Jul 26, 2009

Ignatius v. the Docetists: A Debate part 1

I thought it would be interesting to create an imaginary - but realistic - dialogue between Ignatius of Antioch and his Docetic opponents. I tried to keep it true to what we know about him/them. The next several posts will deal with this. Today's post is Ignatius' opening salvo - tomorrow will be the Docetic response!

Ignatius of Antioch:
As I was on my way to Rome to become a humble martyr in the service of our Lord Jesus Christ, I felt led by the Spirit to dispatch seven letters to the various churches I would pass. Of prime urgency was a matter of orthodoxy and heresy; that of a correct understanding of the true humanity of our Blessed Messiah.

Certain deceivers have been coming out from among us spreading their lies, which the simple-minded are apt to believe towards their destruction. While I had not met every single one of these heretics – some I know not their names – I still had taken it upon myself to become familiar with their writings and beliefs. Some call these men-wolves Docetists, yet I simply call them Christ-opposers, in the vein of the first epistle of our beloved John. This is because they deny that Jesus Christ has came in the flesh; these Docetists deny the reality, the pemanency of the body of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Before I go any farther, let me introduce myself – my name is Ignatius Theophorus. I am the unworthy bishop of our Lord’s church in Antioch, Syria. I have been chosen by the One true God to die for our blessed faith and I can not wait until the teeth of those beasts grind my lowly flesh up into a fine powder; I look forward to that moment when my bones will be crushed and I can meet my Lord.

I am now going to present some pertinent sections of my letters to the Ephesians, Magnesians, Trallians, Philadelphians, Smyrnaeans, Romans and even to my brother Polycarp. But before I do that, I guess I should let my treacherous foe – for I can not even bear to say his name – introduce himself.

This series of articles was co-written by Jacob Baumann, an M.Div. student at Phoenix Seminary.


  1. nice read looking foward to the entire debate. Who knows if you keep it interesting you can make this a nice book.

  2. yay -

    Docetism on the New York Times best-seller list!



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