspect Athanasius.

    • cherylu


      I want to thank you for this series too. I am eager to read the rest.

    • Brian LePort

      Irenaeus was great. His sarcasm toward gnostic thought endeared him to me and he was a gifted exegete. Thanks for writing this post. I look forward to the rest of the series.

    • carl peterson

      Intersting bog on Irenaeus. one of my favorite theologians and churc hfathers. Very evangelical friendly. I do not know if I would call the demiurge evil as much as he is not perfect and perfectly good liek the unknowable god becasue he is emanations away from the true source. That is the gnostic view and not mine BTW. So to quote Dr. Evil he was quasi evil. Gnosticism is based largely on platonism and other greek philosophy. It is christianized hellensim. Definitely not the truth.

      Bingham is awesome BTW. I had a class with him at DTS. Did nto go to DTS but it was close and Bingham is a stud.

      Also if you like Ireneus you must check out Demonstration of apostolic teaching. not in ECF and I like it better than Against heresies.

      I think Ireneaus can help the evangelical mostly in terms of theological method and interpreting scripture. He can broaden the typical evangelical to a wider understanding of interpretation beyond just historical critical, argghhh.

    • carl peterson

      Also Irenaeus viewed Christ and teh Holy Spirit as the two hands of the Father. Intersting analogy.

      Irenaeus is also very well know for his discussion about the “rule of faith” Demonstration of apostolic preaching (DAP) is a discussion of the rule of faith which comes from the baptismal confession and scripture itself and helps one interpret scripture correctly. So many evangelicals are leary of presuppositions and authority when interpreting scripture but Irenaeus believed in a rule of fatih and apostolic succession (which can be good if viewed correctly) when interpreting scripture. He used it against the gnostics and it was used by Tertullian agaisnt MArcion and the same type of idea was use later in otehr scriptural arguments such as the Orthodox fight against the Arians and pneumatochians and agasint the Nestorians. All these groups were biblical scholars and used the Bible. They interpreted the Bible in ways that are hard to refute without a rule of fatih.

    • Recovering

      Beautiful article, informative in an easily read style. Thanks for helping me catch up, and giving me launching points for further study – Irenaeus was mostly skipped in my own education, years ago. He was given only 2 sentences in our textbook.

    • Ed Kratz

      Amazing clarity as always. Great jog my brother.

    • […] 4. A Look at one of Christianity’s foremost theologians – Irenaeus […]

    • Mr. Fosi

      This is the first post I have read on this blog, but you can be assured that I will be following through the rest of the series.

      Any estimate on how long the full 10 will take to be published?

      • Ed Kratz

        Mr. Fosi,

        Great to hear. We’ll be publishing one theologian per week.

        take care,

    • jim

      Fantastic work…I love the summaries and additional important culture issues of that time. Well done, can’t wait to see next weeks.

    • brian

      Regarding associating Mary with Eve, other early Fathers did this as well. For example, Justin Martyr, 35 or so years prior to Irenaeus associates them as well in saying, “Eve, a virgin and undefiled, conceived the word of the serpent and bore disobedience and death. But the Virgin Mary received faith and joy when the angel Gabriel announced to her the glad tidings that the Spirit of the Lord would come upon her and the power of the Most High would overshadow her, for which reason the Holy One being born of her is the Son of God.”

      So, for Ireneaus, a Catholic bishop to express this accepted Christian belief (and remember, all Christians at this time were Catholic), shouldn’t be surprising, nor should it be dismissed as a foible. The early Fathers were quite consistent in their high view of Mary and her unique role in salvation history.

    • […] know who Marcion was or what Gnostic means? Check out TOP TEN THEOLOGIANS: #10 – IRENAEUS. You’ll come away knowing not only about Iranaeus but a lot about 2nd Century […]

    • carl peterson

      When one reads the early church fathers you do find a hig repsect and praise for Mary. Most of the time Mary is spoken about primarily for Christological and soteriological reasons i.e. as in Ireaneus above and in Theotokos. There is a big difference between how they spoke about Mary and how modern day Roman Catholics and Protestants speak about her. The RCs have invented new doctrines and some worship her. the latter is not official theology of the RC though. And the protestants usually do not pay enough attention to Mary and so shy away from any talk about her that our Christology is sometimes diminished because of it.

      personally I really like the comparison between Eve and Mary and that Mary is the recapitulation of Eve. I can see how things can be confusing and lead to a wrong path however. But I am not going to throw the baby out with the bath water.

    • Mike B

      Enjoyed the post on Irenaeus. He is one of my favorite patristics. I tend to favor the earlier writers/theologians over some later theologians despite the greater influence of the latter (Augustine, Luther, Calvin) on doctrine and Christian thinking.

