Athanasius, Irenaeus, and the Church of England Bus
By Gavin Ashenden, AAC
I was recently reading an argument about whether or not Irenaeus of Lyon really wrote “The glory of God is a human being fully alive”.
The Latin is Gloria Dei est vivens homo! There was complaint that to add ‘fully alive’ is to buy into the Jungian- New Age paradigm of the idolatry of the developing self.
So sidestepping the threat of heresy for a moment, Irenaeus of Lyon writes that just to be alive, capable of joining the angels in praise, responding to the gift of new life Jesus won for us on the cross is stuff for the glorification of God who fathered us and breathed His life into us.
But to be alive also means staying alert to what is changing around us. Staying alive can also mean evading the grip of spiritual death, as in a fit of jealously our spiritual enemy sets out to rob us of what God has given us at such cost. The faithful church has always taken heresy seriously since it threatens to deprive us of what Christ won for us.
As I have watched the changes in the Church of England, it has seemed to me that we are facing a new semi-Arianism; a new version of an old heresy.
Arians demoted Jesus to a ‘creature’, something less than St John’s eternal Word, through whom all things came into being, and in whom all things subsist.
Gender and Purpose
Jesus is very clear in the Gospels that men and women come together to share in the agency of creation, co-creating children together. This is God’s intention for us.
The new Progressive theologies replace this by treating gender as a spectrum, diluting the polarities of male and female and prioritising erotic and romantic attraction- no matter which direction it is aimed at. It doesn’t seem to matter that this contradicts the teaching of Jesus. He is treated as a voice that can be sidelined.
In the Gospels, Jesus is very clear that he has come to introduce us to the Father. He and the Father are one. To see him is to see the Father.