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Patrology
Prof.StevePaulus
Introduction:WhatisPatrology?
Patrologyisthestudyofthelife,historicalcircumstancesandwritingsofthefathersofthe
churchfromthegenerationimmediatelyfollowingtheapostles(ApostolicFathers)totheendof
theeighthcentury.Intheeast,JohnofDamascus(675749A.D.)markstheendofthepatristic
period.Inthewest,GregorytheGreatofRome(540604),orIsidoreofSeville(d.676)are
consideredtobethelastoftheChurchFathers.ThefoundingoftheHolyRomanEmpire,with
thecrowningofCharlemagnebyPopeLeoIIIin800A.D.markstheendofthePatristicperiod.
Patristics,incontrasttopatrology,focusesattentionmoreonthedevelopmentofideasand
doctrinesratherthansimplythelivesoftheFathersandthehistoricaldevelopmentofChristian
literature.
AChurchFatherisdeterminedbyfourgeneralcriteria:1)orthodoxyofdoctrine2)holinessof
life3)ecclesiasticalapproval4)antiquity.Somefathers,e.g.Tertullian,Origen,orEusebius,
maynotmeetallcategoriesbutarenonethelessconsideredChurchFathers.A Doctorofthe
Churchisdeterminedbythreecriteriainadditiontothepreviousfour:1)Profoundknowledge
ofChristiandoctrine2)rigid(firm,solid)orthodoxy3)exemplaryholiness.Threegreat
doctorsacknowledgedespeciallybytheeastareBasiltheGreat,GregoryNazianzus,andJohn
Chrysostum.InadditiontothesethewestrecognizesAthanasius,Ambrose,Jerome,Augustine,
andGregorytheGreat.Thusmakingeightinall.
Thestudyofpatrologycanbedividedintoseveralcategories:
1)Era:e.g.Apostolic,anteNicene,NiceneandpostNicene
2)Geography:e.g.SyriaPalestine,NorthAfrica,AsiaMinor,Alexandria,Rome,etc.
3)Language:Greek,Latin,Syriac,(Armenian,Coptic,etc.).
4)Controversy:Thepersonalities,theologicalconflicts,andhistoricalcircumstancescanbe
studiedincontextoftheecclesiastical/theologicalcontroversiespeculiartoaparticularera,e.g.
Arian,Trinitarian,Christological,Iconoclastcontroversies.
EarlystudentsofPatrologywereEusebiusofCaesarea(265340)inhisEcclesiasticalHistory.
Heisnotedasthefirstandgreatestchurchhistorian.Jerome(349420)composedhisfamous
DeVirisIllustribusin393.ThiswasthefirststudyspecificallyofPatrology.Gennadiusof
Marseillesinthefifthcenturycontinuedthetraditionofkeepingacompendiumofthelivesand
especiallythewritingsofthechurchfathers.Otherscontinuedthistradition.Johannes
Quasten'sworkisthecontemporarystandard,thoughtherearemanyothers.
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WhyisPatrologyImportant?
PatrologyisaparticularlyimportantstudyforbelieverswhoserveincountrieswhereCatholic
orOrthodoxChristiansmakeupamajorityorevenasignificantminorityofthepopulation.
TheeventsofthepatristicperiodshapedthebeliefsandpracticesofbothCatholicismand
Orthodoxy.ThebreakwithJudaism,thedoctrineoftheChurch,sacraments,ordination,the
formationoftheCanonofScripture,theroleoftraditionandcanonlaw,Trinitarianand
Christologicalcontroversies,thecreedsandcouncilswhicharefoundationaltomodernday
CatholicismandOrthodoxyalltakeplaceinthePatristicperiod.Youcannotunderstand
CatholicismorOrthodoxyandthusyourownculturesandtheirspiritualhistory,and
atmospherewithoutunderstandingPatrology.
SourcesIntroduction:
AngeloDiBerardino,ed. EncyclopediaoftheEarlyChurch,NewYork:Oxford University
Press,1992
EverettFerguson,ed. EncyclopediaofEarlyChristianity,NewYorkandLondon:
GarlandPublishing,Inc.,1990.
PatrickJ.Hamell,HandbookofPatrology,StatenIsland:AlbaHouse,1968,p.918.
JohannesQuasten,Patrology,Vol.I,rpt.1992,Westminster,MD:ChristianClassics,
Inc.,1950,p.122.
I.SourcesofEarlyChurchHistory
SimonPeteranswered,YouaretheChrist,theSonofthelivingGod.Jesusreplied,
BlessedareyouSimonbarJonah,forthiswasnotrevealedtoyoubyman,butbymy
Fatherinheaven.AndItellyouthatyouarePeter,andonthisrockIwillbuildmy
church,andthegatesofHadeswillnotovercomeit.Iwillgiveyouthekeysofthe
kingdomofheaven,andwhateveryoulooseonearthwillbeloosedinheavenwhatever
youbindonearthwillbeboundinheaven (Matt.16:1619).
Thisisoneoftheearliestgospelstatementsconcerningtheconceptofthechurch.The
Greektermhereisekklesia,whichreferstoabodyorgatheringofpeoplecalledoutof
theirregularactivitiesforaparticularpurpose.Inthiscaseitisapeoplecalledoutfor
w0orshipandservicetotheirCreatorwhoisrevealedinJesusChrist.Severalmattersare
clearinthispassage.
1)Jesus,theChrist,theSonofthelivingGod,isthefounderof thechurch.Thusthe
churchissupernaturalinorigin.
2)Hedelegatesspiritualpowerandauthoritytohisdisciples.
3)Thechurchisbuiltuponarock.
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Howoneinterpretstheseversesandtheirimplicationswilldeterminehowone
understandsthenatureofthechurch.IstherockrepresentativeofPeterhimself?The
apostles?Theirsuccessors?ThepeopleofGodingeneral?Orissimplytherevelationof
ChristsSonshipitselftherockuponwhichthechurchisbuilt?
Biblicallywecanconfirmthismuch, [Y]ouarefellowcitizenswithGodspeopleand
membersofGodshousehold,builtonthefoundationoftheapostlesandprophets,with
ChristJesushimselfasthechiefcornerstone.Inhimthewholebuildingisjoined
togetherandrisestobecomeaholytempleintheLord(Eph.2:1921).WhileGods
peopleareincludedinthehousehold,theapostleshaveauniquefoundationalrole,and
Christhimselfistheprimaryfigure(chiefcornerstone)inthelifeofthechurch.
TheActsoftheApostlesby Luke,companionoftheapostlePaul,isthefirstrecorded
churchhistory.ActsespeciallydocumentstheearlyministriesofPeterandPaulamong
otherapostles.AnothersourceofearlychurchhistoryisEusebius,alsoknownasthe
FatherofChurchHistory.Helivedinthefourthcenturyandutilizedmanywritten
sourcestocompilehisrenownedEcclesiasticalHistory.AfterActs,ourmuchofour
knowledgeofearlychurchhistorycomesfromEusebiusandhissources.
HereswhatherecordsaboutthemartyrdomsofPeterandPaul:
Afterpleadinghiscause,he[Paul]issaidtohavebeensent
againupontheministryofpreaching,andafterasecond
visittothecity,thathefinishedhislifewithmartyrdom.
Whilsthewasaprisonerhewrotehissecondepistleto
Timothy,inwhichhebothmentionshisfirstdefenseand
hisimpendingdeath
PaulisthereforesaidtohavebeenbeheadedatRome,and
Petertohavebeencrucifiedunderhim[Nero].Andthis
accountisconfirmedbythefact,thatthenamesofPeter
andPaulstillremaininthecemeteriesofthatcitytothis
day(Eusebius,EcclesiaticalHistory,74,80).
OfMarksgospelhewrites,
Sogreatlyhowever,didthesplendorofpietyenlightenthe
mindsofPetershearers(inRome),thatitwasnot
sufficienttohearbutonce,nortoreceivetheunwritten
doctrineofthegospelofgod,buttheyperseveredinevery
varietyofentreatiestosolicitMarkasthecompanionof
Peter,andwhosegospelwehave,thatheshouldleavethem
amonumentofthedoctrineorallycommunicatedin
writing.Nordidtheyceasetheirsolicitationsuntilthey
hadprevailedwiththeman,andthusbecomethemeansof
thathistorywhichiscalledthegospelaccordingtoMark
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ThesameMark,theyalsosay,beingthefirstthatwassent
toEgypt,proclaimedthegospeltherewhichhehadwritten,
andfirstestablishedchurchesatthecityofAlexandria
(Eusebius,EH,p645).
Also,EusebiusgivesalotofadditionalinformationonbiblicalfiguressuchasJames,the
Lordsbrother,HerodAgrippa,SimonMagus,Claudius,Nero,thevariouspersecutions
ofChristians.ItshouldberememberedthatEusebiuswork,andthatofotherfiguresof
thepatristiceraarenotinspiredinthesamewaythatscripturesare,butare,nevertheless
goodsourcesofhistoricalinformation.
InadditiontoActsandEusebius,therearenumerousotherwrittensourcesofearly
churchhistory.Somearebyknownauthors,othersunknown.Thosebyunknownauthors
arementionedbelow.
1.Didache:PossiblytheoldestdocumentofChristianAntiquity.ItwasreveredinSyria,Egypt
andPalestine.Amongsomechurchfathers(e.g.Jerome)itwasregardedasdeuterocanonical
(Bruce,TheCanonofScripture,p.90).PossiblywritteninEgypt,Syria,orPalestinebetween
85and120(Hamell,p.24).Onlytwoordersofpermanent(resident)ministersarementioned
elders(bishops)anddeaconsasidefromtheNewTestamentdesignationofprophetsand
teachers.TheDidachementionstheagape(lovefeast)inconjunctionwiththecommunion,as
wellastheproperreceptionandtreatmentoftravelingprophets,thusindicatingitsearlydate.
Outline:ch.16,ChristianEthics.
ch.710Baptismalinstruction,Sacraments
ch.1116Mutualrelations.
"Butconcerningapostlesandprophets,sodoyeaccording
totheordinanceoftheGospel.Leteveryapostle,whenhe
comethtoyou,bereceivedastheLordbutheshallnot
abidemorethanasingleday,oriftherebeneed,asecond
likewisebutifheabidethreedays,heisafalseprophet."
"Fromhiswaysthereforethefalseprophetandtheprophet
shallberecognized.Andnoprophetwhenheorderetha
tableintheSpiritshalleatofitotherwiseheisafalse
prophet"(Lightfoot,p.127)
"AndwhosoevershallsayintheSpirit,Givemesilveror
anythingelse,yeshallnotlistentohimbutifhetellyouto
giveonbehalfofothersthatareinwant,letnomanjudge
him"(Lightfoot,p.128).
"Appointforyourselvesthereforebishopsanddeacons
worthyoftheLord,menwhoaremeekandnotloversof
moneyandtrueandapprovedforuntoyoutheyalso
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performtheserviceoftheprophetsandteachers.Therefore
despisethemnotfortheyareyourhonorablemenalong
withtheprophetsandteachers"(Lightfoot,p. 128).
Thesecommentsindicateamorefluidministrynotreflectedinlaterdocuments.
AlsosomepracticesfoundintheDidachearetwotieredministryplusitinerants,practice
oftheagapemealnocompletecanonofscripture.
2.TheEpistleofBarnabus:VariousfathersascribedthisworktoBarnabus,thecompanionof
Paul(thusthename).Theworkdoesnotbeartheauthorsname,northerecipients,northe
placeofwriting,northedestination.Itwaswrittenperhapsbetween96and120A.D.
Alexandriaissuggestedbecauseoftheallegoricalmethodofinterpretationwhichwaspopular
there.ItwasdirectedagainstJudaizers,andquestionstheauthorityoftheOldTestament.Such
adeparturefromPaulinetheologycastsgreatdoubtupontheauthorshipofBarnabus.
3. TheShepherdofHermas:Thisworkiscomposedofvisions,commandsandparables.It
containsanexhortationtorepentanceandpermitsoneremissionforthesinsoffornicationand
adultery.Itdealswiththeissueofrepentance(penance?)andforgivenessofsins.Itis
mentionedintheMuratorianfragment,c.180."TheShepherd,saysthecompiler[ofthe
fragment],waswritten'quiterecently,inourowntimes',whenPius,thebrotherofHermas,was
bishopofRome.PiuswasbishopofRomesometimeduringtheperiodwhenAntoninusPius
wasRomanemperor(AD138161)buttheShepherd,tojudgebyinternalevidence,mayhave
beenwrittenevenearlierthanthat,aboutthebeginningofthesecondcentury"(Bruce,The
CanonofScripture,p.166).ItwasprobablywrittenwhilePiuswasbishopofRome(140155).
Insomefathersitwaslistedamongcanonicalwritings(e.g.Irenaus,Clement,andOrigen).
4.ApostlesCreed: Thiscreedisinsomecirclesbelievedtobeatraditiondatingbacktothe
timeoftheapostles."ItisprobablypreservedintheInterrogatoryCreedofHippolytus'
ApostolicTraditions(c.215)"(Leith,p.223).ItisfirstmentionedinaletterfromMarcellus,
BishopofAncyratoJulius,BishopofRomein337338A.D.Itisprobablyabaptismalformula
datingbackasearlyas100.Fromthesixthcenturyonitwasusedasinstructionfor
catechumens.(Hamell,p.21)
Sources:
AngeloDiBerardino,ed. EncyclopediaoftheEarlyChurch,NewYork:Oxford University
Press,1992
EverettFerguson,ed. EncyclopediaofEarlyChristianity,NewYorkandLondon:
GarlandPublishing,Inc.,1990.
PatrickJ.Hamell,HandbookofPatrology,StatenIsland:AlbaHouse,1968,p.918.
JohannesQuasten,Patrology,Vol.I,rpt.1992,Westminster,MD:ChristianClassics,
Inc., 1950,p.122.
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Excursus:TheBreakwithJudaism.
EarlyPalestinianChristianity,NewTestamentSources:TheearliestfollowersofChristwere
PalestinianJews,fromGalilee,Decapolis,Transjordan,JerusalemandJudea(Matt4:25).Later
convertsweremadeinJerusalemonthedayofPentecostincludingHellenisticJews.Afterthe
persecution,JewishChristianswerefoundasfarasAntiochandDamascus(Acts9,11).Paul
andBarnabascommencedtheirmissionwestwardtoCyprusandGalatia,etc.(Acts13ff).
ShortlyaftertheirreturntoAntiochtherearoseadisputeconcerningtheinclusionofGentiles
intothechurch.
DevelopmentofJewishandGentileChristianity:ItisclearthatbythistimetheChristianfaith
waswidespreadamongJewishbelieversthroughoutPalestine(Acts9:31).AftertheAntioch
dispute,theJerusalemCouncilestablishedapracticefortheinclusionofGentiles.Judaizers
arosewhoinsistedthatGentileconvertsbecircumcisedandkeeptheOldTestamentLaw(Acts
15:1ff.).
JewishWarsof6670A.D.:
Thewholebody,however,ofthechurchatJerusalem,
havingbeencommandedbyadivinerevelation,givento
menofapprovedpietytherebeforethewar,removedfrom
thecity,anddweltatacertaintownbeyondtheJordan
calledPella.Here,thosethatbelievedinChrist,having
removedfromJerusalem...thedivinejusticefortheir
crimesagainstChristandhisapostles,finallyovertook
them,totallydestroyingthewholegenerationofthese
evildoersfromtheearth"(Eusebius,EcclesiasticalHistory,
p.86).
JewishChristiansleftJerusalemandGalileeforPellainTransjordanbeforetheoutbreakofthe
JewishWar.AfterA.D.70,Christianswereexcludedfromthesynagogue.Laterthecursewas
invokedagainsttheminsynagogueservices(birkathaminim,benedictionagainsttheheretics).
"Forapostateslettherebenohope,andthedominionofarrogance(Rome)doThouspeedily
rootoutinourdaysandlettheNazarenes(Christians)andthehereticsperishasinamoment,
letthembeblottedoutofthebookofthelivingandletthemnotbewrittenwiththerighteous.
Blessedartthou,OLord,whohumblestthearrogant."(Benediction12oftheEighteen
Benedictions,Ferguson,BackgroundsofEarlyChristianity,p.460).
Ebionites:
TheseareproperlycalledEbionites(fromHebrewforpoor)
bytheancientsasthosewhocherishedlowandmean
opinionsofChrist.Fortheyconsideredhimaplainand
commonman,andjustifiedonlybyhisadvancesinvirtue,
andthathewasbornoftheVirginMary,bynatural
generation.Withthemtheobservanceofthelawwas
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altogethernecessary,asiftheycouldnotbesaved,onlyby
faithinChristandacorrespondinglife...inconsequences
ofsuchacourse,theyhavealsoreceivedtheirepithet,the
nameofEbionites,exhibitingthepovertyoftheirintellect.
ForitisthusthattheHebrewscallapoorman.
(EcclesiasticalHistory,p.1123).
RiseofRabbinicJudaismandAntiJewishPolemicoftheFathers:
Fromthefirstcentury,relationsbetweenJewsand
Christiansweremarkedbyhostility theopposition
betweenanestablishedreligionandanoffshootclaimingto
havesupplantedit.Leadersofeachreligioncriticizedthe
otherfaith.Inparticular,Christianecclesiasticalauthorities
andwritersdevelopedasetofthemestodemonstrateto
Christiansandpotentialconvertstheinauthenticityof
Judaism....Fromtheearlyfourthcentury,aseriesofchurch
councilsenactedcanonsseekingtorestrictChristian
participationinJewishceremoniesalongwithother
ChristianJewishcontact,includingmixedmarriages.
LegislationfromthesynodsofElvira(306),Antioch(341),
Nicaea(325),andLaodicea(365?)isevidencethat
Christians,includingclergy,wereenjoyingJewish
hospitality,participatinginJewishfestivals,seeking
blessingsfromJewishRabbis,andparticipatinginthe
Passover....
TheCodeofJustinianin534withdrewsometraditional
Jewishprivilegesandimposednewdisabilities,suchasthe
exclusionofnonOrthodox(includingJews)fromthe
imperiallegions,disqualificationofJewsandhereticsas
witnessesagainsttheOrthodox,andprohibitionsagainst
JewishownershipofChrisitanslavesandthebuildingof
newsynagogues.(R(obin)D(arling)Y(oung)inEEC,
Ferguson,ed.,p.5034,6)
"ForintheJewishWarwhichlatelyraged,Barcochba,theleaderoftherevoltoftheJews,gave
ordersthatChristiansaloneshouldbeledtocruelpunishments,unlesstheywoulddenyJesus
Christandutterblasphemy"(JustinMartyr,Apology,NE,p.17).
"Thesethingsthenhappenedwithsogreatspeed,quickerthanwordscouldtell,thecrowds
forthwithcollectingfromtheworkshopsandbathstimberandfaggots,andtheJewsmore
especiallyassistinginthiswithzeal,asistheirwant...'(MartyrdomofPolycarp,Lightfoot,p.
113).
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AgainsttheJews(AdversusJudaeos)traditionaroseasevidenceofmutualattractionand
repulsion(EEC,p.504).MainelementsofthetraditionareusesoftextstoproveJesusas
JewishMessiah,abrogationoftheOTLaw,excepttheTenCommandments,andtheexhaustion
ofJudaismasaviablereligion.TheEastercontroversyisanexampleofthechurchseparating
itselffromJewishpractice.(Melitoof Sardis,OnthePassover,c.190).
Sources:
F.F.Bruce,TheCanonofScripture,DownersGrove:IntervarsityPress,1988.
Eusebius.EcclesiaticalHistory,p.112.
Hamell,p.1926.
G(lenn)A.K(och).JewishChristianity,in EncyclopediaofEarly
Christianity.(HereafterreferredtoasEEC)p.488491.
JohnH.Leith,ed.CreedsoftheChurches,Atlanta:JohnKnoxPress,1982,p.2226.
JustinMartyr,DialoguewithTrypho,in ANewEusebius,J.Stevenson,ed.p.6869.
Quasten,vol.I,2340,85105.
R(obin)D(arling)Y(oung).JudaismandChristianity,in EEC,p.503507.
II.DevelopmentsinthePostApostolicChurch
A.ApostolicFathers
Definition:ApostolicFathersknewtheapostlesortheirimmediatesuccessors.Theirwritings
reflectcircumstances,teachings,andbeliefsoftheearlychurchinthegenerationfollowingthe
deathoftheapostles.Theymayechotheteachingsoftheapostlesthemselves.Theirwritings
arevaluabletofillingapsininformationimmediatelyfollowingthetimeoftheapostles.
1.ClementofRome(bishop,92101):AccordingtoIrenaus(Quasten,p.42)thethirdsuccessor
ofPeteratRome.AlsocitedbyHegesippusandEusebiusasfourthbishopofRome(Hamell,
p.26),butthisisdisputed.HeispossiblyaJewishdiscipleoftheapostles.Inunconfirmed
traditionamartyrandrelatedtoproconsulFlavians.PossiblymentionedinPhilippians4:3.
HismostsignificantwrittenworkistheEpistletotheCorinthians.Theworkwrittentoresolve
adisputewithintheleadershipoftheCorinthianchurch,carriesspecifictheological
implications.
PrimacyofRome:(p.13.1)
Byreasonofthesuddenandrepeatedcalamitiesand
reverseswhicharebefallingus,brethren,weconsiderthat
wehavebeensomewhattardyingivingheedtothematters
ofdisputethathavearisenamongyou,dearlybeloved,and
tothedetestableandunholysedition,soalienandstrange
totheelectofGod,whichafewheadstrongandselfwilled
personshavekindledtosuchapitchofmadnessthatyour
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name,oncereveredandrenownedandlovelyinthesightof
allmenhathbeengreatlyreviled(P.13).
ApostolicSuccession(p.32.44)
AndtheapostlesknewthroughOurLordJesusChristthat
therewouldbestrifeoverthenameofthebishop'soffice.
Forthiscausetherefore,havingreceivedcomplete
foreknowledge,theyappointedtheaforesaidpersons,and
afterwardtheyprovidedacontinuance,thatiftheseshould
fallasleep,otherapprovedmenshouldsucceedtotheir
ministration.Those,thereforewhowereappointedbythem,
orafterwardbyothermenofreputewiththeconsentofthe
wholechurch,andhaveministeredunblamablytotheflock
ofChristwithlowlinessofmind,peaceablyandwithall
modesty,andforlongtimehavebornagoodreportwithall
thesemenweconsidertobeunjustlythrownoutfrom
theirministration(Lightfoot,p.32).
2.IgnatiusofAntioch (Theophorus)(?107):PossiblythethirdbishopofAntioch.Eusebius
listshimassecond."OnthedeathofEvodius,whowasthefirstbishopofAntioch,Ignatiuswas
appointedthesecond"(Eusebius,p.104).HewassummonedtoRomeunderTrajan(98117)
andthereexposedtowildbeastsandmartyred.HisWorksincludesevenletters.Onthisjourney
hewrotesevenletters.HestayedatSmyrnawithPolycarpandwrotefourletters(Ephesus,
Magnesia,Tralles,Rome),fromTroashewrotethreeothers(ToPhiladelphia,Smyrnaanda
personallettertoPolycarp).
TheologicalImplications:
Monarchicalepiscopate:
Iadviseyou,bezealoustodoallthingsingodlyconcord,
thebishoppresidingafterthelikenessofGod,andthe
presbytersafterthelikenessofthecounciloftheApostles
withthedeaconswhoaremostdeartome...
Lettherebenothingamongyouwhichshallhavepowerto
divideyou,butbeyeunitedwiththebishopandwiththem
thatpresideoveryouasanensampleandalessonof
incorruptibility.
Therefore,astheLorddidnothingwithouttheFather...so
neitherdoyeanythingwithoutthebishopandthe
presbyters(Lightfoot,Magnesians,p.70).
