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Particulars of Christianity:
401 First Eight Writers' Consensus


13: Freewill (C-D) Against Ltd. Atonement;
Irresistible, OSAS


Early Church Confirmation Rubric
Early Church Consensus: Introduction
1: Nature of the Godhead
2: Covenants & O.T. Saints Relationship to the Church
3: Kingdom (Hell), Timing of 2nd Advent and Kingdom
4-5: Age of the World (6000 Years); Communion Meal
6: Baptisms
7-8: Law of Christ; Repentance
9-12: Excommunication; Divorce; Sabbath; Tithing
13: Freewill (A) Against Original Sin and Total Depravity
13: Freewill (B) Against Unconditional Election
13: Freewill (C-D) Against Ltd. Atmt.; Ir. Grace, OSAS
14-15: Church Authority; Roles of Men and Women
16-18: Charismatic Gifts; Civil Gov't., War; Men & Angels
Addendum 1: Eternal Begetting - Irenaeus and Ignatius
Addendum 2: Eternal Begetting - Justin Martyr



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13) View of Freewill and Election

c) The atonement of Christ truly offered salvation to the whole world by extending the invitation and opportunity for repentance to the whole world, not just a unilaterally pre-determined number leaving the rest unable by nature to repent. The only manner in which God limited the number of men who would receive atonement is by limiting the amount of time he would allow men the opportunity to freely accept and believe in Jesus Christ, not by God unilaterally determining to cause some men to believe and not others. Consequently, the Calvinist doctrine of Limited Atonement was rejected.

 

Clement –

THE FIRST EPISTLE OF CLEMENT TO THE CORINTHIANS

 

CHAP. VII. Let us look stedfastly to the blood of Christ, and see how precious that blood is to God,(1) which, having been shed for our salvation, has set the grace of repentance before the whole world. Let us turn to every age that has passed, and learn that, from generation to generation, the Lord has granted a place of repentance to all such as would be converted unto Him. Noah preached repentance, and as many as listened to him were saved.(2) Jonah proclaimed destruction to the Ninevites;(3) but they, repenting of their sins, propitiated God by prayer, and obtained salvation, although they were aliens [to the covenant] of God.

 

CHAP. XLVIII. Let us therefore, with all haste, put an end s to this [state of things]; and let us fall down before the Lord, and beseech Him with tears, that He would mercifully(9) be reconciled to us, and restore us to our former seemly and holy practice of brotherly love. For [such conduct] is the gate of righteousness, which is set open for the attainment of life, as it is written, "Open to me the gates of righteousness; I will go in by them, and will praise the Lord: this is the gate of the Lord: the righteous shall enter in by it."(10)

 

 

Ignatius –

THE EPISTLE OF  IGNATIUS TO POLYCARP

 

Chapter I. Having obtained good proof that thy mind is fixed in God as upon an immoveable rock, I loudly glorify [His name] that I have been thought worthy [to behold] thy blameless face, [1063] which may I ever enjoy in God! I entreat thee, by the grace with which thou art clothed, to press forward in thy course, and to exhort all that they may be saved.

 

 

Dialogue of Justin –

PHILOSOPHER AND MARTYR, WITH TRYPHO, A JEW

 

CHAP. XLIII. And we, who have approached God through Him, have received not carnal, but spiritual circumcision, which Enoch and those like him observed. And we have received it through baptism, since we were sinners, by God's mercy; and all men may equally obtain it.

 

NOTE: In the quote below, Irenaeus explains that God’s predetermination and foreordination concerning the elect refer not to God determining which individuals would believe, but on setting a limit on the number of men who would believe effectively by determining the length of time he would allow men the opportunity to repent. Here we find another point of clarification on the issue of “Limited or Unlimited Atonement.” When Freewill theology speaks of atonement, it specifically means whether or not God has limited or prevented which individual men have the ability or potential to be atoned for. Freewill never means to rule out that God has limited the timeframe for repentance, and in doing so, limited the number of men by closing the window of opportunity. God’s limitation on the amount of time and, by extension, on the number of individuals, would in no way interfere with the open potential for each and any man to choose to believe and, therefore, receive atonement within that allotted timeframe. Consequently, for Freewill theology while God limits the amount of time and the amount of places in the kingdom, there is no limitation in the sense of God preventing (through action or inaction) which individuals can or cannot attain atonement. Each man is entirely preserved in his own open potential to believe and be atoned for, even though the timeframe allotted for repentance is limited, thereby limiting the number who will be saved. By contrast, Calvinism teaches that God limits the ability and potential for individuals within that allotted timeframe.

 

Irenaeus –

AGAINST HERESIES, BOOK II

 

CHAP. XXXIII. 5. And therefore, when the number [fixed upon] is completed, [that number] which He had predetermined in His own counsel, all those who have been enrolled for life [eternal] shall rise again, having their own bodies, and having also their own souls, and their own spirits, in which they had pleased God. Those, on the other hand, who are worthy of punishment, shall go away into it, they too having their own souls and their own bodies, in which they stood apart from the grace of God. Both classes shall then cease from any longer begetting and being begotten, from marrying and being given in marriage; so that the number of mankind, corresponding to the fore-ordination of God, being completed, may fully realize the scheme formed by the Father.(1)

 


d) Real born-again Christians who had already believed and received salvation and the Holy Spirit were capable of resisting God’s efforts on their behalf concerning salvation, to mature them in Jesus Christ and purify them toward the day of Jesus’ return, and consequently, could literally turn from real belief to real doubt and literally lose their salvation. Consequently, the Calvinist doctrine of Irresistible Grace was rejected.

 

Matthetes –

CHAP. VII.--THE MANIFESTATION OF CHRIST.

 

For, as I said, this was no mere earthly invention which was delivered to them, nor is it a mere human system of opinion, which they judge it right to preserve so carefully, nor has a dispensation of mere human mysteries been committed to them, but truly God Himself, who is almighty, the Creator of all things, and invisible, has sent from heaven, and placed among men, [Him who is] the truth, and the holy and incomprehensible Word, and has firmly established Him in their hearts…Was it then, as one[16] might conceive, for the purpose of exercising tyranny, or of inspiring fear and terror? By no means, but under the influence of clemency and meekness. As a king sends his son, who is also a king, so sent He Him; as God[17] He sent Him; as to men He sent Him; as a Saviour He sent Him, and as seeking to persuade, not to compel us; for violence has no place in the character of God. As calling us He sent Him, not as vengefully pursuing us; as loving us He sent Him, not as judging us. For He will yet send Him to judge us, and who shall endure His appearing?[18] ... Do you not see them exposed to wild beasts, that they may be persuaded to deny the Lord, and yet not overcome? Do you not see that the more of them are punished, the greater becomes the number of the rest? This does not seem to be the work of man: this is the power of God; these are the evidences of His manifestation.

 

Polycarp –

THE EPISTLE OF POLYCARP TO THE PHILIPPIANS(1)

 

CHAP. VI. ...Let us then serve Him in fear, and with all reverence, even as He Himself has commanded us, and as the apostles who preached the Gospel unto us, and the prophets who proclaimed beforehand the coming of the Lord [have alike taught us]. Let us be zealous in the pursuit of that which is good, keeping ourselves from causes of offence, from false brethren, and from those who in hypocrisy bear the name of the Lord, and draw away vain men into error.

 

CHAP. IX. I exhort you all, therefore, to yield obedience to the word of righteousness, and to exercise all patience, such as ye have seen [set] before your eyes, not only in the case of the blessed Ignatius, and Zosimus, and Rufus, but also in others among yourselves, and in Paul himself, and the rest of the apostles. [This do] in the assurance that all these have not run(9) in vain, but in faith and righteousness, and that they are [now] in their due place in the presence of the Lord, with whom also they suffered. For they loved not this present world, but Him who died for us, and for our sakes was raised again by God from the dead.

 

 

Clement –

THE FIRST EPISTLE OF CLEMENT TO THE CORINTHIANS

 

CHAP. IX. Wherefore, let us yield obedience to His excellent and glorious will; and imploring His mercy and loving-kindness, while we forsake all fruitless labours,(9) and strife, and envy, which leads to death, let us turn and have recourse to His compassions.

 

CHAP. XXXI. Let us cleave then to His blessing, and consider what are the means(6) of possessing it. Let us think(7) over the things which have taken place from the beginning. For what reason was our father Abraham blessed? was it not because he wrought righteousness and truth through faith?(8) Isaac, with perfect confidence, as if knowing what was to happen,(9) cheerfully yielded himself as a sacrifice.(10) Jacob, through reason(11) of his brother, went forth with humility from his own land, and came to Laban and served him; and there was given to him the sceptre of the twelve tribes of Israel…CHAP. XXXIII. We see,(3) then, how all righteous men have been adorned with good works, and how the Lord Himself, adorning Himself with His works, rejoiced. Having therefore such an example, let us without delay accede to His will, and let us work the work of righteousness with our whole strength. CHAP. XXXIV. The good servant(4) receives the bread of his labour with confidence; the lazy and slothful cannot look his employer in the face. It is requisite, therefore, that we be prompt in the practice of well-doing; for of Him are all things. And thus He forewarns us: "Behold, the Lord [cometh], and His reward is before His face, to render to every man according to his work."(5) He exhorts us, therefore, with our whole heart to attend to this,(6) that we be not lazy or slothful in any good work. Let our boasting and our confidence be in Him. Let us submit ourselves to His will.

 

CHAP. XXXVI. But concerning His Son(4) the Lord spoke thus: "Thou art my Son, to-day have I begotten Thee. Ask of Me, and I will give Thee the heathen for Thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for Thy possession."(5) And again He saith to Him, "Sit Thou at My right hand, until I make Thine enemies Thy footstool."(6) But who are His enemies? All the wicked, and those who set themselves to oppose the will of God.(7)

 

CHAP. XXXVII. Let us then, men and brethren, with all energy act the part of soldiers, in accordance with His holy commandments.

