Ignatius of Antioch[1] was the passionate leader of the church in Antioch just after the apostolic period.  He wrote five letters to churches in Asia Minor, one to the church in Rome, and one to Polycarp of Smyrna during a forced marched by ten soldiers (“leopards” he calls them) in the direction of Rome to be thrown to wild beasts because of his faith in Jesus Christ.

Ignatius is a fascinating and complicated character who addresses false teaching, obedience to the “bishop,” and his own death wish (for lack of a better word)—that is, he really wants to become a martyr for Christ.  In his letters he tosses around more metaphors than our own Rick Langer here at Talbot/Biola.  I just read again through his letters in preparation for discussion in the Apostolic Fathers class I’m teaching right now and jotted down some of his more memorable sayings.  Here are my four favorite quotes from Ignatius of Antioch:

“It is better to be silent and be real than to talk and not be real.”  (Letter to the Ephesians 15.1)

“It is right, therefore, that we not just be called Christians, but that we actually be Christians.” (Letter to the Magnesians 4.1)

“Christianity is greatest when it is hated by the world.”  (Letter to the Romans 3.3.)

“Flee from wicked practices; better yet, preach a sermon about them.”  (Letter to Polycarp 5.1)   :-)

[1] Ignatius of Antioch should not be confused with Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits who was active during the early decades of the 16th century.  Ignatius of Antioch was martyred early in the 2nd century.