28.6.09

I Believe in the Apostolic Church 2

It is from this vantage point* that one must understand the church's momentous decisions in the 2nd century. When the church decisively resisted the allurements of Gnosticism, of dualistic Marcionism, and of Montanism with its claims of new revelations,it became the apostolic church. From the perspective of religious and cultural history, that resistance may have been viewed as an extraordinary impoverishment; it probably also meant that many Christians, with a sense of great disappointment, left the church and returned to paganism. But the apostolic church was a poor church - it had no wonderful new revelations, no gnosis of higher worlds, no likelihood of proving its faith through reason. It's source of life was the witness of a few men, who were neither "religious geniuses", nor "ethical heroes", nor "original thinkers". The only authority for the claims they made was that Jesus Christ had sent them, and that they were witnesses of his resurrection.

*Sasse has hitherto been considering the significance of the recorded succession of church leaders or bishops going back to the apostles, as found in connection with the ancient Roman church.

"I Believe in the Apostolic Church"
1936
(For translation details, see the first post in this series.)

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