While riding the bus today, something struck me I had never thought of before (yes, I think about this stuff even while riding the bus).
Ignatius of Antioch was practically excited, anxious to be thrown to the lions and achieve some sort of reward by doing so.
Ignatius apparently believed that somehow his coming violent death would help him “attain to Jesus Christ”. He even implied that this willingness to die was just the beginning of what it means to be a disciple, and that his death would be for his benefit.
I find that this belief parallels the early mormon belief of ‘blood atonement’.
Now, I am not trying to rip this event out of context and say that it thoroughly parallels with the once popular ‘blood atonement’ philosophies of early mormonism. But, there are some interesting things to be said. These Christians considered this death to be something that helped them to somehow “attain to Jesus”. It was so important to them, that Bart Ehrman writes:
Some of the most ancient Christians, especially those usually considered heirs of orthodoxy, held to this strange belief. Should anti-mormons be less critical of ‘blood atonement’ ideas in light of this?