      I assume theologians who wrote Scripture (Paul etc) are not eligible for the list. 😉

      Looking forward to the rest of the series.


    • […] Parchment & Pen Blog.  “Top Ten Theologians: #10 – Irenaeus” by Tim […]

    • Ed Babinski

      What about the “other” side of Church history? What Christians did to each other in a few years was probably worse than all of the previous persecutions Christians suffered under the Romans during the first 300 years before a Christian Emperor arose.

      Pagans 0, Christians 1

      Christians 0, Christians 0

    • MikeB


      After scanning through your blog posts they seem to deal primarily with 4th century doctrinal developments. This post is on Irenaeus who was a 2nd century Christian apologist who would have been dealing with recent persecutions under Nero and Domitian.


    • russ peavy

      Great introduction to a great thinker who both pastored and wrote in defense of the Gospel. I’m somewhat surprised that the term ‘recapitulation’ does not appear in your article. His views on the atonement are gaining new ground and advocates in our time. Especially in reference to “Adam” or more precisely, ‘Second Adam”, the entire life and ‘cross-work’ of Jesus are atoning and efficacious.

    • Timothy Wang

      this series is great!

    • Zip

      Great site and posts. Carl wrote relevant comments above. Mary is to be honored as the one chosen/worthy to be the birth mother of our Lord. Mary was never envisioned by the ECFs as one to be prayed to, let alone to part of the Salvation equation, as the RCC through the years continued to develop her status. Perhaps the whole pagan mother/child worship did indeed infiltrate the faith when “christendom” came in vogue in the 4th century, and those in the faith somehow got away from biblical truth.
      We’re getting onto another subject altogether, but nowhere do I find in Ignatius/Polycarp/Irenaeus or any other 2nd century theologian support for the current RCC Catechism in its Mariology.

    • brian

      zip trower,

      You say, you don’t find in Ignatius, Polycarp, or Ienaeus support for the RCC’s high view of Mary. Here’s Irenaeus referring to Mary as the “cause of our salvation.”

      “But Eve was disobedient; for she did not obey when as yet she was a virgin . . . , having become disobedient, was made the cause of death, both to herself and to the entire human race; so also did Mary, having a man betrothed to her, and being nevertheless a virgin, by yielding obedience, became the cause of salvation, both to herself and the whole human race.”

      Clearly he sees Mary as a “new Eve.”

      Ignatius said, “”There is but one physician, Carnal and spiritual, Begotten and unbegotten, Come in the flesh, God In death the true life, of Mary and of God, first passible and now impassible, Jesus Christ our Lord”

    • Delwyn X. Campbell

      As I recall, the author of this series said that these theologians were not perfect. The Bible itself never discusses Mary in relation to Eve, nor does it say that she was somehow “worthy” to be the mother of Jesus Christ. It says, from her own mouth, that she was “favored” to be chosen, not that she in any way “deserved” it. When human thoughts become raised to the level of Scripture, you get ideas that lead to error, as in Mariolatry. Was Jesus really “first passable then impassable?” Really? I would think that it would be the other way around, since “the Word became flesh” (John 1:14), not “the man became the Word,” which would be adoptionism.

    • […] Lent almost all the way back to the disciples. This is quite extraordinary. The heroic theologian Irenaeus (who died in 203AD and was discipled by Polycarp who himself was believed to be discipled by the […]

    • Zip

      Brian says in his Dec 6, 2011 post that Irenaeus’ statement that Eve was the “cause” of our salvation supports current RCC Marian Doctrine. No, this statement is a way of saying that “Salvation to the world was through Christ, who Eve brought forth”. She was certainly ‘causal’, or the vehicle in which the Savior entered the world, no one would dispute this. But Irenaeus, or others ECFs would not support her as mediatrix, co-redemtor or being in any way a source of salvational merit that current RCC dogma holds.

    • brian


      I think you meant to say that I quoted Irenaeus to say Mary is the cause of our salvation, not Eve. Aside from that, let me explain something. When folks hear the expression “co-redemptor” they get all worked up in thinking that this is a slap at Jesus, who we all know is the redeemer. But, think of it this way… who is our Father? God is of course. Who is Creator? Again, God is. But, he calls us to share in his role as father, and in doing so, we share in his work as creator (both are evident in marriage and subsequently bringing forth new life, i.e. children). Similarly, let’s say my life is a shambles (drugs, fornication, etc.) and you come along and introduce me to Jesus who becomes my Redeemer. Are you not sharing in his role as redeemer? Are you not a co-redeemer so to speak? So, don’t allow a knee-jerk reaction to have you think we see Mary as sharing equally in Christ’s role as Redeemer. We don’t. No more that you or other Christians think that our fatherhood or the pro-creative result thereof is a usurping of God’s role as Father and Creator. He invites us to share in his role as Father, Redeemer, Healer, Counselor, etc. We are co-fathers, co-redeemers, co-healers, co-counselors, so to speak. Mary, as the “vehicle” initiating Christ’s coming on the stage is positioned in a unique place above and beyond our own, but it’s still basically the same thing. Yes, to Christians, she indeed was co-redeemer.

