Conditional Security and the Ante-Nicene Church Fathers

Discussion in '2004 Archive' started by Craigbythesea, Feb 3, 2004.

  1. Craigbythesea

    Craigbythesea
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    Would anyone be interested in discussing the teaching of the Ante-Nicene Church Fathers on this issue?
     
  2. BrianT

    BrianT
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    I would be most interested in *reading* such a discussion, as well as any quotes on the subject. [​IMG]
     
  3. Craigbythesea

    Craigbythesea
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    Brian,

    Here is a quote from Irenaeus who wrote in the early 2nd century that clearly illustrates the view of the Church immediately following the time of the Apostles.

    And to as many as continue in their love towards God, does He grant communion with Him. But communion with God is life and light, and the enjoyment of all the benefits which He has in store. But on as many as, according to their own choice, depart from God. He inflicts that separation from Himself which they have chosen of their own accord. But separation from God is death, and separation from light is darkness; and separation from God consists in the loss of all the benefits which He has in store. Those, therefore, who cast away by apostasy these forementioned things, being in fact destitute of all good, do experience every kind of punishment. God, however, does not punish them immediately of Himself, but that punishment falls upon them because they are destitute of all that is good. Now, good things are eternal and without end with God, and therefore the loss of these is also eternal and never-ending. It is in this matter just as occurs in the case of a flood of light: those who have blinded themselves, or have been blinded by others, are for ever deprived of the enjoyment of light. It is not, [however], that the light has inflicted upon them the penalty of blindness, but it is that the blindness itself has brought calamity upon them: and therefore the Lord declared, "He that believeth in Me is not condemned," that is, is not separated from God, for he is united to God through faith. On the other hand, He says, "He that believeth not is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only-begotten Son of God;" that is, he separated himself from God of his own accord. "For this is the condemnation, that light is come into this world, and men have loved darkness rather than light. For every one who doeth evil hateth the light, and cometh not to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that he has wrought them in God." (Irenaeus, "Against Heresies," Book V, Chapter XXVII, Paragraph 2)

    Here is an explicit quote from Tertullian regarding Conditional Security,

    The discipline, therefore, of the apostles properly (so called), indeed, instructs and determinately directs, as a principal point, the overseer of all sanctity as regards the temple of God to the universal eradication of every sacrilegious outrage upon modesty, without any mention of restoration. I wish, however, redundantly to superadd the testimony likewise of one particular comrade of the apostles, — (a testimony) aptly suited for confirming, by most proximate right, the discipline of his masters. For there is extant withal an Epistle to the Hebrews under the name of Barnabas — a man sufficiently accredited by God, as being one whom Paul has stationed next to himself in the uninterrupted observance of abstinence: "Or else, I alone and Barnabas, have not we the power of working?" And, of course, the Epistle of Barnabas is more generally received among the Churches than that apocryphal "Shepherd" of adulterers. Warning, accordingly, the disciples to omit all first principles, and strive rather after perfection, and not lay again the foundations of repentance from the works of the dead, he says: "For impossible it is that they who have once been illuminated, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have participated in the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the word of God and found it sweet, when they shall — their age already setting — have fallen away, should be again recalled unto repentance, crucifying again for themselves the Son of God, and dishonouring Him." "For the earth which hath drunk the rain often descending upon it, and hath borne grass apt for them on whose account it is tilled withal, attaineth God's blessing; but if it bring forth thorns, it is reprobate, and nighest to cursing, whose end is (doomed) unto utter burning." He who learnt this from apostles, and taught it with apostles, never knew of any 'second repentance' promised by apostles to the adulterer and fornicator. (Tertullian "On Modesty")

    Here is another explicit quote from Tertullian regarding Conditional Security,

    But the world returned unto sin; in which point baptism would ill be compared to the deluge. And so it is destined to fire; just as the man too is, who after baptism renews his sins: so that this also ought to be accepted as a sign for our admonition. (Tertullian "On Water Baptism")
     

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