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Archive for janvier 2014

Irénée de Lyon, Père de l'Église

Un passage de la célèbre oeuvre Adversus Haereses (Contre les hérésies, 3:3:2), d’Irénée de Lyon (≈ 130-202), pasteur chrétien en cette ville gallo-romaine dans la seconde moitié du IIe siècle de notre ère, est très fréquemment mobilisé par les catholiques romains. En effet, une lecture superficielle de ce texte laisse croire qu’il sanctionne la suprématie romaine sur le reste de la Chrétienté.

Voici le passage en question dans son contexte textuel (traduction la plus répandue) :

La tradition des apôtres, qui est manifestée dans tout le monde, peut être considérée dans toute église par tous ceux qui veulent voir les choses vraies. Et nous pouvons énumérer ceux qui ont été institués évêques dans les églises, et leurs successions jusqu’à nos nous : ils n’ont rien enseigné ni connu de ces divagations hérétiques. Mais comme il serait très long dans un tel volume d’énumérer les successeurs de toutes les églises, nous parlerons de l’église très grande, très connue et très antique parmi toutes, fondée et constituée par les deux apôtres Pierre et Paul à Rome, de celle qui a la tradition des apôtres et la foi annoncée aux hommes, parvenue à nous par des successions d’évêques […] C’est avec cette église, à cause de sa principauté plus forte qu’il est nécessaire que s’accorde toute église, c’est-à-dire ceux qui sont des fidèles de partout, elle en qui toujours, par ceux qui viennent de partout, a été conservée cette tradition venue des apôtres[1].

Je propose sept points d’analyse afin d’interpréter correctement ce texte…

Pour commencer, le propre ministère d’Irénée fournit deux éléments qui rendent invraisemblable une adhésion d’Irénée à la primauté romaine :

1.      Irénée de Lyon était originaire d’Asie mineure. Il fut envoyé en Gaule par le pasteur Polycarpe de Smyrne, qui avait lui-même connu l’apôtre Jean. La filiation d’Irénée ne devait donc rien à Rome. Puisqu’Irénée était Grec et que sa congrégation de Lyon était hellénophone, Irénée prêchait et écrivait en grec. Cela s’accorde mal avec l’idée voulant qu’Irénée était inféodé à l’église de Rome, laquelle considéra pendant des siècles que le latin était la seule langue liturgique légitime.

2.      De son vivant, Irénée a ouvertement confronté l’évêque de Rome Victor Ier en 195 (épiscopat de 189 à 198) après celui-ci venait d’excommunier pompeusement les chrétiens d’Asie mineure simplement parce que ceux-ci avaient la coutume de fêter la Pâque chrétienne à la date que la Pâque juive plutôt que le dimanche suivant la Pâque juive, usage qui prévalait en Occident. L’intervention d’Irénée en faveur de ses frères d’Asie mineure força Victor Ier à retirer l’excommunication qu’il avait lancée[2].

Passons maintenant au texte lui-même :

3.      Dans les propos d’Irénée, il est manifeste que la communion avec Rome est conditionnelle à l’orthodoxie de celle-ci. Irénée prends la communauté chrétienne de Rome en exemple parce qu’effectivement, à cette époque, celle-ci était demeurée assez orthodoxe (l’assemblée de Rome avait réussi à se prémunir des hérésies les plus outrageuses telles que le gnosticisme et le marcionisme). Irénée disait simplement qu’il fallait être orthodoxe comme Rome était alors orthodoxe. Cela n’implique absolument pas une suprématie religieuse romaine universelle.

4.      Au début de l’extrait, Irénée ne dit aucunement que la multitude des autres églises sont des colonies de l’église de Rome, mais qu’il pourrait énumérer leurs successions respectives indépendamment de Rome, ce qui implique qu’elles n’ont pas de filiation romaine. Cela est contraire à la suprématie romaine qui va s’imposer sur toutes les églises d’Occident pendant la Réforme grégorienne, un millénaire plus tard.

