Polycarp’s exhortation to perform works of mercy

“The presbyters, for their part, must be compassionate, merciful to all, turning back those who have gone astray, visiting all the sick, not neglecting a widow, orphan, or poor person, but ‘always aiming at what is honorable in the sight of God and of men,’ avoiding all anger, partiality, unjust judgment, staying far away from all love of money, not quick to believe things spoken against anyone, nor harsh in judgment, knowing that we are all in debt with respect to sin. Therefore if we ask the Lord to forgive us, then we ourselves ought to forgive, for we are in full view of the eyes of the Lord and God, and we must ‘all stand before the judgment seat of Christ,’ and ‘each one must give an account of himself.’ So, then, let us serve him with fear and all reverence, just as he himself has commanded, as did the apostles, who preached the gospel to us, and the prophets, who announced in advance the coming of our Lord. Let us be eager with regard to what is good, and avoid those who tempt others to sin and false brothers and those who bear the name of the Lord hypocritically, who lead foolish men astray.”

— Polycarp, The Letter of Polycarp to the Philippians 6.1-3


About Ben Kautzer

I am currently dwelling in the intangible space of the between. Having finished my MA in Philosophical Theology at the University of Nottingham, I decided to take a bit of a break, return to California, and start applying for PhD programs. That process is finally drawing to a close. This Fall I will be commencing my doctoral research in political theology at either the University of Nottingham, Durham, or Bristol. As of yet, that future still remains (uncomfortably) uncertain. My recent academic pursuits tend to focus on political theology (ecclesiology, ethics, politics, liturgy), biblical theology (scriptural narrative, hermeneutics, philosophy of memory and historical method), and Continental Philosophy (especially phenomenology). View all posts by Ben Kautzer

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