On the Apostolic Preaching
St Irenaeus is the most important theologian of the second century, laying the foundation for all future Christian thinkers. Irenaeus tells us that he had known Polycarp, who had himself known the apostles and been appointed by them as the bishop of the church of Smyrna. This direct contact with the immediate successors of the apostles was of importance for Irenaeus in his later defense of Christian practice and teaching. In this work Against the Heresies, he was the first to utilize the full range of apostolic writings in his controversy with the Gnostics and others. Uniting, for the first time, the whole history of God's activity in one all-encompassing divine economy, Irenaeus demonstrates that there is but one God, who has made Himself known through His one Son, Jesus Christ, by the one Holy Spirit, to the one human race, bringing His creatures made from mud into the intimacy of communion with Himself.
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