Tuesday, July 10, 2018

pros ton theon

 pros ton theon                                                                                     
πρὸς τὸν θεόν

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, ...” —John 1:1.
According to this text, the Word was “with God:” Ἐν ἀρχῇ ἦν ὁ λόγος, καὶ ὁ λόγος ἦν πρὸς τὸν θεόν, καὶ θεὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος. (Greek: πρὸς τὸν θεόν, transliterates as: pros ton theon); that is, “with God.” Those not knowledgable of Greek idioms would see pros ton theon (with God) as meaning “face to face” with God (which meaning the Greek preposition “pros” does have), however, that would be a mistake. Here, “pros ton theon” should be understood as “pertaining to God.” A companion text is found in 1 John 1:2, (καὶ ἡ ζωὴ ἐφανερώθη, καὶ ἑωράκαμεν καὶ μαρτυροῦμεν καὶ ἀπαγγέλλομεν ὑμῖν τὴν ζωὴν τὴν αἰώνιον ἥτις ἦν πρὸς τὸν πατέρα καὶ ἐφανερώθη ἡμῖν. Here eternal life is said to πρὸς τὸν πατέρα); the clause: πρὸς τὸν πατέρα transliterates to pros ton patera, “with the Father;” it is understood, however, that “with the Father” means “pertains to the Father.” Eternal life “pertains to the Father.” No one understands eternal life to be a separate person that is “face to face” with the Father. So, then the Word of God pertains to God just as does eternal life. Moreover, according to our text the Word “was God.” Just as eternal life is an intrinsic part of God’s identity, so, too, is His Word. 
 The Pluralists, working from the misconception that the Word (logos) is the second person of the Godhead, feel that the phrase in John 1:1 “with God” proves that the Word (logos) was another god-person with God the Father in the beginning. 
In other places where we find the phrase “pros ton theon,” such as Hebrews 2:17 and Hebrews 5:1, the phrase is not translated “with God,” but is understood as “pertains to God.” 
Hebrews 2:17, “Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.” πρὸς τὸν θεόν, “pros ton theon” pertaining to God
Hebrews 5:1, “For every high priest taken from among men is ordained for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins:” πρὸς τὸν θεόν, “pros ton theon” pertaining to God 
The translation of John 1:1 πρὸς τὸν θεόν, “pros ton theon” as “with God,” instead of “pertaining to God,” demonstrates the bias of the translators. 
Since the same phrase is used in Hebrews 2:17 and 5:1, as is used in John 1:1, and there (in both Hebrews’ texts) is translated “pertaining to God,” it cannot, therefore, be a conclusive forgone proof that “pros ton theon” means “with,” in the sense of one person being with another person. In point of fact, the evidence tends to lean heavily in favor of the Monarchians’ understanding of “πρὸς τὸν θεόν” (pros ton theon) meaning: “pertaining to God.” The Word, then, of John 1:1, pertained to God, as a man’s word pertains to himself. 
The question is asked, What harm would it do to biblical doctrinal continuity to translate “pros ton theon” (as it appears in John 1:1) as the phrase is translated elsewhere in Scripture? The answer is, It does no harm, but aids very much the clarity of holy Scripture. The Word pertaining to God would be in harmony with Psalm 33:6 “By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth.” God’s Word, then, pertains to God, as does His breath (Ps 33:6), His hand (Ezek 2:9), His arm (Isa 51:9) or ETERNAL LIFE: 1 John 1:2 (as we have seen above) informs us that Eternal Life was πρὸς τὸν πατέρα (pros ton patera) “with the Father.” Now, all concerned agree that “pros ton patera” means “pertains to the Father;” so, it is evident that “pros ton theon” of John 1:1 should be understood as meaning “pertains to God” or “pertaining to God.” 
The task of Bible teachers is to interpret the Word of God in such a way that every part is in harmony. The Psalmist writes: “The sum of Your word is truth ...” (Ps 119:160 NASB). Therefore, John 1:1 must be interpreted in a way that will harmonize with Deuteronomy 32:39. The Pluralists will interpret John 1:1 to mean that the Word (Logos) was another person from God, and that this other person, that was with God, was also God. The fact is, Trinitarianism places another god-person with the Father in the beginning. Now, the problem that this presents is found in Deuteronomy 32:39, where the Father states, “See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god with me... .” This statement, of Father God, that there was no other god-person with Him, makes null and void the Trinitarian’s insistence that the Word was another god- person with God the Father in the beginning. Since there are no opposing truths in the Bible, John 1:1 and Deuteronomy 32:39 cannot stand in tension, the one to the other, but must be harmonized by rightly dividing the Word of God (II Timothy 2:15). When God’s word is rightly divided, it becomes clear that the word “with,” as found in John 1:1, does not indicate another person from God. We know this, because 1 John 1:2 states that Eternal Life is “with” God. So, then, it is doctrinally dishonest to insist that in John 1:1 the same writer meant to say that the Logos was along side of, or face to face with, God; by his words of “pros ton theon.” We do not understand Eternal Life to be another person from God because Eternal Life is said to be with God. No, we understand Eternal Life to be an attribute of God, that pertains to God. In the book of Job 12:16, Strength and Wisdom are said to be with God, “With him is strength and wisdom ... .” We do not understand Strength and Wisdom to be other god-persons from God the Father, because Strength and Wisdom are said to be with God. No, we understand Strength and Wisdom to be attributes of God, that pertain to God. The Word is no more a person because it is said to be with God than are Strength, Wisdom or Eternal Life! 
What would mean “Face to Face”?
For the Pluralists to have an argument from John 1:1-3, the Greek should read para ton theon, but it does not. Para means face to face, or alongside of. Clear examples of para are found in the following passages:
  • Matthew 22:25 “Now there were with (para) us seven brethren... .” “ἦσαν δὲ παρ’ ἡμῖν ἑπτὰ ἀδελφοί: ...” 
  • John 14:17 “... for he dwelleth with (para) you, and shall be in
    you.” “... ὅτι παρ’ ὑμῖν μένει καὶ ἐν ὑμῖν ἔσται.” 
  • John 14:25 “These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with (para) you.” “Ταῦτα λελάληκα ὑμῖν παρ’ ὑμῖν μένων:” 


It is a challenge to interpret Scripture without bringing any bias to the table: a challenge that most men, no matter how well intentioned, cannot overcome. The inconsistency of Trinitarianism is demonstrated when  John 1:1 is juxtaposed with 1 John 1:2,  Hebrews 2:17 and 5:1. It was Shakespeare who said, “O Consistency, thou art a virtue.” Another maxim that is true is: “Inconsistency is the pitfall of all false doctrine.”