5.      À l’antipode de cette suprématie romaine, Irénée n’attribue pas la droiture de l’église de Rome à elle-même, mais à des chrétiens arrivant de l’extérieur qui viennent continuellement la fortifier, puisqu’il dit : « par ceux qui viennent de partout a été conservée cette tradition venue des apôtres »[3]. Irénée attribue donc le mérite de Rome aux chrétiens non-romains.

6.      Il faut aussi procéder avec précaution lorsqu’on travaille avec des traductions. Plusieurs spécialistes du grec ancien traduisent plutôt le milieu de notre extrait de la façon suivante : « C’est vers cette église, à cause de la principauté plus forte, qu’il est nécessaire que s’y rende toute église. » On comprend donc que la « principauté plus forte » dont parle Irénée de Lyon n’est pas l’assemblée de Rome, mais l’autorité étatique siégeant dans de la capitale impériale, et que des citoyens chrétiens provenant d’ailleurs dans l’Empire devait se rendre à Rome pour des raisons civiques, ce qui leur donne l’occasion de fréquenter l’assemblée chrétienne de Rome et d’y « conserver la tradition venue des apôtres ».

Finalement, Ignace n’étant – comme tous les hommes (sauf Christ) – pas exempt d’erreur, il est propice de corriger son erreur sur la fondation de l’assemblée chrétienne de Rome.

7.     L’affirmation que Pierre et Paul fondèrent l’Église de Rome doit se comprendre comme une allusion emblématique. Nous savons que Pierre et Paul furent martyrisés à Rome (plausiblement sous Néron en 64), mais aucun des prédécesseurs d’Irénée — ni le Nouveau Testament, ni Clément de Rome vers 96 (Lettre aux Corinthiens 5:1), ni Ignace d’Antioche vers 115 (Lettre aux Romains 4:3) — n’attestent que Pierre et Paul fondèrent littéralement la congrégation chrétienne de Rome. La seule information que nous avons sur l’origine de la communauté chrétienne à Rome est qu’elle existait déjà en l’an 50, lorsque un couple chrétien (Aquilas et Priscille) furent expulsés de la capitale par l’Empereur Claude et rencontrèrent Paul à Corinthe (Actes 18:1-3). Aussi tard qu’en 57-58, lorsque Paul adressa son Épître aux Romains où il salua nommément un nombre important d’individus, Pierre ne se trouvait pas encore à Rome puisque s’il y était et, surtout, s’il avait été à la tête de la l’assemblée chrétienne de Rome, Paul l’aurait certainement salué.

Parvenus au terme de notre analyse, on voit qu’il ne reste plus grand chose à la primauté romaine d’Irénée de Lyon que nous allègue le catholicisme romain.


[1] L’évêque Polycrate d’Éphèse (qui se revendiquait de l’apôtre Jean) mena la résistance contre Rome en assemblant un concile à Éphèse en 190. Les églises d’Anatolie, du Levant et même de Grèce y furent représentées. Les pasteurs orientaux maintinrent unanimement leur pratique alors en vigueur.

[2] Jules-Marcel NICOLE, Précis d’histoire de l’Église, Nogent-sur-Marne, Éditions de l’Institut Biblique, 2005, p. 37 sur 295.

[3] Cette traduction est corroborée par Louis BAYARD, « Une correction au texte de saint Irénée sur l’Église romaine », Comptes rendus des séances de l’Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres, 58e année, N° 3, 1914, p. 227-231.

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Dans la nuit du 12 au 13 décembre 1602 — c’est-à-dire la nuit qui était alors réputée la plus longue de l’année (calendrier julien) — le catholique Charles-Emmanuel Ier, duc de Savoie et prince du Piémont, dont les terres enclavent la République de Genève, brise un traité de paix en lançant une attaque surprise sur la cité endormie. Mais, par providence divine, les sentinelles s’en aperçoivent aussitôt et réveillent la population à temps en sonnant l’alarme. Les habitants bondissent hors de leurs lits, sortent dans les rues avec leur accoutrement nocturne, accourent aux postes de combat et repoussent vaillamment les traîtres assaillants qui s’en retournent bredouilles. Gloire à Dieu !

La résistance ferme et les ripostes immédiates des Genevois et de leurs alliés protestants (villes de Berne et de Zurich, et même Henri IV de France) valurent à Genève — la Rome réformée — la reconnaissance de sa souveraineté dans le Traité de St-Julien en 1603. Une grande victoire pour la foi réformée ! L’Escalade est commémorée chaque année à Genève par la Compagnie de 1602 qui nous partage des centaines de photos ; en voici une sélection parmi celles de 2012 :

1602.1 1602.2 1602.3 1602.4 1602.5 1602.6 1602.7 1602.8 1602.9 1602.10 1602.11 1602.12

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Consultez Chalcedon Foundation pour les références.

Femme plaidant à Genève

Calvin’s Geneva came to be known as « the paradise of women. » There were good reasons for this. Calvin was strongly protective of « women’s rights. » Under his guidance, church consistories went after wife abusers. They prosecuted guardians who had misappropriated trust funds of widows and orphans. Deserted wives were protected, and so on. Prestwich has referred to « the attraction of Calvinism for women  in that area.

In that era, and for centuries before, powerful and prosperous elderly men and women contracted marriages with very young women and men. The families of the young complied with these arrangements for their personal advantages. Calvin felt strongly that such marriages should not be allowed. In January, 1557, the Consistory dissolved a marriage between a woman of « more than 70 » with a man of 27 or 28. Rules were published to protect both men and women in marriage. To avoid deception, many rules were established. Thus, « strangers coming from a distant country » could not be permitted to marry in Geneva until a careful investigation of their past and their family were made. (Hughes, p. 75.) A woman persecuted for her faith could legitimately leave her husband.

[…] What is clear is that Calvinist Geneva was seen in its day as « the paradise of women » because of the receptivity of Calvin and others to their plight and their need for justice. There was a reason for this attitude. It was the revival of the Old Testament as an inseparable part of the Bible […].

Because the Old Testament solidly links holiness with the law, and the law is concerned with everyday life, the result was what Henri Hauser called the « secularization of holiness, » i.e., holiness was made a matter of everyday life for all believers. Holiness now was the pursuit of all Christians. It was, in Luthy’s words, an « insistence on saintly life as the duty of every believer. » […]

We have a remarkable fact here in Calvin’s reformation of Geneva. It was a city rightly called in its day « the paradise of women. » This is an aspect of the Reformation which has been given insufficient attention. The reason is that these reforms in civil and church law which made Geneva so remarkable in its day are now associated with patriarchalism, and patriarchy is a hated word to the feminists in both skirts and trousers. It suggests visions of male oppression, domination and rule. It has become a symbol of past and present evils.

The significant fact, however, is that patriarchalism was not male-centered but faith- and family-governed. Modern men in the atomistic family often have more power, if they choose to exercise it, than did patriarchal man. The reason was a very clear one: patriarchal man was a trustee from the past to the future. In I Kings 21, we see that Naboth did not feel that he had the right to sell the family land no matter how much money King Ahab offered. The land was not his except as a trust from his forefathers to the generations yet unborn. […]

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Famille Trad
Le texte suivant a été rédigé par Philip Lancaster, pasteur réformé à Saint-Louis au Missouri, rédacteur du magazine Patriarch de 1993 à 2004, et auteur de Family Man, Family Leader, sous le titre Tenets of Biblical Patriarchy.

