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Friday, October 28, 2005

The Call to Duty

I have an odd emotional streak.

I used to be, honestly, quite stoic in my emotions. However, life has a way of giving you opportunities to change that. While I still consider myself pretty steadfast, I get moved by things that are important to me - but they might be odd to many.

Example one: Have you seen "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King"? When the White City, Minas Tirith, is having its last gasp, the Riders of Rohan show up on the enemy's right flank. The Rohirim see that they are only, perhaps, five thousand against perhaps ten times that many. Despite that, with words that speak of their doom,

"Ride now...Ride now...Ride! Ride for ruin and the world's ending! Death!"
, they lower their visors, lower their lances, and charge forward into certain death - into odds that can only go horribly against them - and they do it not because they will win, or for glory, or honor, or even because it will save lives. They do it simply because they must. I shed tears during that scene in the movie. My son asked me why I was crying. I told him, "I hope you understand one day." I even admit that I get choked up writing about it.

Why is that? It is certainly not typical, I would guess. Perhaps it is because I know men like that, who would give all against impossible odds in the service of good - even when they can't win.

That may be too much for you all. There are real life correlates, however, that may move you.

Go to the "Call to Duty" site. After the intro, click on "The American Soldier", then on "The Paul Smith Story: Intro" on the right side. Follow it with "The Battle" (which is a CGI movie with voice-over) and finally, "The Conclusion".

If I were ranting about the media, I would wonder why I had never heard of SFC Paul Smith, yet hear plenty about 2,000 dead in Iraq. However, I'm not. I just hope to share with you the things that move me.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

The Theological Triage

As I finish up my posts on heresy in the next post (I am ditching the Dan Brown fisk – after all, it’s been done like a hundred times already), I felt it was necessary to mention what R. Albert Mohler, Jr. termed the “the discipline of theological triage”.

In the vast world of theological controversies, there are first order issues, second order issues, and third order issues. Unfortunately, most of our time is spent dealing with secondary and tertiary issues, when we should be focusing our attention on the primary issues. Primary issues are those that distinguish Christians from non-Christians. A student once asked Lewis Drummond how one should relate to Christians who do not believe in the bodily resurrection of Christ. Drummond replied, “You relate to them as lost people.” He was exactly right. Those who deny the bodily resurrection are not believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. That is a first order issue.

Second order issues are those that would prevent two Christians from joining the same covenant community, even though they would still call one another “Christians.” A church, for example, will either baptize babies or it will not. A church will either ordain women as pastors or it will not. This does not mean that we would necessarily say that those who ordain women as pastors are non-Christians; nor would we say that those who baptize babies are non-Christians (despite the appalling lack of the aforementioned “tradition” to support those practices). Nevertheless, we must affirm without apology that a theological seminary, a denomination and even individual churches will have to stand with one confession, not a multiplicity of diverse choices. These second order issues are the right place to focus much of our debate – so long as we remember where they rank.

Third order issues are those that would not prevent two Christians from joining together in a covenant community. These are not unimportant issues; all truth is important. Yet they are not of such importance that disagreement on them means we cannot cooperate with each other. Many current debates within our churches – including everything from questions about the timing of the millennium to issues of cultural engagement – stand on this third level. As such, they are ripe for discussion, but they should not become a cause for division.

Without the discipline of a theological triage, we are constantly at risk of confusing third order issues for first order issues – the original besetting sin of fundamentalism. At the same time, we are also at risk for first order issues – the besetting sin of liberalism. Keeping our equilibrium requires that our triage be clear and self-conscious, articulated and accountable.

Heresy is about the first order issues. There are several issues that I break with fellow Christians on, because I feel that their positions are unscriptural and have no basis in the beliefs of the church fathers. However, there is a distinct difference between unscriptural and counter-scriptural, between non-traditional and anti-traditional. Heresy lies in the denial of the Gospel – nowhere else.

Next post – heresy and the Catholic Church. Those who have been stopping by will, I hope, find the subject of interest.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Christian Carnival is Up

Over at Sven's, who always has great stuff on his own. Check out the carnival for gread reads that challenge our minds.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Wake Up the Echoes

John over at the CPF has a great post on the Notre Dame-USC 'Game for the Ages' this past Saturday. He said how I felt better than I ever could have. Check it out.

Heresy Defined

In an earlier comment, a reader used a dictionary defintion of heresy. An example would be from the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, as follows:

1a: adherence to a religious opinion contrary to church dogma
b : denial of a revealed truth by a baptized member of the Roman Catholic Church
c : an opinion or doctrine contrary to church dogma
2 a : dissent or deviation from a dominant theory, opinion, or practice
b : an opinion, doctrine, or practice contrary to the truth or to generally accepted beliefs or standards

They've got it wrong. Of course, the dictionary is, really, a terrible place to find out what words mean. They can't even restrict themselves to proper English (examples: "orientate" and "irregardless"), so how can we expect a dictionary to restrict the meaning of the word to what it actually means, instead of how we use it?

Part one of our dictionary definition uses two words that have no place there: opinion and dogma. Neither is of any relevance. 1b uses the Roman Catholic Church as the source of the dogma - also irrelevant. Part Two continues with the same thoughts - relativism by using the words "dominant", "opinion", "generally accepted" and "theory".

Essentially, the dictionary defines heresy just as the mass of non-Christians do - something you believe that isn't what the current authority says is right. Thus, heresy becomes a relativistic term. This occurs because they want it to be relative - if heresy is relative, prior claims of heresy can be mocked as culturally backward. If heresy is relative, then anyone who claimed the authority to declare others as heretics were real Christians - after all, anyone who claims to be one is one, right?

Wrong. See the Firefighter Parables.

If you have looked at my quotes from the church fathers closely, you may have already realized where heresy lies.

When, however, they are confuted from the Scriptures, they turn round and accuse these same Scriptures, as if they were not correct, nor of authority, and [assert] that they are ambiguous, and that the truth cannot be extracted from them by those who are ignorant of tradition. For [they allege] that the truth was not delivered by means of written documents, but vivâ voce:... But, again, when we refer them to that tradition which originates from the apostles, [and] which is preserved by means of the succession of presbyters in the Churches, they object to tradition, saying that they themselves are wiser not merely than the presbyters, but even than the apostles, because they have discovered the unadulterated truth...It comes to this, therefore, that these men do now consent neither to Scripture nor to tradition.
- Irenaeus, Against Heresies, Book III Chapters 1 & 2.

In order, then, as we have already stated, that we may prove them atheists, both in opinion and their mode (of treating a question) and in fact, and (in order to show) whence it is that their attempted theories have accrued unto them, and that they have endeavoured to establish their tenets, taking nothing from the holy Scriptures-nor is it from preserving the succession of any saint that they have hurried headlong into these opinions;
-Hippolytus, A Refutation of All Heresies, Book 1, Chapter 1

Subsequently, however, they have styled themselves Gnostics, alleging that they alone have sounded the depths of knowledge.
-Hippolytus, Book 4, Chapter 1

All who believe and are assured that grace and truth were obtained through Jesus Christ, and who know Christ to be the truth, agreeably to His own declaration, "I am the truth," derive the knowledge which incites men to a good and happy life from no other source than from the very words and teaching of Christ. And by the words of Christ we do not mean those only which He spake when He became man and tabernacled in the flesh; for before that time, Christ, the Word of God, was in Moses and the prophets. For without the Word of God, how could they have been able to prophesy of Christ? And were it not our purpose to confine the present treatise within the limits of all attainable brevity, it would not be difficult to show, in proof of this statement, out of the Holy Scriptures...Every one, therefore, must make use of elements and foundations of this sort, according to the precept, "Enlighten yourselves with the light of knowledge," if he would desire to form a connected series and body of truths agreeably to the reason of all these things, that by dear and necessary statements he may ascertain the truth regarding each individual topic, and form, as we have said, one body of doctrine, by means of illustrations and arguments,-either those which he has discovered in holy Scripture, or which he has deduced by closely tracing out the consequences and following a correct method.
- Origen, De Principiis, Preface

