Polycarp of Smyrna
Here is an extract from a book I am reading by Leigh Churchill regarding a bishop in the Church in the second century. For those that don't have a bible atlas, Smyrna is in the western part of Turkey on the Aegean Sea (between Turkey and Greece).
He was travelling to Rome to fight (through reason and argument - not physical) against a heresy called Marcionism.
Marcionism (one of the many ugly heads of Gnosticism) in particular declared that the God of the Old Testament was responsible for the production of an evil world infused by Satan and that Jesus was another God who was truly good and perfect. He essentially drove an enormous wedge between God the Father and God the Son - one of the first heresies to do so. What was particularly disturbing was the speed with which this heresy was permeating from Rome.
Polycarp, a faithful bishop of the Church, and friend of the Apostle John, was determined to see its death. He had never met Marcion (the father of Marcionism) but his heresy had reached his flock in Smyrna.
Here is the extract:
Word of the impending visit (of Polycarp) created excitement in Rome, but Marcion himself, in his arrogance, was not worried. He actually thought that this would be an excellent opportunity to promote his teaching, and when Polycarp arrived in Rome, Marcion was one of the first to greet him.
Polycarp walked slowly through the crowd of Christians that met him on the road into Rome, and he paused to speak with several of them. Coming near Marcion, however, he stopped suddenly. He looked thoughtfully around and then stared intently at the heretic.
"Do you know me?" said Marcion, and it was the first time any had heard a tremor in the proud man's voice.
"I do know you," said Polycarp, filled with the Spirit. "You are the first-born of Satan!".
Such was much of the first few centuries of Chrisitianity; mainstream Christianity warding off dangerous heresies and as I will show at a later date, persecution from the pagans, Jews, Greeks, Barbarians and the Roman Empire often all at the same time.
The book that I have just finished reading is "The Blood of Martyrs: The History of the Christian Church - Volume I: From Pentecost to the Age of Theodosius". As mentioned before, the author is Leigh Churchill. ISBN is 1-84227-077-X.