 

NOTE: The quote below demonstrates what Clement meant and understood concerning things which are “fixed by [God’s] own supreme will.” Calvinists might presume that things fixed by God’s will are determined by God and necessarily or irresistibly come to pass. But Clement understands the phrase “fixed by God’s will” to refer to those things God commands, not to things that God causes inextricably to occur. Consequently, Clement holds that it is within our power whether or not to “do all things in [their proper] order, which the Lord has commanded.” God has “fixed” the rules according to his will and pleasure, but it is up to us whether or not we obey them. Consequently, things “fixed by God’s will” are resistible in Clement’s understanding.   

 

CHAP. XL. These things therefore being manifest to us, and since we look into the depths of the divine knowledge, it behoves us to do all things in [their proper] order, which the Lord has commanded us to perform at stated times.(1) He has enjoined offerings [to be presented] and service to be performed [to Him], and that not thoughtlessly or irregularly, but at the appointed times and hours. Where and by whom He desires these things to be done, He Himself has fixed by His own supreme will, in order that all things being piously done according to His good pleasure, may be acceptable unto Him.(2) Those, therefore, who present their offerings at the appointed times, are accepted and blessed; for inasmuch as they follow the laws of the Lord, they sin not. For his own peculiar services are assigned to the high priest, and their own proper place is prescribed to the priests, and their own special ministrations devolve on the Levites. The layman is bound by the laws that pertain to laymen.

 

 

Ignatius –

THE EPISTLE OF IGNATIUS TO THE EPHESIANS

 

CHAP. III. But inasmuch as love suffers me not to be silent in regard to you, I have therefore taken[6] upon me first to exhort you that ye would all run together in accordance with the will of God. For even Jesus Christ, our inseparable life, is the[manifested] will of the Father; as also bishops, settled everywhere to the utmost bounds[of the earth], are so by the will of Jesus Christ.

 

Ignatius –

THE EPISTLE OF IGNATIUS TO THE SMYRNAEANS 

 

CHAP. IV. I give you these instructions, beloved, assured that ye also hold the same opinions[as I do]. But I guard you beforehand from those beasts in the shape of men, whom you must not only not receive, but, if it be possible, not even meet with; only you must pray to God for them, if by any means they may be brought to repentance, which, however, will be very difficult. Yet Jesus Christ, who is our true life, has the power of [effecting] this.

 

NOTE: In the quote above, Ignatius comments on the repentance of heretics, saying that “Jesus Christ” “has the power of [effecting] this.” The Word “effecting” is not in the original but is an interpolation added by the translators, as indicated by its placement inside brackets. This phrase could have two meanings, both of which are completely compatible with Freewill theology and its denial of irresistible grace.

 

First, this phrase could mean that Jesus Christ has the power to effect in the sense of influence the bringing to repentance of heretics. Such a statement on its own does not mention, imply, or necessitate the guaranteed success of the Lord’s effort. Once again, the irresistibility of Calvinism would have to be assumed. Otherwise, Freewill theology readily agrees that the Lord can and does often do things to influence men toward repentance.

 

Second, removing the word “effecting,” this phrase could simply mean that Jesus has power over the repentance of the heretics. Here again, Ignatius does not say anything about this “power” as a force or action on God’s part at all, let alone one that is irresistible. If it were a force or action, it could still be resistible. But more importantly, “power” here could simply mean authority, rather than a force or action. And the idea that Jesus has the authority to accept repentance and forgive or to reject repentance is completely compatible with Freewill theology.

 

There are two direct indications that this comment is entirely intended in a Freewill, rather than Calvinist, manner.

 

First, it is important what Ignatius states that Jesus Christ has “power of” or “power of effecting.” He does not simply say “repentance” but instead says “by any means they may be brought to repentance.” Here the words “brought” and “by any means” are informative, specifically the phrase “by any means.” The Calvinist notion of God’s irresistible grace is a very specific and predetermined work of God performed by the Holy Spirit in a manner that is well-defined. In contrast, the phrase “any means” convey that the means are unspecific, potential rather than predetermined, and of an unknown quantity and variety. Consequently, the context speaks more of God’s authority and ability to manipulate a variety of external circumstances to create opportunities for a sinner to hear the Gospel and possibly repent. The context reveals that it is these types of events that Ignatius is telling his audience to pray for with regard to the heretics, rather than an irresistible action on God’s part. Moreover, the language of praying and “bringing to repentance” conveys Christians praying for an opportunity to minister the Gospel to sinners, as we find in Acts 16:7 in contrast to Acts 16:10. 

 

Second, Ignatius speaks of the prospect of the heretics’ repentance as “very difficult.” But bringing men to repentance is no difficult thing for God’s irresistible grace according to Calvinism. Calvinism’s irresistible grace is defined by its unassailable force, so powerful that there is simply no chance of resisting it. Thus, God faces no “difficulty” of any kind when unleashing this regenerating and converting grace upon the sinner. The fact that Ignatius speaks of great difficulty in regard to the prospect of the heretics repentance indicates plainly that Ignatius is not talking about any irresistibly victorious action on God’s part, but resistible efforts made by God and faithful Christians on behalf of sinners the success of which comes in degrees of difficulty depending on the will of individual sinner. 

 

CHAP. XI. Your prayer has reached to the Church which is at Antioch in Syria. Coming from that place bound with chains, most acceptable to God, (4) I salute all; I who am not worthy to be styled from thence, inasmuch as I am the least of them. Nevertheless, according to the will of God, I have been thought worthy [of this honour], not that I have any sense(5) [of having deserved it], but by the grace of God, which I wish may be perfectly given to me, that through your prayers I may attain to God.

 

NOTE: The quote above does not imply the Calvinist doctrine of salvation as a result of God’s unilateral (i.e. monergistic) grace.

 

The “honour” that Ignatius receives “by the will of God” is not salvation but being the bishop of Syria. And even this does not specify whether Ignatius became the bishop by a Calvinistic determinism on God’s part or merely by God’s generous allowance of it and wise establishment of the role of bishops.

 

Similarly, it is the honor of being bishop, not salvation, which Ignatius states he does not in any sense deserve.

 

In addition, the phrase “the grace of God, which I wish may be perfectly given to me” can very easily and accurately refer to God seeing Ignatius worthy of the gift (i.e. grace) of resurrection, immortality, and ruling in the kingdom as the perfection or completion of God’s gifts to Christians. In other words, it would merely express Ignatius’ hope to see his presiding as bishop come to completion in his being made immortal at the resurrection and similarly positioned to rule over the world with Christ during the kingdom.

 

CONCLUSION: In such a case, the “perfecting” of God’s grace in Ignatius would not in any way imply the irresistible nature of any grace or gift from God. And the context connection to Ignatius role as bishop indeed implies merely a connection to the simple reward of ruling with Christ during the millennium, rather than to some irresistible inner process or force at work in men’s hearts by God.

 

Ignatius –

THE EPISTLE OF  IGNATIUS TO POLYCARP

 

Chapter VII. A Christian has not power over himself, but must always be ready for [1113] the service of God. Now, this work is both God's and yours, when ye shall have completed it to His glory. [1114] For I trust that, through grace, ye are prepared for every good work pertaining to God. Knowing, therefore, your energetic love of the truth, I have exhorted you by this brief Epistle.

 

NOTE: The following quote from Justin does not imply or require that irresistible grace is necessary for unbelieving Jews (or other unbelievers) to understand the scriptures. The phrase “God has withheld from you the ability to discern the wisdom of His Scriptures” refers to the fact that because the majority of the Jewish people rejected Jesus and his apostles, the unbelieving part of the Jewish nation simply does not have any means or any one to explain the multitude of Old Testament prophecies, which point to Christ Jesus. And God refuses to make the fact that Jesus fulfills such prophecies any more plainly obvious to the Jews, such as by greater signs, including sending Jesus Christ himself back on the clouds of heaven. And so, to the extent that they refuse to consider the words of Christians who can explain it to them and God Himself refuses any further demonstrations of Jesus’ validity, understanding the Old Testament correctly has been effectively “withheld” from them. Consequently, nothing in this passage necessitates or even hints at the idea of an irresistible grace of some kind that is responsible for compelling men to understand and believe the Gospel. All of Justin’s comments are readily explainable in terms of existing components of a Freewill understanding of New Testament theology and history. 

 

Dialogue of Justin –

PHILOSOPHER AND MARTYR, WITH TRYPHO, A JEW

 

CHAP. LV. They will appear strange to you, although you read them every day; so that even from this fact we(7) understand that, because of your wickedness, God has withheld from you the ability to discern the wisdom of His Scriptures; yet[there are] some exceptions, to whom, according to the grace of His long-suffering, as Isaiah said, He has left a seed of (8) salvation, lest your race be utterly destroyed, like Sodom and Gomorrah.

 

NOTE: The quote below is placed out of the chronological order of the chapters because of its relationship to the quote immediately above. Specifically, the quote below is a later comment made by Justin to the unbelieving Jewish man named Trypho. And in this later quote, Justin specifically attests that it is not that the Jewish people lack the means to understand or believe or do righteousness, neither do any people or any person. They simply choose not to do so. And this habit stems from having learned evil ways from a sinful society for so long that from their examples we have become accustomed to sinfulness, even though righteousness is the “natural” inclination of our minds. In saying these things, Justin not only refutes the inability in Total Depravity, but he also refutes Calvinism’s claim that sinfulness results from heredity back to Adam, when in fact it comes from learning by observation, example, and what we are led into by others (just like Adam was himself led into sin by the serpent in the garden of Eden).