Apostolically Speaking
☩☩ Jerry Hayes

Saturday, June 30, 2018

The Incarnation

I am sure that I will fall far short of a complete analysis, but as clumsy as I might be in this explanation I feel compelled, to present the following observations concerning the incarnation: Upon the moment of conception, two species (deity and humanity) commingled in the womb of Mary: two separate and distinct ousie commingled. I say commingled, because it was not as simple as the man Christ Jesus being formed and then God entering that man. No, the incarnation was a commingling of humanity and deity. Mary conceived the seed of the "woman" and the "word" commingled in her womb, in the same sense that the DNA of two parents, in the natural process, would commingle.
Now, when a human fetus is formed in the female womb, the baby that is produced is a biological composite of both parents in that 23 chromosomes from each parent merge to form one complete cell of 46 chromosomes, from which come the complete person: body, soul and spirit -- this includes the blood of both parents that is now replicated in the fetus. We must think just so of Mary's conception. In this line of reasoning, every aspect of the physical and spiritual being of Jesus is commingled with deity and humanity. So, then, the Word was made flesh, and the flesh the word; the Spirit of God commingling with the spirit of the man, Jesus Christ. All of Jesus is God and man in every aspect of his being (including His blood). The Wonderfull mystery is that His deity and humanity remain distinct one from each other. There is a very real sense that the physical body of Jesus was both God and man. We say, 100% God and 100% man. In a very real sense His spirit is the spirit of God and the spirit of man. We say 100% God and 100% man. It his entire being, Jesus is just as much God is though he were not man and just as much man as though he were not God. Further, although the ousia of God and the ousia of man are consubstantiated together as one person they remain separate and distinct from each other; so that one ousia may act or be acted upon, with the action not being communicated to the other nature.
Now, this must be stated clearly so that none misunderstand: the deity of Jesus is homoousia with the Father, as the Creed of Nicæa clearly establishes. Though the person of the Son is but one Son of God, not two sons of God, the humanity of Christ is not homoousious with the deity. So that, in Christ, there exists a dichotomy between the deity and his humanity – mystery of mysteries.
We are aware that some will charge us with believing in to Jesus-es, and brand us as Nestorians. Well, Nestorius had it right when he addressed the dual nature of Jesus. The mystery of the incarnation shouts to be recognized in the following reality: although Jesus of Nazareth is both God and man, and though the God nature and the human nature are not homoousious, he is but one single person, brought about from the commingling of two ousie. The mystery compounds further, in that the one person, that is Jesus in his deity, is homoousious with the father. Yet,, in his one person as the man Christ Jesus, he is not homoousious with the Father and only hom-oi-ousious with us men. Nestorius had the courage of his convictions. So do we, in the incarnation, Jesus is both God and man. On the cross the man suffered and died, God did neither. (Godhead Theology, pages 186-189)
It must be pointed out that Calvary was the cutting of a very real blood covenant; a legitimate covenant requires the blood of all contracting parties. Since the sacrifice of the Son of God on the cross did, in fact, facilitate the required covenant, the sacrifice, Himself, had to be the federal-head of both contracting parties: namely, God and man. The wonder of wonders, and the love of all loves: the creator God of the universe (the one who reached into his tunic and from his bosom flung stars and their solar systems into space) condescended to the human plane and subjective himself to generation in a virgin woman's womb, so that the blood shed on the brow of Golgotha would be the blood of God, as well as the blood of mankind (Acts 2:28). (Godhead Theology, page 312)

Apostolically Speaking
David Ignatius

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Christian Men and Beards

Christian Men and Beards
Bishop Jerry L. Hayes

By way of introduction of why I feel this is a topic worth visiting let me share a personal testimony with you: 

In the neck of the woods that I come from (West Tennessee) Pentecostal fundamentalism ruled. Standing on the front porch of the house I grew up in I could count no less than 35 Oneness Pentecostal churches within a 15 mile radius -- and I lived in the country. (For those that think the UPCI compose the vast majority of Oneness believers I will say this: of the 35 Oneness churches only 3 were UPCI.) In my part of the world one was either Pentecostal or Baptist.  

Our brand of Pentecostalism was to the right of the right, so to speak. Apart from Acts 2:38 the message one heard more often than any other was the “4-H” sermon. What was the “4-H” sermon? you may be asking. You know, it is the sermon when one hears about “hair”, “hems”, “hose” and “holes” (in case you are wondering what “hoes” related to: the hoes in the toes of women’s shoes—which under no circumstance could be the color red). Under the category of “hair” was the hair of men as well as women. Of course the women could never cut their hair—not even split ends, spit curl nor bangs. The hair requirements for men were just as restrictive in the other direction: it was required that men keep their hair cut at the hair line (hair was to be kept off the collar and the ear) and the sideburns at the cheek bones. You can rest assured that in this hair regiment for men, absolutely no facial hair was allowed.

Looking back on it now we all are, or should be, more than a little embarrassed at how we permitted ourselves to be led to such extremes without questioning the pulpits that were requiring such measures. Christianity does not require one to check in their minds upon being baptized. One should question everything that comes across the pulpit. For this reason the Bible admonishes the believer to “prove all things” and to “judge” what is preached. If you, dear reader, have followed my writing, or preaching, for very long you have read or heard me say, “Nothing suffers from examination except error.” We all should stand appalled at the damage done to the body of Christ by men and women who have little education but great oratory skills. Pentecostalism has not been exempt from contributing to the religious trash heap of the cults, from the People’s Temple cult led by Jim Jones, to the snake handling cults of Appalachia, to the “4-H Club” preachers and churches.

An example of the “ignorance on parade” type of preaching and teaching that produced (sadly is still producing) the doctrine of “No Facial Hair” on Christian men can be found in this true story:

In the late sixties of the last century there was a camp-meeting conducted in the Iron Hill community just outside Parsons, Tennessee. Among the sponsoring pastors were L. Mays, O.T. Cottrell, R. C. Mays, C. Beecham, D. Johnson, G. Stubblefield, R. Graves and B. Graves; the camp evangelist was B. Ritchey of Louisiana.

Of course the intention of the night evangelist of such gatherings is to bring the crowd to its feet by preaching on pet points of doctrine that sets that particular group apart from all others. Well, Elder B. Ritchey was one of the best speakers in the country and was in high demand as a camp meeting speaker. On this particular night he was preaching against facial hair on Christian men.  During his sermon he introduced the text from Isaiah 7:20. He quoted the part of the text that says, “In that day the Lord will shave..” Now, his point for introducing this text was to say that it had Christ in view (a reference to v14) and that it proved Jesus shaved. Therefore, all Christian men should be like Christ and shave their faces clean. When the evangelist made that statement the crowed erupted in shouting. Many of the men, with shaved faces, began running around the tent in excitement at the fact that there was a Scripture text that “proved” Christian men should be clean shaven. Now, I know this to be true because I was one of those men.