God as Masculine

1. God reveals Himself as masculine, not feminine. God is the eternal Father and the eternal Son, the Holy Spirit is also addressed as “He,” and Jesus Christ is a male. (Matt. 1:25; 28:19; Jn. 5:19; 16:13)

The Image of God and Gender Roles

2. Both man and woman are made in God’s image (their human characteristics enable them to reflect His character) and they are both called to exercise dominion over the earth. They share an equal worth as persons before God in creation and redemption. The man is also the image and glory of God in terms of authority, while the woman is the glory of man. (Gen. 1:27-28; 1 Cor. 11:3,7; Eph. 5:28; 1 Pet. 3:7)
3. God ordained distinct gender roles for man and woman as part of the created order. Adam’s headship over Eve was established at the beginning, before sin entered the world. (Gen. 2:18ff.; 3:9; 1 Cor. 11:3,7; 1 Tim. 2:12-13)
4. Although sin has distorted their relationship, God’s order of authority for husbands and wives has not changed, and redemption enables them to make substantial progress in achieving God’s ideal for their relationship. (Gen. 3:16; Eph. 5:22ff.)

The Authority of Fathers

5. A husband and father is the head of his household, a family leader, provider, and protector, with the authority and mandate to direct his household in paths of obedience to God. (Gen. 18:19; Eph. 6:4)
6. A man’s authority in the home should be exercised with gentleness, grace, and love as a servant-leader, following the example of Jesus Christ. Leadership is a stewardship from God. (Ps. 103:13; Mal. 3:17; Matt. 11:29-30; Col. 3:21; 1 Pet. 3:7)
7. The authority of fathers is limited by the law of God and the lawful authority of church and state. Christian fathers cannot escape the jurisdiction of church and state and must be subject to both. (Rom. 13:1ff.; Eph. 5:21; 6:4; Heb. 13:17; 1 Pet. 2:13ff.)

Family, Church, and State

8. Family, church, and state are parallel institutions, each with real but limited authority in its ordained sphere. As the keeper of the keys of Christ’s kingdom, the church is the central and defining institution of history. As the primary social group, the family is the foundational institution of society. (Matt. 16:19; 18:18; Acts 4:19; 5:29; 25:11; Heb. 13:17; 1 Pet. 2:13ff.; Eph. 1:22-23; 1 Tim. 3:15)
9. Every Christian father and family ought to be a submitted and committed part of a local church, subject to the authority and discipline of the church through its elders. (Heb. 10:24-25; 13:17)
10. The church is defined by its orthodox confession and faithful teaching of God’s word; by the presence of the Holy Spirit; by the rule of qualified elders; by the biblical administration of the sacraments of baptism and the Lord’s Supper; by regular meetings for worship, instruction, breaking bread, and fellowship; and by the exercise of discipleship and discipline. (Gal. 1:8; 1 Tim. 3:15; 1 Cor. 12:13; 1 Tim. 3:1ff.; Matt. 28:19; 1 Cor. 11:20ff.; Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 5)
11. Male leadership in the home carries over into the church: only men are permitted to hold the ruling office in the church. A God-honoring society will likewise prefer male leadership in civil and other spheres as an application of and support for God’s order in the formative institutions of family and church. (1 Tim. 3:5)

Men & Women : Spheres of Dominion

12. While men are called to public spheres of dominion beyond the home, their dominion begins within the home, and a man’s qualification to lead and ability to lead well in the public square is based upon his prior success in ruling his household. (Mal. 4:6; Eph. 6:4; 1 Tim. 3:5)
13. Since the woman was created as a helper to her husband, as the bearer of children, and as a “keeper at home,” the God-ordained and proper sphere of dominion for a wife is the household and that which is connected with the home, although her domestic calling, as a representative of and helper to her husband, may well involve activity in the marketplace and larger community. (Gen. 2:18ff.; Prov. 31:10-31; Tit. 2:4-5)
14. While unmarried women may have more flexibility in applying the principle that women were created for a domestic calling, it is not the ordinary and fitting role of women to work alongside men as their functional equals in public spheres of dominion (industry, commerce, civil government, the military, etc.). The exceptional circumstance (singleness) ought not redefine the ordinary, God-ordained social roles of men and women as created. (Gen. 2:18ff.; Josh. 1:14; Jdg. 4; Acts 16:14)

