The Didache – The Teachings of the Apostles… Does Your Life Measure Up? April 20, 2010Posted by The Prodigal Son in Christianity.
Tags: Catholicism, Didache, Eastern Orthodoxy, Orthodox Christianity, Protestantism
In today’s world – with the way things are going within ‘Christendom’ in North America & Europe especially, it is my feeling that all those who identify themselves as ‘Christian’ need to ask themselves one important question:
If the apostles of Christ showed up today in your neck of the woods… would they recognize what people who call themselves ‘Christians’ are doing and saying as that faith once delivered to the saints?
“Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.” (Jude 1:3)
DOES the vast majority what is passing today as Christianity in so-called ‘Western culture’ resemble the teachings of the Christ which originated in first century Galillee?
IS what the Roman ‘Catholics’ (papists) and the various types of Protestants practice congruent with early Christianity AT ALL?
We shall see that things have changed… And we must ask – how can anyone think this is O.K.? As Christ said, “When the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8)… St. Paul adjures all Christians to “stand fast, and hold the traditions” which we were taught – whether in writing OR verbally…
But Protestants loathe tradition (or at least any tradition apart from the traditions of their own particular flavor of Protestant predecessors) and they believe (in theory if not in practice) that all they need is the Bible alone (Sola Scriptura). Therefore they only adhere to HALF of St. Paul’s specific instruction in II Thess 2:15…
The Roman papists DO adhere to a verbal tradition… But whose? Is it the SAME tradition that was once delivered? Do they stand fast? Have they HELD the traditions – or have they changed things? Is the faith they practice the same as it was in first century Palestine?
I present to you the witness of the Didache – AKA the ‘Teaching of the Apostles’. Many scholars believe (and the evidence is strong that) this document dates (Ca 42-49 AD) BEFORE any of the New Testament writings (except possibly for the epistle of James)… BEFORE the Gospels OR the Pauline epistles. Some of the early Church fathers speak of the Didache as included in the New Testament canon and I for one wish it had’ve been included in the Bible.
So I have reproduced them here for your perusal, that you may ask yourselves: If this was an early manual for all Christians to follow… DO YOU follow its teachings? Does your ‘church’ (religious community) keep its precepts? And if not – then maybe you should ask yourself why…
In fact – if the answers to those questions are NO… Then why don’t you think you SHOULD do the things that were done by the first Christians? Don’t you think you SHOULD believe the same things that the first century disciples of Jesus learned from Him & faithfully kept?
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1:1 There are two paths, one of life and one of death, and the difference is great between the two paths.
1:2 Now the path of life is this — first, you shall love the God Who made you, your neighbour as yourself, and all things that you would not want to be done unto you, do not do them unto another.
1:3 And the doctrine of these maxims is as follows. Bless them that curse you, and pray for your enemies. Fast on behalf of those that persecute you; for what reward is there if you love those that love you? Do not even the pagans do the same? But love them that hate you, and you will not have an enemy.
1:4 Abstain from fleshly and worldly lusts. If any one gives you a blow on your right cheek, turn unto him the other also, and you shall be perfect; if any one compels you to go a mile, go with him two; if a man takes away your shirt, give him your coat also; if a man takes from you what is yours, ask not for it again, for neither are you able to do so.
1:5 Give to every one that asks of you, and ask not again; for the Father wishes that from His own gifts there should be given to all. Blessed is he who gives according to the commandment, for he is free from guilt; but woe unto him that receives. For if a man receives being in need, he shall be free from guilt; but he who receives when not in need, shall pay a penalty as to why he received and for what purpose; and when he is in tribulation he shall be examined concerning the things that he has done, and shall not depart thence until he has paid the last penny.
1:6 For of a truth it has been said on these matters, let your almsgiving abide in your hands until you know to whom you are giving.
2:1 But the second commandment of the teaching is this.
2:2 You shall not murder; you shall not commit adultery; you shall not corrupt youth; you shall not commit fornication; you shall not steal; you shall not use soothsaying; you shall not practice sorcery; you shall not murder a child by abortion, neither shall you slay it when born; you shall not covet the goods of your neighbour;
2:3 you shall not commit perjury; you shall not bear false witness; you shall not speak evil; you shall not bear malice;
2:4 you shall not be double-minded or double-tongued, for to be double tongued is the snare of death.
