Today we commemorate Irenaeus of Lyons, a second-century pastor in Europe. Irenaeus often warned against the harm of misleading and false doctrine, as we see in our devotional reading for the day. The reading comes from Treasury of Daily Prayer.
We have learned from none others the plan of our salvation, than from those through whom the Gospel has come down to us, which they did at one time proclaim in public, and, at a later period, by the will of God, handed down to us in the Scriptures, to be the ground and pillar of our faith. . . .
We allege . . . against those who do not recognize Paul as an apostle: that they should either reject the other words of the Gospel which we have come to know through Luke alone, and not make any use of them; or else, if they do receive all these, they must necessarily admit also that testimony concerning Paul, when he (Luke) tells us that the Lord spoke at first to him from heaven: “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute Me? I am Jesus Christ, whom you persecute”; and then to Ananias, saying regarding him: “Go your way; for he is a chosen vessel unto Me, to bear My name among the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel. For I will show him, from this time, how great things he must suffer for My name’s sake.”
Those, therefore, who do not accept him [as a teacher], who was chosen by God for this purpose, that he might boldly bear His name, as being sent to the forementioned nations, despise the election of God and separate themselves from the company of the apostles. . . . But they are altogether deceived who imagine that they may learn from the scriptural text adduced by heretics, that [doctrine] which their words plausibly teach.
For error is plausible and bears a resemblance to the truth but requires to be disguised; while truth is without disguise and, therefore, has been entrusted to children.
—Irenaeus of Lyons
Almighty God, You upheld Your servant Irenaeus with strength to confess the truth against every blast of vain doctrine. By Your mercy, keep us steadfast in the true faith, that in constancy we may walk in peace on the way that leads to eternal life through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
Devotional reading and prayer are from Treasury of Daily Prayer, pages 471–72 © 2008 Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved.