Early Church Fathers: What They REALLY Said

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by DrJamesAch, Jul 6, 2013.

  1. DrJamesAch

    DrJamesAch
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2012
    Messages:
    1,427
    Likes Received:
    0
    In balance to another member's attempt to prove the historicity of Calvinism, I will post the link to his thread to show a contrast between quotes used out of context, and what those same authors quoted elsewhere that show they were NOT Calvinists.

    Early Church Dads

    NOTE: These quotes do not necessarily hold that these "fathers" were ORTHODOX in their beliefs (some of which is a condemnation to the Calvinists that rely on them to support their arguments) but to show that their beliefs DIFFERED GREATLY from what is considered Calvinist thought today.

    Clement bishop of Rome 97/98 A.D. (justified all men) 1:13 "...being called by His will in Christ Jesus, are not justified by ourselves, nor by our own wisdom, or understanding, or godliness, or works which we have wrought in holiness of heart; but by that faith through which, from the beginning, Almighty God has justified all men; to whom be glory for ever and ever." First Clement 32.

    Justin Martyr wrote 135-165 A.D. 1:177 "And again, unless the human race have the power of avoiding evil and choosing good by free choice, they are not accountable for their actions..." 1:177 "The words cited above, David uttered 1500 years before Christ... But lest some suppose, from what has been said by us, that we say that whatever happens, happens by a fatal necessity, because it is foretold as known beforehand, this too we explain." 1:177 . The First Apology of Justin 43, 44.

    Ignatius, disciple of John & bishop of Antioch 107 A.D. ~1:88 "Only you must pray for them, if by any means they may be brought back to repentance." Epistle to the Smyrnaeans 4.

    Athenagoras 177 A.D. 2:142 "Just as with men, who have freedom of choice as to both virtue and vice (for you would not either honour the good or punish the bad, unless and vice and virtue were in their own power" A Plea for Christians 24

    Irenaeus, disciple of Polycarp & bishop of Lyons (177-202 A.D.) 1:347 "they [unbelievers] despise the workmanship of God, speaking against their own salvation.", 1:455 "[God] did indeed show Himself to be long-suffering in the matter of the correction of man and the probation of all" 1:456 "indicating that eternal fire was not originally prepared for man, but for him [Satan] who beguiled man, and caused him to offend" Against Heresies Book 1 ch.22.

    Clement of Alexandria 193-217 A.D. 2:319 "Now the devil, being possessed of freewill, was able both to repent and to steal;" 2:239 "So in no respect is God the author of evil. But since free choice and inclination originate sins" Stromata Book 1 ch.17. vol.2:239 "For to take fever is involuntary; but when one takes fever through his own fault, from excess, we blame him. Inasmuch, then as evil is involuntary, -for no one prefers evil as evil;...such being the case, to free ourselves from ignorance, and from evil and voluptuous choice, and above all, to withhold our assent from those delusive phantasies, depends on ourselves." The Instructor 2:1. 3:319 speaks well of the work Shepherd of Hermas. also last chapter.

    "Everything then, which did not hinder a man’s choice from being free, He made and rendered auxiliary to virtue," Stromata 7:2


    Tertullian 200-240 A.D. 3:220 "Still there is a portion of good in the soul, of that original, divine, and genuine good, which is its proper nature. For that which is derived from God is rather obscured than extinguished." 3:301 "Therefore it was proper that (he who is) the image and likeness of God should be formed with a free will and a mastery of himself; so that this very thing - namely, freedom of will and self-command - might be reckoned as the image and likeness of God in him." 3:303 No doubt it was an angel [Lucifer] who was the seducer; but then the victim of that seduction [Adam] was free, and master of himself;" 3:308 "Who is the author of good, but He who also requires it?" 3:308 "Behold, they [Marcionites] say, how He acknowledges Himself to be the creator of evil in the passage, ‘It is I who created evil.’ They take a word whose one form reduces to confusion and ambiguity two kinds of evils (because both sins and punishments are called evils), and will have Him in every passage to be understood as the creator of all evil things, in order that He may be designated the author of evil." Against Marcion chap. 14.

    Tertullian here clearly shows that he does not side with the Calvinist on depravity, nor that "God determines all things whatsoever cometh to pass".

    More.......
     
  2. DrJamesAch

    DrJamesAch
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2012
    Messages:
    1,427
    Likes Received:
    0
    Origen (225 CE) writes: “The apostle in one place does not purport that becoming a vessel to honor or dishonor depends upon God [Rom. 9:21-22; a blatant rejection of Calvinistic thought]. Rather, he refers everything back to ourselves, saying, ‘If, then, a man purges himself, he will be a vessel to honor, sanctified, fit for the Master’s use, and prepared for every good work’

    "This also is clearly defined in the teaching of the Church, that every rational soul is possessed of free-will and volition;" De Principiis Preface 5.

    Hippolytus (225 CE) writes: “The Word promulgated the divine commandments by declaring them. He thereby turned man from disobedience. He summoned man to liberty through a choice involving spontaneity — not by bringing him into servitude by force of necessity "

    Cyprian (250 CE) writes: “The liberty of believing or of not believing is placed in free choice.”

    Novatian 254-256 A.D. 5:646 "For in reprobating what He [God] has made, He will appear to have condemned His own works, which He had approved as good; and He will be designated as seeming capricious in both cases, as the heretics indeed would have it;" On the Jewish Meats 2.

    Alexander of Alexandria (324 CE) writes: “Natural will is the free faculty of every intelligent nature, as having nothing involuntary pertaining to its essence. A Dictionary of Early Christian Beliefs, ed. David W. Bercot (Peabody: Hendrickson Publishers, Inc., 1998), 285-86, 288, 292-95.

    Lactantius (304-313 CE), during those years, writes: “He who gives commandments for life should remove every method of excuse — so He can impose upon men the necessity of obedience. Not by any constraint, but by a sense of shame. Yet, He should do it in a way to leave them freedom, so that a reward may be appointed for those who obey. That is because it was in their power not to obey — for it was in their power to obey if they wished.”

    Cyprian, bishop of Carthage 248-258 A.D. ~5:317 "watch against the snares of the devil, and, taking care for you own salvation, be diligently on your guard against this death-bearing fallacy." 5:357 "Keep discipline, lest haply the Lord be angry, and ye perish from the right way, when His anger shall quickly burn against you. And what shall Christ and our Lord and Judge think, when He sees His virgin, dedicated to Him, and destined for His holiness, lying with another?" 5:358 Nor let them think that the way of life or of salvation is still open to them, if they have refused to obey the bishops and priests.." Epistle 61.

    Calvinist champion apologist, Loraine Boettner even admitted this much:

    "It may occasion some surprise to discover that the doctrine of Predestination was not made a matter of special study until near the end of the fourth century. ... They of course taught that salvation was through Christ; yet they assumed that man had full power to accept or reject the gospel. Some of their writings contain passages in which the sovereignty of God is recognized; yet along side of those are others which teach the absolute freedom of the human will. ... They taught a kind of synergism in which there was a cooperation between grace and free will." The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination p.365.

    There is absolutely NO HISTORICAL SUPPORT outside of the sound doctrinal churches for the assertion that Calvinism existed among the early churches. One must keep in mind that terms such as "election", "predestination" are terms that Non Calvinists, Arminians and Calvinists alike ALL AGREE are Biblical terms, but there is NO HISTORICAL SUPPORT for the existence of the Calvinistic interpretation of these terms, other than those espoused to by the Roman Catholic heretic, Augustine and his ilk.
     
  3. Winman

    Winman
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2009
    Messages:
    14,768
    Likes Received:
    0
    Yep, nobody believed this stuff until Augustine came along.

    It is refreshing to see the truth from a Calvinist, doesn't happen often.
     
  4. quantumfaith

    quantumfaith
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2010
    Messages:
    6,890
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks for the schooling Dr. JamesACH!!!!
     
  5. DrJamesAch

    DrJamesAch
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2012
    Messages:
    1,427
    Likes Received:
    0
    :) :) :)................
     
  6. Earth Wind and Fire

    Earth Wind and Fire
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2010
    Messages:
    18,912
    Likes Received:
    94
    They are all menright...men are all flawed & only God is almighty good & powerful. So I don't put my faith in men.
     
  7. DrJamesAch

    DrJamesAch
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2012
    Messages:
    1,427
    Likes Received:
    0
    I agree, that's why I posted the above
     
  8. Earth Wind and Fire

    Earth Wind and Fire
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2010
    Messages:
    18,912
    Likes Received:
    94
    So you don't see predestination as biblical? Just because its timeline is 4 th centuary onward doesn't make it false.
     
  9. Winman

    Winman
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2009
    Messages:
    14,768
    Likes Received:
    0
    What did Boettner say?

    I agree with the early church fathers that man has the ability to accept or reject the gospel. I believe men have free will, and I believe there is a synergism involved in salvation.

    I do not believe in the "Reformed Doctrine of Predestination" as Boettner named his book.

    So yes, I believe in the "biblical" doctrine of predestination, but I do not believe in the "reformed" doctrine of predestination. They are not the same.
     
    #9 Winman, Jul 7, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 7, 2013
  10. Earth Wind and Fire

    Earth Wind and Fire
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2010
    Messages:
    18,912
    Likes Received:
    94
    Why would you ever want to reject eternal life when given the understanding of how vile you were & how you have been exonerated. A person would have to be insane and truly abhorrent....similar to Nazis. Then why would God bother with tthem...seems a rediculous waste of time doesn't it?
     
  11. HankD

    HankD
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 14, 2001
    Messages:
    15,124
    Likes Received:
    319
    Yes these are all men as is Calvin.

    HankD
     
  12. Winman

    Winman
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2009
    Messages:
    14,768
    Likes Received:
    0
    I am not completely sure I understand your question, but I'll attempt to answer.

    The reason men reject God is because they love sin and hate what is good. This is plainly what Jesus taught.

    Jhn 3:19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
    20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.

    Those men who reject God do so because they love sin and want to continue in it, it is that simple. Men love sin because it brings them pleasure. Yes, in our mind it is foolish to continue in sin when it brings destruction, but obviously these persons think differently. They love sin so much they convince themselves that God does not exist, therefore they do not have to be accountable.

    Psa 14:1 To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David. The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.
    2 The LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God.
    3 They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

    This is the scripture Paul quotes in Romans 3 that Calvinists love to claim supports Total Inability/Depravity. Is it speaking of all men? NO, if a person reads the entire Psalm they see David was contrasting exceedingly wicked people with what God called "my people", "the righteous", "the poor, because the LORD is his refuge" and "his people". So, this scripture in no way supports Total Inability or Total Depravity, it is not saying all men are fools that say there is no God in their hearts.

    Psa 14:4 Have all the workers of iniquity no knowledge? who eat up my people as they eat bread, and call not upon the LORD.
    5 There were they in great fear: for God is in the generation of the righteous.
    6 Ye have shamed the counsel of the poor, because the LORD is his refuge.
    7 Oh that the salvation of Israel were come out of Zion! when the LORD bringeth back the captivity of his people, Jacob shall rejoice, and Israel shall be glad.

    Total Depravity is what happens when you pull scripture out of context and isolate it, you can make the scriptures say anything you want, you can make the scriptures say the exact opposite of what they are really saying if that is what you want to do. :thumbsup:

    Why would God bother with these wicked persons? Because God loves all men and desires they be saved. It would be similar to our own children, if one of our children decided to be a criminal would we still love him? Of course, and we would pray that he changes his ways. Likewise, God desires that all men repent and be saved, but he has given every man choice.
     
    #12 Winman, Jul 7, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 7, 2013
  13. Earth Wind and Fire

    Earth Wind and Fire
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2010
    Messages:
    18,912
    Likes Received:
    94


    Winman, God ALWAYS gives humans the final word in their own fate -- and in a sense He does just as you imply, for left to our own devices, we will ALWAYS choose to spend eternity in hell.
     
    #13 Earth Wind and Fire, Jul 7, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 7, 2013
  14. Earth Wind and Fire

    Earth Wind and Fire
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2010
    Messages:
    18,912
    Likes Received:
    94
    Why did you feel the need to tell me that....IE, point out that Calvin was human. I did read once or twice that he got sick & died so Im assuming John Calvin was just as human as the rest. Therefore Hank, are you telling me that you are assuming Im a Calvinist. FYI, I go by Christian & not a very good one at that....I do like to sin far too much to be a model Christian for anyone to emulate....but slowly things are changing.:laugh:
     
  15. Winman

    Winman
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2009
    Messages:
    14,768
    Likes Received:
    0
    First of all, no man is left to his own devices;

    Tit 2:11 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,

    No man is ever left to himself, the scriptures say the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men.

    Secondly, unregenerated man has the ability to respond to God and seek salvation.

    Acts 16:30 And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?
    31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.

    This is of course the account of the Philipian jailer. We do not know all the details, but it is pretty safe to assume that he knew a little bit about why Paul and Silas had been thrown in the prison, for preaching the gospel, although it is clear he did not actually know what he must do to be saved. And it is certain the earthquake had a profound effect upon him.

    But he was not regenerated. He had not yet believed on Jesus and so must be dead in his trespasses and sins. No man has spiritual "life" until his sins are washed away and forgiven, and no man is justified until he first believes.

    Yet this many sincerely desired to be saved. He did not choose to spend eternity in hell as you have said.

    Total Inability is absolutely false and refuted by MUCH scripture.
     
    #15 Winman, Jul 7, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 7, 2013
  16. HankD

    HankD
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 14, 2001
    Messages:
    15,124
    Likes Received:
    319
    I guess since you supplied a list of name of humans and I noticed calvin was not there and yes I did make that assumption that you are at least friendly with calvinism since it seems to be a popular "ism" here at the BB and you didn't attack him or his doctrine.

    I have similar problems with the slowness of "the change".

    2 Corinthians 3:18 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed (metamorphoo) into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.​


    HankD
     
  17. preacher4truth

    preacher4truth
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2010
    Messages:
    8,121
    Likes Received:
    0
    So then you contradict yourself with your 'always' indictment.

    Obviously God steps in so it is not 'ALWAYS' according to our 'final word' as you say it is.
     
  18. Earth Wind and Fire

    Earth Wind and Fire
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2010
    Messages:
    18,912
    Likes Received:
    94
    You did not wait for me to state what you did in the last sentence.....you jumped the gun Mr Gunn.:laugh:

    NOTE My 2nd signature statement.... replete with scripture. There is the closing argument bro."Were it not for God's choosing some, Heaven would have none." (Jer 13:23; John 6:38-9, 44)
     
    #18 Earth Wind and Fire, Jul 7, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 7, 2013
  19. Earth Wind and Fire

    Earth Wind and Fire
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2010
    Messages:
    18,912
    Likes Received:
    94
    Thats OK Hank.....I find both Arminism & Calvinism to be flawed but these continuous dialogs are amusing (at 1st) then boring & draining of my energy.....so I have no allegiance to either of them....nor do I have any allegiance to Dispensationalism or Covenant theologies....both again are incomplete & flawed. I choose my own way, calmly & based on my own understanding of scripture. :godisgood:
     
  20. HankD

    HankD
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 14, 2001
    Messages:
    15,124
    Likes Received:
    319
    For the most part I agree, but I must confess that I find dispensationalism attractive.

    It has a few "skeletons" in it's historical closet and some weaknesses in the overall view.

    HankD
     

Share This Page

Loading...