Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Gangra - Epilogue

These things we write, not to cut off those who wish to lead in the Church of God an ascetic life, according to the Scriptures; but those who carry the pretense of asceticism to superciliousness; both exalting themselves above those who live more simply, and introducing novelties contrary to the Scriptures and the ecclesiastical Canons. We do, assuredly, admire virginity accompanied by humility; and we have regard for continence, accompanied by godliness and gravity; and we praise the leaving of worldly occupations, with lowliness of mind; we honor the holy companionship of marriage, and we do not condemn wealth enjoyed with uprightness and beneficence; and we commend plainness and frugality in apparel, only from attention, not over-fastidious, to the body; but dissolute and effeminate excess in dress we eschew; and we reverence the houses of God and embrace the assemblies held therein as holy and helpful, not confining religion within the houses, but reverencing every place built in the name of God; and we approve of gathering together in the Church itself for the common profit; and we bless the exceeding charities done by the brethren to the poor, according to the traditions of the Church; and, to sum up in a word, we wish that all things which have been delivered by the Holy Scriptures and the Apostolic traditions, may be observed in the Church.

This summation is one that could and should be practiced by churches today: pride is denounced, doctrine is elevated, disciplines are practiced, piety is practiced, God is paramount.  Did those in council at Gangra realize their desire?  Possibly for only a time, but history tells us the church in this area faded, and practice of the same spiritual pride remain with us today in diverse forms.   Still, the effort appeared to be worth the attempt if only as a warning to those who should have learned from the proceedings.

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