 

CHAP. XCIII. For [God] sets before every race of mankind that which is always and universally just, as well as all righteousness; and every race knows that adultery, and fornication, and homicide,(3) and such like, are sinful; and though they all commit such practices, yet they do not escape from the knowledge that they act unrighteously whenever they so do, with the exception of those who are possessed with an unclean spirit, and who have been debased by education, by wicked customs, and by sinful institutions, and who have lost, or rather quenched and put under, their natural ideas...For though you have the means of understanding that this man is Christ from the signs given by Moses, yet you will not; but, in addition, fancying that we can have no arguments, you put whatever question comes into your minds, while you yourselves are at a loss for arguments whenever you meet with some firmly established Christian.

 

NOTE: In the quote below, rather than describing grace as irresistible and given only to some, Justin depicts God’s grace as openly and freely available to all and that it is up to men whether or not they choose to partake of it. Justin ultimately indicates that whether or not a man will be saved or damned is a result of whether or not they freely choose to partake of God’s grace, which is available to all.

 

CHAP. LVIII. Then I continued, "I purpose to quote to you Scriptures, not that I am anxious to make merely an artful display of words; for I possess no such faculty, but God's grace alone has been granted to me to the understanding of His Scriptures, of which grace I exhort all to become partakers freely and bounteously, in order that they may not, through want of it,(3) incur condemnation in the judgment which God the Maker of all things shall hold through my Lord Jesus Christ."

 

NOTE: The quote below does not imply an irresistible grace working inwardly on men’s hearts caused the Christians to believe. Instead, Justin is contrasting the believing uncircumcised (i.e. Gentile) Christians with the unbelieving circumcised Jews. His remarks indicate that grace to understand the scripture was given to them by God’s will. But this only summarizes the fact that the Gospel, being preached to the Gentile as a collective people group only after the resurrection, was preached to them in great plainness. In contrast, when God preached the Gospel to the Jews as a collective people group, it was before the crucifixion and, therefore, shrouded in parables and hard sayings. When the crucifixion was accomplished and finally the Jewish nation heard the Gospel with great plainness from the mouth’s of the apostles, it was after 3 years of hardening their hearts in response to the shrouded preaching of Jesus. This is particularly true regarding the Old Testament prophecies of Jesus’ first coming, which Jesus explained to his own apostles for the first time with plainness after his resurrection in Luke 24. It is these Old Testament scriptures that Justin refers to here when he speaks of the grace to discern the scriptures. Given this well-known historical backdrop (which is itself recorded in the New Testament), it is clear that the Gentile believers received a significant gift in having heard the Gospel plainly the first time, while the Jews heard it first for three years in hard-to-understand sayings in order to ensure that the crowds and leaders would go forward with the crucifixion.

 

CHAP. CXIX. Then I said again, "Would you suppose, sirs, that we could ever have understood these matters in the Scriptures, if we had not received grace to discern by the will of Him whose pleasure it was? in order that the saying of Moses(10) might come to pass, 'They provoked me with strange [gods], they provoked me to anger with their abominations. They sacrificed to demons whom they knew not; new gods that came newly up, whom their fathers knew not. Thou hast forsaken God that begat thee, and forgotten God that brought thee up. And the Lord saw, and was jealous, and was provoked to anger by reason of the rage of His sons and daughters: and He said, I will turn My face away from them, and I will show what shall come on them at the last; for it is a very froward generation, children in whom is no faith. They have moved Me to jealousy with that which is not God, they have provoked Me to anger with their idols; and I will move them to jealousy with that which is not a nation, I will provoke them to anger with a foolish people.’

 

NOTE: The quote below follows 2 chapters after the one above and contains the same meaning.

 

CHAP. CXXI. To us, therefore, it has been granted to hear, and to understand, and to be saved by this Christ, and to recognise all the [truths revealed] by the Father. Wherefore He said to Him: 'It is a great thing for Thee to be called my servant, to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and turn again the dispersed of Israel. I have appointed Thee for a light to the Gentiles, that Thou mayest be their salvation unto the end of the earth.'(6)

 

NOTE: Both quotes below state that knowledge comes from the gift of God. But neither quote describes or attests to Calvinism’s irresistible grace. First, rather than describing that salvation comes by an irresistible gift, Justin is speaking of knowledge of difficult topics, such as what substance and nature the soul is. It is these things, not right and wrong and not understanding the Gospel message, that Justin says men cannot understand by human nature or thinking. The gift that Justin is speaking of is the gift of God sending his message, the true understanding, to mankind through the prophets who preached these things to mankind, not an irresistible grace that comes inwardly to the hearts of the elect.

 

Justin Martyr –

JUSTIN'S HORTATORY ADDRESS TO THE GREEKS

 

CHAP. VII. Certainly some of your philosophers say that the human soul is in us; others, that it is around us. For not even in this did they choose to agree with one another, but, distributing, as it were, ignorance in various ways among themselves, they thought fit to wrangle and dispute with one another even about the soul. For some of them say that the soul is fire, and some that it is the air; and others, the mind; and others, motion; and others, an exhalation; and certain others say that it is a power flowing from the stars; and others, number capable of motion; and others, a generating water. And a wholly confused and inharmonious opinion has prevailed among them, which only in this one respect appears praiseworthy to those who can form a right judgment, that they have been anxious to convict one another of error and falsehood. CHAP. VIII. Since therefore it is impossible to learn anything true concerning religion from your teachers, who by their mutual disagreement have furnished you with sufficient proof of their own ignorance, I consider it reasonable to recur to our progenitors, who both in point of time have by a great way the precedence of your teachers, and who have taught us nothing from their own private fancy, nor differed with one another, nor attempted to overturn one another's positions, but without wrangling and contention received from God the knowledge which also they taught to us. For neither by nature nor by human conception is it possible for men to know things so great and divine, but by the gift which then descended from above upon the holy men…

 

CHAP. X. These we assert to have been our teachers, who taught us nothing from their own human conception, but from the gift vouchsafed to them by God from above.

 

NOTE: The next two quotes below are from Irenaeus’ fourth book, but they are placed here because they relate to several of the quotes above from Justin. Specifically, they affirm that it is the explanation of the prophecies of Jesus that has been withheld from the Jewish people, insomuch as they have refused to hear those explanations when they rejected the apostles. Justin’s statements that “grace alone has been granted to me to the understanding of His Scriptures” should be understood in the sense of the Christians having received the gift given through the apostles, namely, the explanations from Jesus of what these Old Testament prophecies meant.

 

Irenaeus –

AGAINST HERESIES, BOOK IV

 

CHAP. XXVI. 1. Hence His human nature could not(10) be understood, prior to the consummation of those things which had been predicted, that is, the advent of Christ. And therefore it was said to Daniel the prophet: "Shut up the words, and seal the book even to the time of consummation, until many learn, and knowledge be completed. For at that time, when the dispersion shall be accomplished, they shall know all these things."(11) But Jeremiah also says, "In the last days they shall understand these things."(12) For every prophecy, before its fulfilment, is to men [full of] enigmas and ambiguities. But when the time has arrived, and the prediction has come to pass, then the prophecies have a clear and certain exposition. And for this reason, indeed, when at this present time the law is read to the Jews, it is like a fable; for they do not possess the explanation of all things pertaining to the advent of the Son of God, which took place in human nature; but when it is read by the Christians, it is a treasure, hid indeed in a field, but brought to light by the cross of Christ, and explained, both enriching the understanding of men, and showing forth the wisdom of God and declaring His dispensations with regard to man, and forming the kingdom of Christ beforehand, and preaching by anticipation the inheritance of the holy Jerusalem…2. Wherefore it is incumbent to obey the presbyters who are in the Church,--those who, as I have shown, possess the succession from the apostles; those who, together with the succession of the episcopate, have received the certain gift of truth, according to the good pleasure of the Father.

 

CHAP. XXXIII. 1. For he judges the Gentiles, "who serve the creature more than the Creator,"(12) and with a reprobate mind spend all their labour on vanity. And he also judges the Jews, who do not accept of the word of liberty, nor are willing to go forth free, although they have a Deliverer present [with them]; but they pretend, at a time unsuitable [for such conduct], to serve, [with observances] beyond [those required by] the law, God who stands in need of nothing, and do not recognise the advent of Christ, which He accomplished for the salvation of men, nor are willing to understand that all the prophets announced His two advents: the one, indeed, in which He became a man subject to stripes, and knowing what it is to bear infirmity,(13) and sat upon the foal of an ass,(14) and was a stone rejected by the builders,(15) and was led as a sheep to the slaughter,(16) and by the stretching forth of His hands destroyed Amalek;(17) while He gathered from the ends of the earth into His Father's fold the children who were scattered abroad,(18) and remembered His own dead ones who had formerly fallen asleep,(19) and came down to them that He might deliver them: but the second in which He will come on the clouds,(20) bringing on the day which burns as a furnace?(21) and smiting the earth with the word of His mouth?(22) and slaying the impious with the breath of His lips, and having a fan in His hands, and cleansing His floor, and gathering the wheat indeed into His barn, but burning the chaff with unquenchable fire.(23)

 

NOTE: The last sentence of the quote below only seems to support Calvinist notions of sovereignty when it is taken out of context. But as the surrounding context reveals, the statement is not meant generally concerning all things that occur. Instead, it is clear that Irenaeus is simply talking about the fact that God’s will is going to rule in all things pertaining to the judgment. Freewill theology never denied that God’s will is going to reign supreme and irresistible on the Judgment Day. Nothing in the passage indicates that God is going to cause what humans will on that day. Men may complain and disagree all they want, but they will still go to damnation when God says so.

 

Irenaeus –

AGAINST HERESIES, BOOK II

 

CHAP. XXXIV. 3. …And therefore he who shall preserve the life bestowed upon him, and give thanks to Him who imparted it, shall receive also length of days for ever and ever. But he who shall reject it, and prove himself ungrateful to his Maker, inasmuch as he has been created, and has not recognised Him who bestowed [the gift upon him], deprives himself of [the privilege of] continuance for ever and ever.(1)… 4.When God therefore bestows life and perpetual duration, it comes to pass that even souls which did not previously exist should henceforth endure [for ever], since God has both willed that they should exist, and should continue in existence. For the will of God ought to govern and rule in all things, while all other things give way to Him, are in subjection, and devoted to His service.