Now this heresy of yours does not receive certain Scriptures; and whichever of them it does receive, it perverts by means of additions and diminutions, for the accomplishment of it own purpose; and such as it does receive, it receives not in their entirety; but even when it does receive any up to a certain point as entire, it nevertheless perverts even these by the contrivance of diverse interpretations. Truth is just as much opposed by an adulteration of its meaning as it is by a corruption of its text.
- Tertullian, The Perscription Against Heretics, Chapter 17.

It is clear what heresy is: promoting a doctrine contrary to Scripture. This can take two forms - either a supposition of a doctrine that comes from entirely without the scriptures, or an exposition of the scriptures that is not in order with the "tradition" of the church.

Now, unfortunately, just as the word "heresy" has been twisted, so has the word "tradition" been twisted to suit the user. Tradition in this sense is not something we have done for a while - it is the unbroken chain of interpretation of the apostles and early church bishops through the third century. While Dan Brown was wrong on a lot of things, he was right in this - Constantine changed the dynamic of the church by making it a source of political power, and the traditions developed after the Edict of Milan are of little value and no doctrinal importance. In fact, any doctrine that sprung up after the 4th bishop of Rome, (Peter, Ignatius, Polycarp, then Irenaeus), is likely no tradition at all in the sense of a doctrinally binding precept.

Heresy has the two forms, but it is of the same spirit. While Hippolytus addressed over an hundred heresies, the fact is that they were, and are, all gnosticism. While early gnosticism had mystical elements, they were not crucial. What gnosticism has that is the creator of the previous mystical systems, and any current ideas, is its central precept that an individual can have their own personal knowledge of the doctrines of God, which is not contained in the Scriptures.

The atheist, the "fundamentalist", the liberation theologian, the "Christians" who deny the truth of Scripture and claim that some parts are true while others are not - those are the heretics, as they not only deny God's truth, but claim that their idea is ascendant. In this they place themselves above Him and His revleation of the Word. Heretics were never supposed to be met with threats of the stake, but with a thorough refutation of their illogical tenets that are, at their root, based upon their own personal ideas. Oftentimes, they are not even worth that, as casting pearls before swine will get your pearls stomped. Save the pearls for those who are seeking pearls.

Thus, the seeker is not a heretic, however. The person who questions the truth of Christianity, honestly, without simply dismissing it based upon their own ideas without examining the historical validity or the logical validity of the actual Scriptures and the doctrines of the early church, are those whom we must meet with the truth and love in action.

I hope there are questions. I intend to follow this post with a further refutation of the DaVinci Code, based upon my minimal grasp of history, and a post on the Catholic Church and heresy.

Getting It Right

Peter Perl’s apprehension grew the minute he saw the roommate list for his trip to the Middle East.

For three weeks, the long-time newspaper journalist would be rooming with a Southern Baptist seminary student – and he was uneasy.

“What will it be like to live for three weeks with someone who might try to save my soul?” Perl mused silently.

“Will the student believe that people like me who do not trust in Christ alone for salvation will spend the afterlife in the flames of hell? Will he believe that the Bible is literally the Word of God?” Perl had numerous questions and concerns about his new temporary roommate.

For 23 nights Perl bunked with Matthew Cates, a master of divinity student at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and later admitted he had learned—through the uncompromising but gracious witness of Cates—one thing about Southern Baptists he had least suspected: their desire to spread the grace of God in Christ is born out of a genuine love for people.

Perl and Cates were fellow travelers on an annual summer trip called the Middle East Travel Seminar (METS), a pilgrimage to notable Middle Eastern sites. The group was an eclectic blend of 20 spiritual sojourners including conservative and liberal Protestant seminary students and practitioners of the Jewish faith.