Think of my sense of betrayal when years later I learned the true meaning of Isaiah 7:20. It did not mean what the preacher said it meant. IT MEANT RIGHT THE OPPOSITE! In Isaiah 7:20 the prophet is prophesying against Israel and telling them that the LORD was going to send the Assyrians against them to shame them and reveal their nakedness. Thus the analogy of a razor and the removal of the beard. (This text will be addressed later on in this writing.) Did the evangelist knowingly misrepresent the the prophet Isaiah? I knew him personally very well (later on I conducted revival meetings in his church and preached the state camp meeting for the ALJC in his state) and would not think that of him. However, I have witnessed first hand how wrong doctrine will force otherwise honest men to doctrinal dishonesty, rather then admit their teaching to have been in error.

At the turn of the 20th Century most all men, that could, grew beards. (Biblically, it was a shame to have one’s face shaved.) With the advent of the First World War, all that changed. This is how and why it changed:
In this war, chemical warfare was introduced on a major and universal scale. In order to use gas masks properly, all soldiers of every army were required to be clean shaven. When the men came home from the war, all had clean shaven faces. The womenof America and Europe loved it. The fashion designers of New York and Paris and other fashion centers of the world saw this and quickly responded with all men’s fashions represented with shaved men. Then it became the “fashion” and accepted norm. 

It is an irony that the “holiness” preachers of the last century permitted the worldly fashion pimps of New York and Paris to form their brand of “holiness.”

In professing themselves to be men of God, they demonstrate themselves to be nothing more than willing tools in the hands of the Ungodly, who lead men into rebellion against the very nature of the Almighty.

What Does The Bible Actually Say About Beards?

The most clear biblical passage to condone beards comes from Leviticus (19:27): “You shall not cut the hair on the sides of your heads, neither shall you clip off the edge of your beard.” To cut off another man’s beard, according to Samuel (10:4) is an outrage.

According to Jeremiah (41:5), to shave or pluck one’s own beard was only appropriate during times of mourning. In other passage of holy scripture, Leviticus (21:5) states that “You shall not shave your beard for the dead [a pagan practice] with a baldness on the top, and they shall not shave their beard.” Moreover, Leviticus (19:27) also states “...to all men in general, you shall not make a round cutting of their hair of your head, nor disfigure your beard.”

Roughly 200 years after the death of Jesus, Clement of Alexandra wrote that it is impious “to desecrate the symbol of manhood, hairness.” Writing in 195 A.D., Clement also stated “But let the chin have the hair ... For an ample beard suffices for men. And if one, too, shave a part of his beard, it must not be made entirely bare, for this is a disgraceful sight.” Even today Christian clergy in Greece, Russia, Romania and other Orthodox communities wear untrimmed beards and hair.

Men in the Bible Who Had Beards
The Bible does mention many Godly men who had beards: First, Aaron, Moses’ brother, definitely had a beard: It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron’s beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments (Psalm 133:2)
We also see that Samson, who took the Nazarite vow, also must have surely had a beard: That he told her all his heart, and said unto her, There hath not come a razor upon mine head; for I have been a Nazirite unto God from my mother’s womb: if I be shaven, then my strength will go from me, and I shall become weak, and be like any other man. (Judges 16:17)
And King David, the man after God’s own heart, also wore a beard. In perhaps the funniest passage of all the Bible, David, fearing for his own life, pretended to be insane to escape death from King Achish. Can’t you imagine David blurting out gibberish, scrabbling on a door, and spitting all over himself to appear insane? And he changed his behavior before them, and feigned himself mad in their hands, and scrabbled on the doors of the gate, and let his spittle fall down upon his beard. (1 Samuel 21:13)
Ezekiel also wore a beard, as we see in this passage where God has him to shave part of his hair and beard, as a symbolic gesture showing the shame that would soon come upon Jerusalem. Shaving the head or beard of a man in these times would have caused severe humiliation, and God used this illustration by his prophet Ezekiel to reflect the impending shame that Jerusalem would soon feel by the hands of their enemies (the Babylonians): “Now, son of man, take a sharp sword and use it as a barber’s razor to shave your head and your beard. Then take a set of scales and divide up the hair. (Ezekiel 5:1)
Joseph, the son of Jacob, also wore a beard, as we see in the passage below. He was to be presented to Pharaoh, and it was Egyptian custom to be clean-shaven: Pharaoh sent for Joseph at once, and he was quickly brought from the prison. After he shaved and changed his clothes, he went in and stood before Pharaoh. (Genesis 41:14)
Jonathan’s son Mephibosheth, also referred to as Saul’s son since he was his grandson, also grew a beard, as we see in this passage when he hadn’t groomed it for a time due to mourning: And Mephibosheth the son of Saul came down to meet the king. He had neither taken care of his feet nor trimmed his beard nor washed his clothes, from the day the king departed until the day he came back in safety. (2 Samuel 19:24)
Ezra, after learning that the Israelites had broken God’s strict command of not intermarrying with the surrounding women, tore his garments and beard in complete horror of their sin: And when I heard this thing, I rent my garment and my mantle, and plucked off the hair of my head and of my beard, and sat down astonished. (Ezra 9:3)
Last, but certainly not least, the scriptures show us that Jesus Himself had a beard. The following passage is a prophecy from the book of Isaiah, and it depicts the future Messiah (Jesus) as a suffering servant. This prophecy was fulfilled literally as Christ stood in front of his mockers before he was crucified: I gave my back to those who strike, and my cheeks to those who pull out the beard; I hid not my face from disgrace and spitting. (Isaiah 50:6)
Note how in the above passage, His beard was pulled out. This is interesting for a few reasons: This reveals that Christ certainly had a beard, and it wasn’t a very short beard. 
So the Bible clearly teaches that Kings, the Prophets, and even our Lord Jesus had a beard. In other words, beards are Biblical. I think any denomination or cult who shuns beards need to read their Bibles again! How dare anyone frown on growing a beard, when Jesus Himself had a beard and was without sin. Most all Godly men: From Abraham, Adam, Moses, etc. would have worn a beard. God made men with the ability to grow beards, and therefore, most men in the Bible grew them.
Some suggest people today should not grow beards by using the lame argument, “That was a different culture. Things have changed.” Friend, we don’t need to change the Bible to fit in with the world, we need to change the world to fit in with the Bible.
To Shave or Cut a Man’s Beard Was To Shame or Humiliate Him
Now that we’ve established the fact that most God-fearing men wore beards, let’s now notice how beards are held in great esteem by men in the scriptures. In the Bible, not having a beard was an embarrassment to a man, especially if it was taken from Him in a shameful way.  Here are some scriptures that reveal how beards are held in esteem, and shaving a beard was a grave embarrassment.
In this first passage, we see how men were greatly ashamed that their beards had been cut: So Hanun took David’s servants and shaved off half the beard of each and cut off their garments in the middle, at their hips, and sent them away. When it was told David, he sent to meet them, for the men were greatly ashamed. And the king said, “Remain at Jericho until your beards have grown and then return.” (2 Samuel 10:4-5)
These men were so humiliated to have their beards cut, they were allowed to wait until they grew out before they returned. I find this interesting for one reason: The beards were only half-shaved. They could have easily shaved the other half and looked okay. But they didn’t do that. Instead, David knew what a beard meant to a man. So he ordered that they remain until their beards grew back. This proves beyond a doubt that beards were considered a big deal in this biblical society.
Next, Isaiah, prophesying the impending attack from the Assyrians, symbolically described their attack as shaming the entire body of Judah (again, showing the shame of shaving one’s head and beard. This is the text that I wrote about in my testimony at the beginning of this writing): In that day the Lord will shave with a razor that is hired beyond the River—with the king of Assyria—the head and the hair of the feet, and it will sweep away the beard also. (Isaiah 7:20)
Again, Isaiah uses the shaving of the beard as a symbol if humiliation and sham: He has gone up to the temple, and to Dibon, to the high places to weep; over Nebo and over Medeba Moab wails. On every head is baldness; every beard is shorn; (Isaiah 15:2)
And in the Book of Jeremiah, we see how shaving a beard was a sign of deep mourning or shame: Eighty men arrived from Shechem and Shiloh and Samaria, with their beards shaved and their clothes torn, and their bodies gashed, bringing grain offerings and incense to present at the temple of the LORD. (Jeremiah 41:5). And:  For every head shall be bald, and every beard clipped: upon all the hands shall be cuttings, and upon the loins sackcloth. (Jeremiah 48:37)
All of these verses make it clear that not only did Godly men wear beards, but they also had great esteem for their beards. They recognized God’s creative power in giving men and women distinct characteristics. To shave their beard meant great humiliation or shame. It also was used by God as a bold sign of great calamity, or great mourning, thus showing God’s attitude toward beards.
Early Churchmen on Beards
1) "The Beard Signifies the Courageous" – St Augustine, 4th – 5th century
“The beard signifies the courageous; the beard distinguishes the grown men, the earnest, the active, the vigorous. So that when we describe such, we say, he is a bearded man.” (Exposition on Psalm 133, 6)
2) "Manliness and Strength" – Lactantius, 3rd – 4th century
“[T]he nature of the beard contributes in an incredible degree to distinguish the maturity of bodies, or to the distinction of sex, or to the beauty of manliness and strength.” (On the Workmanship of God, Chapter 7)

