House Church Talk - First century power grab.

David Anderson david at
Wed Mar 10 12:12:37 EST 2004

Ignatius of Antioch to the Smyrnaeans
from The Apostolic Fathers, Lightfoot & Harmer, 1891 translation

St. Ignatius of Antioch, also called Theophorus; born in Syria, around 
the year 50. Died at Rome between 98 and 117.

       CHAPTER 8

" 8:1 [But] shun divisions, as the beginning of evils. Do ye all follow 
your bishop, as Jesus Christ followed the Father, and the presbytery as 
the Apostles; and to the deacons pay respect, as to God's commandment. 
Let no man do aught of things pertaining to the Church apart from the 
bishop. Let that be held a valid Eucharist which is under the bishop or 
one to whom he shall have committed it.

 8:2 Wheresoever the bishop shall appear, there let the people be; even 
as where Jesus may be, there is the universal Church. It is not lawful 
apart from the bishop either to baptize or to hold a love-feast; but 
whatsoever he shall approve, this is well-pleasing also to God; that 
everything which ye do may be sure and valid."

We, of course, do not dismiss everything from Ignatius as he did fulfill 
important roles in other areas. Here, I believe he went slightly over the 

Another consideration: The Catholic Church controlled these documents for 
centuries. Who is to say that well meaning copyists and editors didn't 
doctor them up a little here and there? I can only suspect - I do not 

Meaning well is what these "protections" were all about, no doubt. Still, 
this is a specimen of misplaced zeal resulting in lost liberties and 
clergy dependence.

      David Anderson

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