Trail of Blood StudiesChurch History As It relates To Missionary Baptists
Week 3 and 4 Century 101 – 200Review of the HistoryThe Church Jesus BuiltDoes it really make a difference?How do we know the Church Jesus built is still here today?Assignments: Trail of Blood, Introduction, Pages 3-6 Trail of Blood Chart
Tertullian (ca. 150-225), classified as one of the early church fathers, was a notableearly Christian apologist. He was born in the city of Carthage in North Africa. Both ofhis parents were pagan, and his father was a centurion. Tertullian received a thorougheducation in the knowledge of the Romans and the Greeks, and he apparently practicedlaw in Rome before his return to Carthage and conversion. His writings indicate that hedid not become a Christian until he was in his thirties or forties. Tertullian apparentlyserved as an elder or presbyter in Carthage, completely devoting his life to the ministryof Christ. Not only did he write apologetic works to the Romans, but he also composeda considerable number of writings in which he defended orthodox Christianity againstvarious heretics. Tertullian also wrote exhortations for the Church itself. He livedduring an era in which the Church was coming to grips with the reality that Christ hadnot returned within the expected time frame of the earliest Christians. Tertullian oftenfelt that the leadership of the Church was growing complacent as it sought to find itsplace in a secular world which would be its home for the long haul. A number of hisworks speak out against capitulating not only to the direct pressures of Romanpersecution but while the Church waits for Christ that it should not trade hope in Godfor dependency in the power of the Empire, including its economic, political andmilitary power.Like Paul, he rejected earthly power and advantage, including worldly education andsocial rank as "dung" in relation to the things of Christ, even concluding that Christiandiscipleship was incompatible with military service.
Tertullian (ca. 150-225) Continued: Until the time of Tertullian nearly all Christianworks had been written in Greek. Although Tertullian was fluent in Greek and wroteseveral works in Greek, he penned most of his works in Latin--in order to benefit thegrowing number of western Christians who knew only Latin. This effort has oftenearned him the title of "The Father of Latin Christianity." In this effort Tertullian oftendeveloped Latin terminology to express ideas of christian theology that had previouslybeen unique to the Greek language. He is well known for being the first to use the words"substance" and "person" to define God. Because of his fiery temperament and forcefulconvictions, nearly all of Tertullians writings have polemic overtones. Church historianPhillip Schaff said of him: "He resembled a foaming mountain torrent rather than acalm, transparent river in the valley. His vehement temper was never fully subdued,although he struggled sincerely against it. He was a man of strong convictions, andnever hesitated to express them without fear or favor. ...His polemics everywhere leavemarks of blood. It is a wonder that he was not killed by the heathens, orexcommunicated by the Catholics.” In his later years, having become ever moredisturbed with the complacency he saw within the Churchs leadership, Tertullian joinedthe charismatic Montanist sect.His attraction to the Montanists was that they shared many of his views regarding thataforementioned ecclesial complacency, as well as a strict moralism fueled by theirmaintenance of the early Christian hope in the imminent return of Christ.
Tertullian (ca. 150-225) Continued: It is unfortunate that in subsequent decades afterTertullians death the Montanists became extremely radical, if not outrightly heretical,causing latter theolgians to often dismiss him and his works.Tertullian’s Apology (Apologeticus) is one of the best-known works of the pre-Niceneera. In it, he provides not only a stirring defense of Christianity to the Roman rulers, buttakes exhaustive measures to show that Roman culture and religion is inferior andhopeless when compared to Christianity.http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/
The MontanistsMontanus lived in the Phrygian area of Asia Minor at the back end of the2nd Century AD. He declared that the Holy Spirit was giving new revelationsto the church, and named himself and two women, Priscilla and Maximilla,as prophets, although there were others. This was referred to as the NewProphecy. In the west, among the Montanist leaders was Proclus, withwhom the Roman presbyter Gaius published a Debate.4The emphases of the New Prophecy seem to have been on resistingpersecution, fasting, and avoiding remarriage, together with hostility to anycompromise with sin. Few of these points were controversial when judgedagainst the ascetism of the next century. Tertullian tells us (in the quote byPraedestinatus and in De Ieiunio) that the Spirit proclaimed no innovationin doctrine, but only gave directions about matters of church discipline,which were coming to be the prerogative of the bishop.It would seem that the Montanists were orthodox in all matters of doctrine.3Responses to this were quite mixed in the church. After all, prophecy was agenuine gift of God, according to the New Testament. A reading of the anti-Montanist writers in Eusebius Church History reveals a great deal ofuncertainty among Christians at all levels as to whether the new prophecywas genuine or not. It seems also possible that Montanism in its homelandmay have been heretical, but that it masked a genuine move of the HolySpirit which in other places was entirely orthodox, and would today beregarded as pentecostal. In reality, it is very difficult to tell from thesurviving remains, which include some wild rumours of the sort thatcirculate, albeit in good faith, where there is little real information and nomeans to check what is going on.