3) "What a Disgrace" – St. John Chrysostom, 4th century
“Just think now what a disgrace it would be for a man having a flowing beard, and with staff in hand, and cope on shoulders, to go to school with children, and be set the same tasks with them: would it not be above measure ridiculous?” (Homily 10 on the Acts of the Apostles)

4) "Unnaturally Change the Form of a Man" – Apostolic Constitutions, 4th century
“[I]t is not lawful for you, a believer and a man of God, to permit the hair of your head to grow long, and to brush it up together, nor to suffer it to spread abroad, nor to puff it up, nor by nice combing and platting to make it curl and shine; since that is contrary to the law, which says thus, in its additional precepts: You shall not make to yourselves curls and round rasures. Nor may men destroy the hair of their beards, and unnaturally change the form of a man. For the law says: You shall not mar your beards. For God the Creator has made this decent for women, but has determined that it is unsuitable for men. But if you do these things to please men, in contradiction to the law, you will be abominable with God, who created you after His own image. If, therefore, you will be acceptable to God, abstain from all those things which He hates, and do none of those things that are unpleasing to Him.” (Apostolic Constitutions, Book 1, Section 2)

5) "Impious to Desecrate the Symbol of Manhood" – Clement of Alexandria, 2nd – 3rd century
“But for one who is a man to comb himself and shave himself with a razor, for the sake of fine effect, to arrange his hair at the looking-glass, to shave his cheeks, pluck hairs out of them, and smooth them, how womanly! […] For this is a meretricious and impious form of snare. For God wished women to be smooth, and rejoice in their locks alone growing spontaneously, as a horse in his mane; but has adorned man, like the lions, with a beard, and endowed him, as an attribute of manhood, with a shaggy chest – a sign of strength and rule. […]

“This, then, the mark of the man, the beard, by which he is seen to be a man, is older than Eve… In this God deemed it right that he should excel, and dispersed hair over man's whole body. Whatever smoothness and softness was in him He abstracted from his side when He formed the woman Eve, physically receptive, his partner in parentage, his help in household management, while he (for he had parted with all smoothness) remained a man, and shows himself man. […]
“Wherefore males have both more hair and more heat than females… It is therefore impious to desecrate the symbol of manhood, hairiness. But the embellishment of smoothing (for I am warned by the Word), if it is to attract men, is the act of an effeminate person,— if to attract women, is the act of an adulterer; and both must be driven as far as possible from our society. […]
“Let the head of men be shaven, unless it has curly hair. But let the chin have the hair. But let not twisted locks hang far down from the head, gliding into womanish ringlets. For an ample beard suffices for men. And if one, too, shave a part of his beard, it must not be made entirely bare, for this is a disgraceful sight. The shaving of the chin to the skin is reprehensible, approaching to plucking out the hair and smoothing. For instance, thus the Psalmist, delighted with the hair of the beard, says, ‘As the ointment that descends on the beard, the beard of Aaron.’ Having celebrated the beauty of the beard by a repetition, he made the face to shine with the ointment of the Lord.” (The Instructor, Book 3, Chapters 3, 11)

