Sunday, September 7, 2008

Of Clement

I have been reading this weekend the Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians.

It dates to about 90 AD and many scholars believe that it is older than the canonical Gospels of the New Testament. Scholars also believe, although he never names himself as the author, that it is the genuine work of Clement, third bishop of Rome.

It was accepted as scripture by several of the Eastern Christian churches, though it is not included in the canon today.

It has stimulated me to some thoughts: firstly, that as a Christian, I owe a great debt to these early Christians of Corinth and other branches of the Church. The persecutions they endured are unspeakable.

From a cursory bit of Internet research, I gather that there is no "Mormon" ward in Corinth (Korinthos) today; the reception of the people in modern Greece to the message of the LDS church is as resistant and rocky as the ground beneath their feet.

Something in me sorrows to read that; the same way that I sorrow to know that most of the progeny of the late Joseph Smith Jr., prophet of the Restoration, are not members of the Church that he restored.

But it is also sorrowful, to me, that I am nearly 40 years old and just discovering Clement for the first time. Are not the life and writings of this man just as important as that of Alma, or of Parley P. Pratt? I don't think even the most dogmatic of Latter-day Saints believe that the early Christian Church had fallen into complete apostasy that early in the era -- 90 A.D.

Clement was a brother in the faith, an exemplary brother. Whether I am Mormon or Baptist or Roman Catholic, he and others of his era are, or ought to be, part of my Christian heritage.

So maybe I won't light a candle on November 23, his feast day. But I will certainly think about him and re-read his impassioned letter, still ringing with conviction nearly 2,000 years later.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I found a Wonderful site on Isaiah!
The site has free lessons on every chapter.
Very well done and in the author’s own voice.
Every Isaiah Chapter has the Analytical Commentary of Isaiah. Enjoy this personable verse-by-verse commentary of Isaiah by well-known Hebrew scholar Avraham Gileadi.

“Dr. Gileadi is the only LDS scholar I know of who is thoroughly competent to teach the words of Isaiah”—Professor Hugh Nibley, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah. (1. 6. 2003)

“It is my testimony that this man has been brought forward and trained at this time to help those inside the Church into Isaiah, and those outside the Church, Jew and Gentile, through Isaiah into the Church” —Arthur Henry King, author, former BYU professor and London
Temple President.

“Dr. Gileadi has achieved a major breakthrough in the investigation of a book of such complexity and importance as the Book of Isaiah”—Professor David Noel Freedman, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan.

“Dr. Gileadi’s work will render obsolete almost all the speculations of Isaiah scholars over the last one hundred years . . . enabling scholarship to proceed along an entirely new line . . . opening new avenues of approach for others to follow”—Professor Roland K. Harrison, Wycliffe College, Toronto, Canada.

“Only one who is truly at home not only with the Hebrew but with the ancient manner of biblical thought could have produced such an insightful and ground-breaking book”—Professor S. Douglas Waterhouse, Andrews University, Berrien Springs, Michigan.

“Avraham Gileadi’s unsealing of the Book of Isaiah will forever change people’s
understanding of Judeo-Christian religion, lifting it to heights hitherto known only to prophets and saints”—Arie Noot, corporate executive, Edmond, Oklahoma.

“Isaiah Decoded is a huge breakthrough for the seeker of truth—Jew, Christian, Moslem, and agnostic. From an ancient writing, Gileadi has brought to light eternal truths about the nature of God and our relationship to him that have lain buried for centuries in the dust of time”—Guy Wins, fifth-generation Jewish diamond dealer from Antwerp, Belgium.

“Gileadi is the only scholar I know who has been able to express the Jewish expectation of the Messiah in relation to the life and mission of Jesus of Nazareth”—Daniel Rona, Israeli tour guide, Jerusalem, Israel.

“Dr. Gileadi has clearly demonstrated his mastery of the Book of Isaiah and of the scholarly literature dealing with it”—Professor Ronald Youngblood, Bethel Theological Seminary, San Diego, California.

“Avraham Gileadi’s books and tapes take the casual observer of Isaiah’s words and transform him into an enlightened and lifelong student of the Word of God”—Allan and Nancy Pratt, LDS mission president, Toulouse, France.

“Dr. Gileadi has awakened a whole new depth of my understanding of Isaiah’s prophetic message. His books and tapes illuminate the urgent relevance of Isaiah’s writings to our own day”—Becky Douglas, supervisor and sponsor of three orphanages in India, Atlanta, Georgia.

“Dr. Gileadi’s translation [of the Book of Isaiah] is clear and smooth, allowing the reader to appreciate the power and beauty of Isaiah as conveyed in the Hebrew original”—Professor Herbert M. Wolf, Wheaton College, Wheaton, Illinois.

“Gileadi has uncovered an amazing message written in a divine code by the prophet–poet Isaiah. This will give comfort, hope, and joy to masses of people as they cope with the perplexing events now unfolding before their eyes”—Fenton Tobler, thirty years elementary school principle, Las Vegas, Nevada.