Previous William Thomas Sherman Info Page postings, quotes, observations, etc.
"4. But Polycarp also was not only instructed by apostles, and conversed with many who had seen Christ, but was also, by apostles in Asia, appointed bishop of the Church in Smyrna, whom I also saw in my early youth, for he tarried [on earth] a very long time, and, when a very old man, gloriously and most nobly suffering martyrdom, departed this life, having always taught the things which he had learned from the apostles, and which the Church has handed down, and which alone are true. To these things all the Asiatic Churches testify, as do also those men who have succeeded Polycarp down to the present time,— a man who was of much greater weight, and a more steadfast witness of truth, than Valentinus, and Marcion, and the rest of the heretics. He it was who, coming to Rome in the time of Anicetus caused many to turn away from the aforesaid heretics to the Church of God, proclaiming that he had received this one and sole truth from the apostles—that, namely, which is handed down by the Church. There are also those who heard from him that John, the disciple of the Lord, going to bathe at Ephesus, and perceiving Cerinthus within, rushed out of the bath-house without bathing, exclaiming, 'Let us fly, lest even the bath-house fall down, because Cerinthus, the enemy of the truth, is within.' And Polycarp himself replied to Marcion, who met him on one occasion, and said, 'Do you know me?' 'I do know you, the first-born of Satan.' Such was the horror which the apostles and their disciples had against holding even verbal communication with any corrupters of the truth; as Paul also says, “A man that is an heretic, after the first and second admonition, reject; knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sins, being condemned of himself.' [Titus 3:10] There is also a very powerful Epistle of Polycarp written to the Philippians, from which those who choose to do so, and are anxious about their salvation, can learn the character of his faith, and the preaching of the truth. Then, again, the Church in Ephesus, founded by Paul, and having John remaining among them permanently until the times of Trajan, is a true witness of the tradition of the apostles."
Once more one is somewhat at a lost to grasp what to make of this. Was this written, all of it, by Irenaeus? Are these anecdotes genuine? The conduct ascribed to John and Polycarp strikes one as very childish, irrational and un-Christian ("love thy enemies.") Would these saints not rather have at least rationally and politely refuted Cerinthus and Marcion to their faces first -- rather than running and hiding from them without bothering with discussion or debate? Were "John" and or "Polycarp" perhaps under the influence of spirit people, and who are notorious for wanting to keep things secret and unspoken of?
To resume from our earlier discussion, the proceeding is one of the fragments from the Lost Writings of Irenaeus:
"2. These opinions, Florinus, that I may speak in mild terms, are not of sound doctrine; these opinions are not consonant to the Church, and involve their votaries in the utmost impiety; these opinions, even the heretics beyond the Church's pale have never ventured to broach; these opinions, those presbyters who preceded us, and who were conversant with the apostles, did not hand down to you. For, while I was yet a boy, I saw you in Lower Asia with Polycarp, distinguishing yourself in the royal court, and endeavouring to gain his approbation. For I have a more vivid recollection of what occurred at that time than of recent events (inasmuch as the experiences of childhood, keeping pace with the growth of the soul, become incorporated with it); so that I can even describe the place where the blessed Polycarp used to sit and discourse -- his going out, too, and his coming in -- his general mode of life and personal appearance, together with the discourses which he delivered to the people; also how he would speak of his familiar intercourse with John, and with the rest of those who had seen the Lord; and how he would call their words to remembrance. Whatsoever things he had heard from them respecting the Lord, both with regard to His miracles and His teaching, Polycarp having thus received [information] from the eye-witnesses of the Word of life, would recount them all in harmony with the Scriptures. These things, through, God's mercy which was upon me, I then listened to attentively, and treasured them up not on paper, but in my heart; and I am continually, by God's grace, revolving these things accurately in my mind. And I can bear witness before God, that if that blessed and presbyter had heard any such thing, he would have cried out, and stopped his ears, exclaiming as he was wont to do: 'O good God, for what times have You reserved me, that I should endure these things?' And he would have fled from the very spot where, sitting or standing, he had heard such words. This fact, too, can be made clear, from his Epistles which he dispatched, whether to the neighbouring Churches to confirm them, or to certain of the brethren, admonishing and exhorting them."
It is not quite evident here of which heretics Irenaeus is speaking, but most plausibly it includes the Marcionites who were among the most persuasive as far as sincere and legitimate Christians went, and thus needed all he more to be declaimed against.
Granting this to be so, what are some possible explanations for the foregoing?
1. The fragment itself is truncated and or is not really written by Irenaeus.
2. Irenaeus and Polycarp were perhaps mislead as to the real character of the Marcionites, and though they judged rightly in their condemnation, it was a condemnation of such and whom as were not actually Marcion and his followers -- but rather misrepresentations, perhaps deliberate, made of them by others, and which Irenaeus, etc., with good intention, erroneously took to be authentic.
