Friday, October 21, 2016

Patristic Wisdom: Looking to Sunday

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.  And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”  (Matt 28:18-20)

Sending of the Twelve by Duccio
Christ Jesus our Lord (may He bear with me a moment in thus expressing myself!), whosoever He is, of what God soever He is the Son, of what substance soever He is man and God, of what faith soever He is the teacher, of what reward soever He is the Promiser, did, while He lived on earth, Himself declare what He was, what He had been, what the Father’s will was which He was administering, what the duty of man was which He was prescribing.  And this declaration He made, either openly to the people, or privately to His disciples, of whom He had chosen the twelve chief ones to be at His side, and whom He destined to be the teachers of the nations.  Accordingly, after one of these had been struck off, He commanded the eleven others, on His departure to the Father, to “go and teach all nations, who were to be baptized into the Father, and into the Son, and into the Holy Ghost.”  Immediately, therefore, so did the apostles, whom this designation indicates as “the sent.” … And after first bearing witness to the faith in Jesus Christ throughout Judea, and founding churches, they next went forth into the world and preached the same doctrine of the same faith to the nations.  They then in like manner founded churches in every city, from which all the other churches, one after another, derived the tradition of the faith, and the seeds of doctrine, and are every day deriving them, that they may become churches.  Indeed, it is on this account only that they will be able to deem themselves apostolic, as being the offspring of apostolic churches.  Every sort of thing must necessarily revert to its original for its classification.  Therefore the churches, although they are so many and so great, comprise but the one primitive church, founded by the apostles, from which they all spring.  In this way all are primitive, and all are apostolic, while they are all proved to be one, in unbroken unity, by their peaceful communion, and title of brotherhood, and bond of hospitality,—privileges which no other rule directs than the one tradition of the selfsame mystery.

Tertullian, Prescription Against Heretics XX

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