Newsletter for January, 2002
Dear Friends of St. Athanasius Academy:
On January 19th the Church honors our patron,
St. Athanasius of Alexandria (d. 373 A.D.). It
therefore seems appropriate to offer some excerpts
from his works regarding Holy Scripture - its
use and interpretation.
In addressing the bishops of Egypt about the
contemporary heretics including Marcion, the Manicheans,
Paul of Samosata and, of course, the Arians who
denied the divinity of the son, St. Athanasius
"Each of these heresies, examined in the
light of the specific ungodliness of its fabrication,
has nothing in common with the Scriptures. And
their advocates are aware of this that the
Scriptures are very much, or rather completely,
opposed to their doctrines. But for the sake of
deceiving the more simple sort (such as those
of whom the Proverbs say, 'the simple believe
every word" [Prov. 14:15]), they pretend
like their 'father the devil' (John 8:44) to study
and to quote the language of Scripture, in order
to appear by their words to have a correct belief
and so may persuade their miserable followers
to believe what is contrary to the Scriptures"
To the Bishops
of Egypt, paragraph 4
On Those Who Quote Isolated Verses
As we would suspect, his position is clear: It
is misleading to quote isolated verses and passages,
while ignoring the overall Scriptural intent.
In at least two of his Festal Letters, he writes
how heretics in particular quote Scriptures out
of context and in clear opposition to the faith
handed down in the Church. The first refers to
St. Paul's commendation of the Corinthians for
holding fast to the traditions given them:
"Other men came along who used Paul's words,
but they wanted to 'obey' them their way. So they
twisted what he said to fit their schemes. They
are like the followers of Hymenaeus and Alexander
and before them the Sadducees. These people,
as St. Paul said, 'made shipwreck of faith' (1
Tim. 1:19), since they were confused about the
mystery of the resurrection (2 Tim. 2:18). "That
is undoubtedly why he made special note of the
fact that the Corinthians had held fast to the
traditions just as he had handed them on. Paul
was emphasizing that we should hold the same views
on the Gospel that our teachers held. It was not
only outwardly that these wicked men disguised
themselves. When the Lord said they put on sheep's
clothing and looked like whitewashed tombstones,
He meant they put on a very good pretense. So
these deceivers spoke the divine words, while
inside they had evil intentions.
"Of course, the first to do this sort of
thing was the serpent, the devil, who was the
inventor of wickedness in the first place. He
put on a disguise to talk with Eve, and in that
form he deceived her. But in his train are all
those inventors of heresies, who, sure enough,
refer to the Scriptures but do not believe the
orthodox faith handed down to us by our Fathers.
Instead, they call these truths 'traditions
of men.' The fact is, they have gone astray
because they do not really know the Scriptures
nor their power."
Festal Letter for the Year 330 A.D.
In a letter written to Serapion of Thmuis, 359-360,
Athanasius capsulizes the Churchs position:
"Let us note that the very Tradition, teaching
and faith of the Catholic Church from the very
beginning, given by the Lord, was preached by
the Apostles and preserved by the Fathers"
First Letter to Serapion, section 28
Here we should especially note three points he
- Tradition given by Christ
- preached by the Apostles
- believed, preserved and taught in the Church.
In the face of this, what were the Arians (the
most prominent heretics of his day) doing how
did they establish their beliefs? At best, they
were relying upon grammatical structure of isolated
texts, openly ignoring both context and the consistent
interpretation of the Church. At worst, they were
"Every year, as if writing a contract, they
meet together and pretend to write about the faith,
whereby they expose themselves all the more to
ridicule and disgrace, because their positions
and decisions are rejected not by others but
by themselves! If they had any confidence in their
previous statements, they would not have to draw
up new ones. Nor, would they, leaving these, have
to come up with more, which, if they follow their
pattern, they will change soon just as soon
as they find a pretense for their customary plotting
against certain persons. For it is when they have
a scheme against someone that they make a great
show of writing about the faith....But they will
not be able to hide from themselves, nor to escape.
For they simply keep on becoming their own accusers
by the very process by which they defend themselves.
And, that is appropriate and just, since instead
of answering those who bring proof against them,
they rather persuade themselves to believe whatever
To the Bishops of Egypt, section
So we see with Athanasius, it was indeed the
Tradition (not traditions) given by the
Lord to the Apostles and passed on the wholeness
of it the Tradition St. Irenaeus (c. 130 -
c. 200) called "the rule of faith."
And this "wholeness" he matched against
the flimsy proof-texting by heretics, who could
never quite know what they believed, because they
lacked or despised the foundation of the Apostolic
Scholars and Academia Have Gone Astray!
With this as a beginning, we come to the subject
of the booklet we offer this month.
Many good people, overly concerned about the
decay of our current culture, have fallen victim
to the so-called scholars of the academic community
who persuade by half-truths saying; "Well,
thats just the way it is. Its inevitable.
Its in our genes and you cannot overcome
In this booklet we detail how academia, to their
shame, have falsely laid the foundation for the
so-called decay of the twentieth century based
upon a premeditated misuse of the so-called scientific
method. And why? To camouflage lies as scientific
truths in order to unfairly gain research grants
and obtain fame, influence and acceptance. Moreover,
as a former professor and over seventy years of
first-hand experience, I have a broad perspective
about this cultural decline and how significantly
the academic community has perpetuated this pitiful
But more important, the Church understands cultural
decay as a darkness brought on by our own individual,
rational, free-will choosing. Why? Because our
FAITH believes all men and women are born good
and only by our choosing evil before good can
and does darkness influence this God-given goodness.
In addition, the Church also knows when this Gift
of the Holy Trinity is re-enforced with the KNOWLEDGE
of Scripture, both Old and New, each person can
and will learn, BY NATURE, to say YES to God and
NO to temptations. Are you worried about your
children? Instead, be concerned first for your
own salvation. Then look to what your own words
and actions tell your children. This is what overcomes
personal evil and ends the cycle of the decaying
spirit. You are not captive to sin by nature.
Therefore, do not let academic fraud, disguised
with scholastic mumbo jumbo convince you otherwise.
This booklet not only refutes the major twentieth
century frauds supporting social engineering,
it tells us what we must concern ourselves with.
It is long, in two parts, and you will love it.
I do not wish to simply be writing about the faith,
for the life of it, after all, is in the living.
This booklet is more than just about faith, it
challenges you to now live that faith in a well
founded boldness and love.
Your brother and servant in Christ,