Doesn’t the Bible Forbid Trimming a Beard?
One verse that is sometimes a point of confusion is this: You shall not round off the hair on your temples or mar the edges of your beard. You shall not make any cuts on your body for the dead or tattoo yourselves: I am the LORD. (Leviticus 19:27-28)
In this passage, God is forbidding the Israelites to emulate the surrounding pagan nations, who squared off their beards as an act of worship to their false Gods/idols. These nations would also make cuts on their bodies when mourning, and place tattoos on themselves. Funny how some things never change, eh?
God has always called His people to be separate from “the world,” and grace didn’t change that. In the New Testament we are also told not to be yoked together with unbelievers, and to avoid worldly appearances, and to not be “of the world.” Law or grace has nothing to do with separation or Godly principles for living (or clothing yourself). So what this passage is saying is that God doesn’t want His people to look or act like un-godly people. Tattoos, cutting of the body, freakish hairstyles–these are all things pagans/unbelievers have done (and still do).
This doesn’t mean you can’t groom your beard, or cut your hair. In fact, God actually wants us to have good hygiene. He wants us to keep our bodies, which is the temple of the Holy Spirit, clean and Holy to glorify God. The scriptures teach that men should keep short hair on their heads, which is only done by regular grooming: They shall not shave their heads or let their locks grow long; they shall surely trim the hair of their heads. (Ezekiel 44:20)
So these scriptures show us that we shouldn’t grow facial hair in a way to emulate pagans or ungodly people. Of course, we are free to groom our hair and beards to keep them looking respectful. Beards were the default for men in the Bible.
Should Christian Men Grow Beards or Facial Hair?
With all of the scripture above being considered, the Bible makes a strong case that growing a beard is an honor for a man, and glory to God. Why? Well, first, we see that Godly men (and our LORD) wore a beard/facial hair.  Next, we see that it was shameful or humiliating to have it shaved or removed. Next, we see God forbidding Israelites from adopting pagan practices, which including trimming the beard in a way the pagans did in honor of their deity.
Also, we should note that this is a highly distinguishing characteristic that God gave specifically for men. With the minor exception of a few women with severe medical conditions or genetic defects, only a man can grow a  beard. This is a God-given honor.
One has freedom on how long one wants to grow his beard. Some men prefer to keep a short beard. Others keep stubble. 
Even though many Godly men grew beards, some may say, “I don’t live under the law.” Well, that’s true, We don’t live under the law, but is growing a beard a law? Has it ever been a law? It is just the way God made a man to be. Have you ever seen a lion? He has a wonderful God-given beard, which beautifully distinguishes him from his female lioness. There’s no “law” that a lion has to have it’s beautiful beard, it’s just the way he’s made.
“But I’m saved by grace alone, and I have freedom in Christ for my hairstyles,” yet another man may quip. Well, that’s true too. In all of this talk about grace, legalism, and law, let’s consider another point about beards.
The Apostle Paul knew a great deal about grace, law, and faith. In fact, he is the guy who wrote the chapters on it! But even though Paul loathed the Judaizers and the Pharisees teaching works-based salvation, and always upheld Grace doctrines, let’s see what the Holy Spirit inspired Paul to write:
I praise you for remembering me in everything and for holding to the traditions just as I passed them on to you. But I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God. Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head. But every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head—it is the same as having her head shaved. For if a woman does not cover her head, she might as well have her hair cut off; but if it is a disgrace for a woman to have her hair cut off or her head shaved, then she should cover her head.
A man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God; but woman is the glory of man. For man did not come from woman, but woman from man; neither was man created for woman, but woman for man. It is for this reason that a woman ought to have authority over her own head, because of the angels. Nevertheless, in the Lord woman is not independent of man, nor is man independent of woman. For as woman came from man, so also man is born of woman. But everything comes from God.
Judge for yourselves: Is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered? Does not the very nature of things teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a disgrace to him, but that if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For long hair is given to her as a covering. If anyone wants to be contentious about this, we have no other practice—nor do the churches of God.
I Corinthians 11:2-16 (underlining mine)
Paul, in his argument about hair length and head coverings, appeals to nature. Here he suggests, by the Holy Spirit’s inspiration, that it is dishonorable for men to have their head covered (with anything). Likewise, it is dishonorable for a woman to pray without her head covered.
He says, “Does not the very nature of things teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a disgrace to him?” In other words, Paul is saying: “Hey guys,  it’s pretty obvious that women ought to have their head covered, because this is how God created a woman to be. And men ought to not cover their heads, since their heads are usually uncovered (ie, balding or short hair).
Isn’t a beard merely an extension of this very same “nature” argument? By nature, don’t most men produce facial hair? Is it not just as obvious as the Apostle Paul suggests here with regard to hair length? It is a God-given honor to grow facial hair (whether a full beard, or even a partial one). It is a glorious distinction between the sexes. Even if a man can only grow a little scruff, long sideburns, or a mustache–it is still a glorious distinction and an honor God gave us.
This has nothing to do with salvation. It has nothing to do with law or grace or sin. But it does have something to do with  nature itself–the very nature of a man! Your nature (ie, genetics) makes you grow hair on your face.
Now, you don’t have to grow a scraggly beard to your knees. You can trim it nicely. Just like you should trim the hair that naturally grows on your head. We should say, if you can’t grow a beard, or choose not to, you’re no less of a man. God made you that way, so honor Him the way He made you.
Benefits of Growing a Beard
Aside from scripture, as a man, I can attest to the very practical reasons to grow a beard. Here are a few of the benefits:
  • Saves time and money–My beard generally needs to be trimmed only every couple of weeks. It takes just minutes. Contrast that with people who have to lather up their faces daily. Furthermore, I just use an electric trimmer (the same I use to cut my hair). I never have to waste money on shaving cream, razors, etc. This adds up to thousands of dollars in savings over a lifetime (do the math!).
  • Keeps you warm in the winter–Beards act as natural insulators to the face, helping it to stay warm.
  • Hides imperfections on the face–Have a weak jaw line, a strange mole, or other imperfections on your lower face? A beard will have you covered (literally).
  • Enhances your appearance–My wife is a very attractive woman, and without hesitation, she tells me that my beard is one of her favorite features on my face. She loves my beard. Not all women like beards (at least, at first), but many of them do once they realize how you look with it grown out and groomed.
  • Glorifies God and honors you–Most importantly, given the fact that God created us to grow hair facial hair, and that by our very nature beards are the natural result, I think it gives honor to the man, and glory to the God that made man with his God-given beard.
The only downsides to having a beard is that occasionally a hair will fall out. No big deal, and it’s no different than a hair of your head falling down. Plus, you can trim it to any length you want, so don’t worry about looking like some Amish person or renegade. If you want a closely cropped beard, go for it!
Conclusion: We Need a Beard Revolution!
The Bible places great emphasis on beards. Many Godly men wore them, and beards were held in high esteem. Facial hair is a bold distinction God has generally given to men. Christian men should strongly consider the verses above, and the distinctive characteristics that facial hair offers a man.
Let us embrace our God-given distinction, and reject Satan’s objective to blur the lines between males and females. Did Jesus not say, And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, (Matthew 19:4).
Don’t get the idea that I’d ever look down on a Christian brother who couldn’t grow a beard. I know many wonderful Christian men who wished they could grow a beard, but couldn’t. All I’m trying to do in this article is reveal the scriptures, show how beards do glorify God by revealing His distinctions, if God enabled you to do so.