 

 

Irenaeus –

AGAINST HERESIES, BOOK III

 

CHAP. XII. 14. After him James spoke as follows… “ …For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things; that ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from fornication; and whatsoever ye do not wish to be done to you, do not ye to others: from which preserving yourselves, ye shall do well, walking (3) in the Holy Spirit." From all these passages, then, it is evident that they did not teach the existence of another Father, but gave the new covenant of liberty to those who had lately believed in God by the Holy Spirit.

 

NOTE: The quote immediately above does not attest to irresistible grace or that men come to believe the Gospel by means of an irresistible work of the Holy Spirit. Freewill theology also testifies that God’s Spirit is urging men to repentance. And that is all this quote testifies to, that the Holy Spirit is calling men to repent and, consequently, when they do, it is by the urging of the Holy Spirit. This does not, however, in any way comment on whether or not the Holy Spirit’s efforts in this regard are resistible or not, nor does it comment on whether the Holy Spirit is urging all men to repent, even those who constantly reject God and will end up among the damned.

 

NOTE: The quote below uses the phrase “He caused man (human nature) to cleave to and to become one with God.” This does not refer to Calvinistic irresistible grace compelling men to turn to God. Instead, it speaks of the incarnation and the necessity of God taking on a human nature in order that God might, through the incarnation, bring men to the immortality and incorruptibility enjoyed by God. (Compare to BOOK III, CHAP. XVI. 3, which similarly says, “the Son of God being made the Son Of man, that through Him we may receive the adoption,--humanity(6) sustaining, and receiving, and embracing the Son of God. Wherefore Mark also says: "The beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God; as it is written in the prophets."(7) Knowing one and the same Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was announced by the prophets, who from the fruit of David's body was Emmanuel.”)

 

 

CHAP. XVIII. 7. Therefore, as I have already said, He caused man (human nature) to cleave to and to become, one with God. For unless man had overcome the enemy of man, the enemy would not have been legitimately vanquished. And again: unless it had been God who had freely given salvation, we could never have possessed it securely. And unless man had been joined to God, he could never have become a partaker of incorruptibility. For it was incumbent upon the Mediator between God and men, by His relationship to both, to bring both to friendship and concord, and present man to God, while He revealed God to man.(2) For, in what way could we be partaken of the adoption of sons, unless we had received from Him through the Son that fellowship which refers to Himself, unless His Word, having been made flesh, had entered into communion with us? … CHAP. XIX. 1. He speaks undoubtedly these words to those who have not received the gift of adoption, but who despise the incarnation of the pure generation of the Word of God,(9) defraud human nature of promotion into God, and prove themselves ungrateful to the Word of God, who became flesh for them. For it was for this end that the Word of God was made man, and He who was the Son of God became the Son of man, that man, having been taken into the Word, and receiving the adoption, might become the son of God. For by no other means could we have attained to incorruptibility and immortality, unless we had been united to incorruptibility and immortality. But how could we be joined to incorruptibility and immortality, unless, first, incorruptibility and immortality had become that which we also are, so that the corruptible might be swallowed up by incorruptibility, and the mortal by immortality, that might receive the adoption of sons? …3. For as He became man in order to undergo temptation, so also was He the Word that He might be glorified; the Word remaining quiescent, that He might be capable of being tempted, dishonoured, crucified, and of suffering death, but the human nature being swallowed up in it (the divine), when it conquered, and endured [without yielding], and performed acts of kindness, and rose again, and was received up [into heaven]…offering and commending to His Father that human nature (hominem) which had been found, making in His own person the first-fruits of the resurrection of man; that, as the Head rose from the dead, so also the remaining part of the body--[namely, the body] of every  man who is found in life--when the time is fulfilled of that condemnation which existed by reason of disobedience, may arise, blended together and strengthened through means of joints and bands(13) by the increase of God, each of the members having its own proper and fit position in the body.

 

CHAP. XXIV. Those, therefore, who do not partake of Him, are neither nourished into life from the mother's breasts, nor do they enjoy that most limpid fountain which issues from the body of Christ; but they dig for themselves broken cisterns(11) out of earthly trenches, and drink putrid water out of the mire, fleeing from the faith of the Church lest they be convicted; and rejecting the Spirit, that they may not be instructed.

 

NOTE: The quote below includes the phrase “that he might be the more subject to God,” which clearly indicates that men, even godly prophets like God who are chosen for his purpose, can and often do resist God’s will, being less than perfectly subject to God.

 

CHAP.XX. 1. Long-suffering therefore was God, when man became a defaulter, as foreseeing that victory which should be granted to him through the Word. For, when strength was made perfect in weakness,(15) it showed the kindness and transcendent power of God. For as He patiently suffered Jonah to be swallowed by the whale, not that he should be swallowed up and perish altogether, but that, having been cast out again, he might be the more subject to God, and might glorify Him the more who had conferred upon him such an unhoped-for deliverance, and might bring the Ninevites to a lasting repentance, so that they should be convened to the Lord, who would deliver them from death, having been struck with awe by that portent which had been wrought in Jonah's case, as the Scripture says of them, "And they returned each from his evil way, and the unrighteousness which was in their hands, saying, Who knoweth if God will repent, and turn away His anger from us, and we shall not perish?"(16)--so also, from the beginning, did God permit man to be swallowed up by the great whale, who was the author of transgression, not that he should perish altogether when so engulphed; but, arranging and preparing the plan of salvation, which was accomplished by the Word, through the sign of Jonah, for those who held the same opinion as Jonah regarding the Lord, and who confessed, and said, "I am a servant of the Lord, and I worship the Lord God of heaven, who hath made the sea and the dry land."

 

NOTE: It should not be assumed that Irenaeus’ definition of “providence” is the same as the “providence” of Calvinism. Irenaeus’ “providence” is not controlling or causative. Instead, it simply includes God watching all things, God counseling all things, God governing (in the sense of arranging the order of the natural world), and God rebuking and having judicial authority. None of these involves, requires, or implies controlling the will or choices of men. Moreover, we also find the phrase “certain of the Gentiles…being moved, though but slightly, by His providence, were nevertheless convinced that they should call the Maker of this universe Father.” Here, “being moved” does not mean “being caused” by God through an irresistible force. Instead, it simply means that some Gentiles observed the well-ordered and beneficial arrangement in the natural world, and concluded from this display that the Creator was caring and “father-like.” Irenaeus does not mean that God only gave them a little irresistible grace just enough to convince them that he should be called “Father” but no more. Instead, Irenaeus means that although these men were compelled by the care they saw in the world, they were not greatly convinced, not enough to cease to live as Gentiles altogether.

 

CHAP. XXV. 1. God does, however, exercise a providence over all things, and therefore He also gives counsel; and when giving counsel, He is present with those who attend to moral discipline. (2) It follows then of course, that the things which are watched over and governed should be acquainted with their ruler; which things are not irrational or vain, but they have understanding derived from the providence of God. And, for this reason certain of the Gentiles, who were less addicted to [sensual] allurements and voluptuousness, and were not led away to such a degree of superstition with regard to idols, being moved, though but slightly, by His providence, were nevertheless convinced that they should call the Maker of this universe the Father, who exercises a providence over all things, and arranges the affairs of our world. 2. Again, that they might remove the rebuking and judicial power from the Father, reckoning that as unworthy of God, and thinking that they had found out a God both without anger and [merely]  good, they have alleged that one [God] judges, but that another saves, unconsciously taking away the intelligence and justice of both deities. For if the judicial one is not also good, to bestow favours upon the deserving, and to direct reproofs against those requiring them, he will appear neither a just nor a wise judge. On the other hand, the good God, if he is merely good, and not one who tests those upon whom he shall send his goodness, will be out of the range of justice and goodness; and his goodness will seem imperfect, as not saving all; [for it should do so,] if it be not accompanied with judgment. …4. The God, therefore, who does benevolently cause His sun to rise upon all,(4) and sends rain upon the just and unjust, shall judge those who, enjoying His equally distributed kindness, have led lives not corresponding to the dignity of His bounty; but who have spent their days in wantonness and luxury, in opposition to His benevolence, and have, moreover, even blasphemed Him who has conferred so great benefits upon them.

 

CHAP. VIII. 1. But we do now receive a certain portion of His Spirit, tending towards perfection, and preparing us for incorruption, being little by little accustomed to receive and bear God; which also the apostle terms "an earnest," that is, a part of the honour which has been promised us by God, where he says in the Epistle to the Ephesians, "In which ye also, having heard the word of truth, the Gospel of your salvation, believing in which we have been sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance."(10) This earnest, therefore, thus dwelling in us, renders us spiritual even now, and the mortal is swallowed up by immortality.(11) "For ye," he declares, "are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you."(12) This, however does not take place by a casting away of the flesh, but by the impartation of the Spirit. For those to whom he was writing were not without flesh, but they were those who had received the Spirit of God, "by which we cry, Abba, Father."(13) ...2. Those persons, then, who possess the earnest of the Spirit, and who are not enslaved by the lusts of the flesh, but are subject to the Spirit, and who in all things walk according to the light of reason, does the apostle properly term "spiritual," because the Spirit of God dwells in them. Now, spiritual men shall not be incorporeal spirits; but our substance, that is, the union of flesh and spirit, receiving the Spirit of God, makes up the spiritual man. But those who do indeed reject the Spirit's counsel, and are the slaves of fleshly lusts, and lead lives contrary to reason, and who, without restraint, plunge headlong into their own desires, having no longing after the Divine Spirit, do live after the manner of swine and of dogs; these men, [I say], does the apostle very properly term "carnal," because they have no thought of anything else except carnal things.

