Malankara World

What Shall I Do To Be Saved?

By Rev. Dr. Curian Kaniyamparambil

Question 66. What were the teachings about the church in the first few centuries?

St. Ignatius (AD 110) Those indeed who belong to God and to Jesus Christ- they are with the bishop. And those who repent and come to the unity of the Church? they too shall be of God and will be living according to Jesus Christ. If any one follows a schematic he will not inherit the Kingdom of God. Take care, then, to use one Eucharist, so that what ever you do, you do according to God: for there is one Flesh of our Lord Jesus Christ, and one cup in the union of His Blood. (56) You must follow the bishop as Jesus Christ follow the Father and presbytery as you would the apostle? Let no one do anything of concern to church without bishop. Let that be considered a valid Eucharist, which is celebrated by the bishop or by one whom he appoints 'just as wherever Jesus Christ is, there is Catholic Church. Nor is permitted with out the bishop either to baptize or to celebrate the agape...' (65). [St. Iganatius was the third bishop of Antioch after, St. Evodius who was the immediate successor to St. Peter. He was a disciple of St. John. He is a martyr. Emperor Trojan sentenced him to be thrown to the beasts]

St. Clement; (AD 80) "The apostles received the gospel for us from the Lord Jesus Christ; and Jesus Christ was sent from God. Christ, therefore, is from God, and apostles are form Christ."? Through the countryside and city they preached; and appointed their earliest converts, testing them by the spirit, to be bishops and deacons indeed the scripture says "I will set up their bishops in righteousness and their deacons in faith." (2 Sam 7:13). Later they (apostles) added the provision that, if they should die other approved men should succeed to their ministry? (He was St. Peters disciple and third third bishop of Rome)

St. Iranious (AD 180-190) "In the Church, God has placed the apostles, prophets and doctors, and all other means by which Spirit works. In all which none have any part who do not confirm to the church. On the contrary they defraud themselves of life by their wicked opinion and most wretched behavior. For where Church, there is the Spirit of God; and where is Spirit of God, there is the Church and every grace. The Spirit is however the Truth." (226)

"It is necessary to obey those who are the presbyters in the church, those who, as we have shown, have succession from the Apostles; those who have received, with the succession of the episcopate, the sure chrism of truth according to good pleasure of the Father. But the rest, who have no part in the primitive succession and assemble wherever they will, must be held in suspicion." (237)

Origen (AD 249) "If someone of that people wished to be saved, let him come to this house. Let no one, then, be persuaded otherwise, nor let any one deceive him self; outside this house, that is outside the Church, no one is saved. For if any one goes outside, he shall be guilty of his own death." (537)

St. Cyprian (AD 251)- "There is only one God and one Christ and one Church, founded on Peter by the word of the Lord. It is not possible to set up another altar or for there to be another priesthood besides that one altar and that one priesthood. Whoever gathered elsewhere is scattering. He that was not ordained in the Church can neither have nor hold the Church in any way." (589)."If church is not your mother, Lord will not be your Father."

Lactantius : - 250 "It is therefore, the Catholic Church alone which retains true worship. This is the fountain of truth, this, the domicile of faith; this, the temple of God. Whoever does not enter there or whoever does go out form here, he is a stranger to the hope of life and salvation." (637)

Tertullian: - "Although the Churches are so many and so great, there is but one primitive Church of the Apostles, from which all others are derived. Thus all are primitive, all are apostolic, because all are one." (292). If these things are so, then it follows that all doctrines which agrees with apostolic Churches, those nurseries and original depositories of the faith, must be regarded as truth and as undoubtedly constituting what the Churches received from the Apostles, Apostles received form Christ and what Christ received from God. And indeed every doctrine must be prejudged as false, if it smells of anything contrary to the truth of Churches and Apostles of Christ and God? (293). Let them (heretics) show the origins of their Churches, let them unroll the order of their bishops, running down in succession from the beginning, so that their first bishop shall have for author and predecessor some one of the Apostles or of the apostolic men who continued steadfast.

In short:-

If a gentile is to be saved, he should not only believe but should:

1) be baptized
2) the baptism should be followed by the anointing of the Holy Spirit
3) And should be a member of the Church, which has apostolic succession.

TOC Section 1 (Q 1-26) | Section 2 (Q 27-56) | Section 3 (Q 57-81) | Previous Chapter | Next Chapter

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