ForwhenyouareobedienttothebishopastoJesusChrist
...thatyeshoulddonothingwithoutthebishopbutbeye
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obedientalsotothepresbyteryastotheApostlesofJesus
Christourhope...
InlikemannerletallmenrespectthedeaconsasJesus
Christ,evenastheyshouldrespectthebishopasbeinga
typeoftheFatherandthepresbytersasthecouncilofGod
andasthecollegeoftheApostles.Apartfromthesethreeis
noteventhenameofachurch.(Lightfoot,Trallians,p.73).
Ispakewithaloudvoice,withGod'sownvoice,Giveye
heedtothebishopandthePresbyteryandthedeacons
(Philadelphians,p.801).
PrimacyofRome (p.75.intro.)
"Tothechurchthatisbelovedandenlightenedthroughthewillofhimwhowilledallthingsthat
are...evenuntoherthathaththepresidencyofthecountryoftheregionoftheRomans.,being
worthyofGod,worthyofhonor,worthyoffelicitation,worthyofpraise,worthyofsuccess,
worthyinpurity,andhavingthepresidencyoflove...(Lightfoot,Romans,p.756).
Alloftheseearlybishopsaddressedquestionsofheresyiontheirwritings.Ignatiusisno
exception.HewritesagainstDocetismandJudaizers(p.82.23p.70.8).
CerinthustaughtthataChristspiritdescendedonJesusandlaterlefthim.Tocounterthis
Ignatiustaught,
Hesufferedtruly,asalsoHeraisedHimselftrulynotas
certainunbelieverssay,thatHesufferedinsemblance,being
themselvesmeresemblance.Andaccordingastheir
opinionsare,soshallithappentothem,fortheyarewithout
bodyanddemonlike...
ForifthesethingsweredonebyourLordinsemblance,
thenamIalsoaprisonerinsemblance...
Forwhatprofitisittome,ifamanpraisethme,but
blasphemethmyLord,notconfessingthathewasabearerof
flesh?
..iftheybelievenotinthebloodofChrist(whoisGod),
judgmentawaiteththemalso."(Smyrnaeans,p.83).
"Forifevenuntothisday,weliveafterthemannerof
Judaism,weavowthatwehavenotreceivedgrace...
(Magnesians,p.70).
Oneofthedevelopmentsofearlychurchbeliefisthespecialroleofthemartyrinthelifeofthe
faithful.Revelationasamartyr(p.73.45).
IhavemanydeepthoughtsinGodbutItakethemeasure
ofmyself,lestIperishinmyboasting...ForthoughI
desiretosuffer,yetIknownotwhetherIamworthyfor
theenvyofthedevilisunseenindeedbymany,butagainst
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meitwagesthefiercerwar...ForImyselfalso,albeitIam
inbondsandcancomprehendheavenlythingsandthe
arraysoftheangelsandthemusteringsoftheprincipalities,
thingsvisibleandthingsinvisibleImyselfamnotyetby
reasonofthisaDisciple.(Traillians,p.73).
3.Polycarp,bishopofSmyrna(70?156):WasprobablyaheareroftheapostleJohn,and
appointedtohisseebytheapostles(IrenausviaEusebius,Quasten,p.76).
Writingsandhagiography.
LettertothePhilippians(c.110120)
LetteroftheSmyrnaeanstoPhilomeliumontheMartyrdomof
Polycarpwrittenshortly afterhisdeathasamartyr.
a.DescriptionofPolycarp'sMartyrdom
ButasPolycarpenteredthestadium,therecameavoice
fromheaven:'BestrongPolycarp,actlikeaman.'Andno
onesawthespeaker,butthoseofourpeoplewhowere
presentheardthevoice.Andthen,ashewasbrought
forward,therewasagreattumult,whentheyheardthat
Polycarphadbeenarrested.Thereforewhenhewas
broughtbeforehim,theproconsulaskedifhewere
Polycarp.Andwhenheconfessedthathewas,the
proconsultriedtopersuadehimtorecant,saying,'Have
respectforyourage,'andothersuchthingsastheyare
accustomedtosay:'SwearbythegeniusofCaesarrepent
say,'Awaywiththeatheists!'Polycarplookedsolemnly
atthewholecrowdoflawlessheathenwhowereinthe
stadium,motionedtowardthemwithhishand,andthen
(groaningashelookeduptoheaven)said,'Awaywiththe
atheists!'Butwhenthemagistratepersistedandsaid,
'Swearbytheoath,andIwillreleaseyourevileChrist,'
Polycarpreplied,'ForeightysixyearsIhavebeenhis
servant,andhehasdonemenowrong.HowcanI
blasphememyKingwhosavedme?'"(Section9)
Sotheproconsulsaid:'IhavewildbeastsIwillthrowyou
tothem,unlessyouchangeyourmind.'Buthesaid,'Call
forthem!Fortherepentancefrombettertoworseisa
changeimpossibleforusbutitisanoblethingtochange
fromthatwhichiseviltorighteousness.'Thehesaidto
himagain:'Iwillhaveyouconsumedbyfire,sinceyou
despisethewildbeasts,unlessyouchangeyourmind.'But
Polycarpsaid:'Youthreatenwithafirethatburnsonly
brieflyandafterjustalittlewhileisextinguished,foryou
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areignorantofthefireofthecomingjudgmentandeternal
punishment,whichisreservedfortheungodly.Butwhydo
youdelay?Come,dowhatyouwish'(Section11).
Whenheofferedupthe'Amen'andfinishedhisprayer,the
meninchargelitthefire.Andasamightyflameblazed
up,wesawamiracle(we,thatis,towhomitwasgivento
see),andwehavebeenpreservedinorderthatwemight
telltherestwhathappened.Forthefiretakingtheshapeof
anarchlikethesailofashipfilledbythewind,completely
surroundedthebodyofthemartyranditwasthereinthe
middle,notlikefleshburningbutlikebreadbakingorlike
goldandsilverbeingrefinedinafurnace.Forwealso
perceivedaveryfragrantodor,asifitwerethescentof
incenseorsomeotherpreciousspice(Section15).
Thecenturion,therefore,seeingtheoppositionraisedby
theJews,setitinthemiddleandcrematedit,asistheir
custom.Andso,lateronwetookuphisbones,whichare
morevaluablethanpreciousstonesandfinerthanrefined
gold,anddepositedtheminasuitableplace.There
gatheringtogetherasweareable,withjoyandgladness,
theLordwillpermitustocelebratethebirthdayofhis
martyrdomincommemorationofthosewhohavealready
foughtinthecontest,andforthetrainingandpreparationof
thosewhowilldosointhefuture(Section18).
b.Theologicalimplications:
Evidenceofriseofcelibacyasapracticeofthechurch.
"OurwidowsmustbesobermindedastouchingthefaithoftheLord,makingintercession
withoutceasingforallmen,abstainingfromallcalumny,evilspeaking,falsewitness,loveof
moneyandeveryevilthing,knowingthattheyareGod'saltar.."(PolycarptothePhilippines,p.
96).
Seekingmartyrdom,
"Heitwas(Quintus,thePhrygian)whohadforcedhimselfandotherstocomeforwardoftheir
ownfreewill.Thismantheproconsulbymuchentreatypersuadedtosweartheoathandoffer
incense.Forthiscausetherefore,brethren,wepraisenotthosewhodeliverthemselvesup,
sincetheGospeldothnotsoteachus."(TotheSmyrnaeans,p.110).
13
Celebrationofhismartyrdom(p.115.18).
"Andsoweafterwardstookuphisboneswhicharemorevaluablethanpreciousstonesand
finerthanrefinedgold,andlaidtheminasuitableplacewheretheLordwillpermitustogather
ourselvestogether,asweareable,ingladnessandjoy,andtocelebratethebirthdayofhis
martyrdomforthecommemorationofthosethathavealreadyfoughtinthecontest,andforthe
trainingandpreparationofthosethatshalldosohereafter."(TotheSmyrnaeans,p.115).
DiscussionQuestion:WhatinyourcultureresemblesthiscommemorationofPolycarp'sdeath
(martyrdom)?
4.PapiasofHierapolis(writing130):AhearerofSt.JohnandafriendofPolycarp.
a.FragmentspreservedinEusebius.ExplanationsoftheSayingsoftheLord.
WitnesstoMarkasauthorofPetersgospel.
AHebreweditionofMatthew.
AsecondJohn,calledElderJohn
Themillennium.(p.264265,269).
"Andagain,onanyoccasionwhenapersoncame(inmyway)whohadbeenafollowerofthe
Elders,IwouldinquireaboutthediscoursesoftheelderswhatwassaidbyAndrew,orby
Peter,orbyPhilip,orbyThomasorbyJames,orbyJohnorMattheworanyotheroftheLord's
disciples,andwhatAristionandtheElderJohn,thedisciplesoftheLord,say.ForIdidnot
thinkthatIcouldgetsomuchprofitfromthecontentsofbooksasfromtheutterancesofa
livingandabidingvoice...
"Andtheeldersaidthisalso:Mark,havingbecometheinterpreterofPeter,wrotedown
accuratelyeverythingthatheremembered,withouthoweverrecordinginorderwhatwaseither
saidordonebyChrist.ForneitherdidheheartheLord,nordidhefollowHimButafterwards,
asIsaid,(attended)Peter,whoadaptedhisinstructionstotheneeds(ofhishearers)buthadno
designofgivingaconnectedaccountoftheLord'soracles...
SothenMatthewcomposedtheoraclesintheHebrewlanguage,andeachoneinterpretedthem
ashecould."(FragmentsofPapias,Lightfoot,p.2645).
"Thedayswillcome,inwhichvinesshallgrow,eachhavingtenthousandshoots,andoneach
shoottenthousandbranches,andoneachbranchagaintenthousandtwigs,andoneachtwigten
thousandclusters,andoneachclustertenthousandgrapes,andeachgrapewhenpressedshall
yieldfiveandtwentymeasuresofwine"(Fragments,p.265).
B.SummaryofImportantDoctrinalDevelopmentsinthePostApostolicPeriod
Tosummarize,severaldoctrinesbegantodevelopinthiserawhichgreatlyinfluencedthe
laterpracticesofthechurch. Theyarethedoctrineofapostolicsuccession,thedoctrine
ofathreetieredministry,theprimaryroleofthelocalbishopwhichprotectedtheunity
14
anddoctrinalpurityofthechurch,andthespecialplaceofmartyrsandmartyrdominthe
church.Thisincludedcommemoratingtheanniversaryofthemartyrsdeath.Also,the
recognitionofthespecialplaceofwidowsinthechurchwilldevelopintoabroader
themeinlaterperiods..
Sources:
KevinDonovan,TheSanctoral,TheStudyofLiturgy,inCheslynJones,Geoffrey
Wainwright,andEdwardYarnold,eds.NewYork:OxfordUniversityPress, 1978,
p.420431.
Hamell,p.2631.
J.B.Lightfoot, TheApostolicFathers,rpt.1891,GrandRapids:BakerBookHouse,1956.
Quasten,vol.I,p.4085.
III.Apologists
Apologiaisareasoneddefenseofbelieforbehavior(HarryY.Gamble,Apologeticsp.65
inEEC).Backgroundoftheneed,i.e.variousaccusationsconcerningritualinfanticide,incest,
politicalburden,socialuselessness,theattacksof Jewsandphilosophers."Threethingsare
allegedagainstus:atheism,Thyesteanfeasts,Oedipodeanintercourse.Butifthesechargesare
true,sparenoclassproceedatonceagainstourcrimesdestroyusrootandbranch,withour
wivesandchildrenif anymanisfoundtolivelikethebrutes."(Athenagoras,Legatiopro
ChristianisNE,p.712)
A.JustinMartyr:BorninNeapolis,convertedbetween130135.Hewasmartyredabout165
afterhehadoffendedthephilosopherCrescens.Hewroteindefenseagainstandinopposition
toGrecoRomanunbelievers,Jews,andheretics.Heremainedaphilosopheranddonnedthe
philosophersmodeofdress.HetaughtinRomeandelsewhere,espousingChristianityasthe
truephilosophy.ButthissameJustinafterhavingcontendedwithgreatsuccessagainstthe
Greeks,addressedalsootherworks,containingadefenseofourfaith,totheemperorAntonine
surnamedthePious,andtotheSenateofRome(Eusebius,EH,IV,xi)
Implications.ProvingChristianitytobetrueinterpretationofOTreligion.
B.IrenausofLyons(c.140202):BorninSmyrna,knewandlearnedfromPolycarp.Hewentto
LyonsafterteachinginRometoestablishandoverseethechurchthere.Heintervenedwith
Victor,bishopofRomeinthequartodeciman controversy.Ofgreatimportancetothe
establishmentoftraditionasapillaroftruthhedeclaredtheRuleofFaithasfollows:1)
Scripture,plusbaptismalformula,orcreed,2)handeddownbytheapostles,(succession)3)
espousedbytheuniversalchurch,Romehavingpreeminence(Hamell,p.534).Various
writings.TheProofofApostolicPreaching,andAgainstHeresies.Heintroducedthebelief
thatMary,themotherofJesuswasthesecondeve,muchasChristwasthesecondAdam.Thus
hecontributedtolaterunbiblicalbeliefsabouttheroleofMaryinsalvation.
15
AnotherimportantfigureisHegessipus(110180?).Hewasoneofthefirsttoemphasizethe
importanceofapostolicsuccession,especiallyinfightingheresy.ButwhenIcametoRome,I
madeformyselfasuccessionlistasfarasAnicetuswhosedeaconwasEleutherus.Andfrom
AnicetusSoterreceievedthesuccessionafterwhomcameEleutherus.Andineverysuccession
andineverycitythatwhichtheLawandtheProphetsandtheLordpreachisfaithfully
followed(HegessipusinStevenson,ANewEusebius,p.73).
C.SummaryofImportantDoctrinalDevelopments
ImportanttothedevelopmentofCatholicandOrthodoxdoctrinewastheruleoffaith
whichgaveapostolicchurchesaspecial placeofsignificanceintheorganizationofthe
church.Theruleoffaithalsoplacedchurchtraditiononequalfootingwithscriptureasa
sourceoftruth.DiscussionofMaryasthesecondEvewillplayasignificantroleinthe
futurelifeofthechurch.
Sources:
Hamell,p.3545,5155
EverettF.Ferguson,ed. EncyclopediaofEarlyChristianity,p.65ff.
________________,Irenausin EvangelicalDictionaryofTheology,WalterElwell,ed.Grand
Rapids:BakerBooks,1984.
Quasten,vol.i,p.186253, 278313.
Stevenson, ANewEusebius
MarinaWarner.AloneofAllHerSex:TheMythandtheCultoftheVirginMary. New
York:AlfredA.Knopf,1976.
IV.TheChurchatAlexandria
A.AlexandrianFathers
Introduction,TheCatecheticalSchoolatAlexandria:Thoughitsbeginningishardtotrace,it
wasanofficialschoolforthetrainingofconverts,itsdirectorappointedbythebishop.Itsmost
famousanddistinguishedleaderswereClementandOrigen.Theschoolhadwideeducational
purposesincludingphilosophy.ClementandOrigenwerepioneersinthescienceofsystematic
theology,usingphilosophicalcategoriestoarrangeanddeclareknowledgeaboutGodandthe
scriptures.
1.ClementofAlexandria(150216):AfollowerofPantaenus,aconverttoChristianityfrom
Stoicism,Clementusedtheallegoricalmethodofscriptureinterpretation.Heemphasizedthe
importanceofgnosis,orknowledge."AtAlexandriaClementfoundachurchafraidandonthe
defensiveagainstGreekphilosophyandpaganliterature."(Chadwick,p.95)."Alltruthand
goodness,whereverfound,comefromtheCreator."ThisincludesPlatonicmetaphysics,Stoics
ethics,andAristotelianlogic.(Chadwick,p.97).HespeaksofhisteachersinthefaithIonicus
andPantaenusamongothersasthosewhoindeedpreservedthetruetraditionofthesalutary
doctrine,which,asgivenbyPeterandJames,JohnandPaul,haddescendedfromfathertoson.
16
Thoughtherearefewliketheirfathers,theyhave,bythefavorofgod,alsocomedowntousto
plantthatancientandapostolicseedlikewiseinourmisnds(ClementinEusebius,EH,V,xi).
2.Origen(185254):LeonidushisfatherwasamartyrwhenhewaseighteenunderSeptimus
Severus.From203231hewasheadoftheschoolofAlexandria.231254helivedinCaesarea
wherehehadearlierbeenordained.HeledtheschoolinAlexandriaduringtimesofverysevere
persecutionaccordingtoEusebius.Hewroteasamemberofthemartyrchurch.Hewaslater
rejectedbythechurchandcondemned(543synodofConstantinople,553,fifthEcumenical
Council).Hisuniversalistviewswereparticularlytroublesomeforthefollowinggenerations.
Heisconsideredafounderofsystematictheology.
Origenwasagreatscholar.ButsogreatwastheresearchwhichOrigenappliedinthe
investigationoftheholyscriptures,thathealsostudiedtheHebrewlanguageandthoseoriginal
workswrittenintheHebrewandinthehandsoftheJews,heprocuredashisown.Healso
investigatedtheeditionsofothers,whobesidestheseventy,hadpublishedtranslationsofthe
Scriptures,andsomedifferentfromthewellknowntranslationsofAcquila,Symmachusand
Theodotian,whichhesearchedup,andtracedtoIknownotwhatancientlurkingplaces,where
thyehadlainconceleaedfromremotetimes,andbroughtthemtolightHavingcollectedall
theseversionsanddividedthembypunctuationintotheirpropermembers,andarrangedthem
oppositeoneanotherinparallelcolumns,togetherwiththeHebrewtests,heleftusthosecopies
oftheHexaplawhichwenowhave.InaseparateworkhealsopreparedaneditionofAquila
andSymmachus,andTheodotian,togetherwiththeSeptuagint,inwhatiscalledtheTetrapha
(Eusebius,EH,VI,xvi).
a.Writtenworks.
i.Biblical:TheHexapla."HeplacedinparallelcolumnstheHebrew,atransliterationofthe
Hebrew,textinGreekcharacters...andthefourmainGreekversions.ForthePsalmstwoor
moretranslationswereaddedoneofthemOrigenfoundinajarintheJordanvalley,perhapsin
somefindanalogoustothatoftheDeadSeaScrolls."(Chadwick,p.102).AccordingtoOrigen,
"(A)tdeathnoneissinlessandfitforthepresenceofthedivineholinessandlove,therewillbe
apurging'fire',purifyingthesoulofalldross."(p.105).
ii..Commentariesandsermons:Origenusedtheallegoricalmethodofinterpretationwith
levelsofinterpretationandmeaningfromliteraltoahiddenspiritualmeaning.
iii..Apologetics:ContraCelsuswashisgreatworkagainsttheteachingandobjectionsofthe
philosopherCelsus.
iv.Dogma:DePrincipiswasakindofsystematictheologyusingphilosophicalcategoriesto
arrangethoughaboutBiblicalandspiritualthemes.
b.OrigensdiscipleGregoryThaumaturgus(Thewonderworker):Hewaspioneermissionary
toPontus,AsiaMinoroneofOrigensconvert/disciples.HebecamebishopofNeocaesareaand
livedthroughgruesomeattacksbyGothsinthe250sandtookpartinthecouncilthat
17
excommunicatedPaulofSamosatainthe260s(FrederickW.Norris,Gregory
ThaumaturgusinEEC,p.406).
3.Dionysius:HewasapupilofOrigensandheadofthecatecheticalschoolfrom233248,and
alsowasbishopofAlexandria.Heguidedthechurchthroughdifficulttimesofpersecutionand
participatedinthecontroversiesoverthelapsedbelieversduringtheDecianpersecution.
4.AthanasiusandCyril,bothbishopsofAlexandriaandnotablefiguresinTrinitarianand
Christologicalcontroversiesinlaterchurchhistorywillbecoveredinalatersection.
B.ExcursusonMartyrdom
Jesuswarnedhisdisciplesthattheywouldfacesufferingandpersecutionasaresultoftheir
faithinhim.
Beonyourguardagainstmentheywillhandyouoverto
thelocalcouncilsandflogyouintheirsynagogues.Onmy
accountyouwillbebroughtbeforegovernorsand
kingsButwhentheyarrestyoudonotworryaboutwhat
tosayorhowtosayit.Atthattimeyouwillbegivenwhat
tosay,foritwillnotbeyouspeaking,buttheSpiritofyour
fatherspeakingthroughyou.Brotherwillbetraybrotherto
death,andafatherachildchildrenwillrebelagainst
parentsandhavethemputtodeath.Allmenwillhateyou
becauseofmeDonotbeafraidofthosewhokillthebody
butcannotkillthesoul(Matt.10:1722,28).
Jesustoldhisfollowers,Blessedarethosewhoarepersecutedbecauseofrighteousness,for
theirsisthekingdomofheaven.Blessedareyouwhenpeopleinsultyou,persecuteyouand
falselysayallkindsofevilagainstyoubecauseofme.Rejoiceandbeglad, becausegreatis
yourrewardinheaven, forinthesamewaytheypersecutedtheprophetswhowerebeforeyou
(Matthew5:1012).
MartyrdomandimprisonmentwerefactsoflifeforbelieversfromNewTestamenttimes
throughtheearlyfourthcentury.Stephen,thefirstmartyrwasgivenaremarkablevision. But
Stephen,fulloftheHolySpiritlookeduptoheavenandsawthegloryofGod,andJesus
standingattherighthandofGod.Look,hesaid,IseetheheavenopenandtheSonofMan
standingattherighthandofGod(Acts7:5456).Peterteachesthatbelieverswhosufferfor
thegospelwouldexperiencespecialfavorofGod. Ifyouareinsultedbecauseofthenameof
Christ,youareblessed,fortheSpiritofgloryandofGodrestsonyou(IPeter4:14).
AfterthemartyrdomsofIgnatiusandPolycarp,especiallythemiraclesthataccompaniedthe
deathofthelatter,martyrswereseenaspossessingunusualspiritualpower.Thiscametoplaya
roleinthelifeandbeliefsofthechurchinlatertimes.Theanniversariesofmartyrsdeaths
werecelebratedandtheirintercessoryprayerswerebelievedtohavespecialefficacy.These
18
factors,alongwiththebeliefinthechurchtriumphant(thosewhohadgoneintothepresenceof
theLord)contributedtotheeventualpracticeofseekingtheprayersofdeceasedmartyrsand
saints.Otherversescitethefactofmartyrdomandtheirplaceinheaven.Isawunderthealtar
thesoulsofthosewhohadbeenslainbecauseofthewordofGodandthetestimonytheyhad
maintained.Theycalledoutinaloudvoice,Howlong,SovereignLord,holyandtrue,untilyou
judgetheinhabitantsoftheearthandavengeourblood?Theneachofthemwasgivenawhite
robe,andtheyweretoldtowaitalittlelongeruntilthenumberoftheirfellowservantsand
brotherswhoweretobekilledastheyhadbeenwascompleted(Rev.6:911).Laterrelicsof
themartyrswerevaluedashavingspecialpower,muchlikethebonesofElishah(2Kings
13:2021).
Confessors,asopposedtomartyrs,werethosewhohadgivenfaithfullyenduredsufferingand
persecutionforthesakeofthegospel,buthadnotsuffereduntodeath. Rememberthoseearlier
daysafteryouhadreceivedthelight,whenyoustoodyourgroundina greatcontestintheface
ofsuffering.Sometimesyouwerepubliclyexposedtoinsultandpersecutionatothertimesyou
stoodsidebysidewiththosewhoweresotreated.Yousympathizedwiththoseinprisonand
joyfullyacceptedtheconfiscationofyourproperty,becauseyouknewthatyouyourselveshad
betterandlastingpossessions(Heb.10:3234).
