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You must be logged in to view your newly purchased content. Please log in below or if you don't have an account, creating one is easy and only takes a few moments. After you log in your content will be available in your library. Viewing of. Cancel Save. Print Twitter Facebook Email. Heresies are a trial to faith, giving faith the opportunity to be approved Prescriptions Against Heretics 1. While heresies "are produced for the weakening and the extinction of faith," they have "no strength whenever they encounter a really powerful faith" Prescriptions Against Heretics 2.

According to Tertullian, heresy is whatever contradicts the "rule of faith" which he defends as. This rule, as it will be proved, was taught by Christ, and raises among ourselves no other questions than those which heresies introduce, and which make men heretics.

Prescription Against Heretics 13 [60]. Tertullian sees heretics as ravenous wolves "lurking within to waste the flock of Christ" Prescription Against Heretics 4. They pervert the Scriptures by interpreting them to suit their own purposes Prescription Against Heretics 17, cf.

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While persecution makes martyrs, "heresy only apostates" Prescription Against Heretics 4. In the face of heresies, which may cause a bishop or deacon to "have fallen from the rule of faith ," the Christian must remain true to the faith, for "no one is a Christian but he who perseveres even to the end" Prescription Against Heretics 3.

Christian apologist Justin Martyr engages in a dialogue with Trypho c. Justin's response highlights the importance of remaining faithful to "the true and pure doctrine of Jesus Christ" in the face of false teachers:. The fact that there are such men confessing themselves to be Christians, and admitting the crucified Jesus to be both Lord and Christ, yet not teaching His doctrines, but those of the spirits of error, causes us who are disciples of the true and pure doctrine of Jesus Christ, to be more faithful and steadfast in the hope announced by Him.

For what things He predicted would take place in His name, these we do see being actually accomplished in our sight. For he said, "Many shall come in My name, clothed outwardly in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. For some in one way, others in another, teach to blaspheme the Maker of all things, and Christ. Yet they style themselves Christians. Some are called Marcians, and some Valentinians, and some Basilidians, and some Saturnilians, and others by other names; each called after the originator of the individual opinion.

So that, in consequence of these events, we know that Jesus foreknew what would happen after Him, as well as in consequence of many other events which He foretold would befall those who believed on and confessed Him, the Christ. For all that we suffer, even when killed by friends, He foretold would take place; so that it is manifest no word or act of His can be found fault with.

Wherefore we pray for you and for all other men who hate us; in order that you, having repented along with us, may not blaspheme Him who, by His works, by the mighty deeds even now wrought through His name, by the words He taught, by the prophecies announced concerning Him, is the blameless, and in all things irreproachable, Christ Jesus; but, believing on Him, may be saved in His second glorious advent, and may not be condemned to fire by Him.

Dialogue with Trypho Clement of Alexandria c.


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He who hopes for everlasting rest knows also that the entrance to it is toilsome "and strait. He, who has spurned the ecclesiastical tradition, and darted off to the opinions of heretical men, has ceased to be a man of God and to remain faithful to the Lord. The Stromata , Book [62]. Cyprian c. He cautions that "it is not persecution alone that is to be feared; nor those things which advance by open attack to overwhelm and cast down the servants of God," for we have an enemy who is to be more feared and guarded against because he secretly creeps in to deceive us under the appearance of peace The Treatises of Cyprian By following the example of the Lord in recognizing and resisting the temptations of the devil, Christians will not be "incautiously turned back into the nets of death," but go on to "possess the immortality that we have received" The Treatises of Cyprian He who does not "must of necessity waver and wander, and, caught away by a spirit of error.

He has invented heresies and schisms, whereby he might subvert the faith, might corrupt the truth, might divide the unity. Those whom he cannot keep in the darkness of the old way, he circumvents and deceives by the error of a new way.

He snatches men from the Church itself; and while they seem to themselves to have already approached to the light, and to have escaped the night of the world, he pours over them again, in their unconsciousness, new darkness; so that, although they do not stand firm with the Gospel of Christ, and with the observation and law of Christ, they still call themselves Christians, and, walking in darkness, they think that they have the light, while the adversary is flattering and deceiving, who, according to the apostle's word, transforms himself into an angel of light, and equips his ministers as if they were the ministers of righteousness, who maintain night instead of day, death for salvation, despair under the offer of hope, perfidy under the pretext of faith, antichrist under the name of Christ; so that, while they feign things like the truth, they make void the truth by their subtlety.

This happens, beloved brethren, so long as we do not return to the source of truth, as we do not seek the head nor keep the teaching of the heavenly Master. The Treatises of Cyprian In view of Eusebius c. Acts —24 , and the devil is to be blamed for bringing the Samaritan magician to Rome and empowering him with deceitful arts which led many astray Eus.

The magician was supposedly aided by demons and venerated as a god, and Helen, his companion, was thought to be his first emanation Just. Iren Haer. Simon's successor, Menander of Samaria, was considered to be another instrument of the devil; he claimed to save humans from the aeons through magical arts. After baptism, his followers believed themselves to be immortal in the present life.

It is stated that those who claim such people as their saviors have fallen away from the true hope Eus. Basilides of Alexandria and Saturninus of Antioch followed Menander's ways. Adherents of the former declared that eating meat sacrificed to idols or renouncing the faith in times of persecution were matters of indifference.

Carpocrates is labeled as the first of the Gnostics. Clement seeks to inspire perseverance in the midst of suffering with these words: "Let us, therefore, work righteousness, that we may be saved to the end. Blessed are they who obey these commandments, even if for a brief space they suffer in this world, and they will gather the imperishable fruit of the resurrection.

Let not the godly man, therefore, grieve; if for the present he suffer affliction, blessed is the time that awaits him there; rising up to life again with the fathers he will rejoice for ever without a grief" 2 Clement These "glorious confessors" need to be instructed that. For there remains more than what is yet seen to be accomplished, since it is written "Praise not any man before his death;" and again, "Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.

Let them imitate the Lord, who at the very time of His passion was not more proud, but more humble.


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The Epistles of Cyprian [66]. Ignatius's letter to the Christians in Rome gives valuable insight into the heart of a Christian who is prepared for martyrdom. Ignatius hopes to see them when he arrives as a prisoner. He fears that the love they have for him will, in some way, save him from certain death Epistle to the Romans Yet, he desires to "obtain grace to cling to my lot without hindrance unto the end" so that he may "attain to God" Epistle to the Romans 1.

He requests prayer for "both inward and outward strength" that he might not "merely be called a Christian, but really found to be one,"--a Christian "deemed faithful" Epistle to the Romans 3. He says:. I write to the Churches, and impress on them all, that I shall willingly die for God, unless you hinder me. Allow me to become food for the wild beasts, through whose instrumentality it will be granted me to attain to God. I am the wheat of God, and let me be ground by the teeth of the wild beasts, that I may be found the pure bread of Christ.

The Bitter Fruit of Apostasy

Rather entice the wild beasts, that they may become my tomb, and may leave nothing of my body. Then shall I truly be a disciple of Christ, when the world shall not see so much as my body. Entreat Christ for me, that by these instruments I may be found a sacrifice [to God]. But when I suffer, I shall be the freed-man of Jesus, and shall rise again emancipated in Him. And now, being a prisoner, I learn not to desire anything worldly or vain.

And let no one, of things visible or invisible, envy me that I should attain to Jesus Christ. Let fire and the cross; let the crowds of wild beasts; let tearings, breakings, and dislocations of bones; let cutting off of members; let shatterings of the whole body; and let all the dreadful torments of the devil come upon me: only let me attain to Jesus Christ. All the pleasures of the world, and all the kingdoms of this earth, shall profit me nothing. It is better for me to die in behalf of Jesus Christ, than to reign over all the ends of the earth. This is the gain which is laid up for me.

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Permit me to be an imitator of the passion of my God. Epistle to the Romans Tertullian believes that martyrdom is necessary at times in order for soldiers in God's army to obey the command to not worship idols. If, therefore, it is evident that from the beginning this kind of worship [of idols] has both been forbidden—witness the commands so numerous and weighty—and that it has never been engaged in without punishment following, as examples so numerous and impressive show, and that no offense is counted by God so presumptuous as a trespass of this sort, we ought further to perceive the purport of both the divine threatenings and their fulfillments, which was even then commended not only by the not calling in question, but also by the enduring of martyrdoms, for which certainly He had given occasion by forbidding idolatry.

The injunction is given me not to make mention of any other god, not even by speaking—as little by the tongue as by the hand—to fashion a god, and not to worship or in any way show reverence to another than Him only who thus commands me, whom I am both bid fear that I may not be forsaken by Him, and love with my whole being, that I may die for Him. Serving as a soldier under this oath, I am challenged by the enemy.