 


(As stated above regarding the closely related issue of Irresistible Grace…) Real born-again Christians who had already believed and received salvation and the Holy Spirit were capable of resisting God’s efforts on their behalf concerning salvation, to mature them in Jesus Christ and purify them toward the day of Jesus’ return, and consequently, could literally turn from real belief to real doubt and literally lose their salvation. (Not only could a believer fall away after coming to God, but they could also come back to God and be accepted by God after falling away if they repented.) Consequently, the Calvinist doctrine of Perseverance of the Saints (or Eternal Security) was rejected.

 

Polycarp –

THE EPISTLE OF POLYCARP TO THE PHILIPPIANS(1)

 

CHAP. VIII. Let us then continually persevere in our hope, and the earnest of our righteousness, which is Jesus Christ, "who bore our sins in His own body on the tree,"(3) "who did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth,"(4) but endured all things for us, that we might live in Him.(5) Let us then be imitators of His patience; and if we suffer(6) for His name's sake, let us glorify Him.(7) For He has set us this example s in Himself, and we have believed that such is the case.

 

CHAP. IX. I exhort you all, therefore, to yield obedience to the word of righteousness, and to exercise all patience, such as ye have seen [set] before your eyes, not only in the case of the blessed Ignatius, and Zosimus, and Rufus, but also in others among yourselves, and in Paul himself, and the rest of the apostles. [This do] in the assurance that all these have not run(9) in vain, but in faith and righteousness, and that they are [now] in their due place in the presence of the Lord, with whom also they suffered. For they loved not this present world, but Him who died for us, and for our sakes was raised again by God from the dead.

 

CHAP. X. Stand fast, therefore, in these things, and follow the example of the Lord, being firm and unchangeable in the faith, loving the brotherhood,(11) and being attached to one another, joined together in the truth, exhibiting the meekness of the Lord in your intercourse with one another, and despising no one.

 

 

Barnabas –

THE EPISTLE OF BARNABAS(1)

 

CHAP. I. All hail, ye sons and daughters, in the name of our Lord(1) Jesus Christ, who loved us in peace. Seeing that the divine fruits(3) of righteousness abound among you, I rejoice exceedingly and above measure in your happy and honoured spirits, because ye have with such effect received the engrafted(4) spiritual gift. Wherefore also I inwardly rejoice the more, hoping to be saved, because I truly perceive in you the Spirit poured forth from the rich Lord s of love.

 

CHAP.(11) Since, therefore, the days are evil, and Satan(13) possesses the power of this world, we ought to give heed to ourselves, and diligently inquire into the ordinances of the Lord. Fear and patience, then, are helpers of our faith; and long-suffering and continence are things which fight on our side... And again He says to them, "Did I command your fathers, when they went out from the land of Egypt, to offer unto Me burnt-offerings and sacrifices? But this rather I commanded them, Let no one of you cherish any evil in his heart against his neighbour, and love not an oath of falsehood."(3) We ought therefore, being possessed of understanding, to perceive the gracious intention of our Father; for He speaks to us, desirous that we, not(4) going astray like them, should ask how we may approach Him. To us, then, He declares, "A sacrifice [pleasing] to God is a broken spirit; a smell of sweet savour to the Lord is a heart that glorifieth Him that made it."(5) We ought therefore, brethren, carefully to inquire concerning our salvation, lest the wicked one, having made his entrance by deceit, should huff(6) us forth from our [true] life.

 

CHAP.IV. It therefore behoves us, who inquire much concerning events at hand,(11) to search diligently into those things which are able to save us. Let us then utterly flee from all the works of iniquity, lest these should take hold of us; and let us hate the error of the present time, that we may set our love on the world to come: let us not give loose reins to our soul, that it should have power to run with sinners and the wicked, lest we become like them. …Now, being desirous to write many things to you, not as your teacher, but as becometh one who loves you, I have taken care not to fail to write to you from what I myself possess, with a view to your purification.(4) We take earnest(5) heed in these last days; for the whole [past] time of your faith will profit you nothing, unless now in this wicked time we also withstand coming sources of danger, as becometh the sons of God. That the Black One(6) may find no means of entrance, let us flee from every vanity, let us utterly hate the works of the way of wickedness. Do not, by retiring apart, live a solitary life, as if you were already [fully] justified; but coming together in one place, make common inquiry concerning what tends to your general welfare. For the Scripture saith, "Woe to them who are wise to themselves, and prudent in their own sight!"(7) Let us be spiritually-minded: let us be a perfect temple to God. As much as in us lies, let us meditate upon the fear of God, and let us keep His commandments, that we may rejoice in His ordinances. The Lord will judge the world without respect of persons. Each will receive as he has done: if he is righteous, his righteousness will precede him; if he is wicked, the reward of wickedness is before him. Take heed, lest resting at our ease, as those who are the called [of God], we should fall asleep in our sins, and the wicked prince, acquiring power over us, should thrust us away from the kingdom of the Lord. And all the more attend to this, my brethren, when ye reflect and behold, that after so great signs and wonders were wrought in Israel, they were thus [at length] abandoned. Let us beware lest we be found [fulfilling that saying], as it is written, "Many are called, but few are chosen."(8)

 

THE EPISTLE OF BARNABAS(1)

 

CHAP. XXI. It is well, therefore,(6) that he who has learned the judgments of the Lord, as many as have been written, should walk in them. For he who keepeth these shall be glorified in the kingdom of God; but he who chooseth other things(7) shall be destroyed with his works. On this account there will be a resurrection,(8) on this account a retribution.

 

 

Clement –

THE FIRST EPISTLE OF CLEMENT TO THE CORINTHIANS

 

CHAP. II. Day and night ye were anxious for the whole brotherhood,(8) that the number of God's elect might be saved with mercy and a good conscience.(9)

 

CHAP. XI. On account of his hospitality and godliness, Lot was saved out of Sodom when all the country round was punished by means of fire and brimstone, the Lord thus making it manifest that He does not forsake those that hope in Him, but gives up such as depart from Him to punishment and torture.(2) For Lot's wife, who went forth with him, being of a different mind from himself and not continuing in agreement with him [as to the command which had been given them], was made an example of, so as to be a pillar of salt unto this day.(3) This was done that all might know that those who are of a double mind, and who distrust the power of God, bring down judgment on themselves? and become a sign to all succeeding generations.

 

CHAP. XXI. Take heed, beloved, lest His many kindnesses lead to the condemnation of us all. [For thus it must be] unless we walk worthy of Him, and with one mind do those things which are good and well-pleasing in His sight. For [the Scripture] saith in a certain place, "The Spirit of the Lord is a candle searching the secret parts of the belly."(1) Let us reflect how near He is, and that none of the thoughts or reasonings in which we engage are hid from Him. It is right, therefore, that we should not leave the post which His will has assigned us. Let us rather offend those men who are foolish, and inconsiderate, and lifted up, and who glory in the pride of their speech, than [offend] God. Let us reverence the Lord Jesus Christ, whose blood was given for us; let us esteem those who have the rule over us;(2) let us honour the aged(3) among us; let us train up the young men in the fear of God; let us direct our wives to that which is good. Let them exhibit the lovely habit of purity [in all their conduct]; let them show forth the sincere disposition of meekness; let them make manifest the command which they have of their tongue, by their manner(4) of speaking; let them display their love, not by preferring(5) one to another, but by showing equal affection to all that piously fear God. Let your children be partakers of true Christian training; let them learn of how great avail humility is with God--how much the spirit of pure affection can prevail with Him--how excellent and great His fear is, and how it saves all those who walk in(6) it with a pure mind. For He is a Searcher of the thoughts and desires [of the heart]: His breath is in us; and when He pleases, He will take it away.

 

CHAP. XXXI. Let us cleave then to His blessing, and consider what are the means(6) of possessing it. Let us think(7) over the things which have taken place from the beginning. For what reason was our father Abraham blessed? was it not because he wrought righteousness and truth through faith?(8) Isaac, with perfect confidence, as if knowing what was to happen,(9) cheerfully yielded himself as a sacrifice.(10) Jacob, through reason(11) of his brother, went forth with humility from his own land, and came to Laban and served him; and there was given to him the sceptre of the twelve tribes of Israel.

 

CHAP. LVII. Ye therefore, who laid the foundation of this sedition, submit yourselves to the presbyters, and receive correction so as to repent, bending the knees of your hearts. Learn to be subject, laying aside the proud and arrogant self-confidence of your tongue. For it is better for you that ye should occupy(12) a humble but honourable place in the flock of Christ, than that, being highly exalted, ye should be cast out from the hope of His people.(13)

 

 

Ignatius –

THE EPISTLE OF IGNATIUS TO THE EPHESIANS

 

CHAP. XIV.  None of these things is hid from you, if ye perfectly possess that faith and love towards Christ Jesus(10) which are the beginning and the end of life. For the beginning is faith, and the end is love.(11) Now these two. being inseparably connected together,(12) are of God, while all other things which are requisite for a holy life follow after them. No man [truly] making a profession of faith sinneth;(13) nor does he that possesses love hate any one. The tree is made manifest by its fruit;(15) so those that profess themselves to be Christians shall be recognised by their conduct. For there is not now a demand for mere profession,(16) but that a man be found continuing in the power of faith to the end.

 

CHAP. XVII.  For this end did the Lord suffer the ointment to be poured upon His head,(7) that He might breathe immortality into His Church. Be not ye anointed with the bad odour of the doctrine of the prince of this world; let him not lead you away captive from the life which is set before you. And why are we not all prudent, since we have received the knowledge of God, which is Jesus Christ? Why do we foolishly perish, not recognising the gift which the Lord has of a truth sent to us?

