Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Last Letter from Antioch

I have reached the end of Ignatius's canon.  His last letter goes to his dear friend Polycarp.  It seems he has a premonition that his friend will also suffer martyrdom in a short time after Ignatius does.  He mostly encourages the man.

"Be sober as an athlete of God: the prize set before thee is immortality and eternal life." I imagine Ignatius of Antioch as a man quite a bit younger than Polycarp.  Actually, they were about the same age, but I still see Ignatius as younger.  It is odd that he gives the bishop of Smyrna advice as he walks to the chopping block, but it is also good encouragement as they are such close friends.

"Weigh carefully the times.  Look to him who is above all time, eternal and invisible, yet who became visible for our sakes."

He almost says the same thing he has been saying to the churches, but this time to its bishop.  The churches should do nothing without the bishop.  The bishop should not let them do anything without him.  Polycarp himself must not do anything without the approval of God.  Even men and women who wish to marry must do so at the bishop's approval.  Ignatius tells the people to give heed to the bishop so that God will give heed to them.

This ends his letters.  It is good to follow the ordained church pastor as long as he does work under God's approval.  It would be better for him to have an accountability group, like a session of elders, to keep him from too much self-approval.

No comments:

Post a Comment