2:5 Your speech shall not be false or empty, but concerned with action.
2:6 You shall not be covetous, or rapacious, or hypocritical, or malicious, or proud; you shalt not take up an evil design against your neighbour;
2:7 you shall not hate any man, but some you shall confute, concerning some you shall pray, and some you shall love beyond your own soul.
3:1 My child, fly from everything that is evil, and from everything that is like to it.
3:2 Be not wrathful, for wrath leads unto slaughter; be not jealous, or contentious, or quarrelsome, for from all these things slaughter ensues.
3:3 My child, be not lustful, for lust leads unto fornication; be not a filthy talker; be not a lifter up of the eye, for from all these things come adulteries.
3:4 My child, be not an observer of omens, since it leads to idolatry, nor a user of spells, nor an astrologer, nor a travelling purifier, nor wish to see these things, for from all these things idolatry arises.
3:5 My child, be not a liar, for lying leads unto theft; be not covetous or conceited, for from all these things thefts arise.
3:6 My child, be not a murmurer, since it leads unto blasphemy; be not self-willed or evil-minded, for from all these things blasphemies are produced;
3:7 but be meek, for the meek shall inherit the earth;
3:8 be longsuffering, and compassionate, and harmless, and peaceable, and good, and fearing always the words that you have heard.
3:9 You shall not exalt yourself, neither shall you put boldness into your soul. Your soul shall not be joined unto the lofty, but you shall walk with the just and humble.
3:10 Accept the things that happen to you as good, knowing that without God nothing happens.
4:1 My child, you shall remember both night and day him that speaks unto you the Word of God; you shall honour him as you do the Lord, for where the teaching of the Lord is given, there is the Lord;
4:2 you shall seek out day by day the favour of the saints, that you may rest in their words;
4:3 you shall not desire schism, but shall set at peace them that contend; you shall judge righteously; you shall not accept the person of any one to convict him of transgression;
4:4 you shall not doubt whether a thing shall be or not.
4:5 Be not a stretcher out of your hand to receive, and a drawer of it back in giving.
4:6 If you have, give by means of your hands a redemption for your sins.
4:7 You shall not doubt to give, neither shall you murmur when giving; for you should know Who is the Fair Recompenser of the reward.
4:8 You shall not turn away from him that is in need, but shall share with your brother in all things, and shall not say that things are your own; for if you are partners in what is immortal, how much more in what is mortal?
4:9 You shall not remove your heart from your son or from your daughter, but from their youth you shall teach them the fear of God.
4:10 You shall not command with bitterness your servant or your handmaid, who hope in the same God as yourself, lest they fear not in consequence the God Who is over both; for He comes not to call with respect of persons, but those whom the Spirit has prepared.
4:11 And you servants submit yourselves to your masters with reverence and fear, as being the type of God.
4:12 You shall hate all hypocrisy and everything that is not pleasing to God;
4:13 you shall not abandon the commandments of the Lord, but shall guard that which you have received, neither adding to them nor taking from them;
4:14 you shall confess your transgressions in the Church, and shall not come unto prayer with an evil conscience. This is the path of life.
5:1 But the path of death is this. First of all, it is evil, and full of cursing; there are found murders, adulteries, lusts, fornication, thefts, idolatries, soothsaying, sorceries, robberies, false witnessings, hypocrisies, double-mindedness, craft, pride, malice, self-will, covetousness, filthy talking, jealousy, audacity, pride, arrogance;
5:2 there are those who persecute the good — lovers of a lie, not knowing the reward of righteousness, not cleaving to the good nor to righteous judgment, watching not for the good but for the bad, from whom meekness and patience are afar off, loving things that are vain, following after recompense, having no compassion on the needy, nor labouring for him that is in trouble, not knowing Him that made them, murderers of children, corrupters of the image of God, who turn away from him that is in need, who oppress him that is in trouble, unjust judges of the poor, erring in all things. From all these, children, may you be delivered.