 

CHAP. XI.  These things[I address to you], my beloved, not that I know any of you to be in such a state;[17] but, as less than any of you, I desire to guard you beforehand, that ye fall not upon the hooks of vain doctrine, but that ye attain to full assurance in regard to the birth, and passion, and resurrection which took place in the time of the government of Pontius Pilate, being truly and certainly accomplished by Jesus Christ, who is our hope,[1] from which may no one of you ever be turned aside.

 

 

Ignatius –

THE EPISTLE OF IGNATIUS TO THE TRALLIANS

 

CHAP. XII. I salute you from Smyrna, together with the Churches of God which are with me, who have refreshed me in all things, both in the flesh and in the spirit. My bonds, which I carry about with me for the sake of Jesus Christ (praying that I may attain to God), exhort you. Continue in harmony among yourselves, and in prayer with one another; for it becomes every one of you, and especially the presbyters, to refresh the bishop, to the hon-our of the Father, of Jesus Christ, and of the apostles. I entreat you in love to hear me, that I may not, by having written, be a testimony against you. And do ye also pray for me, who have need of your love, along with the mercy of God, that I may be worthy of the lot for which I am destined, and that I may not be found reprobate.

 

 

Ignatius –

THE EPISTLE OF  IGNATIUS TO POLYCARP

 

Chapter VI. Give ye [1099] heed to the bishop, that God also may give heed to you. My soul be for theirs [1100] that are submissive to the bishop, to the presbyters, and to the deacons, and may my portion be along with them in God! Labour together with one another; strive in company together; run together; suffer together; sleep together; and awake together, as the stewards, and associates, [1101] and servants of God. Please ye Him under whom ye fight, and from whom ye receive your wages. Let none of you be found a deserter. Let your baptism endure as your arms; your faith as your helmet; your love as your spear; your patience as a complete panoply. Let your works be the charge [1102] assigned to you, that ye may receive a worthy recompense. Be long-suffering, therefore, with one another, in meekness, as God is towards you. May I have joy of you for ever! [1103]

 

 

Ignatius –

THE EPISTLE OF  IGNATIUS TO POLYCARP

 

Chapter I. Having obtained good proof that thy mind is fixed in God as upon an immoveable rock, I loudly glorify [His name] that I have been thought worthy [to behold] thy blameless face, [1063] which may I ever enjoy in God! I entreat thee, by the grace with which thou art clothed, to press forward in thy course, and to exhort all that they may be saved.

 

NOTE: In the quote below, it is the doctrines of the faith that are invulnerable, not the faith of men itself.

 

Justin Martyr –

FRAGMENTS OF THE LOST WORK OF JUSTIN ON THE RESURRECTION

 

CHAP. I. But since the adversary does not cease to resist many, and uses many and divers arts to ensnare them, that he may seduce the faithful from their faith, and that he may prevent the faithless from believing, it seems to me necessary that we also, being armed with the invulnerable doctrines of the faith, do battle against him in behalf of the weak.

 

 

Dialogue of Justin –

PHILOSOPHER AND MARTYR, WITH TRYPHO, A JEW

 

CHAP. XLVII. And I hold, further, that such as have confessed and known this man to be Christ, yet who have gone back from some cause to the legal dispensation, and have denied that this man is Christ, and have repented not before death, shall by no means be saved. Further, I hold that those of the seed of Abraham who live according to the law, and do not believe in this Christ before death, shall likewise not be saved, and especially those who have anathematized and do anathematize this very Christ in the synagogues, and everything by which they might obtain salvation and escape the vengeance of fire.(6) For the goodness and the loving-kindness of God, and His boundless riches, hold righteous and sinless the man who, as Ezekiel(1) tells, repents of sins; and reckons sinful, unrighteous, and impious the man who fails away from piety and righteousness to unrighteousness and ungodliness. Wherefore also our Lord Jesus Christ said, 'In whatsoever things I shall take you, in these I shall judge you.' "(2)

 

Irenaeus –

AGAINST HERESIES, BOOK I

 

PREFACE. 1. They also overthrow the faith of many, by drawing them away, under a pretence of [superior] knowledge, from Him who rounded and adorned the universe; as if, forsooth, they had something more excellent and sublime to reveal, than that God who created the heaven and the earth, and all things that are therein.

 

CHAP. III. 6. And others(13) of them, with great craftiness, adapted such parts of Scripture to their own figments, lead away captive from the truth those who do not retain a stedfast faith in one God, the Father Almighty, and in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

 

NOTE: The following quote describes the falling away of a man named Nicolas who was originally ordained by the apostles (being filled by the Spirit at that point) but then started a heresy.

 

CHAP. XXVI. 3. The Nicolaitanes are the followers of that Nicolas who was one of the seven first ordained to the diaconate by the apostles.(1) They lead lives of unrestrained indulgence. The character of these men is very plainly pointed out in the Apocalypse of John, [when they are represented] as teaching that it is a matter of indifference to practise adultery, and to eat things sacrificed to idols. Wherefore the Word has also spoken of them thus: "But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitanes, which I also hate."(2)

 

 

Irenaeus –

AGAINST HERESIES, BOOK II

 

CHAP. XXV. 2. But since created things are various and numerous, they are indeed well fitted and adapted to the whole creation; yet, when viewed individually, are mutually opposite and inharmonious, just as the sound of the lyre, which consists of many and opposite notes, gives rise to one unbroken melody, through means of the interval which separates each one from the others. The lover of truth therefore ought not to be deceived by the interval between each note, nor should he imagine that one was due to one artist and author, and another to another, nor that one person fitted the treble, another the bass, and yet another the tenor strings; but he should hold that one and the same person [formed the whole],  so as to prove the judgment, goodness, and skill exhibited in the whole work and [specimen of] wisdom. Those, too, who listen to the melody, ought to praise and extol the artist, to admire the tension of some notes, to attend to the softness of others, to catch the sound of others between both these extremes, and to consider the special character of others, so as to inquire at what each one aims, and what is the cause of their variety, never failing to apply our rule, neither giving up the [one(9)] artist, nor casting off faith in the one God who formed all things, nor blaspheming our Creator.

 

CHAP. XXVI. 1. It is therefore better and more profitable to belong to the simple and unlettered class, and by means of love to attain to nearness to God, than, by imagining ourselves learned and skilful, to be found [among those who are] blasphemous against their own God, inasmuch as they conjure up another God as the Father. And for this reason Paul exclaimed, "Knowledge puffeth up, but love edifieth:"(2) not that he meant to inveigh against a true knowledge of God, for in that case he would have accused himself; but, because he knew that some, puffed up by the pretence of knowledge, fall away from the love of God, and imagine that they themselves are perfect, for this reason that they set forth an imperfect Creator, with the view of putting an end to the pride which they feel on account of knowledge of this kind, he says, "Knowledge puffeth up, but love edifieth." Now there can be no greater conceit than this, that any one  should imagine he is better and more perfect  than He who made and fashioned him, and imparted to him the breath of life, and commanded this very thing into existence. It is therefore better, as I have said, that one should have no knowledge whatever of any one reason why a single thing in creation has been made, but should believe in God, and continue in His love, than(3) that, puffed up through knowledge of this kind, he should fall away from that love which is the life of man; and that he should search after no other knowledge except [the knowledge of] Jesus Christ the Son of God, who was crucified for us, than that by subtle questions and hair-splitting expressions he should fall into impiety.(4)

 

CHAP. XXVII. 1. Having therefore the truth itself as our rule and the testimony concerning God set clearly before us, we ought not, by running after numerous and diverse answers to questions, to cast away the firm and true knowledge of God. But it is much more suitable that we, directing our inquiries after this fashion, should exercise ourselves in the investigation of the mystery and administration of the living God, and should increase in the love of Him who has done, and still does, so great things for us; but never should fall from the belief by which it is most clearly proclaimed that this Being alone is truly God and Father, who both formed this world, fashioned man, and bestowed the faculty of increase on His own creation…

 

 

Irenaeus –

AGAINST HERESIES, BOOK III

 

CHAP. XV. 2. By these words they entrap the more simple, and entice them, imitating our phraseology, that these [dupes] may listen to them the oftener; and then these are asked(9) regarding us, how it is, that when they hold doctrines similar to ours, we, without cause, keep ourselves aloof from their company; and [how it is, that] when they say the same things, and hold the same doctrine, we call them heretics? When they have thus, by means of questions, overthrown the faith of any... CHAP XVI. 1. …those who should teach such doctrines were agents of Satan, sent forth for the purpose of overturning the faith of some, and drawing them away from life.

 

NOTE: In the following excerpt, Irenaeus quotes the scripture that says, “Every one that believeth that Jesus is the Christ, has been born of God.” In saying this, he demonstrates that phrases such as “overturning the faith of some, and drawing them away from life” does indeed refer to the idea that the regenerated, the born-again, can lose their faith and eternal salvation.

 

CHAP. XXVI. 8. Wherefore he again exclaims in his Epistle, "Every one that believeth that Jesus is the Christ, has been born of God;"(9) knowing Jesus Christ to be one and the same, to whom the gates of heaven were opened, because of His taking upon Him flesh: who shall also come in the same flesh in which He suffered, revealing the glory of the Father.

 

NOTE: The quote below is also being placed in the Total Depravity section and Conditional Election section. Concerning Total Depravity, the quote specifically states that God “always preserved freedom, and the power of self-government in man.” In saying this, Irenaeus outright prohibits the doctrine of Total Depravity, which states that as a result of Adam’s sin, all his offspring lost the freedom and ability to choose God. Moreover, Irenaeus argues that because man’s freedom is always preserved by God, consequently, those who have obeyed God are justly rewarded while those who have not obeyed are justly condemned because has had it in their power to obey. This, of course, disproves Unconditional Election. Lastly, the quote also disproves Perseverance of the Saints, declaring plainly that those with salvation can become apostates, revert to idolatry and apostatizing from God.