Charles Spurgeon is considered by many to be one of the greatest preachers of the ages. He is often called “The Prince of Preachers.” I’ll leave you with a quote from him as he lectured a group of students: “Growing a beard ‘is a habit most natural, scriptural, manly, and beneficial.’” -Charles Spurgeon

Sunday, June 3, 2018



"Ignatius either personally knew the apostles or was closely related to their associates, so his writings likely reflect what the apostles taught." – Habermas (2004)
Jürgen Habermas  German: born 18 June 1929) is a German sociologist and philosopher in the tradition of critical theory and pragmatism. He is perhaps best known for his theories on communicative rationality and the public sphere. Global polls consistently find that Habermas is widely recognized as one of the world's leading intellectuals. 
"Yamauchi (Edwin Masao Yamauchi (born 1937, Hilo, Hawaii) is a Japanese American historian, (Protestant) Christian apologist, editor and academic. He is Professor Emeritus of History at Miami University, where he taught from 1969 until 2005.Yamauchi's areas of expertise include: Ancient History, Old Testament, New Testament, Early Church History, Gnosticism, and Biblical Archaeology)  ... cited the seven letters of Ignatius as being among the most important of the writings of the apostolic fathers. 'He emphasized both the deity and the humanity of Jesus ... he stressed the historical underpinnings of Christianity ... truly persecuted under Pilate, truly crucified, truly raised from the dead ...' " – Strobel (1998. p89)(Lee Patrick Strobel  is an American Christian author, journalist and  apologist. He has written several books, including four which received ECPA Christian Book Awards (1994, 1999, 2001, 2005) and a series which addresses challenges to a Biblically inerrant view of Christianity.).

Little is known about the life of Ignatius of Antioch except that he was the third bishop of Antioch in Syria, after Peter and Evodius; and, that he was fed to wild beasts in the arena at Rome (A.D. 107) for being a Christian. He called himself Theophorus—God Bearer. Ignatius Theophorus was born in A.D. 35. Therefore the legend about him being one of the children that Jesus takes into His arms and blesses (Mark 10:16) is not true, in that Ignatius was not yet born. The legend does, however, reflect the tender and loving attitude of the ancients toward him.
Ignatius lived in a very volatile time for the infant Church. He had witnessed the heavy persecution, first by the Jews, and then, by the Roman government. His flock at Antioch had suffered terribly at the hands of Domitian, and lastly by Trajan. Finally the bishop, himself, is presented before Trajan, when that emperor was in Antioch, and confesses to being a Christian. He is condemned and ordered to be conveyed to Rome where he is cast to the wild beasts, for the entertainment of the mob. Assigned, and chained, to ten soldiers as his guard, the band sets out on their journey to Rome. He is taken by the overland route through Cilicia and Asia Minor, and thence to Rome. Where the way forks at Laodicea, the northern road is chosen. He halts at Philadelphia, and then again at Smyrna, where he is welcomed by Polycarp, the bishop of that city, and by delegates from the neighboring churches of Ephesus, Magnesia, and Tralles. Pressing northward, he stops again at Troas. We gather that he crossed by sea to Neapolis and halted once more at Philippi, where the Christians welcomed him. After that he passes out of sight. 
Ignatius considers the journey as a martyrdom leading to a martyrdom. The soldiers, whom he called “leopards” become more hateful with each bit of kindness shown to them. (“From Syria even unto Rome I fight with wild beasts, by land and sea, by night and by day, being bound amidst ten leopards, even a company of soldiers, who only wax worse when they are kindly treated. Howbeit through their wrong doings I become more completely a disciple; yet am I not hereby justified.” Romans 5:1) News of the bishop’s arrest and sentence went before them, and the several churches along the route sent out delegates, along with their individual bishops, to meet with Ignatius and refresh him in his bonds. (One can only imagine the amount of bribes given to the Roman guards, by the Christians, in order to gain access to their valued prisoner.) It was while in this journey that Ignatius has left behind seven letters 
(The seven letters by Ignatius accepted as authentic are: Ephesians, Magnesians, Trallians, Romans, Philadelphians, Smyrnæans, and Polycarp. These epistles were written very close together in the same year (A.D. 107), during the trip from Antioch to Rome. Many other writings carry Ignatius’ name but have now been proven spurious; written to make Ignatius a voice on the side of much later church debates such as the Trinity and Maryology. Even these seven letters exist in a long and short version. It is accepted that the short version is the closest to Ignatius’ original but is not, itself, without interpolations. It is clear that the “long versions” seek to remove references to the deity of Jesus at every opportunity. It is, therefore accepted that it was forged in support of the subordinationism of Arius and his followers. ) 
that gives us great insight into the first generation of the Church, after the death of the apostles: During the stop in Smyrna Ignatius wrote his epistles to the Ephesians, Magnesians, Trallians, and Romans; from Troas he wrote to the Philadelphians, Smyræans, and Polycarp. Finally, the bishop of Syria received the honor of martyrdom: in (or about) the Year of Our Lord 107, on the 20th of December. It is reported that Ignatius, and the company of soldiers (ten) sent to guard him, arrived in Rome on the last day of the games, and he was dispatched to the wild beasts immediately.
He writes at a time of the Church that is some thirty-eight years after the destruction of the Jerusalem temple by the Romans. The seven years of tribulation leading up to the destruction of Jerusalem and the razing of the Jewish temple in A. D. 70 had seen the martyrdom of Peter, Paul, and James (the Lord’s half brother and bishop of the Jerusalem church). Moreover, contrary to traditional opinion, this period also saw the martyrdom of the apostle John as well. 
(There is the matter of John’s martyrdom as reported by George the Sinner (eighth - ninth century) and Philip of Side (fifth century). In both accounts both sons of Zebedee were martyred. This report has support in ancient Church calendars which listed John among Christian martyrs. But more weighty to this author is the statement of Jesus, found in Mark 10:39, where He seems to be telling the sons of Zebedee that they both would have to be killed for the cause, just as He (Jesus) was going to be killed. Included here is the account from Mark’s Gospel: “They said to him, Grant unto us that we may sit, one on thy right hand, and the other on thy left hand, in thy glory.  38 But Jesus said unto them, Ye know not what ye ask: can you drink of the cup that I drink of? And be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?  39 And they said into him, We can. And Jesus said unto them, Ye shall indeed drink of the cup that I drank of; and with the baptism that I am baptized withal shall you be baptized:…” (Mark 10:37-39)  In the original form of the apocrypha Acts of John (written in the second half of the second century) John was martyred. ) 
John’s brother and fellow apostle, James, was killed earlier by the Jews (Acts 12:2). 
(Parenthetically, but necessarily, it must be pointed out that the traditional long life for Apostle John and his Ephesian residency go hand in hand. It is clear to this writer that John’s bishopric at Ephesus and his long life are fabrications for the purpose of bringing him into the lifetime of Papias and Irenaeus, thereby, giving these churchmen a touchstone to the apostles [Irenaeus is considered the first Catholic church father]. A convincing evidence of this fabrication is the witness of Ignatius: Ignatius (himself, reputed to have been a disciple of John, as was his fellow bishop, Polycarp) wrote to the church at Ephesus and mentions that church’s former and present bishops. Ignatius makes  personal references to Paul and Onesimus (Ephesians 12:2, and Ephesians 1:2 respectively), but did not mention John. It is a thing unthinkable for John’s disciple, Ignatius, to send a letter to the very church where his teacher had such a long bishopric 
(John’s subsequent history is obscure and passes into the uncertain mists of legend. At the end of the 2nd century, Polycrates, bishop of Ephesus, claims that John’s tomb is at Ephesus, identifies him with the beloved disciple, and adds that he “was a priest, wearing the sacerdotal plate, both martyr and teacher.” That John died in Ephesus is also stated by Irenaeus, bishop of Lyon c. 180 ce, who says John wrote his Gospel and letters at Ephesus ...” (Britannica, The Very Rev. Henry Chadwick)  Legend has John dying in peace at Ephesus, in the third year of Trajan (as seems to be gathered from Eusebius's chronicle), that is, the hundredth of the Christian era, or the seventieth from our Lord's crucifixion, the saint being then about ninety-four years old, according to St. Epiphanius. If John arrived in Ephesus just after the death of Peter and Paul, as legend claims, his residence at that city would cover at least 30 years. John is mentioned in the “long version” of Ignatius’ epistle to the Ephesians, but it is clearly an interpolation as are all the long versions. ) 
and not make even one mention of that connection—if it were true. Moreover, the fact that the “Long Version” of Ignatius’ Ephesian letter does contain a reference to John, as being associated with Ephesus, is a sure evidence of its unlikeliness, in that the “Long Versions” of Ignatius’ writings are all interpolations written much later for the purpose of either weakening his doctrine on the deity of Jesus, or to “write into history” support for teachings that had developed in the Church, but had no historical support.) 
In the heat of this tribulation, Ignatius is made bishop of Antioch in A. D. 68 or 69. By the time of the writing of the seven letters, Ignatius had been bishop of his district for 38-40 years. Thus, the Church of Ignatius had a complete generation of development after the death of the leading apostles. This is an important fact to consider, when one compares Ignatius’ church with the one pictured in the Acts of the Apostles. 
Ignatius’ Theology of Church Structure
Ignatius will write much about church structure. His advocacy of the structure of bishop, presbyter, and deacon have lead some to discount the possibility of such an early date for the letters (A.D. 107). The New Testament presents only two separate church offices: bishops and deacons (see 1 Tim 3:1-13). The terms bishop, presbyter, and pastor are synonymous for the same office, in the New Testament. Further, there were plural bishops/presbyters ordained in each church.
(We know from Titus 1:5 and Philippians 1:1 that the apostolic custom is to have more that one pastor/elder (then called bishop) to an assemble. Notice that Paul instructs Titus to, “...ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee:” καὶ καταστήσῃς κατὰ πόλιν πρεσβυτέρους, ὡς ἐγώ σοι διεταξάμην,(Titus 1:5) g.e. the number of elders (presbyters) in each city was to be plural. Then, when Paul greets the church in Philippi, he writes, “Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons:” “συν επισκοποις και διακονοις” (Philippians 1:1); e.g. the bishops in Philippi are plural in number just as the deacons. Notice that they are set apart from the saints in Paul’s greeting.)
 Ignatius advocated strongly for a “head” bishop for each metropolitan church with presbyters being under his authority, and with deacons being under the authority of the presbyters—a hierarchical episcopacy consisting of these three tiers. (e.g. Eph 2:2; 5:3; Trall 2: 1-2; 13:2; Polyc 6:1).  Some doubt if this development could have come about in such short of time—38-40 years.
When we look back over the last half century in America, we can have some understanding of how events can dictate change. As the leader of the apostolic congregation at Antioch, Ignatius must have learned first hand how important a congregation’s leadership is to its health and survival during times of persecution. The shepherd is the one force that protects and holds the flock together, whether dwelling safely in a sheltered community, or in a precarious place, such as the open countryside—where predators are prowling about in the shadows. In fact this must have been much on the mind of this holy bishop, for he writes to the Philadelphians: “As children therefore [of the light] of the truth, shun division and wrong doctrines; and where the shepherd is, there follow ye as sheep. 2:2 For many specious wolves with baneful delights lead captive the runners in God's race; but, where ye are at one, they will find no place.”