The MontanistsIn Africa there was a lot of interest in the new prophecy, and Tertulliancame to believe that it was genuine, accordingly mentioning it anddefending it strongly in his later works. Unfortunately his work in defense ofit, De ecstasi, in 7 books is lost. Tertullian fiercely attacks those whocondemned the new prophecy, and in attacking the church authorities asmore interested in their own political power in the church than in listeningto the Spirit, he foreshadows the protestant reaction to papal claims.Eventually Montanism was condemned by the bishop of Rome, and theMontanists were pushed out. They lingered on in Asia Minor for somecenturies, some growing definitely heretical. Later fathers of the churchwrote an occasional polemic against them.Some modern pentecostals see the Montanists as the last flicker of theapostolic gifts of the spirit, although it seems that the apostolic age wasalready over before the Montanists began.. Whether they were or not,thereafter no-one claiming to have the gift of prophecy was likely to bewell-received in the church, and any genuine move of the spirit wascertainly quenched.
The School at AlexandriaSchool of Alexandria, the first Christian institution of higher learning, founded in themid-2nd century ad in Alexandria, Egypt. Under its earliest known leaders (Pantaenus,Clement, and Origen), it became a leading centre of the allegorical method of biblicalinterpretation, espoused a rapprochement between Greek culture and Christian faith, andattempted to assert orthodox Christian teachings against heterodox views in an era ofdoctrinal flux. Opposing the School of Alexandria was the School of Antioch, whichemphasized the literal interpretation of the Bible. Until the time of Constantine,Alexandria blossomed as the second city of the Roman Empire, after Rome itself. Ittook pride in its famous library and its reputation as the center for Greek philosophy andlearning. We have seen that Philo strove to integrate Greek philosophy with Judaism;early Christians followed his lead, as they worked to integrate philosophy withChristianity.Around A.D. 200, Clement of Alexandria (a Church Father, c. 150-215) taught that justas God gave the Law to the Jews, so he gave philosophy to the Greeks--as an instrumentto lead them to Christ. God’s eternal Word (Logos) was the source of both. Clementbelieved the truth was to be found in Scripture, but sometimes it was hidden, and couldonly be discovered through allegorical interpretation.
The School at AlexandriaClement did insist, however, that the Scriptures had a literal, historical sense--a primarymeaning--that had to be respected. But allegorical reading could find further, "spiritual"meanings containing universal and eternal truths, an idea reflecting Plato.Clement’s idea of God as transcendent, beyond all knowledge or definition, is alsoPlatonic, although his Christian faith affirmed God’s Word (Logos), the source of allcreation and all knowledge, especially the knowledge of God. The Logos was incarnatein Jesus, the Son of God. The Holy Spirit functioned to attract the believer to God, toseek true knowledge. Such knowledge was the true gnosis, characterized by faith, not tobe confused with the false gnosisof the heretics, which was incomplete because it wasnot grounded in knowledge of the Scriptures.