6:1 See that no one makes you turn from this path of doctrine, since he who does so teaches you apart from God.
6:2 If you are able to bear the whole yoke of the Lord, you will be perfect; but if you are not able, what you are able, that do.
6:3 But concerning meat, bear that which you are able to do. But keep with care from things sacrificed to idols, for it is the worship of the infernal deities.
7:1 But concerning baptism, baptize this way: having first recited all these precepts, baptize in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, in running water;
7:2 but if you have not running water, baptize in some other water, and if you cannot not baptize in cold, then in warm water;
7:3 but if you have neither, pour water three times on the head, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
7:4 But before the baptism, let him who baptizes and him who is baptized fast beforehand, and any others who may be able. And you shall command him who is baptized to fast one or two days before.
8:1 But as for your fasts, let them not be with the hypocrites, for they fast on the second and fifth days of the week, but you shall fast on the fourth and sixth days.
8:2 Neither shall you pray as the hypocrites, but as the Lord has commanded in His gospel so you shall pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done as in heaven so on earth. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debt, as we also forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil: for Thine is the power, and the glory, for ever.
8:3 Thrice a day you shall pray in this fashion.
9:1 But concerning the Eucharist, after this fashion you shall give thanks.
9:2 First, concerning the cup. We thank You, our Father, for the holy vine, David Your Son, which You have made known unto us through Jesus Christ Your Son; to You be the glory for ever.
9:3 And concerning the broken bread. We thank You, our Father, for the life and knowledge which You have made known unto us through Jesus Your Son; to You be the glory for ever.
9:4 As this broken bread was once scattered on the mountains, and after it had been brought together became one, so may Your Church be gathered together from the ends of the earth unto Your kingdom; for Thine is the glory, and the power, through Jesus Christ, for ever.
9:5 And let none eat or drink of Your Eucharist but such as have been baptized into the name of the Lord, for of a truth the Lord has said concerning this, Give not that which is holy unto dogs.
10:1 But after it has been completed, so shall you pray:
10:2 We thank You, Holy Father, for Your Holy Name, which You have caused to dwell in our hearts, and for the knowledge and faith and immortality which You have made known unto us through Jesus Your Son; to You be the glory forever.
10:3 You, Almighty Master, did create all things for the sake of Your name, and have given both meat and drink, for men to enjoy, that we might give thanks unto You, but to us You have given spiritual meat and drink, and life everlasting, through Your Son.
10:4 Above all, we thank You that You are able to save; to You be the glory for ever.
10:5 Remember, Lord, Your Church, to redeem it from every evil, and to perfect it in Your love, and gather it together from the four winds, even that which has been sanctified for Your kingdom which You have prepared for it; for Thine is the kingdom and the glory for ever.
10:6 Let grace come, and let this world pass away. Hosanna to the Son of David. If any one is holy let him come (to the Eucharist); if any one is not, let him repent. Maranatha. Amen.
10:7 But charge the prophets to give thanks, so far as they are willing to do so.
11:1 Whosoever, therefore, shall come and teach you all these things so written, him you shall receive;
11:2 but if the teacher himself turns and teaches another doctrine with a view to subvert you, hearken not to him; but if he comes to add to your righteousness, and the knowledge of the Lord, receive him as the Lord.
11:3 But concerning the apostles and prophets, thus you shall do according to the doctrine of the Gospel.
11:4 Let every apostle who comes unto you be received as the Lord.
11:5 He will remain one day, and if it be necessary, a second; but if he remains three days, he is a false prophet.
11:6 And let the apostle when departing take nothing but bread until he arrives at his resting-place; but if he asks for money, he is a false prophet.
11:7 And ye shall not tempt or dispute with any prophet who speaks in the Spirit; for every sin shall be forgiven, but this sin shall not be forgiven.
11:8 But not every one who speaks in the Spirit is a prophet, but he is so who has the disposition of the Lord; by their dispositions they therefore shall be known, the false prophet and the prophet.