Although the form of government demonstrated in the New Testament was episcopal,
(To Titus, Paul writes: “For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee:” (Titus 1:5). Notice, that Paul, who was consecrated an apostle by Peter, James, and the brethren of Jerusalem has, here, appointed (ordained) Titus to be the overseer (bishop) of Crete, who is instructed to ordain elders (bishops) in each city on the island. There can be no clearer example of ecclesiastical order in the New Testament—and it is episcopal.   First, on the local level there are the pastors (also, biblically called bishops, or elders; then at a higher level is the bishop-overseer who serves as a superintendent over an area (such as Titus in our example); third, at yet a higher level, is the apostle bishop who oversees more than one district (such as Paul in our example); then, lastly is the chief of all the bishops (such as James in our example). It is important to acknowledge the several levels of authority, and that the Church adopted certain titles for them is only a matter of utility.)
 it was not as well defined as we find in the writings of Ignatius. Where we see a plurality of bishops/presbyters per congregation in the New Testament, in Ignatius we see but one bishop for each church. In Ignatius’ church one individual is given the oversight of the flock and all other shepherds come under his jurisdiction. There is no doubt, in this writers mind, that this came about as a result of the circumstances brought on by persecution. Truly, when the flock is driven from place to place, having to meet in secret much, if not all, of the time, the cohesiveness of the community becomes the shepherd (bishop). In Ignatius’ theology the bishop stands in the place of Christ to the church and the presbyters represent the apostles. He makes a point to state this, in one way or another, over and over again. It was an important lesson learned in Antioch, and he is determined to pass it on to the other churches. Antioch was a city of firsts: the believers were first called Christians at Antioch, and now their bishop is the first to call for a monepiscopacy .
The Epistle of Ignatius to the Ephesians
Ephesians 2:2 “...It is therefore meet for you in every way to glorify Jesus Christ who glorified you; that being perfectly joined together in one submission, submitting yourselves to your bishop and presbytery, ye may be sanctified in all things.”
3:2 “ ...the bishops that are settled in the farthest parts of the earth are in the mind of Jesus Christ.” 3:4 “So then it becometh you to run in harmony with the mind of the bishop; which thing also ye do. For your honourable presbytery, which is worthy of God, is attuned to the bishop, even as its strings to a lyre. Therefore in your concord and harmonious love Jesus Christ is sung.”
5:1 “For if I in a short time had such converse with your bishop, ..., how much more do I congratulate you who are closely joined with him as the Church is with Jesus Christ... . 5:2 Let no man be deceived. If any one be not within the precinct of the altar, he lacketh the bread [of God]. For, if the prayer of one and another hath so great force, how much more that of the bishop and of the whole Church. 5:3 Whosoever therefore cometh not to the congregation, he doth thereby show his pride and hath separated himself; for it is written, _God resisteth the proud._ Let us therefore be careful not to resist the bishop, that by our submission we may give ourselves to God.”
6:1 “And in proportion as a man seeth that his bishop is silent, let him fear him the more. For every one whom the Master of the household sendeth to be steward over His own house, we ought so to receive as Him that sent him. Plainly therefore we ought to regard the bishop as the Lord Himself.”
20:2 “... Assemble yourselves together in common, every one of you severally, man by man, in grace, in one faith and one Jesus Christ, ... , to the end that ye may obey the bishop and presbytery without distraction of mind; ... .”