Procreation

15. God’s command to “be fruitful and multiply” still applies to married couples, and He “seeks godly offspring.” He is sovereign over the opening and closing of the womb. Children are a gift of God and it is a blessing to have many of them, if He so ordains. Christian parents are bound to look to Scripture as their authoritative guide concerning issues of procreation. They should welcome with thanksgiving the children God gives them. The failure of believers to reject the anti-life mindset of the age has resulted in the murder of possibly millions of unborn babies through the use of abortifacient birth control. (Gen. 1:28; 9:1; 29:31; 30:22; Ex. 20:13: 21:22-25; Ps. 127:3; 128:3-4; Is. 8:18; Mal. 2:15)

Education & training of children

16. Education is not a neutral enterprise. Christian parents must provide their children with a thoroughly Christian education, one that teaches the Bible and a biblical view of God and the world. Christians should not send their children to public schools since education is not a God-ordained function of civil government and since these schools are sub-Christian at best and anti-Christian at worst. (Deut. 4:9; 6:6-9; Rom. 13:3-5; Eph. 6:4; 2 Tim. 3:15)
17. Fathers are sovereign over the training of their children and, with their wives, are the children’s chief teachers. Christian parents are bound to obey the command personally to walk beside and train their children. Any approach to Christian education ought to recognize and facilitate the role of fathers and mothers as the primary teachers of their children. (Deut. 4:9; 6:6ff.; Ps. 78:3-8; Prov. 1:8; Eph. 6:4)
18. Educational methodology is not neutral. The Christian should build his educational methodology from the word of God and reject methodologies derived from humanism, evolutionism, and other unbiblical systems of thought. Biblical education is discipleship, a process designed to reach the heart. The aim is a transformed person who exhibits godly character and a trained mind, both of which arise from faith. The parents are crucial and ordinarily irreplaceable in this heart-level, relational process. (Deut. 6:5-7; Lk. 6:40; 1 Thess. 2:7-12; 2 Tim. 1:5; 2 Pet. 1:5-8)
19. Since the educational mandate belongs to parents and they are commanded personally to walk beside and train their children, they ought not to transfer responsibility for the educational process to others. However, they have the liberty to delegate components of that process. While they should exercise great caution and reserve in doing this, and the more so the less mature the child, it is prudent to take advantage of the diversity of gifts within the body of Christ and enjoy the help and support that comes with being part of a larger community with a common purpose. (1 Cor. 12:14ff.; Gal. 4:1,2; 6:2; Eph. 4:16)
20. The age-integrated communities of family and church are the God-ordained institutions for training and socialization and as such provide the preferred pattern for social life and educational endeavors. The modern preference for grouping children exclusively with their age mates for educational and social purposes is contrary to scriptural wisdom and example. (Deut. 29:10-11; 2 Chron. 20:13; Prov. 22:15 with 13:20; Joel 2:16; 1 Cor. 15:33)
21. The Bible presents a long-term, multi-generational vision of the progress of God’s kingdom in the world. Christian parents need to adopt this perspective and be motivated by the generational promises of Scripture, and church shepherds need to promote this outlook within their flocks. By the grace of God, as fathers faithfully turn their hearts toward their sons and daughters and the youths respond in kind, the next generation will build upon the faith and improve upon the faithfulness of their parents. (Ps. 78:1-8; Is. 59:21; Mal. 4:6; Lk. 1:17; Gal. 6:9)