The School at AntiochSchool of Antioch there were those who did not follow the method introduced by theSchool of Alexandria. Gilbert notes: Theodore and John may be said to have gone fartoward a scientific method of exegesis inasmuch as they saw clearly the necessity ofdetermining the original sense of Scripture in order to make any profitable use of thesame. To have kept this end steadily in view was a great achievement It made theirwork stand out in strong contrast by the side of the Alexandrian school. Theirinterpretation was extremely plain and simple as compared with that of Origen. Theyutterly rejected the allegorical method. Of the value, significance, and influence of thisschool, Farrar says: . . .the School of Antioch possessed a deeper insight into the truemethod of exegesis than any which preceded or succeeded it during a thousandyears . . . their system of Biblical interpretation approached more nearly than any otherto that which is now adopted by the Reformed Churches throughout the world, and thatif they had not been too uncharitably anathematized by the angry tongue, and crushedby the iron hand of a dominant orthodoxy, the study of their commentaries,and the adoption of their exegetic system, might have saved Church commentariesfrom centuries of futility and error. Diodorus of Tarsus must be regarded as the truefounder of the School of Antioch. He was a man of eminent learning and of undisputedpiety.He was the teacher of Chrysostom and of Theodore of Mopsuestia.... His books weredevoted to an exposition of Scripture in its literal sense, and he wrote a treatise, nowunhappily lost, "on the difference between allegory and spiritual insight“ But the ablest,the most decided, and the most logical representative of the School of Antioch wasTheodore of Mopsuestia(428). That clear-minded and original thinker stands out like a"rock in the morass of ancient exegesis.“
The School at Antioch... He was a Voice not an Echo; a Voice amid thousands of echoes which repeated onlythe emptiest sounds. He rejected the theories of Origen, but he had learnt from himthe indispensable importance of attention to linguistic details especially incommenting on the New Testament.He pays close attention to particles, moods, prepositions, and to terminology ingeneral He points out the idiosyncrasies. . . of St. Pauls style. . . . He is almost theearliest writer who gives much attention to Hermeneutic matters, as for instance inhis Introductions to the Epistles to Ephesus and Colossae. . . . His highest merit is hisconstant endeavor to study each passage as a whole and not as "an isolated congeriesof separate texts.He first considers the sequence of thought, then examines the phraseology and theseparate clauses, and finally furnishes us with an exegesis which is often brilliantlycharacteristic and profoundly suggestive.We would have a different history of interpretation had the method of the AntiochSchool prevailed. Unfortunately for sound interpretation, the ecclesiasticism of theestablished church, which depended for its position on the allegorical method,prevailed, and the views of the Antioch School were condemned as heretical.
The School of Antioch Versus The School of Alexandria: Source of ChristologyIssuesDifferent individuals emphasized either Christs divinity or his humanity, just as they haddone before.Those who emphasized his divinity tended to ignore his humanity: the theologicalSchool of Alexandria.Those who emphasized his humanity did not deny his divinity, they simply made adistinction between divinity and humanity: the School of Antioch.Theologians of the School of Alexandria argued that one could not distinguish clearlybetween Christs humanity and divinity because a) Christ was fully divine [council ofNicaea] and b) divinity was infinite and could not be limited and human in any way.
The School of Antioch was one of the two major centers of the study of biblical exegesisand theology during Late Antiquity; the other was the catechetical school of Alexandria.This group was known by this name because the advocates of this tradition were based inthe city of Antioch, one of the major cities of the ancient Roman Empire.While the Christian intellectuals of Alexandria emphasized the allegorical interpretationof Scriptures and tended toward a christology that emphasized the union of the humanand the divine, those in Antioch held to a more literal and occasionally typologicalexegesis and a christology that emphasized the distinction between the human and thedivine in the person of Jesus Christ. The school in general tended to what might becalled, in a rather loose sense, an Adoptionist Christology.... Nestorius, before becomingPatriarch of Constantinople, had been a monk at Antioch and had there become imbuedwith the principles of the Antiochene theological school....The School of Antioch is best divided into three periods: the early school (270-earlyfourth century)the middle school (350-433)the late school (after 433)
Baptism and PaganismIs it from pagan origin. No,,,,, 1.)The word of God was written by prophets. In the beginning wasthe Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2.) The same was in the beginningwith God. 3.) All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that wasmade. 4.) In him was life; and the life was the light of men. Know ye not, that so many of us aswere baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 5.) Therefore we are buried with himby baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father,even so we also should walk in newness of life. Acts 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name ofJesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.Acts 2:39 For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even asmany as the Lord our God shall call. 40 And with many other words did he testify and exhort,saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation. And they asked him, and said unto him,Why baptizes thou then, if thou be not that Christ, nor Elias, neither that prophet?26 John answered them, saying, I baptize with water: but there standeth one among you, whom yeknow not; But Jesus answered and said, Ye know not what ye ask. Are ye able to drink of the cupthat I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? They say untohim, We are able.23 And he saith unto them, Ye shall drink indeed of my cup, and be baptized with the baptism that Iam baptized with: but to sit on my right hand, and on my left, is not mine to give, but it shall begiven to them for whom it is prepared of my Father. Can any man forbid water, that these shouldnot be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we? 48 And he commanded them tobe baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days.