C.ImportantDoctrinalDevelopments
InAlexandriatherewerestrongdevelopmentsintheareaofdoctrine,bothpositiveand
negative.Thecatechetical schooldevelopedthedisciplineofsystematictheology,which
carefullyexaminedtheteachingofscriptureonvariousthemes.Outstandingworkwasdonein
theareaofapologetics(defendingthefaithagainsttheclaimsofthephilosophers),andtextual
studies.OrigencollectedtheexistingmanuscriptsandtranslationsoftheBibleandcompared
themcarefullyinaparallelBible.Onthedownside,theBiblecametobeinterpreted
allegoricallyatAlexandriaintroducingastrongelementofsubjectivismintotheintellectuallife
ofthechurch.Also,questionableeschatologicalbeliefs(transmigrationofsouls,purging
afterdeath,anduniversalism)wereintroduced.Someofthesebeliefswererejectedbythe
churchasbeingheretical.
Sources:
L.Boettner.Purgatory,in EvangelicalDictionaryofTheology.
Chadwick,Henry."ClementofAlexandriaandOrigen,"in TheEarlyChurch.Penguin
Books,1967,pp.94115.
Eusebius,EcclesiasticalHistory.
EverettFerguson, EncyclopediaofEarlyChristianity.
Hamell,AHandbookofPatrology
C.C.Kroeger.Origenin EvangelicalDictionaryofTheology.
JohannesQuasten,Patrology.
19
V.TheChurchinNorthAfrica
ThechurchinLatinNorthAfrica(CarthageasopposedtoGreekspeakingAlexandria)wasa
fontof Latinliteratureandtheology.ThoughthechurchatRomewasolderandenjoyedan
esteemedplaceasthecitywherePeterandPaulhadtaughtandweremartyred,theNorth
Africanchurchbetween200and430A.D.producedsomeofthechurchsmostradiant
personalitiesandinfluentialtheologians.Thisperiodwasmarkedbyintensecontroversies.A
centralcontroversyinvolvedthechurchsauthoritytoforgivewhatwereknownasthemortal
sinsofapostasy,adulteryandmurder.DoesthepowerofthekeyswhichChristconferredupon
theapostlesempowerthechurchtoreadmitmortalsinnerstoitsfellowshipinHoly
Communion?
Otherrelatedissuesweretheefficacyoftheintercessionofconfessorsandmartyrstoobtain
forgivenessofsinsinbehalfofothers,whetherschismaticsshouldberebaptizedwhen
reconciledtotheCatholicChurch,theefficacyofsacramentsofferedbyschismaticsand/or
lapsedclergy,andtheroleoftheriteofpenanceinrestoringthelapsedtothechurch.These
issuesplayedanongoingroleinthetumultuouslifeoftheNorthAfricanChurchfromA.D.
200toA.D.430.
A.Tertullian:
BorninCarthageabout150A.D.,thesonofaRomanofficial,arespectedlawyerasanadult,
convertedtoChristaboutA.D.197.HerosetoprominenceintheCatholicChurchandexcelled
asatheologianoneofthefirsttowriteextensivelyinLatin.Heembracedtheheterodox
Montanistmovement,butlaterreturnedtotheCatholicfaith.
About207A.D.heembracedMontanism,breakingwiththeCatholicChurch.Hisprolific
writings(37treatisesareextant)areoftenclassifiedasperandpostMontanist.Inallofhis
writingsakeenintellectandpassionatefaitharedisplayed.HisMontanistwritingsaresevere,
evenasceticincharacter.
Tertullianaddressedthevarioustheologicalissuesofhisday.Herefutedthegnosticheretic
Marcion,wasoneoftheearliesttoteachontheTrinity,andwrestledwithvariousaspectsof
churchdisciplineincludingthenatureofpublicconfessionandpenitence,amusementsallowed
toChristians,remarriage,properdressforwomen.Inthecontextoftheongoinglifeofthe
churchinNorthAfricahisworksOnPenitenceandOnPurityareespeciallysignificantas
wellashisworksonmartyrdom.
Histheologicalsystempermittedonerepentanceafterbaptismtobeexpressedthroughtherite
ofpenanceknownbytheGreekterm exomologesismeaningpublicconfessionofsin.His
treatiseOnPuritydisallowedreconciliationwiththechurchtothoseguiltyofmortalsins,
emphaticallydenyingtothechurchthepowertoforgivethem.Thisconceptwasrootedinthe
ideaofthesinuntodeathmentionedintheepistleIJohnaboutwhichonewasnottopray.
Thereisasinthatleadstodeath.Iamnotsayingthatheshouldprayaboutthat((IJohn5:16).
Healsoquestionedthespecialroleofmartyrdominobtainingtheforgivenessofsins.
20
B.Hippolytus(ofRome,170235):
Anobleman,whowroteinGreek,adiscipleofIrenaus.HewasordainedbyVictor,Bishopof
Rome,andwasawellknownwriter.HediedasmartyrunderMaximinus.HeopposedPope
Callistusforlaxityinforgivingthesinsofmurder,adulteryandfornicationc.217.Tertullian
alsoopposedthispolicy.HippolytusheadedafactionandwascounterbishopinRome.
Numerouswritingsareattributedtohim.EspeciallynotableareRefutationofallHeresiesand
TheApostolicTraditionswhichpreserveinformationonchurchorders,ordinationandliturgy,
especiallyintheRomanchurch.
C.Cyprian:
BorntononChristianparentsinNorthAfricaaroundtheturnofthethirdcentury.Hewas
convertedtoChristaround245andwasconstrainedtobecomebishopofCarthagethreeyears
later.Heledthechurchthereduringverytumultuoustimesandaddressedsomeverydifficult
issuesrelatingtochurchdiscipline.HewasbishopduringthepersecutionofemperorDecius,
theNovatianschism,controversyoverreadmittinglapsed(apostate)Christians,andaserious
plague(c.2523).Inhislettershedescribesnumerouscharismaticvisitationsexperiencedby
himselfaswellasotherclergy,laity,martyrsandconfessors.HewasmartyredunderValerian
in258A.D.
CypriansmostimportantwritingswereTheLapsedandTheUnityoftheCatholicChurch.
BoththesegrewoutoftheschismsandcontroversiessurroundingtheDecianpersecution.The
emperorhadrequiredhissubjectstoofferidolatroussacrificeuntohisgenius,worshipinghim
asagod.Thosewholapsedintothisidolatryfellintoseveralcategories:1)thosewhooffered
sacrifice,2)thosewhoencouragedotherstooffersacrifice,3)thosewhodidnotoffersacrifice
butpurchasedacertificate(receipt)sayingtheyhad,4)thosewhofledanddidnotoffer
sacrifice,5)thosewhodidnotoffersacrificeandwereimprisoned,ortortured,orsuffered
martyrdom.TherewerethreepartiesinCarthageafterthistimeofpersecutionandapostasy:
First,Novationistswhorefusedforgivenessforthemortalsinofapostasy.Second,Cyprians
adherentswhorequiredpublicpenance.Lastly,thepartyofFelicissimuswhoadvocatedlenient
treatmentofthelapsed,notevenrequiringpublicpenance.Toconfusetheissue,manyofthe
highlyesteemedmartyrsandconfessorshadissuedcertificatesreinstatingtheapostatesbased
ontheefficacyoftheirintercessionsasonesespeciallyclosetoGod.Thisaction,ofcourse,
circumscribedthebishopsauthorityandtheriteof exomologesis(confessionandpenance),a
pillarofNorthAfricachurchdiscipline.Cypriansawthisasaseriousthreattothegoodorder
andhealthofthechurch.Hewasforcedtowalkatightropebetweenthesevariouspositions.
Ultimately,Cypriantaughtthatapostatescouldreenterthechurchafterpublicconfessionof
sin,aseasonofpenance,andreconciliationthroughthelayingonofhandsofthebishop.This
stancecontradictedsomeaspectofthepracticeofeveryotherpartyinthecontroversy.Healso
contended,likeTertullianbeforehim,thatonlyGodcouldforgivesins.UnlikeTertullian,he
believedthechurchcouldreinstateapostatesafterpenance.
21
CyprianalsoclashedwithStephen,bishopofRome,overrebaptismofschismatics(thosewho
aretheologicallyorthodox,buthavebrokentheunityofthechurchtoformcongregationsnotin
communionwiththeCatholicbishopofagivenregion).Hisfinalpositiononthepapacywas
thatallbishopswerecoequal,thebishopofRomeenjoyinggreaterhonor,butnotgreater
authoritythantheotherbishops.OntheUnityoftheCatholicChurchisascathingattack
againstschismatics,denyingsalvationtoanyoutsidetheadministrativeunityoftheCatholic
Church.
D.Novatian(ofRome):
WasamemberoftheRomanclergyto251.HeopposedBishopCorneliusregardingthere
admittanceofthelapsedbelieversintotheChurch.Hewasschismatic(notheretical),a
respectedtheologian,andbecamecounterpopeinRome.Theschismlastedseveralcenturies,
asdidapartyinthechurchbearinghisname(Hamell,p.84).Thesecthefounded,
Novatianists,spreadtopartsofAsiaMinorandNorthAfrica.AtCarthageheinstalledabishop,
arivaltoCyprian.NovatianistsinCarthagefollowedthesamesevere,unbendingprocedure
towardNorthAfricanapostatesasNovatiandidinRome.
E.Donatists:
AschismaticgroupinNorthAfricaarisingfromacontroversyfollowingtheDiocletian
persecution(303311).Again,theissuewhichcauseddivisioncenteredonthestandingof
apostates.Specifically,weresacramentsofferedbyclergywhohadsurrenderedthescriptures
toauthorities(traditores)valid?TheDonatistsclaimedtheywerenot.
ThecontroversybrokeoutwhenCaecillianuswasselectedbishopofCarthageandwasordained
byatraditore.Manyofthebishopsof theNumidianregionobjectedandsoughttoinstall
Majorinusinhisplace.BothpartiesappealedtoemperorConstantineonseveraloccasions.He
referredthecasetovariousbishopscouncils.ConstantineintervenedinbehalfofCaecillianus
partyagainsttheDonatists.Later,theDonatistsweresometimesoutlawed,sometimesre
instated.TheDonatistsviewedthispersecutionasaconfirmationoftheirrighteousnessbefore
God.
ThecontroversyagainintensifiedattheturnofthefifthcenturywhenAugustinewasbishopof
HippoRegius(LatinNorthAfrica).HemadeithisbusinesstoreconciletheDonatiststothe
CatholicChurchthroughvariouspolemicalwritingsandcouncils.Becauseoftheviolenceof
theDonatistparty(Catholicbishopswereattackedandservicesdisruptedonoccasion),healso
encouragedtheuseofimperialdecreetoforcemanyoftheDonatiststoabandontheirposition.
Thispracticewouldhavegraveconsequencesinfutureactionsofthechurch.Restrainingof
criminalactivitycrossedovertotheuseofstateauthoritytocorrectandpunishheresy.
ThefanaticalCircumcillianswereanactivewingoftheDonatistparty.Theyresortedto
violenceinthedefenseoftheircause.Theentirehistoryofthecontroversywasmarkedby
periodsofimperialinterventionandviolentflareups.Donatismmayhavebeenanexpression
ofantiRomanNumidiannationalism,aswellasausterereligiouspractice.TheCouncilof
22
Carthagein411wasaturningpointinthehistoryoftheDonatistcontroversy.ManyDonatists
returnedtotheCatholicChurch.Somesolidaritybetweenthegroupswasprobablyforged
duringthelaterVandalinvasionsofNorthAfrica.afterthistime.Donatismdidsurviveinparts
oftheByzantineempireuntiltheseventhcentury.
F.Augustine(354430):
1.Life:BishopofHippointheRomanProvinceofNamibia.HismotherwasMonica,a
devoutChristian.Hisfather,Patricians,wasanonChristian.HewasborninThagaste,N.
Africa.Hewaseducatedintheclassicaltradition,andamemberofthegnosticManichaeansect
fornineyearsasahearer.Hetookaconcubine,hadason,Adeodatus,andlatersentheraway
beforeanabortedlegalmarriageunderRomanlaw.In385asaprofessorofrhetoricinMilan.
HewasconvertedandbaptizedunderAmbrose.onEasterSunday,387.HisConfessions
preservemuchofhisinternallifeandinformationabouthispilgrimage.Herecordshaving
heardchildreninthegardensayingTakeandread.AftertakingtheBiblenearbyhewas
converteduponreadingapassagefromRomans.VisitingHippoRegiusin391,hewasmadea
priest.In395hewasordainedasBishopofHippo.
Hefacednumerouscontroversiesinhislife.TheDonatistsoutnumberedtheCatholicsinhis
see.TheywerepuristswhosawthechurchasaspotlessBride.Theybelievedthatimpure
ministerscontaminatedthesacraments.Augustinebelievedthattherewasofnecessity,
corruptioninthechurch.ThesacramentsweregivenbyChrist,notbypriestsandwere,of
themselves,effective.Thetwopartiessplitonthequestionofpresentperfectionvs.complete
redemptionattheresurrection.Unfortunately,Augustinesadvocacyofsuppressingheretical
beliefsbyforcethroughthearmoftheStatepavedthewayfortheinquisitionalpoliciesofthe
MiddleAges.
ThePelagiancontroversy.Pelagiusdeniedthecorruptionofthewillandnatureofman.Inhis
viewmaniscapableofperfectionandobedienceapartfromgrace.Inessence,hedeniedthe
effectof originalsin.Augustine,ontheotherhand,taughtpersonalresponsibilityinthelightof
originalcorruption(originalsin).Aworkofgracewasnecessarytoenablemantoobeyand
serveChrist.Hetaughtelectionastheinstrumentoftheworkofgrace.
Heerroneouslysawsexualunionasakindofnecessaryevilandthesexualactastheinstrument
ofpassingonthecorrupt,fallennature.
2.Writings
TheCityofGod.RomehadbeensackedbyAlaricin410,andNorthernAfricawasfallingto
theVisigothsatthetimeofAugustinesdeath.IntheCityofGod,Augustinedealtwiththe
hardtheologicalquestionsoftherelationsbetweenthekingdomofGodandthekingdomsof
thisworld.Heemphasizedthetemporalnatureofthelatter.Governmentwasaninstrument
giventothefallenworldtorestraincorruption.Wehavedualcitizenshipandthereisavisible
andinvisiblechurch.AugustinesawChristiansasbearingaresponsibilitytopreserveorder
throughparticipationintheState.
23
3.JustWarTheory
Someguidelinesfortheconductofthejustwar.a)Istherejustcause(aclearinjuryneeding
redressing)?b)Everyreasonableattempttoredresswithoutbloodshed,c)Isthewardeclaredby
alegitimateauthority?,d)Howisthewarfoughtregardingtheroleofciviliansandnon
combatants?,e)Isthedamageincurredlikelylessthanthepriorinjury?,f)Issuccesslikely?
Doesthegoodoutweighthebad?(EerdmansHandbooktotheHistoryofChristianity,p.24).
Thissystemdoesnotaddresstheissuesofnonresistancetoevil.
G.SummaryofImportantDoctrinalDevelopments
Thereweremanyimportantdoctrinaldevelopmentswhichcameoutofthestrugglesof
theNorthAfricanchurch.Oneofthemostsignificantwasthenatureofchurchdiscipline.
InNorthAfrica,churchdisciplinewasapublicconfession,andnotorioussinnerswerere
admittedafterconfessionandaperiodofpenancebythelayingonofhandsofthe
bishop.ThekeystobindandloosegiventotheapostlesbyChristwerenowplacedin
thehandsoftheirsuccessors,thebishops.Itwasconcludedthatmartyrsandconfessors,
thoughclosetoGod,didnothaveauthoritytoreadmitmortalsinnersintothechurch.
Thusunitywiththebishopwasaprerequisiteforadmissionto thechurch,thusmaking
thechurchtheguardianandguarantorofsalvation.Thesacramentsthoughperformedby
fallibleandevensinfulmenwereeffectiveinthemselvesbecauseChristhadinstituted
them.ThechurchwasafellowshipbothofthosewhoservedGod,andthosewhowere
Christianinnameonly.Thiswouldbesortedoutonthedayofjudgment.Christiansare
citizensoftwokingdoms,owingloyaltytoboth,butareultimatelycitizensoftheCityof
God.Thetheoryoflegitimateuseofstatepowertowagewar,aswellasstate
interventioninchurchdisputesdeeplyaffectedthelaterhistoryofthechurch.The
biblicaldoctrineoforiginalsinwasestablishedanddefendedemphasizingtheabsolute
necessityofthegraceofGodforsalvationandsanctification.
Sources:
HenryChadwick.Augustine. Oxford:OxfordUniversityPress,1971.
W.H.C.Frend.TheDonatistChurch,1952rpt.,Oxford:TheClarendonPress,1971.
WilliamP.LeSaint.TreatisesonPenance:OnPenitience,OnPurity,byTertullian. Vol.
28of AncientChristianWriters.JohannesQuastenandWalterJ.Burghardt,eds.
NewYork:Newm,anPress,1959.
HenryPaolucci.ThePoliticalWritingsofSt.Augustine.Southbend:GatewayEditions,
1962.
JohannesQuastenandWalterBurghardt,eds.TheLettersofSt.Cyprian, vol.IandII,no.
43,44of AncientChristianWriters.NewYork:NewmanPress,1984.
CecilMelvinRobeck.TheRoleandFunctionofPropheticGiftsfortheChurchat
Carthage,A.D.202258. Ph.D.Dissertation:FullerTheologicalSemianry,1984.
DissertationInformationServices,1987.
G.S.M.Walker.TheChurchmanshipofCyprian.Richmond:JohnKnoxPress,1968.
24
VI.TheNiceneandPostNiceneChurch
A.Constantine,ReligiousToleration,andtheEdictofMilan(313)
Overviewandpreview:Diocletian,aDalmatianEmperorofRome(284305),initiatedthefinal
persecutionofthechurch.(Maximinwashiscorulerandcontinuedto312).Theysoughtthe
protectionofthegodsJupiterandHercules,anddividedtheadministrationintodistrictscalled
dioceses.Thesedistrictdivisionswerelaterusedbythechurchtomarkoffepiscopaldistricts.
Intheyear295thereweresoldiermartyrs(Maximillian).In298Marcelluswasasoldier
martyr,butthereasonisuncertain.Theyapparentlyrefusedtoserve,orrefusedtoengagein
paganritesrequiredforthemilitary.
In297theManichaeansectwaspersecuted.InthepunishmentofChristiansandothers,leaders
burnedalive,scripturesweredestroyed,otherswereputtodeath,property wasconfiscated,
otherswerebanishedandputtohardlabor.In303Christianitywasdirectlyoutlawed.In304,
publicsacrificestothegodswererenewed,(punishmentfornoncompliance:death,hardlabor,
slavery).Severallawswerepublishedcallingforthedestructionofchurches,forbidding
assemblies,scriptureswereburned,imperialservantsbecameslaves.
March303Imperialedictswerepublishedeverywhere
orderingthatthechurchesberazedtotheground,thatthe
scripturesbedestroyedbyfire,thatthoseholdingofficebe
deposedandtheyofthehouseholdbedeprivedoffreedom,
iftheypersistedintheprofessionofChristianityother
edictswereissued,whichenjoinedthattherulersofthe
churchesineveryplacebefirstimprisoned,andthereafter
everymeansbeusedtocompelthemtosacrifice.
April304Imperialedictswereissued,inwhichbya
generaldecree,itwasorderedthatallthepeoplewithout
exceptionshouldsacrificeintheseveralcitiesandoffer
libationstotheidols(Eusebius,quotedin Documentsofthe
ChristianChurch,2
nd
edtion,HenryBettenson,ed.London:
OxfordUniversityPress,p.14).
In311,GaleriustoleratesChristianity:
Wethereforeinconsiderationofourmostmildclemency,
andoftheunbrokencustomwhererbyweareusedtogrant
pardontoallmen,havethoughtitrightinthiscasealsoto
offerourspeediestindulgence,thatChristiansmayexist
again,andmayestablishtheirmeetinghouses,yetsothat
theydonothingcontrarytogoodorder(From Stevenson,
NEp.296).
25
In313,LiciniusandConstantinemeetinMilanandagreeonfreedomofallreligions.They
issuedtheEdictofMilan.ThischangesthelegalcircumstancesoftheChurch,making
Christianity religiolicita(alegalreligion)awatershedevent.Constantinebeginsintervening
intheaffairsofthechurch.(e.g. theDonatistcontroversy,thecouncilofNicea).
Thedocumentembodies,(1)completereligioustoleration,a
principleonwhichConstantineneverwentback,thoughhis
tolerationofpaganismbecamemorecontemptuous.(2)Provisions
fortherestorationofpropertywhichtheChristians,either
individuallyorcorporately,hadbeendeprivedduringthe
persecution,withstatecompensationforanywhosufferedlossby
thismeasure.(Stevenson,NE,p.302).
AletterfromDonatistbishopsrequestsConstantine'sinterventionbysendingjudgesfromGaul
toadjudicatetheproblemsoftheNorthAfricanChurch.Heispraisedthathisfatherdidnot
persecuteChristiansandthatGaulwas"immunefromthiscrime."
ConstantineordersMiltiades,BishopofRome,toinvestigatethechargesbythebishopsof
NorthAfricaagainstCaecillianus,bishopofCarthage."Sinceitdoesnotescapethenoticeof
yourCarefulnessthattherespectwhichIpaytothelawfulCatholicChurchissogreat,thatitis
mywishthatyouleavenoschismwhatsoever,ordivisioninanyplace."(Constantine,Letterto
Miltiades,NE,p.318).
B.TheArianControversyandtheCouncilofNicea:PersonalitiesandParties
Alexander,bishopofAlexandriaandhispresbyter,Ariasfellintoadisputeconcerningthe
divinityofChrist,AriasclaimingthatJesuswasacreatedbeing.EusebiusofNicomediain
Bythinia(notCaesarea)wasaninfluentialbishopwhofavoredArias. Thecontroversyspread
farandwideandConstantinewasintegraltocallinganecumenicalcounciltoresolvethe
dispute.TheCouncilwasheldin325nearpresentdayConstantinople.Itwasattendedby
manyfromeverysectoroftheEast.HosiusofCordova,Spainandpapalenvoysrepresentedthe
west,primarilytosettlethequestionofthedivinityofChrist.
TheCreedofNicaeastatedinpart:
AndinoneLordJesusChrist,theSonofGod,begottenof
theFatherasonlybegotten,thatis,fromtheessenceofthe
Father,GodfromGod,LightfromLight,trueGodfrom
trueGod,begottennotcreated,ofthesameessnence
[reality]astheFather[homoousion],thoughwhomall
thingscameintobeing,bothinheavenandin
earth(CreedsoftheChurches,Leith,p.31).
26
ThiscreedbecamethebasisforthelaterConstantinopalitanNiceneCreed,knownsimplyasthe
NiceneCreed.
AnotherdevelopmentoftheNiceneCouncilwastheimportanceofcanonsviandviiwhich
establishedorconfirmthejurisdictionalpowersofthemetropolitanbishopsofAlexandria,
Rome,andAntioch,andrecognizethemetropolitanstatusofthebishopatJerusalemeven
thoughthechurchwassmallandthecitysparselypopulated..Thesecanonsandtheimplication
ofapeckingorderofmetropolitanchurcheswouldprofoundlyaffectrelationsamong
apostolicchurchesandespeciallytherelationshipbetweenthebishopofRomeandthebishops
ofotherapostolicsees.
1.AthanasiusofAlexandria,DoctoroftheChurch(c.295373)
Asadeacon andadvisortoAlexander,BishopofAlexandria,hewasinstrumentalinthefight
againstArianismattheCouncilofNicea(325).Thatis,hestaunchlydefendedthedivinityof
ChristagainstArianclaimsthatChristwasacreatedbeing.HewasinstalledasBishopof
Alexandriain328A.D.IntheaftermathofNiceaandthestrugglebetweenArianandNicene
ecclesiasticalandpoliticalparties,Athanasiuswasbanishedandreturnedfromhisseefivetimes
duringhislife.
ThewritingsofAthanasiusfallintoseveralcategories(Hamell,p.967).Theseare:Apologetic,
dogmatic,historicopolemical,exegetical,andfestalletters,amongothers.Hismostsignificant
worksdefendtheTrinity. OrationiscontraArianosIV (OrationagainstArias)andLetterIVto
Serapias,refutingthedoctrinethattheHolySpiritisacreatedbeingareamongthemost
significantofhisdogmaticworks.TheFestalLetterof367isthefirstextantcompletelistingof
theNewTestamentCanon(27books)asweknowittoday.
2. EusebiusofCaesarea(c.265340)
About315EusebiuswasmadeBishopofCaesareainPalestine(shortlyaftertheEdictof
Toleration).HewasafriendandsupporterofConstantine.HewasconsideredtobeSemi
Arian.HedidnotusetheNiceanterm homoousiosinhiswriting.HepresidedattheSynodof
Tyrein335,deposingAthanasiuspossiblyforrefusingtoreceivebackrepentantArians.He
isconsideredthefatherofChurchhistory.
HishistoricalworksincludeChronicles,asacredandsecularhistory.Hismostreveredworkis
hisEcclesiasticalHistory.Thisworkpreservesinwritingmanydocumentsotherwiselost.He
alsowrotenumerousexegetical,apologeticanddoctrinaltreatises.
C.PostNicea:PoliticalandEcclesiasticalControversiesaftertheDeathofConstantine
1.OverviewofemperorsandthepostNiceneperiod
a.ConstantiustoTheodosius.
EmperorConstantius(33761):Arianismrevivedthroughhim.TheinfluenceofEusebiusof
Nicomediawasparticularlystrongduringhisreign.EusebiussignedNicea,butunderstooditin
27
differentterms.HewasresponsibleforthebanishmentofAthanasiusandMarcellusofAncyra.
TheywerereceivedbyRome,thusignitingacontroversyoverjurisdiction.TheCouncilof
Serdica(Sophia,3423)wascalledbyConstantiustouniteeastandwestoverArianand
jurisdictionalquestions,butactuallyaccomplishedtheopposite.Thecouncilsplitintoeastern
andwesternfactions.ThewestupheldpapalauthorityandcondemnedtheArianizingbishops,
ValensofMursa(Osijek)andUrsaciusofSingidunum(Belgrade)forsidingwithGreek
Arianizingbishops(Chadwick,13940ff).ConstantiusfavoredArianism,andwasinfluenced
byValensofMursa.
In3613,Julian,calledtheApostate,cametoimperialpower.Hesoughttorevivepaganism
andrecalledNicenebishops,hopingtosparkadestructiverivalryinthechurch.
JulianwasfollowedbyValens(36478),anotherArianizingemperor.
Theodosius(378395)cametothethrone,astrongproNiceneemperor.DuringhisreignArian
influenceceasedpermanentlyintheRomanEmpire.HecalledtheSecondEcumenicalCouncil,
theCouncilofConstantinople.
b.ResurgentArianism,semiArianism,andPneumatomachoi(fightersagainsttheSpirit),ledby
MacedoniusdeniedthedivinityoftheHolySpirit.TheCouncilofConstantinople(381)settled
theissueofthedivinityoftheHolySpiritandthedoctrineoftheTrinity.Canoniiiof
Constantinoplebecameverycontroversialinyearstocomeasitalteredtheestablishedorderof
jurisdictionintheChurch.Canoniii,TheBishopofConstantinople,however,shallhavethe
prerogativeofhonoraftertheBishopofRomebecauseConstantinopleisnewRome.
2.CyrilofJerusalem,DoctoroftheChurch(313386)
HewasbishopofJerusalemfrom348A.D.:Hefellintocontroversyovercanonviiofthe
NiceanCouncil.AsbishopofCaesarea,AcaciaexercisedMetropolitanjurisdictionoverthe
BishopsofPalestine.ButCyrilpresidingoveranApostolicSee,theMotherofallthe
churches,claimedexemptionfromthejurisdictionofCaesarea,andhigherrankthanitsbishop.
Itisnotalleged,norisitprobablethatCyrilclaimedjurisdictionoverotherBishops.Therights
andprivilegesofhisseehadbeenclearlydefinedbythe7
th
CanonoftheCouncilofNicea:as
customandancienttraditionshowthattheBishopofAelia(Jerusalem)oughttobehonored,let
himhaveprecedenceinhonor,withoutprejudicetotheproperdignityoftheMetropolitan
See.(NiceneandPostNiceneFathers,PhilipSchaff,ed.).HewasantiArian,andwas
banishedfromhisseethreetimes,357,360,367(Hamell,p.99).Firefellontheworkers
rebuildingtheirtempleinhistime.Hehadpredictedthefailureofthework(Hamell,p.
99,100).Alsoagreatbrightcrosswasseenintheskyatthecommencementofhisepiscopate
whichwastakenasasignofGodsfavoronhimandontheempire.Ofhiswrittenworksheis
mostfamousforhisCatechesis(LecturestoCatechumenspreparingforbaptism)ofwhichthere
aretwentyfourincludingtheintroduction.
28
D.RiseofMonasticism
AfterChristianitybecamereligiolicita,andmartyrdomwasnolongeracommonexperienceof
Christians,itwasthoughtthatthosewhowantedtowholly devotethemselvestoGodshould
separatethemselvestotheLordthroughthenewlyemergingpracticeofmonasticism.Inthis
waytheycouldbesoldiersforGod.
Thefounderof eremetic(fromGreekfordesertorsolitary,thushermit)monasticismwas
AntonyofEgyptintheearlyfourthcentury.Eremeticmonasticismisthepracticeofseeking
spiritualperfectionthroughasolitary,asceticlife,usuallyinthedesertorwilderness.
Pachomius,aconverttoChristianityabout313A.D.begantopursueamonasticlifeshortly
afterhisconversion.HewasadiscipleofthehermitPalaeman.Laterhefoundedamonastery
nearTabennisiinUpperEgyptneartheNileRiver.Adherentsflockedtohim.Heoversawnine
monasteriesformenandtwoforwomenatthe timeofhisdeath.Hewrotearuleforthe
regulationofhismonasterywhichinfluencedalllatercommunalmonasticism.Heisconsidered
thefatherofcoenobitic(fromGreekmeaninglifeincommon communal)monasticism.
BasilofCaesarea(Cappadocia,329379),anotedproNicenetheologianisconsideredthe
founderofeasternmonasticism.InfluencedbyPachomius,hisruleemphasizedgreater
moderationinspiritualdisciplinethandidtheEgyptianascetics.Hefoundedamonasterynear
Caesarea(inCappadocia)whichemphasizedserviceandministrytothepooraspartof
communitylife.
JohnCassian(360435)spenttimeinmonasteriesinBethlehemandEgypt.Heismostfamous
forfoundingoftwomonasteriesinthewest,nearMarseillesabout415.Histwomajorwritten
works,InstitutionsandConferencesinfluencedtheacknowledgedfatherofwestern
monasticismBenedictofNursia.CassiansworkInstitutionswasprobablyfirstconceived
throughcontactwiththeEgyptianmonasticEvagrius.Itdetailedtheeight(laterseven)deadly
sinswhichinhibittheattainmentofspiritualperfection.Theyarevariouslylistedasgluttony,
fornication(lust),covetousness,anger,dejection,accidie(hopelessdespair),vainglory,and
pride.Twooftheseeightwerelatercombinedinvarioussystemstomakeseven.
BenedictofNursiawaseducatedatRome,butwithdrewtopracticeeremeticmonasticism.He
wasdisturbedwiththelicentiousnessoflifeinRome.Hewassoonjoinedbyothers,and
eventuallyfoundedthefamousmonasteryatMonteCassino.Inallhefoundedtwelve
monasteriesoftwelvemonkseachplusanabbot.Heisconsideredthefatherofwestern
monasticism.Hislastingcontributionistheruleforcommunalmonasticlife.Heborrowed
heavilyfromthechurchfathersandearliermonasticism(Basil,JohnCassian,et.al.)Hisrule
consistedofuptofourhoursofreadingscriptureandthefathers.Also,thedivineoffice,
personalprayerandmanuallaborwererequiredofthemonks.
Allofwesternmonasticism,wellintotheMiddleAges,wasbasedontheRuleofBenedict,
includingtheruleatClunyandamongtheCistercians(below).OtherfollowersofBenedicts
RulewereinvolvedintheCarolingianrevivalandwereinfluentialwritersandscholars.A
schoolforyoungboys,alibraryandascriptorium(placeofcopyingmanuscripts)werestandard
29
featuresofaBenedictinemonastery.TheBenedictineinfluencedeclinedaftertheriseof
scholasticismanduniversitiesinthewest.BeforethattimetheCluniacandCistercianreforms
calledforastrictobservanceoftheBenedictineRule.
Cluny(France)wastheleadingmonasteryofthemedievalmonasticreformmovement.Itwas
foundedin909inBurgundy.Itbecamethemostinfluentialforceinwestern Christendomfor
overtwocenturiesandinspiredthereformsofPopeGregoryVIIinthemid12
th
century(i.e.
enforcementofclericalcelibacy,curbingofsimony).Ledbynumerousableabbotsincluding
BernoofBaume,St.Ado,andPetertheVenerableitemphasizedcloseradherencetothe
BenedictineRule.Italsoemphasizedlongerperiodsofcorporateworshipandchoirservice.
Lessstresswaslaidonmanuallabor.Inaddition,freedomfromlaycontroloverthefinancial
affairsofthemonasterieswassoughtbythereform.Clunyandmonasteriesassociateswithit
werefreeformthecontrolofthesecularpower.TheywereaccountabledirectlytothePope.
ThesuccessoftheClunyreform,andtheinternationalcharacterofthecongregationlentgreat
strengthtothepapacy.Thiswasaleadingcatalystintherevivalofthepapacyasan
ecclesiastical/politicalinstitution.ThereformingPopeUrbanwasaformerCluniacmonk.At
itsheightover1,000monasterieswerealignedwiththeCluniacorderincludingsomehousesin
GreatBritain.
Bernard,sonofanobleman,becameanoviceatthemonasteryofCiteauxin1112.Threeyears
laterhefoundedwhatbecamethemostinfluentialhouseoftheCistercianorderatClairvaux.
TheCisterciansadvocatedareturntotheprimitiveBenedictineRulewithaddedausteritiesof
enforcedsilence.Manuallaborwasreturnedtoaprimaryplaceinthediscipline.Theirhouses
wereerectedinaloof,wildernessareas.Cisterciansbecamepioneersatfarmingdifficultland.
InEngland,theypioneeredsheepfarming.
ThehouseatClairvauxbecameparenttoseventyotherhouses.Attheturnofthe13
th
century
therewere530Cistercianhouses.150morewereaddedthatcentury.Manyinfluential
churchmencamefromthatorderincludingPopeEugeniusIII.Bernardisrememberedasthe
mostinfluentialChristianleaderofhisday..Hewrotemanyletters,treatises,andsermons
whichareextanttoday.TheseincludeGraceandfreewill,LovingGod,andSermonson
theSongofSolomon.HealsopreachedtheSecondCrusadeandsoughttherecognitionofthe
newordertheKnightsTemplar.Hewasinvolvedinseveraldisputesoneofthemostfamous
impugningtheorthodoxyofAbelard.ForthemostpartBernardisrememberedasamysticand
oneofthegreatestmonasticreformersinchurchhistory.
E.Excursus:TheDoctrineofCelibacy
Oneofthemostsignificantdevelopmentsinthelifeoftheearlychurchisitsinsistenceonthe
practiceofclericalcelibacy.Differentpracticesemergedintheeastandwest.Thepracticeof
clericalcelibacyhasplayedaroleinthelifeandcontroversiesofthechurchuntiltoday.
EarlyDevelopments:Biblically,theissueofwidowhoodisaddressedinvariousOTtexts.The
Lordisdefenderofthewidowandfatherless,andthereisadutytocareforthewidowfromthe
offerings(Ex.22:22Dt.14:2924:1727:19).Thisconcernfororphansandwidowsisechoed
30
inJames1:27.Jesusspokeofthosewhomadethemselveseunuchsforthesakeofthekingdom
ofheaven(Matt.19:12)InLuke,Annaisawidowof84yearswhoremainedinthetempleto
prayandfast(Luke2:3638).ItistheoverlookingofGrecianwidowsinthedailydistribution
whichcausesthefirstinternalcrisisinthechurch(Acts6:1ff.)thusestablishingthefactthat
theyhadformedagroupforwhomcarewasexpressedbythechurch.Acts9:39,41,indicates
thattheremayhavebeenanorderofwidows(haicherai)inPalestineduringtheministryof
Peter.Paulencouragedthecelibatelifestyleasonethatofferedfreedom,butdidnotforbid
marriage(ICor.7:89325).ITim.5:910ff.showsthatwidowswerecaredforandenrolled
inalist.
Orderofwidows:PolycarpofSmyrna,mentionswidowsandvirgins.Inparticular,herefersto
thewidowsasthealtarofGod.Referencetowidowsandvirginsasadesignatedclassinthe
churchgrowsinthePatristicliterature.Theunmarriedstateofwidowsisonewhichcallsfor
specialconsiderationinthechurch.Theadditionofyoungerunmmariedvirginsaddstothe
numbersofthosewithspecialstatusinthechurch.Canonsconcerningcelibacyappearasearly
asthecouncilsofElvira,c.305,andAncyra,314319.PriortothistimeITim.3and5
(husbandofonewife,wifeofonehusband),wereinterpretedtodiscourageorforbiddigamyor
remarriageafterthelossofahusbandorwife(e.g.thewritingsofTertullian)andtoextol
remainingcelibateafterthedeathofaspouse.Anorderofwidowsandvirginsappearsinthe
ApostolicTradition(c.215)(Hamell,p.83)ofHippolytus.Widowsandvirginsarementioned
asdefiniteminorordersinthechurchatRome.Cyprian,c.250,(AugustineRaeder,p.530)
referstovirginsasthefloweronthetreeofthechurch.Augustine,writinginthefifth
century,assignsaparticularattainmentofheavenlyhonortovirgins.Itcametobebelievedthat
celibacywasaspirituallysuperiorwayoflife.Therearealsocanonsprohibitingsocalled
spiritualmarriagesorvirginssubintroductae.Eventually,someformofcelibacywasrequired
ofallmajororders.Celibacywasextolledbecauseoftheerroneousbeliefthatthefallennature
wascommunicatedthroughsexualintercourse.
Distinctivesbetweeneastandwest. Canon33ofElvira(West),"Bishops,presbytersand
deaconsindeed,allclericswhohaveaplaceintheministry[ofthealtar]shallabstainfrom
theirwivesandshallnotbegetchildren thisisatotalprohibition:whoeverdoesso,lethim
forfeithisrankamongtheclergy."(NE,p.307).
Canon10ofAncyra,
Asmanyasarebeingordaineddeaconsifatthetimeof
ordinationtheyhavemadeadeclarationandstatedthatthey
mustmarryandcannotremaincelibate,suchpersons,
shouldtheymarrythereaftercanremainintheiroffice,as
thebishophadgrantedthemtherighttomarryattheir
ordination.Butifanyheldtheirpeaceandaccepted
celibacyattheirordination,andafterwardsmarry,such
personsshallceasefromtheirministry.(NE,p. 312).
StatementsofReformationCreeds:Thisissuecontinuedtobeasourceofconflictinthechurch
throughthetimeoftheReformation.
31
Amongallpeoplebothofhighandlowdegree,therehas
beenloudcomplaintthroughouttheworldconcerningthe
flagrantimmoralityanddissolutelifeofpriestswhowere
notabletoremaincontinentandwhowentsofarasto
engageinabominablevices.Inordertoavoidsuch
unbecomingoffense,adultery,andotherlechery,someof
ourpriestshaveenteredthemarriedstate...SinceGod's
Wordandcommandcannotbealteredbyanyhumanvows
orlaws,ourpriestsandotherclergyhavetakenwivesto
themselvesfortheseandotherreasonsandcauses...
Itwasonlyfourhundredyearsagothatthepriestsin
Germanywerecompelledbyforcetotakethevowsof
celibacy.Atthattimetherewassuchseriousandstrong
resistancethatanarchbishopofMayencewhohad
publishedthenewpapaldecreewasalmostkilledduringan
uprisingofallthepriests.Thedecreewasenforcedso
hastilyandindecentlythatthepopeatthetimenotonly
forbadefuturemarriagesofpriests,butalsobrokeupthe
marriageswhichwereoflongstanding.(Augsburg
Confession(1530),Articlexxiii,CreedsoftheChurches,
JohnLeith,ed.,p.8081).
Bishops,PriestsandDeaconsarenotcommandedbyGod's
Laweithertovowtheestateofthesinglelife,ortoabstain
frommarriage:thereforeitislawfulforthem,asforall
otherChristianmen,tomarryattheirowndiscretion,as
theyshalljudgethesametoservebettertogodliness.
(ThirtyNineArticles,(1563),article,xxxii,Leith,p.277)
F.SummaryofImportantDoctrinalDevelopments
Severalveryimportantdevelopmentsoccurinthisera.WiththeEdictofToleration
Christianityisnowalegalreligion,officialpersecutionceases,andtheemperorsometimes
intervenesintheaffairsofthechurchevencallingcouncils,suchasNicea.TheArian
controversyisresolvedatNicea,affirmingthedivinityofChristandintroducingtheterm
homoousios(samesubstance)todescribetherelationshipbetweentheFatherandtheSon.The
faithisprotectedagainstthedoctrinethattheSonisacreatureandnotofthesame
nature/substanceastheCreatorandthusnotGod.Monasticismiswidelypracticedasawayof
obtainingChristianperfection.Abyproductofthismovementisthepreservationofscriptures
andscholarshipthroughtheactivitiesofthemonasteryschoolsandscriptoriums. Monasteries
arealsoengagedineffortsaddressingwiderissuesofsocialwelfare.Thedoctrineandpractice
ofclericalcelibacybecomesawidespreadnorminmuchofthechurch,thoughpracticed
differentlyineastandwest,andmoreorlessstandardinvariouswesterndistricts.
32
Sources
ApostolosN.Athanassakis,trans.TheLifeofPachomius.Missoula,Montana:ScholarsPress,
1975.
HenryBettenson,ed.DocumentsoftheChristianChurch.London:OxfordUniversityPress,
1963.
HenryChadwick.TheEarlyChurch.Pengiun,1967.
DavidKnowles.ChristianMonasticism,1969,rpt.1972,NewYork:MacGrawHillBookCo.
JohnLeith.CreedsoftheChurches.Atlanta:JohnKnoxPress,1973.
TheodoreMaynard.St.BenedictandHisMonks. London:StaplesPress,Ltd.,1955.
HenryPercival,ed.TheSevenEcumenicalCouncilsin NiceneandPostNiceneFathers,Second
Series,2
nd
edition,ed.PhilipSchaffandHenryWace,eds.,Peabody,MA:Hendrickson
Publishers,1995
Stevenson. ANewEusebius
VII.TheCouncils
A.TheCouncilofConstantinople(2
nd
Ecumenical,381A.D.)andtheCappadocianFathers
AftertheAriancontroversy,thenexttheologicalissueaddressedbyacouncilconcerned
thedivinityoftheHolySpirit.ThisquestiontouchedontheconceptoftheTrinityas
well.ThedoctrineofthedivinityoftheHolySpiritwasaffirmedatthesecond
ecumenicalcouncilatConstantinoplein381.TheresultingConstantinopolitanCreed,or
theCreedofthe150Fathers(alsotodaycalledtheNiceneCreed),clearlyestablishesthe
divinityoftheHolySpirit.TheclausewhowiththeFatherandtheSonistogether
worshipedandtogetherglorifiedleavesnodoubtastotheauthenticdeityoftheHoly
Spirit.FromtheHolySpiritandfromtheVirginMaryhasbeentraditionallyregarded
asarefutationofApollinarianism(Leth,p.32).
TherewereseveralgroupsthathadquestionedthedivinityoftheHolySpiritsuchas
Macedoniustheleaderofthepneumatomachoiparty(fightersagainsttheSpirit).The
Cappadocianfathers(seebelow)weretheleadingadvocatesofTrinitarian/Nicenetheology
duringthisperiod,andactuallyformulatedcomprehensivestatementsonthedoctrineofthe
divinityoftheHolySpiritandtheTrinity.
Asignificantdevelopmentatthiscouncilwasthepublishingofcanoniii.Thebishopof
Constantinople,however,shallhavetheprerogativeofhonorafterthebishopofRomebecause
ConstantimopleisNewRome(Schaff,ed.TheSevenEcumenicalCouncils.In Niceneand
PostNiceneFathers,SecondSeries,vol.xiv,p.178).Thiscanon,addedtocanonsviandviiof
Nicea,establishedanewpeckingorderregardingjurisdictionoftheapostolicsees.This
canonclearlyestablishesRomanprimacy,butalsoplacesConstantinople,notanapostolicsee,
inthesecondplaceofhonorafterRome.TheorderofeminencebecomesRome,
Constantinople,Alexandria,Antioch,Jerusalem.
33
TheCappadocians(BasiltheGreat,GregoryNaziansus,andGregoryofNyssa).
TheCappadocianFatherswerethemosteminenttheologiansofpostNiceneperiod,ortheinter
conciliarperiodbetweenthefirstandsecondecumenicalcouncils.Theyremainedfaithfulto
theNiceneformuladuringaperiodofextremepressuretoforsaketheCreedofNiceaandthe
homoousios.TheyaddressedthequestionofthedivinityoftheHolySpiritandfinalized
orthodoxTrinitariantheology.CappadociaisaregionofmoderndayTurkey.
BasilofCaesarea(theGreat)(329379):Borntoaninfluentialfamily,hewaswelleducated,
anddecidedonamonasticlife.HeisconsideredthefounderofEasterncenobiticmonasticism
withitsemphasisoncommunity,practicalsocialministriessuchashospitalsandhostels,and
thecurbingofphysicalausteritiessocommonineremeticmonasticism.Hereformedhis
dioceseasbishopofCaesarea(from370),fightingagainstArianandsemiAriantendencies.
HisdogmaticwritingsincludeadefenseoftheTrinityinDeSpirituSanctu.TheCappadocian
fathersclarifiedterminologyfortheeasternchurchregardingtheTrinitariancontroversy.
Homoousios,andhypostaseiswerethetermsused.TheLatintermsweresubstantiaeand
personae.
GregoryNazianzus(329390):Ordainedin361byhisfatherGregory,bishopofNaziansus.He
wasappointedbyBasilasbishopoftheobscuredioceseofSasimain384.Thisappointment
strainedhisrelationshipwithBasil.Heonlybriefly,ornever,tookpossessionofthesee
(Hammel).In379hewasappointedCatholicbishopofConstantinopleandrevivedthe
OrthodoxfaithagainstArianencroachment.Hisremovaltotheimperialseecausedhim some
difficultieslaterbecauseitwasabreachofcanonlawforhimtochangeepiscopalseesinthis
way.
Hiswork,OnthePriesthood,writtenearlyinhiscareerisoneofhismostsignificant.
Gregoryscontributionwasasapreacher/orator.Hismostimportantworksarehisorations
(sermons),whichdealwithquestionsoftheTrinity,thedivinityoftheSon,andthedivinityof
theHolySpirit.
GregoryofNyssa(335394):TheyoungerbrotherofBasil,becameapriestafterthedeathof
hiswife. HewasconsecratedbishopofNyssain371.HewasdeposedduetoArianopposition
(375379).Helaterwasreturnedtohisministryandflourishedafterthedeathofhisbrother
Basil.
InhiswritinghehadthelastwordonthequestionoflanguageinTrinitarianissues.The
CappadociansmadeanimmensecontributiontotheOrthodoxtheologyoftheTrinity,
perfectingandclarifyingtheinitialworkofAthanasius.Theirworksignaledafinalvictoryfor
Trinitarian(Nicene)theologyoverArianismintheRomanByzantineEmpire.
B.TheChristologicalControversies:TheCouncilsofEphesus(3
rd
Ecumenical,431
A.D.)andChalcedon(4
th
Ecumenical,451A.D.)
34
ThethirdthroughthefifthecumenicalcouncilsaddressChristologicalquestions.Specifically,
howdothedivineandhumannaturesinChristcoexisttogetherinoneperson.Arethenatures
constant,changed,intermingled,ortransformedbythehypostaticunion?
ManyproposedcontroversialtheologicalconstructsconcerningthepersonofChrist.These
includedAppolinarianism,Adoptionism,Nestorianism,Monophysitism,andMonotheletism
(thesearedefinedbelow).Manyofthesecontroversiesareresolvedinwhatisknownasthe
definitionofChalcedon,ortheTomeofLeo,BishopofRome.Contemporary GreekOrthodox,
RomanCatholicsandProtestantcommunionsholdtotheChalcedoniandefinition.Though
monophysiteandNestoriancommunities(seebelow)whodifferontheirChristology,did
remain,especiallyinEgypt,Syriaandtheeast.
ThefirstgreatcontroversyconcerningthepersonofChristaroseoverthedoctrineofhis
divinity,whichpittedAriusandAthanasius,bothofAlexandria,againsteachother.Their
disputewasresolveddoctrinallyatNicea,in325.ButthepracticeofArianismwasnot
eliminatedfromthechurchuntilalmostagenerationlater.
1.TheHumanandDivineNaturesinChrist
HowthehumananddivinenaturesofChristunitedinonepersonwasthesubjectofongoing
controversiesaddressedattheCouncilsofEphesus(431)andChalcedon(451).
a.TheChristologiesofAntiochandAlexandria
TheodoreofMopsuestia,Bishopfrom392428:TheodoresChristologywastypically
Antiochian.TheologiansofAntiochtendedtoemphasizethehumannatureofChrist.Thatis,
Hisincarnationasafullyhumanbeingpossessingmind,will,andemotionsaswellasaphysical
body.ChristssufferingsandtemptationswereallemphasizedinAntiocheneChristology.
TheodoretendedtodividethenaturesofChrist,seeminglydenyingahypostaticunionofthe
naturesaftertheincarnation..HewasacontemporaryandforerunnerofNestorius.At2nd
Constantinople(553)hewascondemned.
JohnChrysostum(344407):Heiscalledgoldenmouthbecauseofhispreachingabilities.He
spentsomeearlyyearsinmonasticpursuits.JohnwasapriestinAntiochfortwelveyears.In
397hewasmadepatriarchofConstantinople.Hereformedthechurchintheeasterncapitaland
arousedopposition.Heoffendedpowerfulpeopleinthecourt,Eutropiustheeunuch,and
Eudoxiatheempress.Hewasexiledin407anddiedonthejourney.Hewasinvolvedina
controversywithTheophilus,bishopofAlexandria.HehadreceivedsomeproOrigenistmonks
asanappealfromtheseeofAlexandria.Thencehebecameembroiledinthecontroversyover
thecanonofConstantinoplegivingConstantinopleappellatepowerssecondonlytoRome.
Writings:Manyareextantincludinghomilies,discourses,treatisesandlettersarepublished
underthenameofChrysostum.
35
CyrilofAlexandria(?444):BecamebishopofAlexandriain412.Hewasaleadingfigurein
theoppositiontoNestorius(below).HeespousedthatthedivineandhumannaturesinChrist
becameoneaftertheunion.Thatis,thehumannatureistransformedafterbeingunitedwiththe
divineaftertheincarnation.Cyrilisbysomeaccusedofintroducingmonophysite(onenature
aftertheunion)ChristologyintotheEgyptianchurch.Otherssawhimaslayingthe
groundworkfortheChalcedoniandefinitiontocomelater.Thecontroversyovercanonviiof
thesecondcouncil,Constntinople,isbelievedtohavefueledCyrilsroleintheattackon
NestorianChristology.ThatcanongavethebishopofConstantinopleappellatepowersoverthe
seeofAlexandria.
Cyril,aspatriarchofAlexandria,sawverytempestuoustimes,someofithisowndoing.Heis
consideredtobeoneofthebrillianttheologiansofhistime.Muchofhisministrywas
polemical,however.Hetookissuewithvarioushereticalgroups,paganpracticesandangered
thesizableJewishpopulationofAlexandria.Hismethodsofrefutingerrorweresaidtohave
ledtoriotsinAlexandria.CyrilmadehismoststridentattacksagainsttheChristologyof
Nestorius.CyrilmaintainedanemphasisonthedivinityofChristandtheunionofthetwo
naturesinoneprosopon(person).Histheologyisconsideredtobefoundationalforboththe
Chalcedoniandefinitionandthemonophysitedoctrine.CyrilsChristologyissufficiently
incompletetoleadtobothoftheseconclusions.HisemphasisonChristsdivinity
counterbalancestraditionalAntiocheneChristologyemphasizingChristshumanity.Many
believethatCyrilhadpoliticalreasonforopposingNestorius.Cyrilsattackisseenbysomeas
anefforttobolsterAlexandriasprestigefromtheencroachmentsofConstantinoplesince2
nd
Constantinople.
Nestorius,PatriarchofConstantinoplefrom428431:Nestoriuswasamonk,andlater,
presbyter,ofAntioch.HewasprobablyinfluencedbytheteachingofTheodoreofMopsuestia.
Reportedlyhewasanoutstandingpreacher.HewasnamedpatriarchofConstantinoplein428.
HewasoftheAntiocheneschoolofChristology.Earlyinhispatriarchatehemade
pronounementsandpreachedsermonsopposingtheuseofthetitle"MotherofGod"(theotokos)
forMary,preferringthetermChristbearer(christotokos). Thesepronouncementsgenerateda
controversyoverhisChristology.ItseemsthatheheldtoapeculiarheterodoxChristology,
whichappearedtomakeChristtwopersonsaftertheincarnation.JesusappearedtobebothSon
ofGodandSonofManinawaythatdeniedtheunityofpersonality.Thereisstilldisagreement
overpreciselywhatNestoriustaughtconcerningJesus.Somefeelhewasthevictimofapower
strugglebetweenAlexandriaandConstantinople.Histeachingandrivalrywiththebishopof
AlexandriasparkedtensionbetweenthetwoandledtoCyril'saccusationsagainstNestoriusasa
heretic.ThisledtothecouncilatEphesuswhichdeposedNestoriusin431. Hisfollowers
formedachurchintheeastwhichexpandedthroughPersia,Arabia,Kurdestan,Indiaandallthe
waytoChinabytheendofthemillennium.ThereissomeevidencethatNestorianmissionaries
succeededpenetratingasfarasKoreaandJapanwiththeirbrandChristology,andagreat
emphasisonpracticalministryincludingmedicalmissions.TheNestorianchurchsurvived
manycenturiesanditsremnantsarefoundinIraqandIrantoday.
Writings:Mostwritingsweredestroyed.TheBazaarofHeracleidesdiscoveredattheturnofthe
centuryisbelievedtohavebeenhisandisanexplanationanddefenseofhisChristology.A
carefulreadingrevealsadeficientChristology,neverquitecomingtoaconfessionthatthereisa
36
hypostaticunionofthehumananddivineinChrist,makingonenewperson,fullyGodandfully
manaftertheincarnation.Itresemblesadoptionisminitsapproach.
b.TheNestorianControversyandtheCouncilofEphesus
NamedforNestorius,bishopofConstantinople,428431A.D. Heheldtoanextremeformof
AntiocheneChristologywhichtendedtoseparatethenaturesofChristintotwodistinctpersons,
butdidnotclarifythenatureoftheunionofthetwonaturesintooneperson,theLordJesus
Christ.NestoriusviewsborderedonadoptionismandwerecondemnedattheCouncilof
Ephesusin431.ThechurchbearingNestoriusname(Nestorian)andholdingtoNestorian
ChristologywasaprolificmissionarychurchprobablyreachingasfarasChinabytheninth
century.
c.TheEutychianControversyandtheCouncilofChalcedon(4
th
Ecumenical,451A.D.)
LeotheGreat(popefrom440461):HebecamebishopofRomeinaverydifficultperiod.Old
RomewasbeingoverrunbybarbariantribesandtheChristologicalcontroversiescontinuedto
ragewithinthechurch,particularlytheMonophysiteheresy.Hewaschieflyresponsiblefor
formulatingtheChalcedonianformula.HemettheinvadersAttila(452)andGenseric(455)
outsideRometosparethecityfromtheseverityofanattackbytheirarmies.Duetothe
disintegrationoftheciviladministration,thetemporalpoweroftheRomanbishopincreased
greatlyduringhistime.Muchofthiswasduetothecollapseofthewesterncapital,andthe
transferofpoliticalpowertoConstantinople(NewRome)andtheincursionsofbarbarian(non
Roman)tribes.MuchofLeoscorrespondencereflectsdisciplinaryconcernsofthewestern
churchesaswellassuchtemporalmattersassecuringgrainshipmentsfromotherprovincesfor
theRomanpopulace.
Leowrotemanyhomilies,lettersandhisfamousTomeofLeo.Thislatterwasthebasisofthe
ChalcedonianformulaandaddressedthemonophysiteandNestoriancontroversies.The
Chalcedoniandefinition,adoptedatthefourthecumenicalcouncilheldatChalcedonin451,
wasLeosgreatcontributiontotheology.Itcontinuestodaytobetheemblemoforthodox
ChristologyinallCatholic,ProtestantandmanyOrthodoxcommunionstoday.
WealsoteachthatweapprehendthisoneandonlyChrist
Son,Lord,onlybegotten intwonatures[duophysesin]
andwedothiswithoutconfusingthetwonatures,without
transmutingonenatureintotheother,withoutdividing
themintotwoseparatecategories,withoutcontrastingthem
accordingtoareaorfunction.Thedistinctivenessofeach
natureisnotnullifiedbytheunion.Insteadtheproperties
ofeachnatureareconservedandbothnaturesconcurinone
person[prosopon]andinonehypostasis.Theyarenot
dividedorcutintotwoprosopa,butaretogethertheone
andonlyandonlybegottenLogosofGod,theLordJesus
Christ(TheDefinitionofChalcedoninLeith,p.36).
37
2.OtherChristologicalissues
a.Monophysitism
ThisdoctrineteachesthattheirisonlyoneincarnatenatureinChristafterthehypostaticunion
ofthedivineandhumannaturesinChrist.ThisdoctrinefallsshortoftheChalcedonian
definitionwhichclearlyestablishestwounconfusedandunmixednatures(thehumanandthe
divine)inhypostasicunionintheoneperson,theLordJesusChrist.Thefifthcouncilat
Constantinople(553)condemnedconspicuousrepresentativesofthetheologyofAntioch:
TheodoreofMopsuestia,theantiCyrillianwritingofTheodoretofCyrus,andtheletterofIbas
toMarius,thePerisan.Itgaveapproval tothehypostaticunionthatwassoimportanttothe
AlexandriansThecouncilmadepossibleanAlexandrianinterpretationofChalcedon,butit
didnotrejecttheChalcedoniandefinition(Leith,p.4546).Insomewaysthefifthcouncilhas
beenseenasanappeasementoftheAlexandrianfactionwhichleanedtowardmonophysitism
withoutviolatingChalcedon.
ThemonophysitesbelievedthatChalcedondidnotproperlydefinetheunityofChristsperson.
Themonophysites(meaningonenature)emphasizedthedivinityofChristoverhismanhood
theoppositeofAntiochenetendencies.AccordingtoGeorgeGiacumakisinMonophysitism
in TheNewInternationalDictionaryoftheChristianChurch,monophysiteteachinghearkens
backtoEgyptianandSyroPalestinianmonasticism.Theirascetictraditionemphasizesthe
completesuppressionofhumandesireinordertogainunionwiththedivine.Likewise,
monophysitesdeemphasizetheplaceofthehumaninChristsperson,whileemphasizinghis
divinity.ThemonophysitecontroversyledtoviolentupheavalsinSyria,PalestineandEgypt.
Iteventuallyledtoschismwhichaffectstheeasternchurcheseventoday.
b.Monotheletism
Anotherrelatedcontroversywasmonotheletism.IfthedivineandhumansocombineinChrist
astoformonenature(physis),thenitfollowsthatChristhadone(mono)will(thelesis).The
councilofConstantinople(681)wascalledtodealwiththisissueandruledinfavorof
diotheletismi.e.Christpossessedadivineandahumanwill.
Thebeliefthatonlyonewill(thedivine)residedinthepersonofChristaftertheincarnation,
wasrootedinmonophysitism,andwasthusconsideredathreattoChalcedonianOrthodoxy.
ThesixthecumenicalcouncilheldatConstantinople(681)addressedthisheresy.
Wealsoproclaimtwonaturalwillingsorwillsinhimand
twonaturaloperations,withoutseparation,withoutchange,
withoutpartition,withoutconfusion,accordingtothe
teachingoftheHolyFathersandtwonaturalwillsnot
contrarytoeachotherbuthishumanwillfollowing,and
notresistingoropposing,butrathersubjecttohisdivine
andallpowerfulwill.
38
(W)edeclarethathistwonaturesshineforthinone
hypostasis,inwhichhedisplayedboththewondersandthe
sufferingsthroughthewholecourseofhisdispensation,not
inphantasm,buttrulyeachnaturewillsandworkswhat
ispropertoit,incommunionwiththeother.Onthis
principleweglorifytwonaturalwillsandoperations
combiningwitheachotherforthesalvation ofthehuman
race(TheStatementofFaithattheThirdCouncilof
Constantinople,SixthEcumenical,681,Leith.Pp.5052).
C.TheIconoclastControversy:Art,Icons,andtheRedeemedCreation(TheCouncilofNicaea,
7
th
Ecumenical,787)
TheIconoclastcontroversyragedbetween726and842.EmperorLeotheIsaurian(717740)
consideredthevenerationoficonstobethechiefobstacletotheconversionofJewsand
Muslims.In726heissuedanedictforbiddingtheuseofimagesandcallingfortheirdestruction.
ConstantineVcontinuedthepolicyofhisfatherLeo.TheiconoclasticsynodofHieria
condemnedtheuseofimages.Amongthefactorsinvolvedinthecontroversythatleduptoand
influencedtheCouncilwerethepoliticsoftheempire,theinfluenceandwealthofthemonks,
thepressureoftheMoslemandJewishpolemicagainstidolatry,andthesuperstitionofmuch
popularreligion(Leith,p.53).
ThestatementofHieriaincludedthefollowing,
Whoever,then,makesanimageofChrist,eitherdepictsthe
Godheadwhichcannotbedepicted,andminglesitwiththe
manhood(liketheMonophysites),orherepresentsthe
bodyofChristasnotmadedivineandseparateandasa
personapart,liketheNestorians.Theonlyadmissible
figureofthehumanityofChrist,however,isbreadand
wineintheholySupper.Thisandnootherform,thisand
noothertype,hashechosentorepresenthisincarnation
(TheSynodofConstantinople(Hieria)753,inLeith,p.55).
ThesynodofHieriawasreversedby theSeventhEcumenicalCouncil(IINicea)in787.This
councildistinguishedbetweenthevenerationoficonsandtheirworship.Thetwopartieswere
knownasiconoclastsandiconodules.Iconodulesweremartyredorpersecutedduringthis
controversy.TheunderlyingissueswereChristological,asJohnofDamascusargued.
IconoclastssaidiconoduleswereeitherNestorianorMonophysite,separatingthenaturesof
Christ,potrayingthehumanapartfromthedivine,orpotrayingthehumanformasifdivinized.
IconodulesclaimedtheiconoclastswereantiChalcedonian,holdingtoafalseviewofthe
corruptionofthecreatedorder,thusbeingunabletograspthetruththatGodmanifestsHis
savinggracethroughredeemedmatter(icons),justasHemanifestshisdivinenaturethrough
Christ'shumanperson.Iconodulestendedtoseenatureasgoodandredeemedbytheworkof
39
Christ,thuscapableofparticipatingindivinity.Theiconoclasttendedtoconfirmtheviewthat
natureitselfwascorruptandcouldnotcommunicatedivinemysteryofsacredness.
Forbysomuchmorefrequentlyastheyareseeninartistic
representation,bysomuchmorereadilyaremenliftedup
tothememoryoftheirprototypes,andtoalongingafter
themtotheseshouldbegivenduesalutationandhonorable
reverence,notindeedthattrueworshipoffaithwhich
pertainsalonetothedivinenaturebuttotheseastothe
figureofthepreciousandlifegivingCrossandtheBookof
theGospelsandtotheotherholyobjects,incenseandlights
maybeofferedaccordingtoancientpiouscustom.Forthe
honourwhichispaidtotheimagepassesontothatwhich
theimagerepresents,andhewhoreverestheimagereveres
initthesubjectrepresented(CouncilofNicea(787)
SeventhEcumenical,in Leith,p.5556).
"IconoclastsmayhavebeeninfluencedfromtheoutsidebyJewishandMuslimideas,anditis
significantthatthreeyearsbeforethefirstoutbreakoficonoclasmintheByzantineempire,the
MohammedanCaliphYezidorderedtheremovalof alliconswithinhisdominions."(Timothy
Ware,TheOrthodoxChurch,p.38).
D.Excursus:TheRiseofthePapacy
Theestablishmentoftheinstitutionknownasthepapacycanonlybeunderstoodinthe
contextofourearlierdiscussions.Manyfactorscontributetotheimmenseecclesiastical
andtemporalpowereventuallyexercisedbythebishopofRome.Thisbriefexcursus
willisolateafewofthem.ACatholicviewwouldbeginthediscussionwithJesus
commissionofPeterastherockuponwhichthechurchisbuilt.TheProtestant
discussionbeginsagenerationlaterwithClementofRomeandthedoctrineofapostolic
succession.InClementsview,himselfabishoporpresbyteratRome,theministersof
thechurchhadbeenestablishedbyChristorHisapostles.Thereforethelegitimacyof
theirofficewasrootedintheunassailableauthorityofChristandHisapostles.In
addition,Clement,Ignatius,martyrbishopofAntioch(c.117),andPolycarp,martyr
bishopofSmyrna,allacknowledgethespecialplacewhichRomeholdsinthelifeofthe
catholicchurch.AstheplacewherearchapostlesPeterandPaulbothministeredand
weremartyred,itenjoyedthepresidencyoflove,toquoteIgnatius.Eusebiuswas
carefultopreserverecordsofPetersandPaulsmartyrdomsthere.Irenaus(latesecond
century),inhisRuleofFaithgavethebishopstheroleofprotectorsofthetruetradition,
andtheRomanchurch,andbyimplication,thebishopofRome,finalsayinmattersof
disputeregardingthetraditionshandeddownbytheapostlesthoughallthebishops.
InadditiontobeliefinapostolicsuccessionandtheprimacyofthechurchatRome,the
roleofthebishopandapostolicchurchesplayasignificantpart.Ignatiushadpositedthe
conceptofthemonarchicalepiscopate onecity,onebishop,onechurch asameansof
40
protectingboththeunityanddoctrinalpurityofthechurch,especiallyintheagepriorto
therecognitionoftheNewTestamentcanon.Listsofbishopswhopresidedinagiven
churchfromgenerationtogenerationwerepreserved.Churchesfoundedbyapostles
tookonspecialimportanceinthissystem,sincetheypresumablyhadtheclosest
associationwiththeoriginalfounders.Cyprians(c.251)doctrineoftheunityofthe
church,andtheroleofthebishopinwieldingthepowerofthekeystoadmitordismiss
penitentsfurtherstrengthenedepiscopalpower.
ThebishopofRome,asrepresentativeoftheleadingapostolicchurch,intervenedin
controversiesinCorinth(IClement),andAsiaMinor(theQuartodecimancontroversy
regardingtheproperdateforobservingEaster).Inadditiontoadministrativeissues,the
Romanbishopaddressedthedoctrinalconcernsofthewiderchurch,sendinga
representativetoNicea,andlaterspeakingauthoritativelytotheChristological
controversiesatChalcedon.
Thecanons(conciliardecisionstakingontheforceofchurchlaw)ofNiceaand
Constantinoplereflectametropolitansystemofchurchadministration.Bishopsofmajor
seesexercisedarchepiscopaloversightofthebishopsandchurcheswithintheirregion.
Theleadingapostolicchurchesbecamepatriarchates.Anorderofjurisdictionwas
establishedbythesecanons:Rome,Constantinople,Alexandria,Antioch,Jerusalem.The
exactmeaningofthispeckingorderbecameasourceofcontentionbetweentheRoman
churchandtheotherpatriarchates.ItisimportanttonotethatConstantinoplewasnotof
apostolicfoundation.TheRomanbishopunderstoodhisroleasprimacy theother
patriarchssawhisplaceasaplaceofhonor,concedinghimaplaceasfirstamong
equals.TheresultingconflictandtensionoverRomanprimacybecamearootcauseof
theeventualschismbetweentheRomanCatholicandEasternOrthodoxchurches.The
placeofthepopeinchurchgovernanceremainsaprimaryimpedimenttothereunionof
thesechurchestoday.Somechurches,knownasUniatehavereturnedtotheCatholic
Churchthroughacknowledgementofpapalauthority,whileretaininganEasternRite
(litrugy,discipline,etc.).
UnderLeo(440461)andlaterGregory(590604),theecclesiasticalandtemporalpower
ofthepopeincreased,especiallyduetodisintegratingconditionsinthewesternempire.
Thechurchremainedtheoneinstitutionabletomaintainorderandstabilityitsbishop
theoneofficialwhocouldcommandobedienceandcooperationfromafracturedcivil
administrationandpopulace.
SomeofthefollowingexcerptsfromBettensonsDocumentsoftheChristianChurch
mayillustratedevelopmentsforus:
RegardingthedepositionofAthanasius,Julius,bishopofRomewritestotheCouncilof
Antioch,341:
Andwhywerewenotwrittentoaboutthechurchin
Alexandriainparticular?Doyounotrealizethatithas
beenthecustomforwordtobesenttousfirst,thatinthis
41
wayjustdecisionsmaybearrivedatfromthisplace?If
thereforeanysuspicionwasdirectedagainstthebishop
there,wordoughttohavebeensenttothebishopofthis
place.Buttheyneglectedtoinformus,andproceededat
theirownpleasureandontheirownauthorityandnow
theywishtoobtainourapprovaloftheirdecisions,though
wenevercondemnedhim[Athanasius].Thisisnotin
accordancewiththeconstitutionsofPaulorthedirections
ofthetraditionsoftheFathers. Iaminformingyouofthe
traditionhandeddownfromtheblessedApostlePeter
(Julius,LettertotheCouncilofAntioch,341,in
DocumentsoftheChristianChurch,Bettenson,ed.).
NotehowJuliuspresentshimselfasthespokesmenfortheteachingsandtraditionsas
handedonbyPeter.
AnexcerptfromaletterofJerometoPopeDamasus(c.376):
IfollownoleadersaveChrist,soIcommunicatewithnonesaveyourBeatitude,thatis,
withthechairofPeter.Forthis,Iknow,istherockonwhichtheChurchisbuilt.Thisis
Noahsarkandhewhoisnotfoundinitshallperishwhenthefloodoverwhelmsall
(Jeromein Documents).
Later,in1076,thePopeGregoryVIIexercisedtemporalpoweroverKingHenryIV:
BlessedPeter,chiefoftheapostles,inclinethyholyearto
us,Iprayandhearme,thyservant,whomfrominfancy
thouhastnourishedandtillthisdayhastdeliveredfromthe
handofthewickedespeciallytome,asthy
representative,hasbeencommitted,andtomebythygrace
hasbeengivenbyGodthepowerofbindingandloosingin
heavenandonearth.Relying,then,onthisbelief,forthe
honoranddefenseofthychurchandinthenameofGod
Almighty,theFather,theSonandtheHolyGhost,through
thypowerandauthority,Iwithdrawthegovernmentofthe
wholekingdomoftheGermansandofItalyfromHenrythe
King,sonofHenrytheEmperor.Forhehasrisenup
againstthychurchwithunheardofarrogance.AndI
absolveallChristiansfromthebondofoathwhichthey
havemadetohimorshallmake.AndIforbidanyoneto
servehimasking(GregoryVII,in Documents).
42
Whilechurchdisciplineagainsterringorviolentrulershadbeenexercised
inthepast,thisexerciseoftemporalpowerisextraordinary,butasignof
thingstocome.
UnderInnocentIII(c.1198),thetheoryofpapalpowerreachesdizzying
heights:
TheCreatoroftheuniversesetuptwogreatluminariesin
thefirmamentofheaventhegreaterlighttoruletheday,
thelesserlighttorulethenight.Inthesameway,forthe
firmamentoftheuniversalChurch,whichisspokenofas
heaven,heappointedtwogreatdignitariesthegreaterto
ruleoversouls(thesebeing,asitwere,days),thelesserto
bearruleoverbodies(thosebeingasitwere,nights).
Thesedignitiesarethepontificalauthorityandtheroyal
power.Furthermore,themoonderivesherlightfromthe
sun,andisintruthinferiortothesuninbothsizeand
quality,inpositionaswellaseffect.Inthesamewaythe
royalpowerderivesitsdignityfromthepontifical
authorityandthemorecloselyitcleavestothesphereof
thatauthoritythelessisthelightwithwhichitisadorned
thefurtheritisremoved,themoreitincreasesinsplendor
(InnocentIIIin Documents).
Inthewest,thepowerofthepapacycontinuedtoincreasethepowerofasinglechurch
official.Thepope,asthesuccessorofPeterandtheVicarofChrist,increasedinboth
ecclesiasticalandtemporalpower.PapalsecularpowerwasrootedintheHolyRoman
Empire,establishedunderCharlemagne,crownedemperorbythepopeonChristmasday,
800.Intheeast,adifferentethoshadtakenroot.Theeasternchurchismarkedby
conciliarism,ortheauthorityofcouncils,andwhatisknownascaesaropapism.Inthe
east,theemperoroftenguidedtheaffairsofthechurch,evenapprovingthechoiceof
candidatesininfluentialepiscopalsees.This,incontrasttothecontinualelevationofthe
papacyhelpedcreateconditionsleadingtotheGreatSchism.
E.SummaryofImportantDoctrinalDevelopments
ThedoctrineofthedivinityoftheHolySpirit,andthusthedoctrineoftheTrinitywas
clearlyestablishedasorthodoxChristianbeliefatthe2
nd
EcumenicalCouncilat
Constantinoplein381.TheCappadocianFatherscontributedimmenselytodoctrinal
orthodoxyandstabilityduringatimeofArianandsemiArianresurgenceafterthe
CouncilofNicea.CanonsofNiceaandConstantinopleestablishedasystemofoversight
andappeal,givingspecialhonortoancientapostolicsees,andestablishinganorderof
jurisdictionwhichwouldhaveaprofoundeffectonlaterdevelopmentsinthechurch.
43
AfterthesecouncilstheChristologicalcontroversiesraged.TheCouncilsofEphesus
(431)andChalcedon(451)effectivelyclarifiedthemysteryofhowChristshumanand
divinenaturescometogetherinoneLordJesusChrist,refutingbothmonophysitismand
Nestorianismintheprocess.The7
th
counciladdressedtheiconoclasticcontroversy
pavingthewayforvenerationoficons.Atthesametimeadoctrineofcreationand
redemptionrelatedtoChristologyandapplicabletoChristianartisticexpressionwas
formulated.Theconclusionsofthiscouncilfoundbetterreceptionintheeastthaninthe
west.Finally,papalauthoritywasenhancedin thewestcreatingtensionandstraining
unitywiththeeasternconciliarchurches.
Sources:
HenryBettenson,ed.DocumentsoftheChristianChurch.London:OxfordUniversity
Press,1963.
HenryChadwick.TheEarlyChurch.Hammondworth:PenguinBooks,1967.
RobertaChestnut. ThreeMonophysiteChrtologies.OxfordOxfordUniversityPress,
1976.
CyrilofAlexandria.SecondLettertoSuccesnus,in DocumentsinEarlyChristian
Thought.MauriceWilesandMarkSanter,eds.Cambridge:CambridgeUniversity
Press,1975.
W.H.C.Frend.TheRiseoftheMonophysiteMovement.Cambridge:cambridge
UniversityPress,1972.
GeorgeGiacumakis.Monophysitism,in TheNewInternationalDicitonaryofthe
ChristianChurch.J.P.Douglas,ed.GrandRapids:Zondervan,1974.
HubertJedi.EcumenicalCouncils.Freibeurg.Germ.:HerderandHerder,1960.
KennethScottLatoourette.TheSmallerEassternChurches,in AHistoryof
Christianity,Voli.NewYork:HarperandRow,1953.
JohnLeith.CreedsoftheChurches.Atlanta:JohnKnox Press,1963.
LeoofRome.Sermon28,in DocumentsinEarlyChristianThought.
Nestorius.TheBazaarofHeracleides.G.R.DriverandLeonardHodgson,trans.Oxford:
ClarendonPress,1925.
Proclus.SermonI,in DocumentsinEarlyChristianThought.
J.Stevenson.,ed. ANewEusebius:DocumentsIllustratingtheHistoryoftheChurchto
A.D.337. Cambridge:CambridgeUniversityPress,1957.
TimothyWare.TheOrthodoxChurch.Middlesex:PenguinBooks,1963.
JohnM.L.Young.ByFoottoChina. Tokyo:Radiopress,1984.
44
VIII.TheHeresies
HeresyisfromtheGreekword hairesis,inclassicalGreececametobeassociatedwithachoice
ofdoctrine,orstyleoflife,relatingtophilosophicalschools,inparticular.Thusaheresy
representedtheideaofapeculiarschoolordoctrine.InthecaseofearlyChristianitythese
schoolstookonaspectswhichwereantagonistictoChristiandoctrine.Intheearlychurch,
hereticswereseentobeoutsidethechurchandthreateningthechurch.Irenaus(fl.180200)
althoughhedependsonearlierwriters,notablyJustinMartyr,givesusourfirstevidencefor
howthedevelopingGreatChurch(orearlyCatholicism)attemptedtodefineheresy.Any
opinionsthatcontradictedorsubvertedtheapostolicfaithwereheretical.WhatIrenausmeans
byapostolicfaithisscriptureandtheruleoffaithItisonthisbasisthatIrenausrejectedthe
GnosticsandtheMarcionitesasheretics.Theymisusedscriptureandtheirviewscontradicted
theruleoffaith(Heresy,EEC,p.420).
A.Gnosticism:Dualistic,licentiousorascetic,twogodsordemiurges.Salvationisbythe
knowledgeofsecretmysteries.InChristianformitcameintoprominenceinthesecond
century.Valentinus,Basilides,andMarcionareprominentnamesof"Christian"gnosticsects.
Gnosisa"supposedlyrevealedknowledgeofGodandoftheoriginanddestinyofmankind,by
meansofwhichthespiritualelementinmancouldreceiveredemption.Thesourceofthis
specialgnosiswaseithertheapostles,fromwhomitwasderivedbyasecrettradition,orbya
directrevelationgiventothefounderofthesect.Gnosticteachingdistinguishedbetweenthe
"demiurge"or'creatorgod'andthesupreme,remoteunknowableDivineBeing.Fromthelatter
thedemiurgewasderivedbyaseriesofemanationsor'aeons'.Itwashewhowasthe
immediatesourceofcreationandrulestheworld.,whichwasthereforeimperfectand
antagonistictowhatwastrulyspiritual...asadivinebeingHe(Christ)neitherassumeda
properlyhumanbodynordied,buteithertemporarilyinhabitedahumanbeing,Jesus,or
assumedaphantasmalhumanappearance."(Gnosticism,TheConciseOxfordDictionaryofthe
ChristianChurch).
Irenausaddressedtheissueofsocalledsecretknowledgepasseddownfromtheapostlesin
thefollowingway.ThetraditionoftheApostlesthereforemanifestedintheentireworlditis
possibleforall,whowishtoseethetruth,tocontemplateclearlyineverychurchandwearein
apositiontoenumeratethosewhowerebytheapostlesinstitutedbishopsinthechurches,and
thesuccessionsofthesementoourowntimesthosewhoneithertaughtnorknewanythinglike
theravingsoftheheretics.Andif,infact,theapostleshadknownhiddenmysteries,whichthey
wereinthehabitofimpartingtotheperfectapartandprivilyfromtherest,theywouldhave
deliveredthemespeciallytothosetowhometheywerecommittingthechurchesthemselves.
Fortheyweredesiruosthatthesemenshouldbeveryperfectandblamelessinallthings
(IrenausinStevenson,ANewEusebius).
BMarcionism:WasthesonofabishopontheBlackSeainPontus.HewenttoRomeandwas
apresbyterthere,butwasexcommunicatedforhisdevelopingthegnosticheresyofacertain
Cerdo.TheMarcionitegnosticsectwasbasedinRomeandhisideasspreadfarandfast.
Marcionproducedanearly,truncatedcanon.HedivorcedtheOldtestamentfromtheNewand
excludedmanywritingsfromhisNewTestamentcanon.Hissystemwasdualistic,espousing
45
goodandevilasopposingequalforces.HeembracedmanyofthewritingsofPaulbutrejected
others.Heisistedthatthescriptureswehadreceivedwerecorrupted.
C.Manichaeism:AfterManes(c.217276)fromthecapitalofthePersianEmpire. Itwas
ChristianheresywithsimilaritiestoZoroastrianism.Itwasdualisticwithopposingforcesof
lightanddarkness,anditwasascetic.Celibacywasaformofperfection.Augustinewasalater
devoteeofthissectbeforehisconversiontotheCatholicfaith.
D.Modalism:Sabellianism(thirdcenturyRomantheologian)andPatripassianism,Thissystem
underseveralnamesisUnitarianism.Thereisnotrinityordistinctionofpersonsinthe
Godhead,onlymodesdifferingforms ofthesameGod.AtfirstitdealtonlywiththeFather
andSon.ThusthebeliefthattheFathersuffered(Patripassianism).Sabellianismwasaform
ofmodalismwhichincludedFather,SonandSpirit.InUnitarianismthereisnodistinctionof
thepersonsintheGodhead.
Sabellianism:Photinus,bishopofSirmiumandMarcellusofAncyra,to374,wereleadersof
thishereticalbelief.Theysuppressedthedistinctionofthepersonsofthetrinity.Thepersons
ofthetrinitywere"modes"ofthedivinebeing,notpersonsintheirownright.
E.Adoptionism:ThisisthebeliefthatJesuswasahumanbeinguniquelychosentoexercise
thefunctionorroleofdivinesovereigntyorSonship.Divinepower(personalorimpersonal)so
residedinJesusthathemayberegardedasauniquelyinspiredpersonlike,butfartransending
theOldtestamentprophetshisanointingbytheSpirit(whetherbybaptismbyJohnoratthe
momnetofconception)createdhisSonship,whichthusfallsinthesameclasswiththe
Christiansadoptivesonshipgivenatbaptism(LionelR.Wickman,AdoptionismEEC,p.
1213).ThissystemdeniedtheunityoftheTrinityandeventuallydeniedthedivinityofChrist,
sayingChristwasadopted.PaulofSamosatataughtamodalisticformofAdoptionismanddid
awaywiththeSonandHolySpirit(Hamell,p.58).
F.Montanism:Heterodox..ApolinarisofHierapolisisquotedbyEusebiusasfollows,There
(Mysia,Phrygia)theysay,oneofthosewhowasbutarecentconvert,Montanusinthe
excessivedesireof hissoultotakethelead,gavetheadversaryoccasionagainsthimself.So
thathewascarriedawayinspiritandwroughtupintoacertainkindoffrenzyandirregular
ecstasy,ravingandspeaking,andutteringstrangethings,andprocalimingwhatwascontraryto
theinstitutionsthathadprevailedinthechurch,ashandeddownandpreservedinsuccession
fromtheearliesttimes(Eusebius,EH,V,xvi).Montanismrevivedbeliefinandexperienceof
thegiftsoftheHolySpirit,particularlyprophecy.Falsepropheciesencouragingwomento
leavetheirhusbandsandtheimminentreturnofChristtoPhrygia(homeofMontanus)brought
thesectintodisrepute.PriscillaandMaximillaweretwofemaleaccomplicesofMontanusand
alsogavefalseprophecies.They wereaustereandforbiddigamy(secondmarriageafterthe
deathofaspouse).Tertullianwasthemostfamousadherentofthissect,thoughhelater
returnedtotheCatholicChurch.
G.Arianism:NamedforAriusapriestofAlexandria.HetaughtthattheSonwasacreated
being,madebytheFatherbeforethecreation.Hewassonbyadoption,thentheHolySpirit
46
wascreated.HewasresistedattheNicaeancouncil.AnArianpartyremainedinandoutofthe
churchfor55yearsafterNicaea.
H.Pneumatomachoi:MacedoniusofConstantinople(357,LetterstoSerapion).Theydenied
thedivinityoftheHolySpirit.Theirheresywascombatedatthesecondcouncil,
Constantinople.ThewritingsofBasiltheGreatofCaesareaofPontuswereinstrumentalin
establishingthedoctrineofthedivinityoftheHolySpirit.
I.Apollinarists:AfterApollinarisc.390,bishopofLaodicaea,Syria.Espousedanincomplete
humanityofChrist.ThedivineLogosreplacedthenaturalmind.
J.Pelagianism:Taughtagainsttheconceptoforiginalsin.Wearesinnersbychoiceandby
action,ratherthanbynature.ThewillunaidediscapableofobediencetoChrist'scommands.
HewasresistedbyAugustineandJerome.
Excursus:Apocryphalworks:(Hamell,p.49).Manyworkswerewrittenaboutorinthename
oftheapostlesbutwererejectedasspuriousbythepatrisitcchurch.Astothatworkwhichis
ascribedtohim,calledTheActs,andtheGospelaccordingtoPeter,andthatcalledThe
PreachingandRevelationsofPeter,weknownothingoftheirbeinghandeddownascatholic
writings(Eusebius,EH,III,iii).Someoftheotherrejecftedworkswerethegospelaccording
totheHebrews,Peter,Philip,Thomas,etc.ActsofPilate,ActsofPeterandPaul,ActsofPaul
andThecla.LettertotheLaodiceans,IICorinthians,ApocalypseofPeterandPaul,andothers.
Sources:
Eusebius,EcclesiasticalHistory.
Ferguson,EncyclopediaofEarlyChristianity.
Hamell,4650.
RalphP.Martin,GnosticMotifsinPaul,in NewTestamentFoundations:AGuideChristian
Students,vol.II,GrandRapids:Wm.B.EerdmansPublishingCo., 1978,p. 320325.
Quasten,p.106157,254277.
Schlier,TDNT,vol.I,haireomai,etc.Kittel,ed.,Bromiley,trans.p.180185.
47
IX.TheRiseofIslam
A.HistoricalBackground
B.BeliefsandPractices
C.Variants
D.TheSpreadofIslam
DoctrinalDifferencesbetweenIslamandChristianity
X.TheChurchUnderIslam
A.OrthodoxChurchesunderIslam
1.Restrictions
2.Permissions
48
XI.TheSchismbetweenOrthodoxyandCatholicism
Duringthefirsteightcenturiesofchurchhistory,therewasnoconceptofCatholicand
OrthodoxChurchesasseparateentities,thoughtheconceptofaGreekandLatinchurch
hadcomeintobeing. Therewasacatholicoruniversalchurch,ledbybishops
(patriarchs)ofapostolicchurches(churchesfoundedbyapostles).Certainstresses
enteredintothecommonlifeoftheeasternandwesternchurchwhichdevelopedovera
longperiodoftime.Theeventualresultwastheschismorsplitbetweentheeastern
(EasternOrthodox)andwestern(RomanCatholic)churches.Theultimatepartingofthe
waysistracedtotheyear1054(theresultofapapaldecreeofexcommunicationagainst
MichaelCerularius,patriarchofCopnstantinople)or1204(thesackingofConstantinople
bywesternCrusaders).Howdidtheone,holy,catholic,andapostolicchurchloseits
visibleunityandbecometwoseparate,estrangedentities?Mosthistorianseeitisalong
story.
A.ThedissolutionofthepoliticalunityoftheRomanEmpire
BythetimeofConstantine,theseatofpowerintheRomanEmpirewasmoving
eastward.TherehadlongbeeneasternandwesternadministrativedistrictsintheRoman
Empire.ThefoundingofConstantiopleontheBosporusintheeastledtoashiftof
politicalpowerawayfromthecityofRome.Withthedissolutionofthewesternempire
anditsdismembermentbybarbariantribesinthefifthcentury,Byzantium,theeastern
empire,gainedpolitical stabilityandascendancyoverthetroubledwest.Moreover,these
districtswereseparatedbyalanguagebarrier.LatinhadreplacedGreekasthelingua
francainthewest,buthadneverbecomethecommonlanguageoftheeast.
Theemperorintheeastremainedthedominantpersonality,evenintheaffairsofthe
church,continuingtocallcouncilsandapproveorevenappointthepatriarch(bishop)of
Constantinople.BycontrastthebishopofRome(pope)becamethedominant
ecclesiastical andcivilauthorityinthewest.Beyondthatthepopeclaimeduniversal
jurisdictionover,notonlythewesternchurches,butthechurchesoftheeastaswell.
WiththecrowningofCharlemagneonChristmasday800A.D.andthefoundingofthe
HolyRomanEmpire,theadministrativeunityoftheRomanEmpirewasfractured.The
popesroleinthecoronationemphasizedthesecularaswellasecclesiasticalpowerofthe
popewhicheasternbishopswerenotwillingtorecognize.
B.TheDissolutionoftheEcclesiasticalUnityoftheCatholicChurch.
Fromearliesttimes,thebishopofRomewasgivenaprimacyofhonorinthelifeofthe
CatholicChurch.Thiswasestablishedbytradition(lettersofClement,Ignatius,Irenaus),
bypractice(papalinterventioninthequartodecimancontroversy,papalrepresentationat
Nicea,Chalcedon,Leostome),andbycanonlaw(conciliardecisionsatNicea,
Constantinople,Sardica).However,adifferentunderstandingofprimacydeveloped
49
betweeneastandwest.Theeasttakingafirstamongequalsapproachwithbishopsof
patriarchalsees,asopposedtotheroleofdoctrinalandecclesiasticalprimacyclaimedby
thebishopofRome.
DistinctbeliefsinChristology,differingbeliefsaboutthepapacy,anddifferingliturgical
practicesarosebetweeneastandwest.Inparticular,thewesternuseofthefilioque inthe
NiceneCreed,differingpracticesregardingclericalcelibacy,anddistinctliturgical
practices(e.g.leavenedvs.unleavenedbread,theuseofan iconostasisintheliturgy,
viewsonicons),differingtheologicallanguagesandstyles,allcontributedtoadistinct
identityforthetwochurches.
C.TheRiseofIslam
TheriseandspreadoftheIslamicfaithwasmuchmoreofachallengeandconcernfor
theEasternChurchthantheWestern.LargeportionsoftheEasternChurch(Antioch,
Jerusalem,Caesarea,Damascus,Persia,Alexandria,allofNorthAfrica)quicklybecame
Muslimterritories.Christianswereminoritieswithlimitedrightsstrugglingforsurvival.
Papalclaimstouniversalecclesiasticalandtheologicaljurisdictionweremeaninglessto
churchesundertheauthorityofthecrescent.ByzantiumandConstantinopleitselffellto
theMuslimTurksinthe15
th
century(1453).LatersomeCatholicregionswouldalsofall
to thepoweroftheOttomanEmpire,asSpainhadfallentotheMuslimMoorsinearlier
times.
D.TurningPointsLeadingtoSchism
Inadditiontocausesalreadycited,severaleventsaretracedasprimarycausesofthe
greatschism.FirstisthePhotianschismof858,whenPopeNicholasdeposedPatriarch
PhotiusofConstantinoplegoingbeyondtherecognizedboundsofhisjurisdictioninthe
eyesoftheOrthodox..In800A.D.Charlemagnewascrownedasemperorofthewestern
Romanempire.TheestablishmentoftheHolyRomanEmpirewasconsidereda
usurpationofempiricalauthoritybythepope.Thentherewasthecontroversyoverthe
officialformofthecreed:
Thefilioque controversyseemstohaveoriginatedinthe
sixthcenturyVisigothicSpainwheretheArianheresywas
endemic.TheAriansclaimedthatthefirstandsecond
personsoftheTrinitywerenotcoeternalandequal.Inan
efforttoenforcetraditionaltheology,Spanishchurchmen
addedaphrasetotheNiceneCreed,exPatreFilioque,
which amendedtheoldformtostatethattheHolySpirit
proceededfromtheSonaswellastheFather.However,it
hadbeenagreedinthefourthcenturythatnochangeinthe
wordingoftheCreed,exceptbyconciliarconsent,was
possible(C.T.Marshall,Schism,TheGreat,in
EvangelicalDictionaryofTheology,WalterElwell,ed.).
50
This,alongwiththeclaimtouniquePetrineauthoritybythepope,wasaprimarysource
ofconflictbetweenthebishopofRomeandtheotherpatriarchates.Theseeventuallyled
totheexcommunicationofthepatriarchofConstantinoplebypapallegateCardinal
HumbertofSilvaCandidain1054.Thebreachwasdeepenedirreparablywhen
CrusadersfromthewestsackedConstantinoplein1204.
SomeEasternRitechurcheshavereturnedtounitywiththeRomanchurchby
acknowledgingthepopesauthoritywhilekeepingtheirdistinctiveeasternliturgiesand
discipline(e.g.marriedpriessts).ThesechurcheshavebeentermedasUniateandare
concentratedinUkraine,SlovakiaandRomania.Theyareconsideredaberantbythe
Orthodoxchurchesinthesecountries.
In1965,PopePaulVIliftedthebanofexcommunicationagainstMichaelCerularius.
(C.T.MarshalinEDT).TheroleofthebishopofRomeinthechurch,i.e.Petrine
authorityandpapalinfallibility(codifiedatVaticanCouncilIin1869)havebeenthe
primarysourceofcontentionbetweentheOrthodoxandCatholicChurches.
Sources:
KennethScottLautourette. TheHistoryofChristianity
C.T.Marshall,Schism,TheGreat,in EvangelicalDictionaryof
Theology,WalterElwell,ed.GrandRapids:BakerBook
House,pp.9801.
PhilipMeyer,Constantinople,in TheNewSchaffHerzogencyclopediaofReligious
Knowledge,vol.III,S.M.Jackson,ed.GrandRapids:BakerBookHouse,1950.
JaroslavPelikan.TheGrowthofMedievalTheology,Vol.3in TheChristiqnTradition:A
HistoryoftheDevelopmentofDoctrine.Chicago:TheUniversityofChicago
Press,1978.
TimothyWare.TheOrthodoxChurch.NewYork:PenguinBooks,1963
FriedrichWiegand,Crusadesin TheNewSchaffHerzogencyclopediaofReligious
Knowledge,vol.III,S.M.Jackson,ed.GrandRapids:BakerBookHouse,1950.
51
XII.TheCrusades
A.TheRationalefortheCrusades
SincethetimeofConstantinetheemperorspracticeofinterveninginchurchaffairshad
becomeanestablishedpattern.Inparticular,theemperorsinterventionintheDonatist
controversyestablishedaprecedent.AugustineofHippoapprovedtheusesecularpower
tobringDonatistsintotheCatholicfold. Thiswouldlateraffectthedevelopmentofthe
Crusadingspirit.