    • zip trower

      Brian. I must respectfully disagree with your entire premise. To say that I helped create my children in no way equates me to the Creator of the universe, who spoke into existence all that is. And if I present the gospel to someone who examines the claims of Christ and subsequently repents and becomes a follower of Him, I am not a co-redeemer with Christ. The RCC’s dogma on Mary has developed for hundreds of years, and it is indeed a stretch to defend biblically, thus your human analogy. In the Catholic Catechism, it reads: “Did God will to make our redemption and all its consequences depend on the free consent of the Blessed Virgin Mary?” Answer: “God willed that our redemption and all its consequences should depend on the free consent of the Blessed Virgin Mary”. The RCC in her 1994 Catechism, it says, “The divine mother can be called the Savior of the world.” On page, 403, it also says, “The Son can deny nothing to his mother Mary”. It continues, “Taken up to heaven she did not lay aside this saving office but by her manifold intercession continues to bring us the gifts of eternal salvation…..” Seems pretty clear to me. Popes and Doctors of the Church have echoed these words over hundreds of years. Brian, let us not post anymore on this subject. However, I would encourage you focus on Scripture. Remember, “I am the Lord, that is My name. I will not give My glory to another, nor My praise to graven images.” (Isa 42:8).

    • brian

      Why are you telling me to no longer post on the subject? If you choose not to post, that’s fine. I’ll leave you with this. Scripture tells us that we have only one foundation, Jesus Christ (1 Cor 3:11); but, Scripture tells us that there is more than one foundation (Eph 2:19-20). Scripture tells us that we have only Lord, Jesus Christ (Eph 4:4-5); but, Scripture tells us there is more than one lord (Rev 19:16). Scripture tells us that we have only one Judge, Jesus Christ (James 4:12); but, Scripture tells us there is more than one judge (1 Cor 6:2).
      How can this be? Well, it’s along the lines of what I’ve been saying. Jesus is the only foundation; Jesus is the only Lord; and Jesus is the only Judge. But, we are members of Jesus’ Body. Therefore, we are able, according to the graces given by Christ, to share in Jesus’ role as foundation, as lord, and as judge, and in other aspects of Christ, as well. As mentioned, as a father I share in God’s role as Father, by His grace. And, so also, we, and the saints in Heaven, and the angels in Heaven, can share in Christ’s role as Mediator.
      And, as Jesus mother, Mary, sharing is Jesus’ DNA has quite a unique role. God bless.

    • Delwyn X. Campbell

      “Scripture tells us there is more than one lord (Rev 19:16).”
      Pray tell, from what Bible are you reading, the Mormon one? How many “Lords” does your Bible tell you that ther are? I’m afraid that your dedsire to defend a role that neither Scripture nor Mary would claim has led you to “do too much,” my friend. Jesus neither had, nor needed help to be our mediator, and, the Bible is clear, even if you are not: “For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus” (1Ti 2:5 NKJV).

    • brian

      Since Jesus needs no help to be mediator, NEVER pray for anyone – for their well being, healing, provision, etc. Never pray for others, for in doing so, quite naturally one is mediating between that person and God. On the other hand, what I’ve been saying would surely make sense here. From the grace of charity, as members of Christ’s body, we are invited to share in Christ’s role as mediator. God pours forth his gifts and graces in more abundance than you’re willing to accept. See 2 Peter 1:4… indeed, he invites us to participate in his divine nature! Surely, this is the ultimate invitation of a sharing of his gifts and of his very self.

    • Delwyn X. Campbell

      We pray for others for the same reason that we preach the Gospel, for the same reasom that we do not neglect the assembling of ourselves together – because He tells us so. If you love your father, you do what he bids you. how much more, if you love your Lord and Savior, who died for our sins and rose for our justifiation. I don’t need to create an extra-biblical reason to do these things; the biblical reason is quite sufficient, my friend.