A father and his older children

22. Both sons and daughters are under the command of their fathers as long as they are under his roof or otherwise the recipients of his provision and protection. Fathers release sons from their jurisdiction to undertake a vocation, prepare a home, and take a wife. Until she is given in marriage, a daughter continues under her father’s authority and protection. Even after leaving their father’s house, children should honor their parents by seeking their counsel and blessing throughout their lives. (Gen. 28:1-2; Num. 30:3ff.; Deut. 22:21; Gal. 4:1,2; Eph. 6:2-3)
23. Fathers should oversee the process of a son or daughter seeking a spouse. While a father may find a wife for his son, sons are free to take initiative to seek and “take a wife.” A wise son will desire his parents’ involvement, counsel, and blessing in that process. Since daughters are “given in marriage” by their fathers, an obedient daughter will desire her father to guide the process of finding a husband, although the final approval of a husband belongs to her. Upon a Marriage taking place, a new household with new jurisdiction is established, separate from that of the father. (Gen. 24:1ff.; 25:20; 28:2; Ex. 2:21; Josh. 15:17; Jdg. 12:9; 1 Sam. 18:27; Jer. 29:6; 1 Cor. 7:38; Gen. 24:58)

The sufficiency & application of Scripture

24. Scripture is the believer’s sufficient guide for all of faith and practice, and Christians must believe and obey whatever it teaches and commands. The Bible provides the Christian — through precept, pattern and principle — all that is necessary to make wise decisions concerning the many ethically complex issues of life. (2 Tim. 3:16-17; 2 Pet. 1:3)
25. Fathers need to exercise discernment in the choices they make for their families and not simply drift with the cultural tide. Egalitarian feminism is an enemy of God and of biblical truth, but the need for care goes beyond this threat. The values of modern society are often at odds with those that accompany a biblical worldview. For example, fathers need self-consciously to resist the values of individualism at the expense of community, efficiency at the expense of relationships, and material well-being at the expense of spiritual progress. The world and the worldly church will cheer many choices that are detrimental to family sanctification. (Rom. 12:2; 1 Jn. 2:15)
26. While God’s truth is unchanging, the specific application of that truth may vary depending on facts and circumstances unique to each believer. Also, those who are further along in sanctification will see some issues more clearly than those who are less mature. For these reasons great charity must be maintained between believers who have differences of application, and liberty of application must be respected. However, an appeal to the doctrine of Christian liberty must never be used in an effort simply to avoid submitting to what Scripture plainly teaches. Believers should also bear in mind that things which are lawful may not be expedient if the goal is personal and family holiness. The biblical rule in judging behavior is charity toward others, strictness toward oneself. (Gal. 5:2-3 with Acts 16:3; Phil. 3:15; Rom. 12:10; 1 Cor. 1:10; 6:12; 9:27; 10:23; Gal. 5:13)

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En anglais, « mugger of the nation » (qui se traduit littéralement par voyou, bandit, agresseur), variante de « mother of the nation »…

Voyez aussi : La vérité sur l’Afrique du Sud et Mandela

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The Puritan Philadelphie

C’est par cette célèbre maxime que Cotton Mather (1663-1728), pasteur réformé d’une église congrégationaliste à Boston de 1685 jusqu’à la fin de sa vie, illustra un paradoxe de l’histoire occidentale : le christianisme, en réformant la culture, les institutions, l’économie, et en créant la science moderne, a engendré une prospérité et une sécurité matérielle sans précédent, sécurité qui a ensuite laissé croire aux humains qu’ils n’avaient plus besoin de Dieu. Pour découvrir plus profondément l’oeuvre de Cotton Mather, on lira sa magistrale histoire des églises calvinistes de l’Amérique coloniale au XVIIe siècle, la Magnalia Christi Americana publiée en 1702.

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Voyez aussi : Domination de l’école-maison : ces enfants vous déclasseront

Le franc succès de l’école-maison ces dernières décennies réfute le pessimillénarisme (une eschatologie erronée voulant que tout aille toujours toujours plus mal plus l’on s’approche de la Fin des temps)…

Homeschooled: How American Homeschoolers Measure Up

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