 

Irenaeus –

AGAINST HERESIES, BOOK IV

 

CHAP. XV. 2. If, therefore, even in the New Testament, the apostles are found granting certain precepts in consideration of human infirmity, because of the incontinence of some, lest such persons, having grown obdurate, and despairing altogether of their salvation, should become apostates from God,--it ought not to be wondered at, if also in the Old Testament the same God permitted similar indulgences for the benefit of His people, drawing them on by means of the ordinances already mentioned, so that they might obtain the gift of salvation through them, while they obeyed the Decalogue, and being restrained by Him, should not revert to idolatry, nor apostatize from God, but learn to love Him with the whole heart. And if certain persons, because of the disobedient and ruined Israelites, do assert that the giver (doctor) of the law was limited in power, they will find in our dispensation, that "many are called, but few chosen;"(11) and that there are those who inwardly are wolves, yet wear sheep's clothing in the eyes of the world (foris); and that God has always preserved freedom, and the power of self-government in man,(12) while at the same time He issued His own exhortations, in order that those who do not obey Him should be righteously judged (condemned) because they have not obeyed Him; and that those who have obeyed and believed on Him should be honoured with immortality.

 

CHAP. XXVII. 2. …but the Son shall come in the glory of the Father, requiring from His stewards and dispensers the money which He had entrusted to them, with usury; and from those to whom He had given most shall He demand most. We ought not, therefore, as that presbyter remarks, to be puffed up, nor be severe upon those of old time, but ought ourselves to fear, lest perchance, after [we have come to] the knowledge of Christ, if we do things displeasing to God, we obtain no further forgiveness of sins, but be shut out from His kingdom.(6) And therefore it was that Paul said, "For if [God] spared not the natural branches, [take heed] lest He also spare not thee, who, when thou wert a wild olive tree, wert grafted into the fatness of the olive tree, and wert made a partaker of its fatness."(7)

 

Irenaeus –

AGAINST HERESIES, BOOK IV

 

CHAP. XXVII. 4. As then the unrighteous, the idolaters, and fornicators perished, so also is it now: for both the Lord declares, that such persons are sent into eternal fire;(4) and the apostle says, "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, not effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God."(5) And as it was not to those who are without that he said these things, but to us, lest we should be cast forth from the kingdom of God, by doing any such thing, he proceeds to say, "And such indeed were ye; but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and by the Spirit of our God." And just as then, those who led vicious lives, and put other people astray, were condemned and cast out, so also even now the offending eye is plucked out, and the foot and the hand, lest the rest of the body perish in like manner.(6) And we have the precept: "If any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner, with such an one no not to eat."(7) And again does the apostle say, "Let no man deceive you with vain words; for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the sons of mistrust. Be not ye therefore partakers with them."(8) And as then the condemnation of sinners extended to others who approved of them, and joined in their society; so also is it the case at present, that "a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump."(9)

 

NOTE: From the quote below, notice the conditional nature of whether the Spirit “rests” on us so that we become immortal or instead we are cast out into “outer darkness.” In addition, notice that this comes “after our calling” and that the same God who called is the one who casts out from among those he called, those who do not meet the conditions? This means that God’s grace in calling us is not irresistible and there is no automatic perseverance of the saints caused by an irresistible component of grace.

 

Irenaeus –

AGAINST HERESIES, BOOK IV.

 

CHAP. XXXIV. 6. Still further did He also make it manifest, that we ought, after our calling, to be also adorned with works of righteousness, so that the Spirit of God may rest upon us; for this is the wedding garment, of which also the apostle speaks, "Not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up by immortality."(3) But those who have indeed been called to God's supper, yet have not received the Holy Spirit, because of their wicked conduct "shall be," He declares, "cast into outer darkness."(4) He thus clearly shows that the very same King who gathered from all quarters the faithful to the marriage of His Son, and who grants them the incorruptible banquet, [also] orders that man to be cast into outer darkness who has not on a wedding garment, that is, one who despises it. For as in the former covenant, "with many of them was He not well pleased;"(5) so also is it the case here, that "many are called, but few chosen."(6)

 

Irenaeus –

AGAINST HERESIES, BOOK V.

 

CHAP. VI. 1. And for this cause does the apostle, explaining himself, make it clear that the saved man is a complete man as well as a spiritual man; saying thus in the first Epistle to the Thessalonians, "Now the God of peace sanctify you perfect (perfectos); and may your spirit, and soul, and body be preserved whole without complaint to the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ."(1) Now what was his object in praying that these three--that is, soul, body, and spirit-- might be preserved to the coming of the Lord, unless he was aware of the [future] reintegration and union of the three, and [that they should be heirs of] one and the same salvation? For this cause also he declares that those are "the perfect" who present unto the Lord the three [component parts] without offence. Those, then, are the perfect who have had the Spirit of God remaining in them, and have preserved their souls and bodies blameless, holding fast the faith of God, that is, that faith which is [directed] towards God, and maintaining righteous dealings with respect to their neighbours.

 

CHAP. VI. 3. Inasmuch, therefore, as without the Spirit of God we cannot be saved, the apostle exhorts us through faith and chaste conversation to preserve the Spirit of God, lest, having become non-participators of the Divine Spirit, we lose the kingdom of heaven; and he exclaims, that flesh in itself, and blood, cannot possess the kingdom God.

 

NOTE: In the quote below, Irenaeus argues that after receiving the engrafting of the Holy Spirit, Christians can afterward reject the graft and end up losing their salvation and being cast into the fire.

 

CHAP. X. 1. This truth, therefore, [he declares], in order that we may not reject the engrafting of the Spirit while pampering the flesh. "But thou, being a wild olive-tree," he says, "hast been grafted into the good olive-tree, and been made a partaker of the fatness of the olive-tree." As, therefore, when the wild olive has been engrafted, if it remain in its former condition, viz., a wild olive, it is "cut off, and cast into the fire;"(2) but if it takes kindly to the graft, and is changed into the good olive-tree, it becomes a fruit-bearing olive, planted, as it were, in a king's park (paradiso): so likewise men, if they do truly progress by faith towards better things, and receive the Spirit of God, and bring forth the fruit thereof, shall be spiritual, as being planted in the paradise of God. But if they cast out the Spirit, and remain in their former condition, desirous of being of the flesh rather than of the Spirit, then it is very justly said with regard to men of this stamp, "That flesh and blood shall not inherit the kingdom of God;"(3) just as if any one were to say that the wild olive is not received into the paradise of God. Admirably therefore does the apostle exhibit our nature, and God's universal appointment, in his discourse about flesh and blood and the wild olive. For as the good olive, if neglected for a certain time, if left to grow wild and to run to wood, does itself become a wild olive; or again, if the wild olive be carefully tended and grafted, it naturally reverts to its former fruit-bearing condition: so men also, when they become careless, and bring forth for fruit the lusts of the flesh like woody produce, are rendered, by their own fault, unfruitful in righteousness. For when men sleep, the enemy sows the material of tares;(4) and for this cause did the Lord command His disciples to be on the watch.(5) And again, those persons who are not bringing forth the fruits of righteousness, and are, as it were, covered over and lost among brambles, if they use diligence, and receive the word of God as a graft,(6) arrive at the pristine nature of man--that which was created after the image and likeness of God. 2. But as the engrafted wild olive does not certainly lose the substance of its wood, but changes the quality of its fruit, and receives another name, being now not a wild olive, but a fruit-bearing olive, and is called so; so also, when man is grafted in by faith and receives the Spirit of God, he certainly does not lose the substance of flesh, but changes the quality of the fruit [brought forth, i.e.,] of his works, and receives another name,(7) showing that he has become changed for the better, being now not [mere] flesh and blood, but a spiritual man, and is called such. Then, again, as the wild olive, if it be not grafted in, remains useless to its lord because of its woody quality, and is cut down as a tree bearing no fruit, and cast into the fire; so also man, if he does not receive through faith the engrafting of the Spirit, remains in his old condition, and being [mere] flesh and blood, he cannot inherit the kingdom of God…And again he says, in the Epistle to the Romans, "For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die."(14) [Now by these words] he does not prohibit them from living their lives in the flesh, for he was himself in the flesh when he wrote to them; but he cuts away the lusts of the flesh, those which bring death upon a man. And for this reason he says in continuation, "But if ye through the Spirit do mortify the works of the flesh, ye shall live. For whosoever are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God." CHAP. XI. 1. [The apostle], foreseeing the wicked speeches of unbelievers, has particularized the works which he terms carnal; and he explains himself, lest any room for doubt be left to those who do dishonestly pervert his meaning, thus saying in the Epistle to the Galatians: "Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are adulteries, fornications, uncleanness, luxuriousness, idolatries, witchcrafts,(1) hatreds, contentions jealousies, wraths, emulations, animosities, irritable speeches, dissensions, heresies, envyings, drunkenness, carousings, and such like; of which I warn you, as also I have warned you, that they who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God."(2) Thus does he point out to his hearers in a more explicit manner what it is [he means when he declares], "Flesh and blood shall not inherit the kingdom of God." For they who do these things, since they do indeed walk after the flesh, have not the power of living unto God. And then, again, he proceeds to tell us the spiritual actions which vivify a man, that is, the engrafting of the Spirit; thus saying, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, goodness, benignity, faith, meekness, continence, chastity: against these there is no law."(3) As, therefore, he who has gone forward to the better things, and has brought forth the fruit of the Spirit, is saved altogether because of the communion of the Spirit; so also he who has continued in the aforesaid works of the flesh, being truly reckoned as carnal, because he did not receive the Spirit of God, shall not have power to inherit the kingdom of heaven. As, again, the same apostle testifies, saying to the Corinthians, "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not err," he says: "neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor revilers, nor rapacious persons, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And these ye indeed have been; but ye have been washed, but ye have been sanctified, but ye have been justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Spirit of our God."(4) He shows in the clearest manner through what things it is that man goes to destruction, if he has continued to live after the flesh; and then, on the other hand, [he points out] through what things he is saved. Now he says that the things which save are the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the Spirit of our God.