AftertheriseofIslam,largeareasofformerlyChristianterritoriescameunderthecontrol
ofMuslimleaderswithastoundingrapidity.Inparticular,theplacesintheHolyLand
sacredtoChristianscameunderIslamiccontrol.ForcenturiesChristianshadbeen
makingpilgrimagetoholysitesunderthedominionofMuslimpowers.Ostensibly,the
Crusadeswereareligious/militarycampaigntofreetheHolyLandanditssacredsites
fromcontroloftheinfidel.
Firstofallinthemindsofmanywastherescuefromthe
MoslemoftheplacesinPalestine,especiallyJerusalem,
whichweresacredtotheChristian.ForcenturiesChristians
fromtheWestlikethoseofotherregions,hadbeenmaking
themthegoalofpiouspilgrimages.Tobringtheminto
Christianhandsandkeepthemwasostensiblythechief
objectiveoftheCrusades.
Anotherphaseofthereligiousmotivewastheprotectionof
theByzantineEmpireagainsttheMoslemTurks.Aswe
havesaid,theTurkswerethreateningthishistoricbulwark
ofChristendom.TheByzantineEmperorsappealedtothe
ChristiansoftheWestforassistanceandthePopeswere
disposedtogiveit.
Intimatelyrelatedtothissecondreligiousmotivewasa
third, thedesireofthePopestohealthebreachbetweenthe
WesternandEasternwingsoftheCatholicChurchandto
restoreunity(Latourette,p.409).
B.TheExtentoftheCrusades
TheCrusadeswerepreachedbyChristianleadersbeginningwithPopeUrbanIIin1096.
ThefirstCrusadewassuccessfulinregainingsectionsoftheMiddleEastandPalestine
andestablishingaChristiankingdomintheregion.TherewereseveralotherCrusades
totheregionwhichdidnotrepeatthemilitarysuccessofthisfirstCrusade.Overthenext
hundredyearswavesofCrusadersleftfortheHolyLandorotherMuslimcontrolled
52
destinations.Theireffortsmetwithmixedsuccess.TheChristiankingdominPalestine
lastedlessthanacentury.TragicallyforChrisitanunity,aCrusadeagainstEgyptwas
divertedtoConstantinopleleadingtotheinfamoussackofthiscenterofeastern
Christendom.Eventoday,EasternOrthodoxChristianswillmakementionofstolen
ByzantineartworkdatingtothisperiodlaterfoundintheWest.Therewasevena
childrensCrusade.TheCrusadingspiritgaverisetomilitarymonasticorderssuchas
theKnightsTemplarandKnightsHospitallars.LaterCrusadesturnedfromfightingthe
Muslimtofightingagainstheretics.Thesetooktheformof suppressingEuropean
heresiesbyforce,includingsomepreProtestantsects.Themostinfamousformofthis
forcefulsuppressionofheresywastheInquisition,aCrusadeagainsttheChristianand
nonChristianheresiesoftheday.
C.TheResultoftheCrusades
TheCrusadesbroughtWesternCatholicandMuslimcivilizationsintocontactwitheach
other.WesternersbenefitedfromthepreservationofancientGreektextsandadvanced
mathematicalsystemsemployedbytheMuslimsinthisera.Thiscontactlaidthe
groundworkforthelaterRenaissance.Tothisday,theillfatedsackofConstantinople
poisonsrelationsbetweenOrthodoxandCatholic.Inaddition,MuslimChristian
relationshavebeenpermanentlytarnishedbytheCrusades.Eventoday,western military
interventioninMuslimlandsisseenbymanyMuslimsasacontinuationoftheCrusader
spirit.
Sources:
JohnClare,TheCrusadesin EerdmansHandbooktotheHistoryofChristianity,Tim
Dowley,ed.GrandRapids:EerdmansPublishingCo.,1977.
KennethScottLautourette. TheHistoryofChristianity.NewYork:HarperandRow
Publishers,1953.
PhilipMeyer,Constantinople,in TheNewSchaffHerzogencyclopediaofReligious
Knowledge,vol.III,S.M.Jackson,ed.GrandRapids:BakerBookHouse,1950.
JaroslavPelikan.TheGrowthofMedievalTheology,Vol.3in TheChristiqnTradition:A
HistoryoftheDevelopmentofDoctrine.Chicago:TheUniversityofChicago
Press,1978.
TimothyWare.TheOrthodoxChurch.NewYork:PenguinBooks,1963
FriedrichWiegand,Crusadesin TheNewSchaffHerzogencyclopediaofReligious
Knowledge,vol.III,S.M.Jackson,ed.GrandRapids:BakerBookHouse,1950.
53
XIII.Catholicism,Orthodoxy,andIslamContrastedwithEvangelical
Protestantism:DebtsandDifferences
Asweveseen,abedrockofCatholicismandOrthodoxyisthebeliefinandpracticeof
apostolicsuccession.Thispractice,seeminglyessentialbeforetheestablishmentofthe
NewTestamentcanonisalsoasourceoffundamentaldifferencebetweentheCatholic
andProtestantsystemswiththenotableexceptionofAnglicanism.Apostolicsuccession
preservedtheearlychurchfromheresy,maintaineddoctrinalorthodoxyandameasureof
unityinthechurchwhichalsoledtotheformation/recognitionoftheNewTestament
canon afoundationofProtestantfaithandpractice.Remarkablehistories,
martyrologies,anddoctrinaltreatiseswrittenbypassionateanddedicatedloversofChrist
comedowntousfromtheearlychurch.Evangelicalsareindebtedtothechurchforthis
legacy.
Thetraditionsofthechurchwouldbeconsideredahelpandahindrancebymost
evangelicals.Thehindranceswouldincludetheexaltationofmartyrs,thetendencyto
ascribemerittodeceasedsaints,andtheecclesiasticalsystem bequeathedtothechurch:
Theroleofapostolicsuccession ourdebts(preservationofapostolicdoctrine
andthecanon)
Theroleoftradition ourdebts(Thecreeds,martyrs,patristicwritings)
Theroleofthesacraments(asopposedtojustificationbyfaith)debts
(Doctrinesofgrace)
Eschatology(prayertothesaints,forthedead,meritsofmartyrs)
Thenatureofthechurch
Thearts DebtsOrthodoxdoctrineofTheosis,Muslimarchitecture)
MuslimcultureGodandState/Artandarchitecture/medievalIslam,science,
math,therenaissance,hospitality,morality..Differences:Jesus,Bible,Core
beliefs
Ourevangelisticcommitments thefaith,conversion,presence,
compassion,example,word.
54
TheDevelopmentofEcclesiasticalOfficeandPastoralMinistryintheChurchofthe
FirstSixCenturies:
ASurveyofKeyIssues
I.Ministry:CharismorOffice?
Whenwespeakofministryinthechurchweaddresssomethingviewedverydifferently
byCatholicsandProtestants.Yetbothgroupstracetheoriginoftheirbeliefsabout
ministrytotheBibleandtheNewTestament.Protestantswithanemphasisonthe
priesthoodofbelieverstendtodeemphasizethemediatorialnatureofthechurch's
ministers.Theconciliarchurchesemphasizeagreaterclergy/laitydistinction.
Thegoalofthiscourseistotraceconceptsofministrytotheirbiblicalroots.Boththe
OldandNewTestamentconceptsofministryareexamined,andthenthedevelopmentof
churchministryrolesareexploredthroughthePatristicperiodoftheChurch.
OurprimaryareasoffocuswillbetheNTconceptofministrycharismaticversus
officialauthorityinthechurchordination itsmeaningandritesofficialposition
versusspiritualpowerdevelopmentof theclerus/lausdichotomy.
Thecourseexaminesthesacralfunctionsofchurchofficers,e.g.aspectsofthe
sacramentalsystemthenatureofchurchofficeasexperiencedinthepatristicchurch
withspecialemphasisonthedevelopmentofthemajororders bishop,elder,
deacon/nesstheestablishmentofvariousordersasreflectedinwrittenchurchtraditions
andcanonlawandabriefsurveyofpastoraltheologyfromthefourthcenturyon.
Oneofouroverarchingquestionswillbe,"Isministrycharismaticgift,officialposition,
orboth?"Asecondquestionwillbe,"Howdidtheconceptofministryorchurchoffice
developthroughthepatristicera?"
"Ineverycultureandinallageshumansocietyhasknownthetensionbetweenthe
positionassignedtoamanandtheabilitywhichtheman'sowninnerresourcesallowhim
todisplay.Theformerenduesallthathedoeswiththeforceoflawandofthe
commissionwhichstandsbehindhimthelatterbestowsonhimasapersonimmediate
credibility,andistheconvincingjustificationofhisclaims.Onlyrarelyarethesetwo
thingsentirelydivorced.Themanofgiftsclaimsapositioncommensuratewiththose
giftsthemanwithpositionisobligedtotrytofillit.Adisproportionateemphasison
oneof theseelementsattheexpenseoftheotherusuallyindicatesastrainedand
disturbedsituationonthevergeofconflict,andthreatenedfromwithineitherby
revolutionorbyequallydrasticreaction.Iisaserioussymptom especiallyinsocieties
wherehighvalueisattachedtoofficewherethereisnothingmorebywayofauthority
towhichtoappealcanbemadethanthegivennessoftheofficeasaninstitutionand
whentheofficeholder(toborrowaphrasefromLichtrenburg)investshisofficewith
dignityonlytotheextenttowhichhehimselfisinvestedwiththedignitiesofoffice.But
eventhemanwithparticular'gifts',andinthatsenseaspecial'vocation',must
55
acknowledgetheprevailingorder,oratleastsomehigherorderandnorm,andbewilling
toserveit,ifheistowinmen'sconfidenceandnotmerelytocauseupheavaland
destruction.Theauthorityofofficeandthevalidityofpersonalendowmentcanbecome
adangertooneanotherbuttheyalsoexercisemutualattractionandsupport.
Thistwofoldlawappliesalsointhesphereofreligion."
(HansVonCampenhausen,EcclesiasticalAuthorityandSpiritualPowerintheChurchof
theFirstThreeCenturies,p.1).
Apreliminarytheoryofthedevelopmentofchurchofficeisproposedinthefollowing
outlinefromKevinGiles:
1.Anelementofpermanency
2.Somedegreeofrecognitionbythechurch.
3.Apositionsomewhatapartfromothermembersofthechurch
4.Paymentforservice.
5.Authorization.(Lettersofcommendationorspecificcommissioning,e.g.thelayingon
ofhands.)
6.Establishmentbylaw.(Thesecuringofthepositionbyecclesiasticalstature).
7.Thesacralizationoftheposition.(Priestlystatusgiventotheofficebearer.)
(FromKevinGiles,PatternsofMinistryAmongtheFirstChristians,Melbourne,
Australia:CollinsDove,1989.p.17)
II.MinistryascharismaticgiftintheNT.
A.AppointmentofApostles
Definition,ordination,expansionoftheoffice
"OneofthosedaysJesuswentouttoamountainsidetopray,andspentthenightpraying
toGod.Whenmorningcame,hecalledhisdisciplestohimandchosetwelveofthem,
whomhealsodesignatedapostles(apostolous):Simon(whomhenamedPeter),his
brotherAndrew,James,John,Philip....(Luke6:12ff,alsoMatt.10:2ff).
"Inmyformerbook,Theophilus,IwroteaboutallthatJesusbegantodoandtoteach
untilthedayhewastakenupintoheaven,aftergivinginstructionsthroughtheHoly
Spirittotheapostleshehadchosen"(Acts1:12).
"'Lord,youknoweveryone'sheart.Showuswhichofthesetwoyouhavechosentotake
overthisapostolicministry,whichJudaslefttogowherehebelongs.'Thentheycastlots,
andthelotfelltoMatthiassohewasaddedtotheelevenapostles"(Acts1:2426).
"Jesussaidtothem,'Itellyouthetruth,attherenewalofallthings,whentheSonofMan
sitsonhisgloriousthrone,youwhohavefollowedmewillalsositontwelvethrones,
judgingthetwelvetribesofIsrael'"(Matt.19:28).
56
"'AndItellyouthatyouarePeter,andonthisrockIwillbuildmychurch,andthegates
ofHadeswillnotovercomeit.Iwillgiveyouthekeysofthekingdomofheaven
whateveryoubindonearthwillbeboundinheaven,whateveryoulooseonearthwillbe
loosedin heaven'"(Matt.16:1819).
"Itellyouthetruth,whateveryoubindonearthwillbeboundinheaven,andwhatever
youlooseonearthwillbeloosedinheaven"(Matt.18:18).
Inthecontextofchurchdiscipline.
"Andwiththathebreathedonthemandsaid,'ReceivetheHolySpirit.Ifyouforgive
anyone'ssins,theyareforgivenifyoudonotforgivethem,theyarenotforgiven'"(John
20:2223).
B.Apostolic,prophetic,teachingministries,etc.
"AndinthechurchGodhasappointedfirstofall apostles,secondprophets,third
teachers,thenworkersofmiracles,alsothosehavinggiftsofhealing,thoseabletohelp
others,thosewithgiftsofadministration,andthosespeakingindifferentkindsof
tongues.Areallapostles?Areallprophets? Areallteachers?Doallworkmiracles?Do
allhavegiftsofhealing?Doallspeakintongues?Doallinterpret?Buteagerlydesire
thebestgifts"(ICor.12:2831).
"Itwashewhogavesometobeapostles,sometobeprophets,sometobeevangelists,
andsometobepastorsandteachers"(Eph.4:11).
"InthechurchatAntiochtherewereprophetsandteachers:Barnabas,Simeoncalled
Niger,LuciusofCyrene,Manaen(whohadbeenbroughtupwithHerodthetetrarch)and
Saul"(Acts13:1).
C.VarioustermsusedinPaulandotherNTsources
1.proistamenous(IThess.5:12,alsoRom.12:8),kopiontes(IThess.5:12),This
includesthepastoralfunctionofnouthetountas.Weseeacombinationoffunctionand
roleimplyinggiftedness,andcertainlypointingtoquasioffice.Thereisalsoacurrent
beliefthatthefirstproistamenoiwerehostsofhousechurches(seeespeciallyGiles,
chapter2,pp.27ff.)(CrispusandStephanus,ICor.1:1416Gaius,Rom.16:23Acts
18:8PriscaandAquila,ICor.16:19Rom.16:15Mark'smother,Acts12:12Lydia,
Acts16:1415,40).
2.hegoumenos(Heb.13:17),Leaderstowhomobedienceandsubmissionisowed,and
whohavethepastoralfunctionagrupnousin,andwhomustgiveaccounttoGod.
3.kuberneseis(ICor. 12:28)Leadingornavigating,i.e.guiding.
4. antilempseis(ICor.12:28)Helps,possiblyassistants.
5.hoiadelphoi (ICor.16:12Gal.1:2Phil4:21Col.1:2Acts20:4)
57
6.aparche(ICor.16:1517).These"firstfruits"aredevotedtotheservice(diakonian)of
thesaints.TheyaresunergountiandkopiontiwithPaul.Theyshouldreceivewilling
submission.
Itseemsthatministersinthechurcharerecognizedfortheirwillingnesstoserve,their
giftednessforsuchservice(aprocesswhichismutuallyconfirming)and,insomecases,
theirassociationwithapostolicministry.Theirdesiresandeffortstocarryoutthework,
coupledwithrecognitionendorsementconstitutetheirsemiofficialplacementor
"ordination"withinthecongregation.Thismaybeinconjunctionwithorinadditionto
theplacementofeldersinthecongregation(e.g.Acts14,Titus1).Atthispointthe
conceptofofficeisveryfluidand"charismatic"innature.Thatis,thosewhoaregifted
anddevotedareconsideredworthyofrecognition.Thoseinthechurchappointedto
judge(ICor.6:4),andthespiritual(Gal.6:1ff)eventuallybecomepeoplewhooccupy
officeinthechurch.Somescholarsendorsetheideathattheearlyleadersin
congregationswerethehostsof thechurchthatis,theheadsofhouseswherethechurch
met.Myobjectiontothisisthatthecharismofleadingthenbecomestiedtowealth
sufficienttobeapatronofthechurch.
BibliographyforSectionII:
Ellis,E.E."PaulandHisCoWorkers."NewTestamentStudies17(1971),pp.43752.
Eusebius.EcclesiasticalHistory.GrandRapids:BakerBookHouse,1955.
Ferguson,Everett,ed. EncyclopediaofEarlyChristianity.NewYork:Garland
Publishing Co.,1990.
Giles,Kevin.PatternsofMinistryAmongtheFirstChristians.Melbourne,Australia:
CollinsDove,1989.
Lemaire,Andre."FromServicetoMinistries:'Diakonia'intheFirstTwoCenturies."
Concilium80(1972),pp.3549.
Moody,Dale."CharismaticandOfficialMinistries,"Interpretation19(1965),pp.168
81.
vonCampenhausen,Hans.EcclesiasticalAuthorityandSpiritualPowerintheChurchof
theFirstThreeCenturies.A.J.Baker,trans.London:AandCBlack,1969.
Wace,Henry,andWilliamC.Piercy,eds.ADictionaryofChristianBiography.
Peabody,MA:HendricksonPublishers,1994.
III.MinistryasAppointedOfficeintheNT
A.ChurchOfficeintheNewTestament
1.Elder,presbuteros:Comparativeofold.Thisworddoesnotcontainthenegative
elementsconcerningagesuchaspalaios,butratherindicatesdignityandrespectability
theconceptofhonoringage.InclassicalandHellenisticliteratureapresbytercanbethe
presidentofacollege,andthewordisusedinnumerousjudicialandgoverningfunctions
inHellenism.Usuallyitindicatesagrouporcollegeofelderswhoserveasjudgesor
58
governors,oftenresponsibleforthefinancesanddecisionmakingofanorganization.
Eldercanbeusedasatermforage,butalso,andforourpurposesespecially,foroffice.
IntheOT,theconceptofelderhasalonghistory.PresbuterosistheLXXtranslationfor
theHebrewzaqayn.TheconceptisfoundinnumerouspassagessuchasNum.11:6.
(OtherexamplesareDeut.12:23Jos.7:6Ju.2:7IKings8:1).Theyseemtooperate
independentlyfromthekings,prophetsandjudges.
IntheNTeldersarefoundintheJerusalemchurchfunctioningalongsidetheapostles.
ThisisespeciallyevidentinthesectionontheJerusalemCouncil(Acts15:4).Pauland
Barnabasordainedelderstogiveleadershiptotheirchurchestotheendoftheirfirst
missiontrip.PaulsummonedtheeldersfromEphesus(Acts20:20)andclearlydefined
thenatureoftheirworkandmannerinwhichtheywereraisedup,emphasizingtheir
accountabilitytoGod.Theirworkwaspastoral(poimnein),governmental,anddoctrinal
(implied).
Peter,theapostlereferstohimselfasasumpresbuterion,andequatestheelderswork
withthatofashepherdthroughdirectinference(IPeter5:14).Hereferstospecific
temptationsofeldersaslustforpower,greedandmechanicalfulfillmentofduties.These
indicatethateldershadpoweroverfunds,orwerepaidfortheirwork.Theyalsohada
governingfunctionwithinthecongregationthusthewarningaboutmisuseoftheir
authority.Finally,officecarriedwithitnoguaranteeofspiritualzeal.Notethecontrast
inverse5withbetweentheconceptofofficeandagei.e."Youyoungeronessubmitto
theelderones,etc."
EldersintheNTwereconsideredworthyofdoublehonor(diplestimes),particularly
thosewhoruledwell(proestotes)andlabored(kopiontes)inwordanddoctrine.This
passageseemstoindicatethatoneormoreelderscoulddistinguishthemselvesandbe
consideredworthyofcompensationandperhapsaspecialplaceofrecognitionandhonor
inthecongregation.Itispossiblethatweseeheretheseedoftheconceptofanoffice
distinctfromandsuperiortothatofotherelders.Thisofficewouldpossiblybeheldby
oneindividualwithinthecongregation.
James5:1416indicatesthattheeldersactinginunisonpossessthecharismaticgiftsof
faithandhealing."Isanyoneofyousick?Heshouldcalltheeldersofthechurchtopray
overhimandanointhimwithoilinthenameoftheLord.Andtheprayerofferedinfaith
willmakethesickpersonwelltheLordwillraisehimup.Ifhehassinnedhewillbe
forgiven.Thereforeconfess(exomologeisthe)yoursinstoeachotherandprayforeach
othersothatyoumaybehealed. Theprayerofarighteousmanispowerfuland
effective"(James5:1416).Anelementofsacramentalismisseenhere,including
exomologesisandanointingofthesick,bothincludingthepowerto"loose"fromthe
bondsofsin.
Titus1seemsclearlytoequatetheofficeofbishopandelder.Thelistofqualificationsis
verysimilartothatofITim.3fortheepiskopes.Itisinterestingtonotethatthe
59
episkopesinITimothyisanofficewhichcanbedesired.Againtheideaofwillingness,
desireandgiftednesscometothefore.
Summary:Ingeneral,elderisanofficepossessingalonghistoryandrecognizedin
JudaismaswellastheclassicalHellenisticworld.Thetermcanrefertoage,butforour
purposesismoreoftenusedforoffice.ItearlymakesitsappearanceintheNT.ItsNT
useseemsverysimilartothatfoundinJudaismi.e.pluralitywithresponsibilityfor
guidingandmanagingtheaffairsofthelocalassembly.Someelementofsacerdotalism
(sacredfunctionsreservedtotheelders)isevidenteveninNTsources.
2.Bishop,episkopos:ThistermanditsderivativesinclassicalGreekcarrythemeaning,
"Tolookupon,toconsider,tohaveregardtosomeoneorsomething."Itcanmean"to
inspect,"andinareligioussense"tolookgraciouslyupon,tocarefor,ortowatchover"
or"toexamine,tosubmittoinvestigation"also,"tovisit,"asinvisitingthesick.Inthe
LXXitisusedtotranslatewordswhichindicate"toinvestigate,tosearch,tofindout
aboutsomething,tocareforsomething."WhenusedintheLXXinreferencetoYahweh,
"tovisit,"maymeaninblessingorjudgment(Zech.10:3).Italsomaymeantoappoint.
(Jer.6:15,10:15,orIs.10:3).ItcarriesthesenseofofficeinNum.4:16.
InrabbinicJudaismthetermcarriesthepastoralandcharitableconceptofvisitingthe
sick,caringforthepoor,helpingthenewlymarriedpoor,comfortingthesorrowingand
attendingfunerals.Jesususesthetermtodescribevisitingthesickandinprison.
IntheNTitcarriesthemeaningof"beingconcernedaboutsomeoneorsomething."(See
Acts15:36Heb.12:4Luke1).EpiscopateasofficeisseeninActs1:16andITim.3.
Theofficesofbishop,elderandpastorareshowntobeinterchangeableinAct20:20ff.,
andIPeter5:14.Laterdevelopmentscontributetotheseparationoftheoffices.
ThisofficeisassociatedwithaGreektermsforofficeholdersandisbelievedbysometo
especiallydesignatespiritualofficeinHellenisticcongregations.Stillothersseethe
officeofbishop(episkopos)toberelatedtothemebaqqerofthesynagogueasfoundin
theDamascusDocument.Thisofficer(archisunagogos)wasgiventheresponsibilityto
directtheworshipofthesynagogue,inconjunctionwithhisassistants,whofunctionedin
asimilarveinastheNTdeacons.Thesefunctionedalongsidetheeldershipofthe
synagogue.Itispossiblethatthedistinctofficeofbishopcanbetracedtothisofficein
Judaismanditmayexplainthehistoricalconnectionbetweenthecooperativerelationship
betweentheofficeofbishopandtheofficeofdeacon.Thedeaconassistingthebishopin
theexecutionofhisoversight(Phil.1:1ff).
3.Pastor,poimen:Inancientusage,thetermwasuseddescriptivelyofleadersofnations,
kings,etc.IntheOTitisusedofYahweh(Is.40:11),especiallyinPs.23.Ez.34,Jer.