Perl wrote of his experience and detailed a budding relationship with Cates that flowered as the trip wore on in a lengthy first-person article that ran in the Aug. 21 edition of the Washington Post under the headline “With God as their Witness.” Perl’s article may be viewed in its entirety at the Washington Post. Perl is a staff writer for the Post.

Cates, a Burlington, N.C. native, said he was pleased with the way Perl represented him in the article. Though Perl, a self-professed pluralist, considers the truth claims of Christianity to be too narrow and restrictive, he respected Cates’ unyielding, yet gracious, view that Scripture is the Christian’s infallible, sole fountain of knowledge and that faith in Jesus Christ is the only path to heaven. Perl even allowed Cates to view and assess early drafts of his article, a practice that is normally taboo in secular newsrooms.

“Peter was very gracious to me in the article,” said Cates. “The article went through three edits. He was very gracious to allow me to look at it and have input…I don’t think that is a common practice within journalism, so I really admire Peter for that.”

Throughout the article, Perl describes his various discussions with Cates regarding the faith. He also shows Cates interacting as a Christian with other METS members. Overall, Perl depicts Cates as unwilling to bend on the truth claims of Christ, but gracious in his conversations with his fellow travelers.

Individual group members volunteered to lead a devotional in the evening. Cates read passages from Romans 3 and 5. Perl describes how the devotional upset several members of the group, including a seminary student who told Cates that the exclusivity of Paul’s message, “did not give everyone a place to stand.”

Cates said his aim was to prayerfully and humbly present the Gospel—and all of its claims to exclusivity—without compromise. The aversion some group members displayed toward Paul’s message led Cates to write in his METS reflection paper, a requirement for each participant, “I hope that they are wrestling with you, God, and not just me."

Cates said members of the group mirrored the postmodern culture in that it found the exclusive claims of the Gospel to be the most scandalous aspect of Christianity. Paul’s assertion of human depravity did not exactly resonate with the group either, he said.

“People have such negative thoughts about any kind of system that is not defined by their own wills,” Cates said. “They see anything not defined by themselves as restrictive. But I tried to get the point across that God is who we are accountable to and not just some earth-bound authority.

One lesson Cates said both he and Perl seemed to learn during their time together was the reality of stereotype. Religions are often stereotyped in the mainstream media, and their most radical elements often gain the most attention, Cates said.

Cates said Perl exhibited a desire to represent evangelical Christianity accurately, an approach Cates said he wants to take in interacting with and articulating the grace of God with those of other faiths.

“My delight in the trip was being able to interact with people who hold positions that I don’t hear on a regular basis,” he said.

“It is deceiving to think that this is a popular view that we are surrounded by (at Southern Seminary). It is very strange to some people and there are stereotypes that go with it. Sometimes the stereotypes override what you really want to emphasize and we have to move beyond the stereotypes and talk honestly with each other.

“I think Peter realized that religion is often stereotyped and I think that is why he wanted to write the story. He did want to wrestle honestly with some of the issues having to do with evangelicalism.”

Cates said the trip reminded him that Christians must be honest about the centrality of Christ and the authority of Scripture.

“A lot of what I saw on the trip was just terminology and the casings of Christianity without Christ Himself,” he said. “But if I am going to be a Christian, He must be the very center of my conversation, of my worship, of my prayers. To take that out, you are left with something that is not Christian.

“The importance of wrestling with Scripture itself was also brought home to me. With many people on the trip there was some talk about Scripture but it quickly came down to their own ideas and opinions about how God is and must be…Ultimately, their own source of authority is themselves.”

Perl and others asked Cates some difficult questions regarding Christianity. Cates said believers must welcome such tough questions because a truly biblical faith can withstand the closest scrutiny. His advice for interacting with a pluralistic postmodern culture that denies the existence of absolute truth? Show them you are a Christian by your love.

