St. Irenaeus Ministries
Scripture Studies brought to you by the St. Irenaeus Center.
St. Irenaeus Ministries - a center of orthodox Catholic mission and renewal in Rochester, NY
Peter says that the false prophets have come, but that the false teachers will be, which may suggest that he sees the time of the prophets as over. He then speaks out about the destructive heresies (or schools), which by their very nature cause division in the Church. In this sense, the heretic and the schismatic are first cousins, one offends the holiness of God, while the other offends the wholeness of God's plan, as the early Church has stated. Some of these operate in the Church (as even Judas shows), and while we trust the mind of the Church not to lead us into error, we must remain alert to the actual teaching that those that claim to come in the name of Holy Mother Church to make sure that it is in line with what she teaches. This is said that we might not have opportunity to be led astray, and that we might attend to our own formation.

Again we look at the methods of those offering false teachings which often come secretly or from the side, and perhaps contain a kernel of truth and then distorting it. In some cases, these heresies come from people who do not accept their role in God's plan, which we have seen leading to every type of heresy. The Old Testament speaks extensively to the unsavory consequences of those such as Uzziah who try to usurp the authority not given to them. Some heretical teachers are called ''false brethren'' by Paul in Galatians 2:4. These would infiltrate the Church as far as they could, but then break with it. God will punish those who are willfully wicked or do not live the Truth, but He will look after those who look to Him.

Peter narrows his comments here, referring specifically to those who attack those who are new to the faith and refers to these teachers as waterless clouds and mists driven by storm, completely lacking in any good teaching. Those who follow these teachers would have been better never knowing the Truth than to have turned away from it. We must listen to and live by the teaching that we have been given throughout the Apostles, and not to those that would lead us astray.

The closing theme is Gerard Satamian's Chansons Sans Paroles Op. 2 Pastorale, from the album Dry Fig Trees. www.magnatune.com
Direct download: 2Peter2b.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:55am EST

We must examine the things that are being taught, regardless of who teaches it to us. 2 Peter chapter 2 deals with this extensively, discussing the teachings of heresies, or sects of people who disagree with the orthodox teachings.

Peter speaks about false teachings that were extant at the time he was writing, but there are false teachers even today. Though these false teachers may not know that they are teaching error, they are a diabolical force on the world and the Church. There are a numbers of condemnations of these destructive heresies, warranting a comparison to great judgments in the Old Testament.

Looking at the sources of heresies, we find that people were looking for answers at that time, and many were seduced by a misreading of Christ's message that was either ascetic and denied the flesh or hedonistic and denied the ability for the flesh to impact the spirit. Leaders were only too eager to help because the received rewards of money, the flesh, or power.

It is sometimes easy to turn a blind eye to this, but we must never forget that there are real consequences to error that affect real people that will cause real suffering. Many of these false teachings come in "from the side" in a clandestine manner and appear in some position of authority. These people betray their true beliefs when they claim to remain faithful while encouraging others to join them in their error. To honor someone who is making a shipwreck of his or her faith simply because of the office is actually to do dishonor to the office.

The closing theme is Gerard Satamian's Chansons Sans Paroles Op. 2 Pastorale, from the album Dry Fig Trees. www.magnatune.com
Direct download: 2Peter2a.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:55pm EST

Peter proclaims that he is a servant of Christ like the rest of us and makes a very explicit statement that Jesus is the God and Savior which is not as common in the Gospels as more oblique references. He then turns to his theme for this letter, which is that knowledge of God is not enough; we must also act on it. No addressee is named, and the traditional thanksgiving prayer is omitted from this letter. This may mean that this was written for multiple audiences toward the end of Peter's life as the persecution was being stepped up.

Peter then notes that divine power has assigned to them all things related to eternal life and godliness and by this we may escape our passions and partake in the divine nature, a form of apotheosis. Peter then sets up a series of supports for faith that build upon each other: virtue, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, godliness, brotherly affection, and love.

This is a map for spiritual progress and we must keep moving forward on it, or risk our faith mutating into something else and the way Peter discusses this indicates that this was a well-known formula in first century Christianity.

Peter then recounts the events of Christ's baptism and transfiguration to show that they have been eyewitnesses to His majesty as evidence that these stories are not myths but rather a message like a bright light shining in a dark place.

No prophecy of Scripture, Peter then compels us to understand, came from human will, but rather from the Holy Spirit.

Peter ends with a discussion of the coming of Christ, which is more characteristic of the early Church than the modern Church. This more pilgrim Church should serve as the sort of bright light that Peter mentions in the first chapter, and we would do well to follow this example in the modern Church.

The closing theme is Gerard Satamian's Chansons Sans Paroles Op. 2 Pastorale, from the album Dry Fig Trees. www.magnatune.com
Direct download: 2Peter1b.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:55pm EST

This begins a series entitled ''Second Peter, Jude, and the Christian Apocalyptic". While each the three sections can stand on its own, they share many common themes.

Second Peter is a pastoral letter with some apocalyptic elements traditionally attributed to St. Peter. It and and Jude share so much each other that some have questioned Second Peter's authenticity. There are many arguments on how to date the text and how to identify the author and the author's motives, but an internal analysis of the text does not permit that the author had any of the usual reasons for creating pseudepigraphal works. It is cited by many of the early Church fathers. The Church has declared Second Peter to be canonical and has cited it extensively in its arguments on pastoral issues, and our faith in Christ and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit tell us that the text is accurate.

The closing theme is Gerard Satamian's Chansons Sans Paroles Op. 2 Pastorale, from the album Dry Fig Trees. www.magnatune.com
Direct download: 2Peter1a.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 9:20am EST