3:15and23:4refertotheshepherdsofIsrael,thespiritualleaders.IntheNTJesus
referstohimselfastheGoodShepherd.HeisreferredtoasshepherdinIPeter2:25,
linkingtheshepherdimagewithbishop,IPeter5:4(Chiefshepherd),andHeb.13:20
(thegreatshepherd).Theimageoftheshepherdreferstoprotection,care,dedication,and
feeding(inaspiritualsense).
60
TheofficeofshepherdismentionedonlyonceintheNT(Eph.4:11).However,
shepherdingactivityismentionedinnumerousplaces,especiallyinconjunctionwiththe
officeofelderorbishop(Acts20:20IPeter5:2).Thereissomeconjecturethatthefive
foldministryisreallythefourfoldministry,linkingtheofficeofpastorandteacher.The
NTdescriptionofthecharismaticgiftingofshepherdwouldimplyaministryofpersonal
relationship,personalcareorcounseling,protectionfromspiritualharm,suchasfalse
doctrineormovements,andteachingofsounddoctrine.ThepeopleofGod,inturn,are
oftenreferredtoastheflock(IPeter2:25John10:16).
4.Deacon,Deaconess,diakoneo:isoneofmanytermsindicatingtheconceptofservice.
Thiswordmostcloselymeansaserviceoflove.Inclassicalusageitmeans"toprovide
orcarefor."Intheclassicalworldservicewasalwaysaninferioranddemeaning
positionInJudaismitmostnearlymeans"towaitattable,"ormorewidely,"to
supervisethemeal." Paulhadassistantswhoperformeddiaconalservicetohim(Acts
19:22,Phlm.13).Eventuallyallministrycouldbeseenasaformofdiakonia(ICor.
12:4).
DiakonosasofficeismentionedinconjunctionwiththebishopinITim.3:1ff.The
officeofdeaconessisalsomentioned,orpossiblythedeacon'swife.Phoebeof
CenchraeaismentionedasadeaconessinRom.16:1.Inaddition,anofficeofwidowis
apparentlymentionedinITim.5.(ReviewLuke2,Anna,Acts9,Dorcas).
5.Priest,hierus:ComesfromtheHebrewkun(Latercohayn)meaningtostandbefore.
Thusastandingbeforegodtominister(inbehalfofmen).Thisincludesasacerdotaland
mediatorialfunction.PriesthoodiswelldevelopedintheOT.IntheNTchurchtheterm
isvirtuallyneglected.Itisneverusedasatermforoffice,exceptconcerningJesus.Heb.
5:1,7:25,7:1114Tim2:5.BelieversarecalledapriesthoodinIPeter2:5Rev.1:6
5:1020:6.SomereferencestakenfromEx.19:6.Itisafterthefirstcenturythatthe
conceptofthepriestlynatureofspiritualofficeisemphasized.Thebishopbecomes
authorizerofthesacraments(Ignatius,et.al.)andthemediatorofforgiveness(esp.
Cyprian)inarightassociatedwithexomologesis.ThusNTcitationsrelatingtothekeys
becomeimportant.BythethirdcenturyaclearlypriestlyschemecitingtheOThas
developed.
61
B.AppointmenttoOffice(Ordination)intheNT:TheMeaningandPurpose
ofOrdination.
1.OTantecedents:Joshua,Num.27:1520,23Deut. 34:9
David,ISam.16:1213.
2.NTExamples
a.Recognition(Publiccitation,lettersofcommendation):ICor.16:1516ICor.16:3
Rom.16:1ff.Col.4:10IICor.3:13.ThelatterverseindicatingthatPaul'sministry
wasvindicatedbythefruititbore(refertoNumbers17).Apparentlytherewasapower
struggleofsortsintheCorinthianchurch,andtheauthenticityofPaul'sministrywas
calledintoquestion.Thisbecameaprimaryreasonforrecognizedordainedministryin
thefuture(e.g.IClement).
b.Cheirotonein:Tochoosebystretchingoutthehand.Impliesaprocessofselection.(II
Cor.8:19,Acts14:23)Thelatterexamplemorefullycarriesthemeaningofordination.
Wassomesortofselectionorrecognitionprocessinvolved,orsimplyanappointmentas
inTitus1:5?
c.Epitithenaitascheiras:layingonofhands."D.Daubearguesthatbehindtheone
expression,'thelayingonofhands",lietwoHebrewtermsconveyingdifferentideas.
Thereisfirstsamak,'toleanone'shanduponsomeoneorsomething'.Theideahereis
thatbypressinginthiswayuponapersonoranimalinthiswayyouwerepouringyour
personalityintohimoritorinotherwords,youweremakinghimoritintoyour
substitute'.Secondthereissimorshith,toplaceone'shands,whichisusedwhen
blessingisconferredandthemainelementistouch."Daubemaintainsthatsamakis
commissioning,sim/sithassociatedwithhealing(Giles,p.185).NewTestament(Acts
6:6Acts13:3ITim.4:141:1819IITim.1:6,13142:1ff.Inthecaseoftheordination
oftheseventhereisaprocessofselection(Acts6:3,5)ratherthanmereappointmentby
theapostles.
3.Sacramentalcharacter:ITim.4:141:1819IITim.1:6,13142:1ff.Theordination
ofTimothyresemblesrabbinicpractice(StudyofLiturgy,p.297).Timothyisalso
urgedto"protectthedeposit,andcommitittofaithfulmen."theconceptofreliable
preservationofthetraditionthroughtrusted(andordained)menisfoundationaltothe
conceptofapostolicsuccessionandbeliefinthepurity,correctnessandreliabilityofthe
bishop'soffice.Thustruthlaterbecomesembodiedinanoffice,andbyimplicationand
practice,intheofficeholder,i.ethebishopwhoissuccessoroftheapostlesthrough
ordination.AgiftisnotonlyrecognizedbutactuallyimpartedinthePastoralaccountof
ordination.Isthisanindelibleimpartationofvocation?Recognitionorimpartation?
4.Laterdevelopments
a.Theriteofordination (Whocanperform)
62
i.Biblicalmodels:Apostolicordination,orapostolicdelegates.(Acts6Act14Titus1).
Istheresuchathingasselfordinationorselfappointment?ThecaseofApollos.
ii.Historicalmodels:
Clementchapters4044
Apostolicsuccession,duration(permanentoffice?),anindeliblegiftornatureimparted?
"AndourapostlesknewthroughtheLordJesusChristthattherewouldbestrifeoverthe
nameofthebishop'soffice.Forthiscausetherefore,havingreceivedcomplete
foreknowledge,theyappointedtheaforesaidpersonsandafterwards,theyprovideda
continuance,thatiftheseshouldfallasleep,otherapprovedmenshouldsucceedtotheir
ministration."(Lightfoot,p.32,Clement,ch.44)
Canonlawre:methodology:
"Itisby allmeansproperthatabishopshouldbeappointedbyallthebishopsinthe
provincebutshouldthisbedifficult,eitheronaccountofurgentnecessityorbecauseof
distance,threeatleastshouldmeettogether,andthesuffragesoftheabsent(bishops)also
beinggivenandcommunicatedinwriting,thentheordinationshouldtakeplace.butin
everyprovincetheratificationofwhatisdoneshouldbelefttotheMetropolitan(Canon
iv,Nicea)
"Thatifanybishopbedeposedbythesentenceoftheseneighboringbishops,andassert
thathehasfreshmatterindefense,anewbishopshallnotbesettledinhissee,unlessthe
bishopofRomejudgeandrenderadecisionastothis."(Canoniv,Sardica,3434)
Riseofsacerdotalism:EucharisticprayerinDidacheseparatefromagapefeast.InJustin
thePresidentoftheassembly,orbishopoffersprayerfortheelements.
Presentdayinterpreation:
"ThereforethereexistsasingleChurchofChristwhichsubsistsintheCatholicChurch,
governedbythesuccessorofPeterandbytheBishopsincommunionwithhim.The
churcheswhich,whilenotexistinginperfectcommunionwiththeCatholicChurch,
remainunitedtoherbythecloesestbonds,thatis,byapostolicsuccessionandavalid
EucharistaretrueparticualrChurches.ThereforentheChurchofChristispresentand
operativealsointheseChurches,eventhoughtheylackfullcommunionwiththe
CatholicChurch,sincetheydonotaccepttheCatholicdoctrineofthePrimacy,which,
accordingtothewillofGod,theBishopofRomeobjectivelyhasandexercisesoverrthe
entireChurch.
Ontheotherhand,theecclesialcommunitieswhichhavenotpreservedthevalid
EpiscopateandthegenuineandintegralsubstanceoftheEucharisticmystery,arenot
Churchesin thepropersense.however,thiosewhoarebaptizedinthesecommunitiesare,
byBaptism,incorporatedinChristandthusareinacertaincommunion,albeitimperfect,
withtheChurch.Baptisminfacttendspersetowardthefulldevelopmentoflifein
Christ,throughtheintegralprofessionoffaith,theEucharist,andfullcommunioninthe
church....Therefore,theseseparatedChurchesarecommunitiesassuch,thoughwe
63
beleivetheysufferfromdefects...FortheSpiritofChristhasnotrefrainedfromusing
themasmeamsofsalvationwhichderivetheirefficacyfromtheveryfullnessofgrace
andtruthentrustedtotheCatholicChurch."(Declaration"DominusIesus"ontheUnicity
andSalvificUniversalityofJesusChristandtheChurch,section17).
5.Excursus:TheoriesofAuthority(fromWeber)
a.Rationalgrounds:restingonthebeliefinthelegalityofenactedrulesandtherightof
thoseelevatedtoauthorityundersuchrulestoissuecommands(legalauthority).
b.Traditionalgrounds:restingon anestablishedbeliefinthesanctityofimmemorial
traditionsandthelegitimacyofthoseexercisingauthorityunderthem(traditional
authority)or
c.Charismaticgrounds:restingondevotiontotheexceptionalsanctity,heroismor
exemplarycharacter ofanindividualperson,andofthenormativepatternsororder
revealedorordainedbyhim(charismaticauthority).
(AlloftheabovefromGiles,PatternsofMinistryAmongtheFirstChristians,p.176).
BibliographyforSectionIII:
Beyer,HermannW."Diakoneo,Diakonia,diakonos,"In TheologicalDictionaryofthe
NewTestament,vol.ii.GerhardKittel,ed.,GeoffreyW.Bromiley,trans.Grand
Rapids:Eerdmans,1964.pp.8193.HereafterreferredtoasTDNT.
_______________."Episkepeptomai,episkopeo,episkope,episkopos,allotriepiskopos,"
in TDNT,vol.ii.pp.599622.
Bornkamm,Gunther."Presbus,presbuteros,presbutes,sumpresbuteros,presbyterion,
presbeuo,"in TDNT,vol.vi.pp.651683.
Cox,GeoffreyS.R."TheEmergingOrganizationof theChurchintheNewTestament
andtheLimitationsImposedThereon."EvangelicalQuarterly38(1966)pp.22
39.
Fee,G.D."PriestintheNewTestament."ZPEB,voliv.pp.84852.
Feinberg,C.L."PriestsandLevite."ZPEB,vol.iv,pp.85267.
Jeremias,Joachim."Poimen,archipoimen,poimaino,poimen,poimnion,"in TDNT,in
volvi.pp.485502.
Jones,Cheslyn,GeoffreyWainwrifgt,EdwardYarnold,eds."Ordination,"in TheStudy
ofLiturgy. NewYork:OxfordUniversityPress,1978.pp.289349.
Rengstorf,KarlHeinrich."Apostello(pempo),exapostello,apostolos,pseudapostolos,
apostole"in TDNT,vol.i.pp.398447.
64
IV.ChurchOfficeintheSecondandThirdCenturies.
A.SurveyofSources
1.ApostolicFathers
a.Didache
"AppointforyourselvesthereforebishopsanddeaconsworthyoftheLord,menwhoare
meekandnotloversofmoneyandtrueandapprovedforuntoyoutheyalsoperformthe
serviceoftheprophetsandteachers.Thereforedespisethemnotfortheyareyour
honorablemenalongwiththeprophetsandteachers"(Lightfoot,p.128).
b.Clement
"AndtheapostlesknewthroughOurLordJesusChristthattherewouldbestrifeoverthe
nameofthebishop'soffice.Forthiscausetherefore,havingreceivedcomplete
foreknowledge,theyappointedtheaforesaidpersons,andafterwardtheyprovideda
continuance,thatiftheseshouldfallasleep,otherapprovedmenshouldsucceedtotheir
ministration.Those,thereforewhowereappointedbythem,orafterwardbyothermenof
reputewiththeconsentofthewholechurch,andhaveministeredunblamablytotheflock
ofChristwithlowlinessofmind,peaceablyandwithallmodesty,andforlongtimehave
bornagoodreportwithall thesemenweconsidertobeunjustlythrownoutfromtheir
ministration"(Lightfoot,p.32).
c.IgnatiusofAntioch
Monarchicalepiscopate:
"Iadviseyou,bezealoustodoallthingsingodlyconcord,thebishoppresidingafterthe
likenessofGod,andthepresbytersafterthelikenessofthecounciloftheApostleswith
thedeaconswhoaremostdeartome...
Lettherebenothingamongyouwhichshallhavepowertodivideyou,butbeyeunited
withthebishopandwiththemthatpresideoveryouasanensampleandalessonof
incorruptibility.
Therefore,astheLorddidnothingwithouttheFather...soneitherdoyeanything
withoutthebishopandthepresbyters."(Lightfoot,Magnesians,p.70).
"ForwhenyouareobedienttothebishopastoJesusChrist...thatyeshoulddonothing
withoutthebishopbutbeyeobedientalsotothepresbyteryastotheApostlesofJesus
Christourhope...
InlikemannerletallmenrespectthedeaconsasJesusChrist,evenastheyshould
respectthebishopasbeingatypeoftheFatherandthepresbytersasthecouncilofGod
andasthecollegeoftheApostles.Apartfromthesethreeisnoteventhenameofa
church."(Lightfoot,Trallians,p.73).
"Ispakewithaloudvoice,withGod'sownvoice,Giveyeheedtothebishopandthe
Presbyteryandthedeacons."(Philadelphians,p.801).
65
PrimacyofRome(p.75.intro.)
"Tothechurchthatisbelovedandenlightenedthroughthewillofhimwhowilledall
thingsthatare...evenuntoherthathaththepresidencyofthecountryoftheregionofthe
Romans.,beingworthyof God,worthyofhonor,worthyoffelicitation,worthyofpraise,
worthyofsuccess,worthyinpurity,andhavingthepresidencyoflove...(Lightfoot,
Romans,p.756).
Lightfoot,p.73,p.3Unityinbishopasguardagainstheresyandschism.
d.Polycarp,p.96,p.4(widows)p.97,p.5(virgins)
Evidenceofriseofcelibacy.
"OurwidowsmustbesobermindedastouchingthefaithoftheLord,making
intercessionwithoutceasingforallmen,abstainingfromallcalumny,evilspeaking,false
witness,loveofmoneyandeveryevilthing,knowingthattheyareGod'saltar.."
(Luke1,Acts9,ITim.5ICor.7)
2.Hegessipus(Eusebius)
Successionargumentascounterclaimtognostics.
3.Irenaeus
Successionascounterclaimtognostics.Establishedruleoffaith.1)Biblical,2)
Apostolic,3)Believedbyall,especiallychurchesestablishedbyapostles,especially
Romeasfinalarbiteroftruth.
4.Hippolytus,SyrianDidascalia(Bishopashighpriest)
5.Cyprian,themartyrsconfessors,penance
Thebishopalonepossessedthekeystoreadmitlapsedbelieversafterexomologesis.
Martyrconfessorswerenotpermittedtousurpthisfunctionunderthissystem.
B.DevelopmentofEpiscopalSees
Metropolitansbecamechiefbishopsovergivenregionsorprovincesbecausetheywere
bishopsinthechiefcities.Hesummonedcouncilsorsynods,oversawappointmentsto
vacantsees,exercisedjudicialanddisciplinarypower.Metropolitanscameintoexistence
beforeoratthetimeofNicea.Thetermissometimesappliedtotheoccupantsofthe
patriarchalsees.Thissimplyincreasedthehierarchicalnatureandstructureofchurch
government.Thearchbishopthuspossessedapostolicauthority.Thearchbishophad
authorityoverotherbishopsandespeciallyappliedtothebishopinthecityoftheseatof
synods.PatriarchinEpiphanius,late4thcenturycametobeappliedtobishopsofthe
mostprominentsees(the5mentionedincanoniii(?)ofNicea).Itwassometimes
appliedmorebroadlytoincludeanyimportantsee.
66
C.TheTheoryofRomanPrimacy:Canonvi,Niceadealswiththejurisdictional
prerogativesofMetropolitans,Alexandria,RomeandAntioch.Thewordingdoesnot
necessarilyindicatehierarchy.Canoniii,ConstantinoplegivestheConstantinopolitan
MetropolitanjurisdictionafterRome,"BecauseConstantinopleisNewRome."The
wordingindicatesorderofjurisdiction.InPatristicchurchtheordercametobeRome,
Constantinople,Alexandria,Antioch,Jerusalem.
D.Excursus:EpiscopalAuthorityinthePostConstantinianChurch:Afterthe
Constantinianera,thebishopbecameverymuchinvolvedincivilaffairsandoftenacted
asapatronorintercessorforparishionerswithcivilauthorities.The"publicnature"of
thebishopsofficehascontinuedtoeffecttheexecutionofthatofficeinRCandOrthodox
countriessincethattime.UnderMuslimruleitseemsthebishopoftenplayedtheroleof
ethnarch,i.e.governorandrepresentativeofhisethnicgroup,thuscausingreligionand
ethnicitytobeverycloselyentwined.
BibliographyforSectionIV:
Burke,Patrick."TheMonarchicalEpiscopateattheEndoftheFirstCentury."Journalof
EcumenicalStudies7(Summer1970),pp.499518.
Chadwick,Henry."FaithandOrder,"in TheEarlyChurch.Middlesex,Eng.:Penguin
Books,1967.pp.3253.
Fuellenbach,John.EcclesiasticalOfficeandthePrimacyofRome.Washington,D.C.:
TheCatholicUniversityofAmericaPress,1980.
Hamell,PatrickJ.HandbookofPatrology.StatenIsland,NY:AlbaHouse,1968.
Jay,EricG."FromPresbyterBishopstoBishopsandPresbyters:Christian
Ministryin theSecondCentury:ASurvey."SecondCentury1,no.3(1981),pp.
12562.
Lightfoot,J.B. TheApostolicFathers.GrandRapids:BakerBookHouse,1956,rpt.
O'Meara,John,ed.AnAugustineReader.NewYork:ImageBooks,1973.
Paolucci,Henry,ed.ThePoliticalWritingsofSt.Augustine.Southbend,IN:Gateway
Editions,1962.
Schaff,PhilipandHenryWace,eds.TheSevenEcumenicalCouncilsin TheNiceneand
PostNiceneFathers,SecondSeries,vol.xiv.GrandRapids:WilliamB.
Eerdmans,1988rpt.
67
V.FormsofChurchGovernmentReflectedinPostReformationConfessions
A.Episcopal
B.Presbyterian
C.Congregational
Thesecategoriesandprinciplesaretheoretical.Infactsomechurchesmaybeahybridor
containelementsoftwoormoresystems.
V.PastoralCareinthePostNiceneChurch
A.ClassicalTextsonPastoralCare
1.GregoryNazianzus(329390)
a.LifeandCircumstances:In362hewrote"OnthePriesthood,"inresponsetohis
ordination,againsthiswilltothepriesthood.Thisworkisadefenseofhisfleeingand
returningaboutEaster362.HisfatherwasbishopofNazianzus.Heeventuallyhada
greatroleinreestablishingOrthodox(nonArian)ChristianityinConstantinople.
b.TheSecondOration:Thisishisdefenseofhisactionsandastatementofpastoral
theologywhichbecameamodelforChrysostum,andGregorytheGreat.Thushiswork
becameafoundationforlaterpatristicandmedievalpastoraltheology.
2.JohnChrysostum(344407)
a.LifeandCircumstances:Waselectedbishopin373,ranaway,thenwrotesixbookson
thepriesthoodashisdefense.PreachedfamouslyinAntiochfortwelveyears.Hewas
thennamedpatriarchofConstantinoplein397.Helivedtherethroughstormytimesand
diedwhileretreatingintoexilein407.
b.OnthePriesthood(SurveyofContents)
3.GregorytheGreat(540 604,BishopofRomefrom590604)
a.LifeandCircumstances:BorntowealthyfamilynamedapraetorofRome.Resigned,
soldhisinheritanceandbuiltsevenmonasteries.AppointedbishopofRomeduringcrisis
ofLombardinvasions.Administeredhisseeduringthecrisisandfirmlyestablishedthe
churchandpapacy.His"PastoralRule"becamethestandardformedievalpastoral
ministry.
68
b.TheBookofPastoralRule:BasedonNazianzusandChrysostum.Oftenuses
allegoricalinterpretationandmarkedbypsychologicalinsights.
4.AmbroseofMilan(333397)
a.LifeandCircumstances:PraetorianprefectofGaul,latergovernorofNorthernItaly.
Electedbishopin374.Hispoliticalinfluencewasverygreat.Severalinstancesof
discipliningemperors.
b.TheDutiesoftheClergy:ClassicalandbasedonworkofCicero.
B.MonasticRules,PastoralConcerns
1.Definitionandexamples:BasiltheGreat(329379),bishopofCappadocianCaesarea
madearuleforeasternmonasticismwhichwascarriedtothewestbyJohnCassian.It
emphasizedmoderationandpracticalworksofmercy.Roleofpastor asintercessorhad
beenemphasizedtothedetrimentofthepastorasequipperofthesaints(Eph.4:12ff.).
Monasticssoughtspiritualperfection.Pastoralrules,especiallyBenedictoften
emphasizeddisciplinewithinthecommunityandfraternalrelations.
2.Cassian:(365433):BorninScythia,(Romania)andstayedinmonasteriesin
BethlehemandEgyptbeforegoingtoConstantinople,influencedbyChrysostumthen
wenttoRome.HefoundedamonasteryinMarseillesandbroughtEasternmonasticism
tothewest,writinghisInstitutesandConferences.Hisworkbecamefoundationalfor
westernmonasticism.Hechronicleseightprimarysinswhichlaterbecometheseven
deadlysinsofCatholictheology.Theyare:gluttony,fornication,covetousness,anger,
dejection,accidie(wearinessofheart),vanityandpride.
3.Benedict(480540)wasappalledatthedefiledlifeofRomeandfoundednumerous
monasteries,istheauthorofthemostsignificantruleofthemiddleages.
Ambrose,BishopofMilan."TreeBooksontheDutiesoftheClergy,"in NPNF
JohnCassian,"TheInstitutesofJohnCassian,"inNPNF
JohnChrysostum."TreatiseonthePriesthood,"in NPNF
Gregory,BishopofRome."TheBookofPastoralRule."inNPNF
GregoryNazianzen,"OrationII,"in NPNF
McGinn,Bernard.TheFoundationsofMysticism:OriginstotheFifthCentury.voliin
ThePresenceofGod:AHistoryofWesternChristianMysticism.NewYork:
CrossroadPublishingCo.,1994
VI.Excursus:PastoralCareandPracticalMinistryasaFieldofTheology
A.DefinitionofPastoralandPracticalTheology
B.PastoralConcernsasaSourceofTheologicalDevelopment
69
Notes
1.Thebishop'sofficeisgivensacerdotalcharacterbyvirtueofitspreservingthetrue
apostolictraditionasopposed tofalse(gnostic)traditions.Otherfunctionsbecamethe
solepreserveofthebishopbyvirtueofthedevelopingborderaroundsacerdotal
functionse.g.prayerforthesick,hearingconfession,pronouncingforgiveness(partof
thegovernmentalpowerof theapostles),powertoordain.