Polycarp and Irenaeus on Sound Doctrine

To deny Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is to be Antichrist. To contradict the evidence of the Cross is to be of the devil. And to pervert the Lord’s words to suit our own wishes, by asserting that there are no such things as resurrection or judgment, is to be a first-begotten of Satan. So let us have no more of this nonsense from the gutter, and these lying doctrines, and turn back to the Word originally delivered to us. — St. Polycarp, Epistle, par. 7

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: wherefore also Paul declared, “But we speak wisdom among those that are perfect, but not the wisdom of this world.” 1 Corinthians 2:6 And this wisdom each one of them alleges to be the fiction of his own inventing, forsooth; so that, according to their idea, the truth properly resides at one time in Valentinus, at another in Marcion, at another in Cerinthus, then afterwards in Basilides, or has even been indifferently in any other opponent, who could speak nothing pertaining to salvation. For every one of these men, being altogether of a perverse disposition, depraving the system of truth, is not ashamed to preach himself. — St. Irenaeus, Against Heresies, Book 3, Chapter 2, Par. 1

Joel L. Watts
Joel L. Watts holds a Masters of Arts from United Theological Seminary with a focus in literary and rhetorical criticism of the New Testament. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of the Free State, analyzing Paul’s model of atonement in Galatians. He is the author of Mimetic Criticism of the Gospel of Mark: Introduction and Commentary (Wipf and Stock, 2013), a co-editor and contributor to From Fear to Faith: Stories of Hitting Spiritual Walls (Energion, 2013), and Praying in God's Theater, Meditations on the Book of Revelation (Wipf and Stock, 2014).

4 thoughts on “Polycarp and Irenaeus on Sound Doctrine

  1. Have you heard of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints? Having been a member, I’ve found much peace, comfort and guidance all throughout my life. The gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored again on the earth! There are living prophets once again!

    We are awaiting the second coming of Jesus Christ with much anticipation; we also know that there will be many calamities before then. The modern prophets have counseled us to have food set aside for emergencies-food storage if you will. Now is the time to prepare.


  2. Ray, Mormonism is a cult. I pray that you keep reading this blog and come to a fuller understanding of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which was never lost and never needed to be restored.

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