 

NOTE: Surrounding context reveals that in the quote below, the idea of the Spirit never leaving a man is in reference to the resurrected, immortalized man who is so totally enveloped by the Spirit. Consequently, this statement is not supportive or referential to irresistible grace.

 

CHAP. XII. 1. For as the flesh is capable of corruption, so is it also of incorruption; and as it is of death, so is it also of life… Thus that former life is expelled, because it was not given by the Spirit, but by the breath. 2. For the breath of life, which also rendered man an animated being, is one thing, and the vivifying Spirit another, which also caused him to become spiritual. And for this reason Isaiah said, "Thus saith the LORD, who made heaven and established it, who founded the earth and the things therein, and gave breath to the people upon it, and Spirit to those walking upon it;"(1) thus telling us that breath is indeed given in common to all people upon earth, but that the Spirit is theirs alone who tread down earthly desires. And therefore Isaiah himself, distinguishing the things already mentioned, again exclaims, "For the Spirit shall go forth from Me, and I have made every breath."(2) Thus does he attribute the Spirit as peculiar to God which in the last times He pours forth upon the human race by the adoption of sons; but [he shows] that breath was common throughout the creation, and points it out as something created. Now what has been made is a different thing from him who makes it. The breath, then, is temporal, but the Spirit eternal. The breath, too, increases [in strength] for a short period, and continues for a certain time; after that it takes its departure, leaving its former abode destitute of breath. But when the Spirit pervades the man within and without, inasmuch as it continues there, it never leaves him. "But that is not first which is spiritual," says the apostle, speaking this as if with reference to us human beings; "but that is first which is animal, afterwards that which is spiritual,"(3) in accordance with reason.

 

 

NOTE: The remainder of the quotes below indicate plainly that abeliever could fall away after coming to God and even come back to God and be accepted by God after falling away.

 

Polycarp –

THE EPISTLE OF POLYCARP TO THE PHILIPPIANS(1)

 

CHAP. VII. "For whosoever does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh, is antichrist;"(18) and whosoever does not confess the testimony of the cross,(19) is of the devil; and whosoever perverts the oracles of the Lord to his own lusts, and says that there is neither a resurrection nor a judgment, he is the first-born of Satan.(20) Wherefore, forsaking the vanity of many, and their false doctrines, let us return to the word which has been handed down to us from(21) the beginning; "watching unto prayer,"(22) and persevering in fasting; beseeching in our supplications the all-seeing God "not to lead us into temptation,"(1) as the Lord has said: "The spirit truly is willing, but the flesh is weak."(2)

 

CHAP. XI. I am greatly grieved for Valens, who was once a presbyter among you, because he so little understands the place that was given him [in the Church]. I exhort you, therefore, that ye abstain from covetousness,(16) and that ye be chaste and truthful. "Abstain from every form of evil."(17) For if a man cannot govern himself in such matters, how shall he enjoin them on others ? If a man does not keep himself from covetousness,(16) he shall be defiled by idolatry, and shall be judged as one of the heathen. But who of us are ignorant of the judgment of the Lord ?...I am deeply grieved, therefore, brethren, for him (Valens) and his wife; to whom may the Lord grant true repentance! And be ye then moderate in regard to this matter, and "do not count such as enemies,"(20) but call them back as suffering and straying members, that ye may save your whole body. For by so acting ye shall edify yourselves.(21)

 

NOTE: The quote below from Ignatius either disproves Total Depravity or Perseverance of the Saints. This is due to the phrase, “other men” have “in them” the “hope of repentance” in order “that they may attain to God.” Either “other men” refers to those who have never believed or been saved or it refers to those who have at one time believed and been saved. If “other men” refers to those who have never believed or been saved, then these sayings record Ignatius’ belief that unbelieving sinners are able to repent rather than being Total Depraved as Calvinism teaches. If “other men” refers to those who have at one time believed and been saved, then these sayings record Ignatius’ belief that believing Christians can fall away.

 

Ignatius –

THE EPISTLE OF IGNATIUS TO THE EPHESIANS

 

CHAP. X.  And pray ye without ceasing in behalf of other men. For there is in them hope of repentance that they may attain to God. See,[2] then, that they be instructed by your works, if in no other way.

 

 

Ignatius –

THE EPISTLE OF IGNATIUS TO THE PHILADELPHIANS

 

CHAP. II. Wherefore, as children of light and truth, flee from division and wicked doctrines; but where the shepherd is, there do ye as sheep follow. For there are many wolves that appear worthy of credit, who, by means of a pernicious pleasure, carry captives those that are running towards God; but in your unity they shall have no place. CHAP. III. Keep yourselves from those evil plants which Jesus Christ does not tend, because they are not the planting of the Father. Not that I have found any division among you, but exceeding purity. For as many as are of God and of Jesus Christ are also with the bishop. And as many as shall, in the exercise of repentance, return into the unity of the Church, these, too, shall belong to God, that they may live according to Jesus Christ. Do not err, my brethren. If any man follows him that makes a schism in the Church, he shall not inherit the kingdom of God. If any one walks according to a strange(5) opinion, he agrees not with the passion [of Christ.].

 

CHAP. V. My brethren, I am greatly enlarged in loving you; and rejoicing exceedingly [over you], I seek to secure your safety. Yet it is not I, but Jesus Christ, for whose sake being bound I fear the more, inasmuch as I am not yet perfect. But your prayer to God shall make me perfect, that I may attain to that portion which through mercy has been allotted me, while I flee to the Gospel as to the flesh of Jesus, and to the apostles as to the presbytery of the Church. And let us also love the prophets, because they too have proclaimed the Gospel,(4) and placed their hope in Him,(5) and waited for Him; in whom also believing, they were saved, through union to Jesus Christ, being holy men, worthy of love and admiration, having had witness borne to them by Jesus Christ, and being reckoned along with in the Gospel of the common hope.

 

Chapter VIII. I therefore did what belonged to me, as a man devoted to(3) unity. For where there is division and wrath, God doth not dwell. To all them that repent, the Lord grants forgiveness, if they turn in penitence to the unity of God, and to communion with the bishop.(4) I trust [as to you] in the grace of Jesus Christ, who shall free you from every bond. And I exhort you to do nothing out of strife, but according to the doctrine of Christ. When I heard some saying, If I do not find it in the ancient(7) Scriptures, I will not believe the Gospel; on my saying to them, It is written, they answered me, That remains to be proved. But to me Jesus Christ is in the place of all that is ancient: His cross, and death, and resurrection, and the faith(8) which is by Him, are undefiled monuments of antiquity; by which I desire, through your prayers, to be justified.

 

 

Ignatius –

THE EPISTLE OF IGNATIUS TO THE SMYRNAEANS

 

CHAP. V. Some ignorantly(3) deny Him, or rather have been denied by Him, being the advocates of death rather than of the truth. These persons neither have the prophets persuaded, nor the law of Moses, nor the Gospel even to this day, nor the sufferings we have individually endured. For they think also the same thing regarding us.(4) For what does any one profit me, if he commends me, but blasphemes my Lord, not confessing that He was[truly] possessed of a body?(5) But he who does not acknowledge this, has in fact altogether denied Him, being enveloped in death.(6) I have not, however, thought good to write the names of such persons, inasmuch as they are unbelievers. Yea, far be it from me to make any mention of them, until they repent and return to [a true belief in] Christ's passion, which is our resurrection.

 

 

Dialogue of Justin –

PHILOSOPHER AND MARTYR, WITH TRYPHO, A JEW

 

CHAP. XLVII. And I hold, further, that such as have confessed and known this man to be Christ, yet who have gone back from some cause to the legal dispensation, and have denied that this man is Christ, and have repented not before death, shall by no means be saved.

 

Irenaeus –

AGAINST HERESIES, BOOK I

 

CHAP. XIII. 4. But such spirits as are commanded by these men, and speak when they desire it, are earthly and weak, audacious and impudent, sent forth by Satan for the seduction and perdition of those who do not hold fast that well-compacted faith which they received at first through the Church. 5. Moreover, that this Marcus compounds philters and love-potions, in order to insult the persons of some of these women, if not of all, those of them who have returned to the Church of God--a thing which frequently occurs--have acknowledged, confessing, too, that they have been defiled by him, and that they were filled with a burning passion towards him…7. Such are the words and deeds by which, in our own district of the Rhone, they have deluded many women, who have their consciences seared as with a hot iron.(1) Some of them, indeed, make a public confession of their sins; but others of them are ashamed to do this, and in a tacit kind of way, despairing of [attaining to] the life of God, have, some of them, apostatized altogether…

 

CHAP. XXVIII. 2. Others, again, following upon Basilides and Carpocrates, have introduced promiscuous intercourse and a plurality of wives, and are indifferent about eating meats sacrificed to idols, maintaining that God does not greatly regard such matters. But why continue? For it is an impracticable attempt to mention all those who, in one way or another, have fallen away from the truth.

 

 

Irenaeus –

AGAINST HERESIES, BOOK III

 

CHAP. II. 3. Wherefore they must be opposed at all points, if perchance, by cutting off their retreat, we may succeed in turning them back to the truth. For, though it is not an easy thing for a soul under the influence of error to repent, yet, on the other hand, it is not altogether impossible to escape from error when the truth is brought alongside it.

 

 

Irenaeus –

AGAINST HERESIES, BOOK IV

 

CHAP. IX. 3. For, being driven away from Him who truly is [God], and being turned backwards, he shall be for ever seeking, yet shall never find out God;(2) but shall continually swim in an abyss without limits, unless, being converted by repentance, he return to the place from which he had been cast out, confessing one God, the Father, the Creator, and believing [in Him]...