(AD 70–¬156) – The Smyrna Church, AD 100–300
A Brief Biography of Polycarp Born about AD 70, Polycarp was an apostolic father known from Smyrna. Not much is recorded about his younger life, but according to tradition, he was mentored by the Apostle John. Later, Polycarp became the bishop of Smyrna which is in modern-day Turkey. His only known surviving writing was an epistle to the church at Philippi which revealed that he had little formal education and evidenced his humility and straightforwardness. He is also famous for combating Gnostic philosophy that had crept into the church and for converting many Gnostics to Christianity. Polycarp is most famous for his martyrdom; he was burned at the stake in Smyrna about AD 156 at age eighty-six.
An Analysis of Polycarp’s Contribution to Christianity Polycarp contributed to Christianity by his confrontation of the Gnostic Marcion and his witnessing to other Gnostics, his writing to the church at Philippi, and his faith in the moments leading up to his death. Polycarp confronted Marcion who developed one of the first heresies that affected the Church. According to Marcionism, there was a God of the Old Testament but a different God of the New Testament. Therefore, he rejected all of the Old Testament writings in favor of the New Testament. In addition, he rejected the incarnation of Christ, asserting that he was simply God appearing to be a man. Marcion’s teachings had a very dangerous influence on the Church, as they were