Eusibius on the Apostasy

Even some of those who were alive during the era of the apostasy recognized its occurance.  Eusibius wrote,

The Church up to that time [the death of the apostles] had remained a pure and uncorrupted virgin, since, if there were any that attempted to corrupt the sound norm of the preaching of salvation, they lay until then concealed in obscure darkness.  But when the sacred college of apostles had suffered death in various forms, and the generation of those that had been deemed worthy to hear the inspired wisdom with their own ears had passed away, then the league of godless error took its rise as a result of the folly of heretical teachers, who, because none of the apostles was still living, attempted henceforth, with a bold face, to proclaim, in opposition to the preaching of the truth, the ‘knowledge which is falsely so-called’ (Eusebius [270-340] quoting Hegesippus [110-180] in Nicene and Post Nicene Fathers, Series 2, 1:164).


It is interesting that Eusibius recognized that the lack of the Apostles made the work of the apostasy unrestrained. Could the apostles be those who were restraining “the son of perdition” talked about in 2 Thess. 2:3?  We’ll discuss that in a later post. 


5 thoughts on “Eusibius on the Apostasy

  1. I would argue that while Eusebius’ statement is astute, to quote in support of an LDS-styled apostasy is out of context, since Eusebius argued for the eventual triumph of the church over these heresies. We, as Latter-day Saints, might sympathize with Eusebius in the quote you posted, but we would part ways from him in lumping his style of Christianity with the heresies he condemns. In other words, Eusebius in the above quote is the pot calling the kettle black.

  2. jondh – not following your logic. you’re saying we can’t quote eusebius’ statement as evidence of an apostasy because he disagrees with LDS doctrine on how that apostasy would be remedied? can’t we agree on a diagnosis but disagree on treatment?

  3. It depends on what kind of apostasy we’re talking about. Eusebius speaks of the apostasy of certain sections against which the orthodox (small o) church finally prevailed. We speak of the general apostasy of all Christendom. It’s more fundamental than just diagnosis and treatment.

    It’s not that we shouldn’t use Eusebius’ statement but rather that we should not stretch it further than it will go. Let’s let him say what he wants to say and not make him say what we want him to say.

  4. Many years ago, having read in Latin as a boy, my friend remembers being struck with at least Eusebius effectively saying “We know we have no authority,” referring to the priesthood, church leadership, and the like. However, he no longer recollects where this can be found, and is suspicious of “sanitizing” in modern translations.

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