What’s Wrong with the World

The men signed of the cross of Christ go gaily in the dark.


What’s Wrong with the World is dedicated to the defense of what remains of Christendom, the civilization made by the men of the Cross of Christ. Athwart two hostile Powers we stand: the Jihad and Liberalism...read more

Easter 2021


St. Ignatius of Antioch, a Christian pastor of the immediate post-apostolic generation, was martyred in Rome around the turn of the 2nd century. References in his own works point to death by wild animals for public entertainment. Reliable, if not definitive, historical evidence links him to both St. Peter and St. John the Apostle. Less reliable evidence puts him among those blessed urchins regarding whom Our Lord declared, “suffer the little children to come to me”; and presents him, much later in life, courageously defying Emperor Trajan in person prior to his imprisonment. His journey in chains from Syria to Italy supplied opportunity and inspiration for a series of epistles whose richness of doctrine and eloquence of language mark them as among the early treasures of post-Scriptural Christian literature. The following excerpt comes from his Letter to the Smyrnans, which is noteworthy for its emphatic defense of the bodily, physical, very much real, life, passion, death and resurrection of the Nazarene.

Alleluia, He is Risen!

* * * * *

I glorify God, even Jesus Christ, who has given you such wisdom. For I have observed that you are perfected in an immovable faith, as if you were nailed to the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, both in the flesh and in the spirit, and are established in love through the blood of Christ, being fully persuaded with respect to our Lord, that He was truly of the seed of David according to the flesh, and the Son of God according to the will and power of God; that He was truly born of a virgin, was baptized by John, in order that all righteousness might be fulfilled by Him; and was truly, under Pontius Pilate and Herod the tetrarch, nailed to the cross for us in His flesh. Of this fruit we are by His divinely-blessed passion, that He might set up a standard for all ages, through His resurrection, to all His holy and faithful followers, whether among Jews or Gentiles, in the one body of His Church.

Now, He suffered all these things for our sakes, that we might be saved. And He suffered truly, even as also He truly raised up Himself; not, as certain unbelievers maintain, that He only suffered in semblance, being themselves mere semblance. And as they believe, so shall it happen unto them, when they shall be divested of their bodies, and be mere evil spirits.

For I know that after His resurrection also He was still possessed of flesh, and I believe that He is so now. When, for instance, He came to Peter and his company, He said to them, “Lay hold, handle Me, and see that I am not an incorporeal spirit.” And immediately they touched Him, and believed, being convinced both by His flesh and spirit. For this cause also they despised death, and were found its conquerors. And after his resurrection He ate and drank with them, as being possessed of flesh, although spiritually He was united to the Father.

I give you these instructions, beloved, assured that you also are so minded. But I guard you beforehand from those beasts in the shape of men, whom you must not only not receive, but, if it be possible, not even meet with; only you must pray to God for them, if by any means they may be brought to repentance, which, however, will be very difficult. Yet Jesus Christ, who is our true life, has the power of effecting this.

But if these things were done by our Lord only in appearance, then am I also only in appearance bound. And why have I also surrendered myself to death, to fire, to the sword, to the wild beasts? But, in fact, he who is near to the sword is near to God; he that is among the wild beasts is in company with God; provided only he be so in the name of Jesus Christ. I undergo all these things that I may suffer together with Him, He who became a perfect man inwardly strengthening me.

Some ignorantly deny Him, or rather have been denied by Him, being the advocates of death rather than of the truth. These persons neither have the prophets persuaded, nor the law of Moses, nor the Gospel even to this day, nor the sufferings we have individually endured. For they are of the same mind regarding us. For what profit is it to me, if a man commends me, but blasphemes my Lord, not confessing that He was truly a bearer of flesh? But he who does not acknowledge this, has in fact altogether denied Him, being enveloped in death. I have not, however, thought it good to write the names of such persons, inasmuch as they are unbelievers. Yea, far be it from me to make any mention of them, until they repent and return to a true belief in Christ's passion, which is our resurrection. [. . .]

The love of the brethren at Troas salutes you; whence also I write to you by Burrhus, whom you sent with me, together with the Ephesians, your brethren, and who has in all things refreshed me. And I would that all may imitate him, as being a pattern of a minister of God. Grace will reward him in all things. I salute your most worthy bishop, and your very venerable presbytery, and your deacons, my fellow-servants, and all of you individually, as well as generally, in the name of Jesus Christ, and in His flesh and blood, in His passion and resurrection, both corporeal and spiritual, in union with God and you. Grace, mercy, peace, and patience, be with you for evermore!

Comments (2)

Yes, passages like this make it incontrovertible that the early martyrs not only believed in the physical resurrection, but explicitly tied their own faith to just that point, making it an essential piece of the mosaic of "the faith", a sine-qua-non of having faith to begin with.

At the same time, they clearly believed in the physical resurrection in much the same fashion as they believed in the other parts of the accounts of Christ's life in the gospels (which they quoted from regularly): they didn't themselves make a distinction between THIS "fact" and the other "facts" that are in the gospel accounts. They didn't say anything remotely like "the account of the resurrection is of course literal, but the account of the transfiguration (or the day of the Last Supper, or the woman anointing Jesus' feet) are to be taken only as a figure".

I guess reading "The Eye of the Beholder" gets me into attack mode on this point.

For I know that after His resurrection also He was still possessed of flesh, and I believe that He is so now.


One thing that happens sometimes is that folks who doubt the physicality of the resurrection will raise various questions to which Scripture doesn't see fit to provide answers, *as if* our inability to answer these questions definitively means that we have no real concept of the physicality of Jesus' resurrection. For example: Where was Jesus located in between appearances? Since he doesn't seem to have been with the disciples as continuously as he was before his Passion, did he go off into the wilderness more often after his resurrection? Did he *need* to eat, or could he choose (without the usual sufferings of hunger) to do without food and water if he was not eating for some special reason (e.g., to illustrate that he was alive)?

But the fact that we don't know these answers doesn't mean that we don't have a clear concept of Jesus' being physically alive and corporeally present and that we should therefore hold it to be an inessential doctrine. There is a lot that I don't know about the physics behind the statement, "The book is on the table," but no sophist should convince me by asking questions about electrons and fields that I don't know what I mean by, "The book is on the table."

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