    • brian

      I never understood the aversion to things extra-biblical. For example, you mention the assembing of ourselves together. In doing so, do you attend church on Sundays? That’s extra-biblical. Scripturally the sabbath is Saturday. It wasn’t moved to Sunday until later, so the biblical dictate of a Saturday sabbath remains. The “bible alone” viewpoint has issues, and so that’s why we can rest in a teaching authority, namely Christ’s Church… the Catholic Church.

    • Delwyn X. Campbell

      Sunday worship has nothing to do with teh Sabbath. The 4th Commandment does not order us to gather together; it orders us to set apart the 7th day from ordinary activities in order that we would rest and refresh. Your objection is irrelevant. Far from being Christ’s Church, Roman Catholicism is a syncretic blend of Christianity, polytheism, and human wisdom. Catholic teachings include things which have no basis in God’s Word, which is eternal, and calls upon people to worship created things alongside the Creator, which ultimately results in worshipping the creature rather than the Creator.
      You opened the door, so there it is. Your “authority” is earthy and temporal. The true authority – the Word of God – is eternal. I will not put my trust in man, in whom there is no help. My trust is in the Lord who made heaven and earth. Your church has elevated a women who was chosen as an act of grace to the status of a demigoddess. You pray to her, you worship her, you ask her to intercede on your behalf. That is idolatry.

    • brian

      Thanks. May God’s peace and blessings be upon you and your family and friends.

    • […] 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. […]

    • […] Lent almost all the way back to the disciples. This is quite extraordinary. The heroic theologian Irenaeus (who died in 203AD and was discipled by Polycarp who himself was believed to be discipled by the […]

    • […] people (Lewis and Barth) on the list.  Time has not vetted these men as much as someone like Irenaeus or Anselm.  Generations to come may downgrade the influence from any 20th century […]

    • Hegesippus

      Delwyn says that ‘Your [Catholic] “authority” is earthy and temporal. The true authority – the Word of God – is eternal.

      The Bible records Jesus as giving authority over to Peter and the Apostles in general (Mt 16, confirmed in Jn 21 especially but not solely).

      The Bible does not ever claim to be the sole source of authority.

      So if the Bible shows Jesus giving Peter authority but does not claim it for itself, why does Delwyn decide that it does the opposite?

      Doe she not trust the Bible or does he not trust Jesus’ words in the Bible?

      It must be the Bible as he then states that: ‘I will not put my trust in man, in whom there is no help. My trust is in the Lord who made heaven and earth.’

      Therefore, it seems, Delwyn distrusts what it says in the Bible. However, with no trust in man or the Church and no trust in the Bible, what is Delwyn’s source of authority? Indeed, he accuses other Christians of ‘idolatry’ based upon this.

      Taylor Marshall on Paul is a clear and concise exegesis on participation, which is also a key teaching of Irenaeus.

    • Hegesippus

      Apologies for the ‘she’ error above but the 5 minute time limit cut my opportunity to edit as I was expanding another part.

    • Hegesippus

      So Irenaeus’ ‘foible’ was that he taught that Mary was more than a normal person and a co-redeemer in Chrsit?

      Perhaps it is worth trusting Irenaeus, taught by Polycarp, taught by John regarding the woman he stood with under the Cross.

      Perhaps it is worth trusting the Church of nearly 2000 years, which have never seen said Church contradict herself.

      Perhaps it is worth considering Revelation 12 regarding the woman who is to birth the child who will ‘rule all the nations with a rod of iron’.

      Perhaps it is worth pondering deeply on Paul regarding participation, such as Gal 2:20, Phil 2:13, Rom 8:28.

      We join with Christ and, by doing so, become part of Him. He is the Head and we are the Body. Thus we are His “agents” here in the world. If we do not then become co-redeemers with Christ in this then we fail to enact our “mission”, what we have been sent out to do.

      Without Christ there would be no redemption. But with Him, in Him and through Him alone, we can co-redeem. This has been the teaching from the beginning as shown above. It is no foible. Consider what it is to not be with Him in everything, including the actualisation of redemption.

    • Delwyn X. Campbell

      The Bible is the Word of God – Jesus Christ is the Word made flesh. To trust in the Word of God is t trust in Christ, for it is in the Word of God where the promise of God is revealed to us, for our salvation (Deut 29:29). I am saddened that you feel the need to twist my words to such an extent that I cannot recognize myself, but if people are willing to do that to the Word of God, it is no surprise if they would do it to my words.

    • Jason

      The depiction of the mother of Jesus as fully human seems a healthy direction to go in. Arguably, the Mariological doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church go the opposite way. The humanity of Mary is most emphasized by understanding that she is a sinner saved grace like the rest of us.

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