11:9 And every prophet who orders in the Spirit that a table shall be laid, shall not eat of it himself, but if he does otherwise, he is a false prophet;
11:10 and every prophet who teaches the truth, if he does not do what he teaches is a false prophet;
11:11 and every prophet who is approved and true, and ministering in the visible mystery of the Church, but who teaches not others to do the things that he does himself, shall not be judged of you, for with God lies his judgment, for in this manner also did the ancient prophets.
11:12 But whoever shall say in the Spirit, give me money, or things of that kind, listen not to him; but if he tells you concerning others that are in need that you should give unto them, let no one judge him.
12:1 Let every one that comes in the Name of the Lord be received, but afterwards you shall examine him and know his character, for you have knowledge both of good and evil.
12:2 If the person who comes be a wayfarer, assist him so far as you are able; but he will not remain with you more than two or three days, unless there be a neccessity.
12:3 But if he wishes to settle with you, being a craftsman, let him work, and so eat;
12:4 but if he does know not any craft, you shall provide according to you own discretion, that a Christian may not live idle among you;
12:5 but if he be not willing to do so, he is a trafficker in Christ. From such keep aloof.
13:1 But every true prophet who is willing to dwell among you is worthy of his meat,
13:2 likewise a true teacher is himself worthy of his meat, even as is a labourer.
13:3 You shall, therefore, take the firstfruits of every produce of the wine-press and threshing-floor, of oxen and sheep, and shall give it to the prophets, for they are your chief priests;
13:4 but if you have not a prophet, give it unto the poor.
13:5 If you prepare a feast, take and give the firstfruits according to the commandment;
13:6 in like manner when you open a jar of wine or of oil, take the firstfruits and give it to the prophets;
13:7 take also the firstfruits of money, of clothes, and of every possession, as it shall seem good unto you, and give it according to the commandment.
14:1 But on the Lord’s day, after you have assembled together, break bread and give thanks, having in addition confessed your sins, that your sacrifice may be pure.
14:2 But let not any one who has a quarrel with his companion join with you, until they be reconciled, that your sacrifice may not be polluted,
14:3 for it is that which is spoken of by the Lord. In every place and time offer unto Me a pure sacrifice, for I am a Great King, says the Lord, and My Name is Wonderful among the nations.
15:1 Elect, therefore, for yourselves bishops and deacons worthy of the Lord, men who are meek and not covetous, and true and approved, for they perform for you the service of prophets and teachers.
15:2 Do not, therefore, despise them, for they are those who are honoured among you, together with the prophets and teachers.
15:3 Rebuke one another, not in wrath but peaceably, as you have been commanded in the Gospel; and, yet let no one speak to any one who walks disorderly with regard to his neighbor, neither let him be heard by you until he repents.
15:4 But your prayers and your almsgivings and all your deeds you shall do, as you have been commanded in the Gospel of our Lord.
16:1 Watch concerning your life; let not your lamps be quenched or your loins be loosed, but be ready, for you know not the hour at which our Lord shall come.
16:2 But you shall be gathered together frequently, seeking what is suitable for your souls; for the whole time of your faith shall profit you not, unless you be found perfect in the last time.
16:3 For in the last days false prophets and seducers shall be multiplied, and the sheep shall be turned into wolves, and love shall be turned into hate;
16:4 and because iniquity abounds they shall hate each other, and persecute each other, and deliver each other up; and then shall the Deceiver of the world appear impersonating the Son of God, and shall do signs and wonders, and the earth shall be delivered into his hands; and he shall do unlawful things, such as have never happened since the beginning of the world.
16:5 Then shall the creation of man come to the fiery trial of proof, and many shall be offended and shall perish; but they who remain in their faith shall be saved by the rock of offence itself.
16:6 And then shall appear the signs of the truth; first the sign of the appearance in heaven, then the sign of the sound of the trumpet, and thirdly the resurrection of the dead
16:7 — not of all, but as it has been said, The Lord shall come and all His saints with Him;
16:8 then shall the world behold the Lord coming on the clouds of heaven.
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In my next article, I will examine – point by point those things in the Teachings of the Apostles which are today ignored by the majority of those who call themselves Christians… and attempt to determine if they willfully disobey these teachings – or if they just don’t know any better.