3. Some leaders of the early church, possibly even John himself, could not always separate true God from all spirit people who might seem to represent Him, and thus were not above being taken in by their impostures. Some might find this conclusion unacceptable as somehow lessening the teaching of Christ by saying such truly venerable saints were or might have been deceived. Yet this is and not need be so when we realize that Christ strove foremost to fortify and renew the heart and soul, and that this was both far more important and possible at that stage of the "primitive" church than scientific training and indoctrination, and which latter necessarily had to wait till later, due to constraints on human spiritual and intellectual development -- not least of which owing to the the highly sophisticated stratagems and tactics of con-artist and malevolent spirit people.
"What imaginations some people have..."
I never actually did see Francis Ford Coppola's "Bram Stoker's Dracula" -- though I vividly recollect the billboards for it when I was living in Los Angeles in 1992. It struck me on the surface as being too lurid and sensational for its subject, and I like or prefer my Dracula to be more traditional along the lines of Schreck, Lugosi, Lee, Jourdan, or Palance's. Well, the truth is, Coppola may be astray from literature or more familiar movie characterizations, but he is more or less dead on the money when it comes to the real thing; even some of you watching this (and who have not perhaps been so personally involved) will now (and finally as in my case) recognize who and what he is talking about and referring to. ("I <3 Vampire" anyone?)
(P.S. If you were such as took a bribe, this is about or very like who it actually came from.)
* My own circumstance then was more like a combination of "Le Horla," "The French Connection," and Candid Camera -– not realizing that it would before long materialize into the equivalent of the Dunwich Horror (or "old Dunwich" as I sometimes now and then address and refer to him and his heavenly host), and thus did not at that juncture think of Dracula being relevant literally.
It is interesting that in Irenaeus' refuting the "heresy" of Marcion (of Sinope) it is assumed that the God of the Old Testament, as presented there, is in fact, and in all instances, God; and that Marcion is to be rejected (among other reasons) because he see Yaveh as a false god, and not the Father (Jesus speaks of.) Yet if spirit people did (for the sake of our argument) attempt to impersonate the Almighty and trick and deceive the people of Israel, at least at certain times, then it wasn't actually "God" whom Marcion was criticizing at all in the first place. But you see Irenaeus' assumption is that God directly speaking or interacting with people in all instances mentioned in the Old Testament was in fact true God. Yet might Irenaeus be mistaken in this if (a) a spirit person at certain times impersonated Him, and or (b) a given portion of text is a later forgery or spurious insertion, and therefore and for this reason cannot actually pertain to God (as Irenaeus takes for granted it does?)
He is such a fake and a fraud that he tells these others that everyone, of any noble pretension or aspiration, is really at bottom just a fake and a fraud also. (And these others believe him.) The best way to refute him is with honest and rational truth, of course. But, and of course as well, untrammled honest and rational truth is something he does and will not permit.
And it is quite the joke, is it not, how and to what lengths they go to stifle and interrupt communication on the internet. Or similarly, how, as we gave as example just the other day, you cannot even write and talk with such as Google and YouTube without hiring a lawyer.
When all's said and done then, he will do your thinking for you; so here's no need for you or your friends to say anything, save for taking your phoned in vote on the choices available to you on American Idol.
Later Note. Here's a piece of convoluted misunderstanding and wide-off the mark polemic that regrettably comes from the otherwise much musically respected Andrew Lloyd Webber, http://www.andrewlloydwebber.com/news/andrew-lloyd-webber-leads-hou/ [Or see "1st April 2009 -- Andrew Lloyd Webber Leads House of Lords Debate" at http://www.gunjones.com/webber.pdf]
Such, by and large, is a lot of nonsense. I have no argument with him as far as respecting copyrights. But is that what really prompts all this? Just the other day, as we saw, I lost my YouTube account supposedly (so I take it, for they didn't actually say) owing to copyright infringement on my part. On this grounds, and what became a pretext, my account was suspended without any chance of appeal, or opportunity, by discussion, to resolve the matter. Wasn't rather the more sensible solution to have simply removed the (allegedly) offending video? But what instead happened is that what might have been due to my honest mistake is turned into an occasion to shut me down completely.
What, at its root, all this is really is a cry for more monopoly, censorship, and keeping out competition; and this by helping to marginalize and do in the internet revolution which allows free mass communication to all. And many of the bad things, such as viruses, counterfeits, "identity theft," virulent porn, and nuisance and nonsensical advertising are exactly put and perpetrated on the web in such massive quantity for the same discrediting purpose.
In fairness to Webber, nevertheless, I don' really think, aside from his obviously sincere love of theater, his heart is in what he writes; but rather composed this to propitiate “the gods."
Either all that is hidden will be revealed or else it won't be.