The Epistle of Ignatius to the Magnesians
2:1 “ ... Zotion, of whom I would fain have joy, for that he is subject to the bishop as unto the grace of God and to the presbytery as unto the law of Jesus Christ:”
3:1 “Yea, and it becometh you also not to presume upon the youth of your bishop, but according to the power of God the Father to render unto him all reverence, even as I have learned that the holy presbyters also have not taken advantage of his outwardly youthful estate, but give place to him as to one prudent in God; yet not to him, but to the Father of Jesus Christ, even to the Bishop of all. 3:2 For the honour therefore of Him that desired you, it is meet that ye should be obedient without dissimulation. For a man doth not so much deceive this bishop who is seen, as cheat that other who is invisible; and in such a case he must reckon not with flesh but with God who knoweth the hidden things.”
6:1 “... the bishop presiding after the likeness of God and the presbyters after the likeness of the council of the Apostles, with the deacons also who are most dear to me, having been entrusted with the diaconate of Jesus Christ, ... .” 6:2 “... be ye united with the bishop and with them that preside over you as an ensample and a lesson of incorruptibility.”

The Epistle of Ignatius to the Trallians
2:1 “For when ye are obedient to the bishop as to Jesus Christ, it is evident to me that ye are living not after men but after Jesus Christ.” 2:2 It is therefore necessary, even as your wont is, that ye should do nothing without the bishop; but be ye obedient also to the presbytery, as to the Apostles of Jesus Christ ... . 
3:1 In like manner let all men respect the deacons as Jesus Christ, even as they should respect the bishop as being a type of the Father and the presbyters as the council of God and as the college of Apostles. Apart from these there is not even the name of a church. 
7:1 “... And this will surely be, if ye be not puffed up and if ye be inseparable from [God] Jesus Christ and from the bishop and from the ordinances of the Apostles. 7:2 He that is within the sanctuary is clean; but he that is without the sanctuary is not clean, that is, he that doeth aught without the bishop and presbytery and deacons, this man is not clean in his conscience.”
12:2 “... it becometh you severally, and more especially the presbyters, to cheer the soul of your bishop unto the honour of the Father [and to the honour] of Jesus Christ and of the Apostles.”
13:2 “... submitting yourselves to the bishop as to the commandment, and likewise also to the presbytery;”
The Epistle of Ignatius to the Philadelphians
2:1 “... where the shepherd is, there follow ye as sheep.”
3:2 “For as many as are of God and of Jesus Christ, they are with the bishop;”
4:1 Be ye careful therefore to observe one eucharist (for there is one flesh of our Lord Jesus Christ and one cup unto union in His blood; there is one altar, as there is one bishop, together with the presbytery and the deacons my fellow-servants), that whatsoever ye do, ye may do it after God.
7:1 “... I cried out, when I was among you; I spake with a loud voice, with God's own voice, Give ye heed to the bishop and the presbytery and deacons.
8:1 “... Now the Lord forgiveth all men when they repent, if repenting they return to the unity of God and to the council (assembly—communion) of the bishop.”
The Epistle of Ignatius to the Smyrnæans
8:1 “... Do ye all follow your bishop, as Jesus Christ followed the Father, and the presbytery as the Apostles; and to the deacons pay respect, as to God's commandment. Let no man do aught of things pertaining to the Church apart from the bishop. Let that be held a valid eucharist which is under the bishop or one to whom he shall have committed it. 8:2 Wheresoever the bishop shall appear, there let the people be; even as where Jesus may be, there is the universal Church. It is not lawful apart from the bishop either to baptize or to hold a love-feast; but whatsoever he shall approve, this is well-pleasing also to God; that everything which ye do may be sure and valid.
9:1 “...It is good to recognise God and the bishop. He that honoureth the bishop is houroured of God; he that doeth aught without the knowledge of the bishop rendereth service to the devil.”
The Epistle of Ignatius to Polycarp
4:1 “... Let nothing be done without thy consent;”
5:2 “... It becometh men and women too, when they marry, to unite themselves with the consent of the bishop, that the marriage may be after the Lord and not after concupiscence.
6:1 “Give ye heed to the bishop, that God also may give heed to you. I am devoted to those who are subject to the bishop, the presbyters, the deacons.”
The hierarchical episcopacy of Ignatius has been hard for many Protestant leaders to accept, and has caused them to question the authorship of Ignatius for this segment of the letters. However, those of us who see the New Testament establishing an episcopal structure in the beginning, accept readily Ignatius as being authentic. It is true that his writings advanced the apostles episcopal framework to a more solid structure. One may ask: On what authority did Ignatius do this? To answer that question we need to consider that one of the gifts given to the Church by the Holy Spirit was the gift of governments, or administration (1 Cor 12:28). Consider this: The church of Jesus Christ is a living organism; and, as such goes through periods of change as does any living thing. However, having said that, it must be pointed out that the Church is a species to itself, and though changing, it can never evolve into another species. By that we mean it must change within its  own structure—staying true to the structure. So the episcopal structure placed in its gnome by the Holy Spirit would be expected to further develop through the ad-ministration of spiritual men, like Ignatius, who demonstrate the “gift of governments.” So, then, what we see in Ignatius’ epistles is exactly what one would expect to see the church structure become when in the throes of persecution.
Of course it must be pointed out that for all the verbiage of Ignatius, concerning the authority of the bishops, presbytery, and deacons, it is, after all, only an echoing of the Apostles’ instruction to obey those who were rulers in the Church: e.g.
Acts 20:28 “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.”
1 Corinthians 16:15-16 “I beseech you, brethren, (ye know the house of Stephanas, that it is the firstfruits of Achaia, and that they have addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints,) 16 That ye submit yourselves unto such, and to every one that helpeth with us, and laboureth.”
Hebrews 13:7 “Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.” 
Hebrews 13:17 “Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.” 
Hebrews 13:24 “Salute all them that have the rule over you...”

The Lord’s church has been episcopal from the beginning; however,  Protestantism left this biblical form of church structure, for the most part. Therefore, to those of us who have been educated, ecclesiastically, by the Protestant church-view, episcopal structure may seem strange. But, perhaps, now, not so strange, having given serious thought to the words of the first century bishop of Syria, coming to us  from the apostolic age of the Church.

Apostolically Speaking
☩☩ JLH