“Let them see that your heart really is to love each other,” he said. “I asked myself that question a lot was ‘Do I genuinely love the people on this trip and am I expressing that to them? Is it true that they will know I’m a Christian by my love?’ They must see that we love them.

from the Southern Seminary News Wire

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Heresy, History, and Dan Brown

Since I am writing on heresy, I decided to familiarize myself with the most popular heresy in the past few years: The DaVinci Code. Full disclosure: It was recommended that I read it by my New Testament professor. His reason: “Your parishioners are reading it.” Much as Hippolytus examined over a hundred heresies and refuted them in “A Refutation of All Heresies”, we would be ill informed indeed if we did not examine that opinion which we wish to make a decision upon.
(This point has implications beyond the theological – specifically, the cultural and political, but I digress).

Further full disclosure: I have never read anything about the DaVinci Code. I just heard it was anti-Christian. I have checked out a book by Ehrman that refutes it, but have yet to read it. Thus, while I already have a negative view of the book, I was able to keep that in check until somewhere around the two-thirds point. My beef with Dan Brown is this: not that he wrote a story, but that he wrote a lie. The book is a great read! Clearly Mr. Brown is gifted with a talent for writing. However, he changes from story to heresy with a one-sentence note in the front of the book, which reads something to the effect (the book is at home and I am at work) of:

“All secret societies, rituals, art and documents described are fact.”

I don’t know secret societies, or their rituals. I am ignorant of the art described. Unfortunately for Mr. Brown’s premise, I know documents…and he is either willfully ignorant or a liar.

Brown says that “Constantine cut down the Gospels to four books”. Brown is using the Council of Nocea, AD 325 as his watermark. The specified and implied “facts” are:

1) Constantine was in charge of the Council of Nicea
2) There were many legitimate Gospels at the time
3) The Council came up with a canon that did not include the “real” Gospels.

Without going into further detail on the Canon, and segueing into the historical arguments for attacking heresy, I present in its entirety, the testimony of Irenaeus, A.D. 160, 175 years before the Council (of which no canon actually came out of!):

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, to be the ground and pillar of our faith.2 For it is unlawful to assert that they preached before they possessed "perfect knowledge," as some do even venture to say, boasting themselves as improvers of the apostles. For, after our Lord rose from the dead, [the apostles] were invested with power from on high when the Holy Spirit came down [upon them], were filled from all [His gifts], and had perfect knowledge: they departed to the ends of the earth, preaching the glad tidings of the good things [sent] from God to us, and proclaiming the peace of heaven to men, who indeed do all equally and individually possess the Gospel of God. Matthew also issued a written Gospel among the Hebrews3 in their own dialect, while Peter and Paul were preaching at Rome, and laying the foundations of the Church. After their departure, Mark, the disciple and interpreter of Peter, did also hand down to us in writing what had been preached by Peter. Luke also, the companion of Paul, recorded in a book the Gospel preached by him. Afterwards, John, the disciple of the Lord, who also had leaned upon His breast, did himself publish a Gospel during his residence at Ephesus in Asia.
Irenaeus, Against the Heresies , Book III, Chapter 1, Paragraph 1

Exhortations and justification for fighting heresy are below, all from before the Council of Nicea (which Dan Brown also says the word “heresy” came out of. Whoops again!)

If any one do not agree to these truths, he despises the companions of the Lord; nay more, he despises Christ Himself the Lord; yea, he despises the Father also, and stands self-condemned, resisting and opposing his own salvation, as is the case with all heretics.
Irenaeus, Book III, Chapter 1, Para 2

It behoves us, therefore, to avoid their doctrines, and to take careful heed lest we suffer any injury from them

Irenaeus, Book V, Chapter XX, Para 2

Since many, however, of those who profess to believe in Christ differ from each other, not only in small and trifling matters, but also on subjects of the highest importance, as, e.g., regarding God, or the Lord Jesus Christ, or the Holy Spirit; and not only regarding these, but also regarding others which are created existences, viz., the powers5 and the holy virtues;6 it seems on that account necessary first of all to fix a definite limit and to lay down an unmistakable rule regarding each one of these, and then to pass to the investigation of other points.

