Thursday, February 21, 2013

Heretics Tamper with Scriptures; Orthodox Testify for Them

When men feel confident in following their own understanding of scripture, bad things happen.  Attempting to find new insights or meanings in the text, they pour over passages searching for relevance or notoriety in their sphere of influence.  Coupled with this is a culture desiring to demonstrate its breadth of inclusivity by allowing any and all to voice their insights.  Listeners and readers of the material, no longer satisfied with the truth plainly taught, What had been considered a hallmark of ignorance becomes commonplace and is celebrated as the acme of intelligent thought, misusing scripture by selectively ignoring sections or deconstructing, then reworking, the whole.  What may have once been attempted by those of the basest sort is the product of church leaders and academicians. Is this condition unique to the past 200 years?  Sadly, no.  Tertullian combated the same issues centuries ago.

  •         Where diversity of doctrine is found, there, then, must the corruption both of the Scriptures and the expositions thereof be regarded as existing.  On those whose purpose it was to teach differently, lay the necessity of differently arranging the instruments of doctrine.  They could not possibly have effected their diversity of teaching in any other way than by having a difference in the means whereby they taught.  As in their case, corruption in doctrine could not possibly have succeeded without a corruption also of its instruments, so to ourselves also integrity of doctrine could not have accrued, without integrity in those means by which doctrine is managed.
  •         One man perverts the Scriptures with his hand, another their meaning by his exposition.  For although Valentinus seems to use the entire volume, he has none the less laid violent hands on the truth only with a more cunning mind and skill than Marcion.  Marcion expressly and openly used the knife, not the pen, since he made such an excision of the Scriptures as suited his own subject-matter.  Valentinus, however, abstained from such excision, because he did not invent Scriptures to square with his own subject-matter, but adapted his matter to the Scriptures; and yet he took away more, and added more, by removing the proper meaning of every particular word, and adding fantastic arrangements of things which have no real existence.
Tertullian, Prescription against Heretics, 38

As then, and perhaps more so, the truth of God's Word needs those who remain faithful, as men continue to accumulate teachers to satisfy itching ears.

No comments: