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Sunday, August 20, 2006

Teachings of the Apostles

I'm constantly amazed by certain groups out there who try to put their own spin on Sacred Scripture, such as suggesting that the Old Testament tale about Sodom and Gomorrah was not about sexual perversion, but rather, about inhospitality.

The proponents of such teaching, of course, have an agenda and like to claim that our modern day teaching of morality is wrong was goes completely against what the Apostles taught or what people believed in that time.

Well, I beg to differ; we actually have documents which are not part of the Biblical Canon but demonstrate the first Catechism; that is, the teachings of the Apostles.

I am reading a FASCINATING book right now entitled, "FOUR WITNESSES The Early Church in her Own Words" by Rod Bennett. This book tells the tales of Clement of Rome, Ignatious of Antioch, Justin Martyr, and Irenaeus of Lyons. It demonstrates how the teachings were handed down from those four early fathers, and I encourage EVERYONE, Catholic and Protestant alike to read this book.

Anyway, it refers to the Didache, a document which was referred to in the book as an early Catechism; a summary of the teachings of the Apostles as handed down to them by Jesus Christ himself. And my friends, the morality found within this document is the same moral teachings as taught by the Catolic Church today. (Protestants...I'm sorry, I can't comment of the moral teachings of your various religions).

As an example, here is an excerpt:

Chapter 2. The Second Commandment: Grave Sin Forbidden. And the second commandment of the Teaching; You shall not commit murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not commit pederasty, you shall not commit fornication, you shall not steal, you shall not practice magic, you shall not practice witchcraft, you shall not murder a child by abortion nor kill that which is born. You shall not covet the things of your neighbor, you shall not swear, you shall not bear false witness, you shall not speak evil, you shall bear no grudge.

and another excerpt:

Chapter 3. Other Sins Forbidden. My child, flee from every evil thing, and from every likeness of it. Be not prone to anger, for anger leads to murder. Be neither jealous, nor quarrelsome, nor of hot temper, for out of all these murders are engendered. My child, be not a lustful one. for lust leads to fornication. Be neither a filthy talker, nor of lofty eye, for out of all these adulteries are engendered. My child, be not an observer of omens, since it leads to idolatry. Be neither an enchanter, nor an astrologer, nor a purifier, nor be willing to took at these things, for out of all these idolatry is engendered. My child, be not a liar, since a lie leads to theft.

And finally, my favorite part:

Chapter 5. The Way of Death. And the way of death is this: First of all it is evil and accursed: murders, adultery, lust, fornication, thefts, idolatries, magic arts, witchcrafts, rape, false witness, hypocrisy, double-heartedness, deceit, haughtiness, depravity, self-will, greediness, filthy talking, jealousy, over-confidence, loftiness, boastfulness; persecutors of the good, hating truth, loving a lie, not knowing a reward for righteousness, not cleaving to good nor to righteous judgment, watching not for that which is good, but for that which is evil; from whom meekness and endurance are far, loving vanities, pursuing revenge, not pitying a poor man, not laboring for the afflicted, not knowing Him Who made them, murderers of children, destroyers of the handiwork of God, turning away from him who is in want, afflicting him who is distressed, advocates of the rich, lawless judges of the poor, utter sinners. Be delivered, children, from all these.

The Didache does also move away from the negative and gives clear teachings about what we are to do versus not do:

Chapter 4. Various Precepts. My child, remember night and day him who speaks the word of God to you, and honor him as you do the Lord. For wherever the lordly rule is uttered, there is the Lord. And seek out day by day the faces of the saints, in order that you may rest upon their words. Do not long for division, but rather bring those who contend to peace. Judge righteously, and do not respect persons in reproving for transgressions. You shall not be undecided whether or not it shall be. Be not a stretcher forth of the hands to receive and a drawer of them back to give. If you have anything, through your hands you shall give ransom for your sins. Do not hesitate to give, nor complain when you give; for you shall know who is the good repayer of the hire. Do not turn away from him who is in want; rather, share all things with your brother, and do not say that they are your own. For if you are partakers in that which is immortal, how much more in things which are mortal?

The document is not long...I really do encourage EVERYONE to read this and do so often. The link to the Didache can be found here.

1 comment:

RobKPhD said...

I am reading the same book! I find it so enlightening and uplifting. Pope St. Clement of Rome was the fourth Bishop of Rome (Peter being first) - Pope from about 88AD to 97AD. The authority with which He teaches shows from very early the role of the Pope. I am looking forward to finishing the whole thing.