Origen (A.D. 230), De Principiis, Introduction

But none will refute these, save the Holy Spirit bequeathed unto the Church, which the Apostles, having in the first instance received, have transmitted to those who have rightly believed. But we, as being their successors, and as participators in this grace, high-priesthood, and office of teaching, as well as being reputed guardians of the Church, must not be found deficient in vigilance, or disposed to suppress correct doctrine. Not even, however, labouring with every energy of body and soul, do we tire in our attempt adequately to render our Divine Benefactor a fitting return; and yet withal we do not so requite Him in a becoming manner, except we are not remiss in discharging the trust committed to us, but careful to complete the measure of our particular opportunity, and to impart to all without grudging whatever the Holy Ghost supplies, not only bringing to light, by means of our refutation, matters foreign (to our subject), but also whatsoever things the truth has received by the grace of the Father, and ministered to men. These also, illustrating by argument and creating testimony by letters, we shall unabashed proclaim
Hippolytus (A.D. 225), A Refutation of All Heresies, Book I, Preface.

Thus, we can see that the early church fathers were fighting heresy, just as the apostles were. Clearly, the early church fighting heresy is an example we are to emulate, for the very reasons they put forth.

The next posts will have, in order, the definition of what heresy is (and what it is not), further filleting of The DaVinci Code, and, by request, the question of Catholic heresy.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005


I apologize for the extra hassle, but word verification has been added to the comments. Finding 25 spam messages in your inbox can do that!

Monday, October 10, 2005

A Scriptural Context for Battling Heresy

As mentioned above (er, below in the blog format), there are many who ignore heresy for the sake of “unity”. Instead they quote Scriptures which encourage the body of Christ to “be one” or "judge not" – while not truly considering what that "one" or "judging" means. Their heart is good – but the Lord is to be served with our heart, soul, strength…and mind. The Christian faith is not a blind faith, but a thinking faith. We don’t check our brains at the door of the church – rather, we engage it even more.

The Scriptures speak repeatedly of the need to attack heresy where it stands and cast it out – whether by convincing those who follow the heretical thoughts of their error or by casting them out. Christ himself, as well as the apostles Paul, Peter, John, and Jude speak against heresy. Below are a very few of them:

24 He presented another parable to them: “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25 But while people were sleeping, his enemy came, sowed weeds among the wheat, and left. 26 When the plants sprouted and produced grain, then the weeds also appeared. 27 The landowner’s slaves came to him and said, ‘Master, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Then where did the weeds come from?’
28 “ ‘An enemy did this!’ he told them.
“ ‘So, do you want us to go and gather them up?’ the slaves asked him.
29 “ ‘No,’ he said. ‘When you gather up the weeds, you might also uproot the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest. At harvest time I’ll tell the reapers: Gather the weeds first and tie them in bundles to burn them, but store the wheat in my barn. ’ ”
Matt 13:24-30 (HCSB)

But now I am writing you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother who is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a reviler, a drunkard or a swindler. Do not even eat with such a person. 12 For what is it to me to judge outsiders? Do you not judge those who are inside? 13 But God judges outsiders. Put away the evil person from among yourselves.
1 Cor 5:11-13 (HCSB)

Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.
2 Thess 2:15 (KJV)

Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us.
2 Thess 3:6 (KJV)

But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing. 14 And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed. 15 Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.
1 Tim 1:9-10 (KJV)

Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. 14 Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. 15 Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all. 16 Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.
2 Tim 2:15 (KJV)

Evil people and imposters will become worse, deceiving and being deceived. 14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and firmly believed, knowing those from whom you learned, 15 and that from childhood you have known the sacred Scriptures, which are able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, 17 so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
2 Peter 1:20 (KJV)

Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless. 15 And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; 16 As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction. 17 Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own steadfastness. 18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.
2 Peter 3:14-18 (KJV)

Next: A Historical Context - Irenaeus, Hippolytus, and Origen