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Old 11-16-2009, 02:21 PM
 
12,647 posts, read 6,486,069 times
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Default The Early Church Fathers Did Not Believe In Universal Salvation

Claims are made by those who espouse the heresy of universal salvation, that the doctrine of eternal condemnation was not taught in the early church, but that it was a belief that arose later, with the Catholic Church. This is not true.

The early church fathers are categorized as: the apostolic fathers; the ante-Nicene church fathers; and the post-Nicene church fathers.

The apostolic church fathers were those who were contemporaries of the Apostles and carried on the teaching of the Apostles. These church leaders taught eternal condemnation in the lake of fire, long before the establishment of the Catholic church. Following are some quotations from some of the writings of some of early church fathers, and afterwards, some links for further information will be provided. I have only used quotations from no later than than about 189 A.D.

It should be pointed out that what matters is what the Bible teaches about the eternal lake of fire. Not what the church at any time in history says about it. But as it turns out, the early church is in agreement with the Bible.


(Exact dates may be subject to debate, but are close.)

Ignatius of Antioch (Letter to the Ephesians 16:1-2, [110 A.D.]) ''Corrupters of families will not inherit the kingdom of God. And if they who do these things according to the flesh suffer death, how much more if a man corrupt by evil reaching the faith of God for the sake of which Jesus Christ was crucified? A man become so foul will depart into unquenchable fire, and so will anyone who listens to him.

Clement of Rome (Second Clement 5:5 [A.D.150]) ''If we do the will of Christ, we shall obtain rest, but if not, if we neglect his commandments, nothing will rescue us from eternal punishment.''

(Second Clement 8:4) ''So also let us, while we are in this world, repent with our whole heart of the evil things which we have done in the flesh, that we may be saved by the Lord, while we have yet time for repentance.''


(Second Clement 8:5) ''After we have gone out of the world, no further power of confessing or repenting will belong to us.'' (In other words, Clement is saying that you must make the decision to believe in Christ while you are alive on this earth.)

Justin Martyr (First Apology 12 [150 A.D]) ''No more is it possible for the evil doer, the avaricious, and the treacherous to hide from God than it is for the virtuous. Every man will receive the eternal punishment or reward which his actions deserve. Indeed, if all men recognized this, no one would choose evil even for a short time, knowing that he would incur the eternal sentence of Fire. On the contrary, he would take every means to control himself and to adorn himself in virtue, so that he might obtain the good gifts of God and escape the punishments.''

Justin Martyr (First Apology of Justin, Chap. VIII [150 A.D.]) ''And we say that the same thing will be done, but at the hand of Christ, and upon the wicked in the same bodies united again to their spirits which are now to undergo everlasting punishment, and not only as Plato said, for a period of a thousand years. And if anyone say that this is incredible or impossible, this error of ours is one which concerns ourselves only, and no other person, so long as you cannot convict us of any harm.'' (Justin is clear in stating that the punishment is eternal and not for a temporary amount of time.)

Justin Martyr (First Apology of Justin, Chap. XXVIII [150 A.D.]) ''For among us the prince of the wicked spirits is called the serpent and Satan, and the devil, as you can learn by looking into our writings. And that he would be sent into the fire with his host, and the men who follow him, and would be punished for an endless duration, Christ foretold.''

Irenaeus of Lyons (Against Heresies, 4:28:2 [189 A.D]) ''The penalty increases for those who do not believe the word of God and despise his coming. It is not merely temporal, but eternal. To whomever the Lor shall say,'Depart from me, accursed ones, into the everlasting fire,'' they will be damned forever.'' (Notice the reference to Matthew 25:41)

I have used only a few of the early church leaders as evidence of the early churches teaching of eternal condemnation. There are more, such as; Polycarp (155 A.D.); Athenagoras (177 A.D.); Theophilus of Antioch (181 A.D.); Mathetes (160 A.D.)

Now here are the links:

What Early Christians believed about Hell & Eternal Punishment

Who were the early church fathers?

What Did the Early Christians Believe About Hell? (http://www.pleaseconvinceme.com/index/what_Did_the_Early_Christians_Believe_About_Hell - broken link)

The claims of universalists that the Catholic church originated the teaching of eternal condemnation are shown to be false. From the beginning of the church, eternal condemnation was taught in accordance with the Word of God, as shown by the very quotations of the church fathers themselves.

Understand this. Universal reconciliation is NOT universal salvation. Christ died for all, but many will reject the offer of salvation. Reconciliation simply means that Christ died for every single sin that will ever be commited in the human race. He paid the penalty for every last sin that will ever be committed. That means that sin is not an issue in aqquiring salvation, and sin is not an issue in maintaining salvation. But where the barrier of sin once stood between God and man, there is now an open door to salvation through which whosoever may walk through faith in Christ. God requires a volitional decision to believe in Christ as the condition for salvation. And as mentioned by Clement of Rome, (refer to the above quotation), that decision must be made this side of death.
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Old 11-16-2009, 03:28 PM
 
Location: Seattle, Wa
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....and Polycarp...apostle of John of Zebedee

Polycarp 2:3

Fixing their minds on the grace of Christ, [the martyrs] despised worldly tortures and purchased eternal life with but a single hour. To them, the fire of their cruel torturers was cold. They kept before their eyes their escape from the eternal and unquenchable fire"

Polycarp 5:3

In like manner also the younger men must be blameless in all things, caring for purity before everything and curbing themselves from every
evil. For it is a good thing to refrain from lusts in the world, for every lust warreth against the Spirit, and neither whoremongers nor effeminate persons nor defilers of themselves with men shall inherit the kingdom of God, neither they that do untoward things. Wherefore it is right to abstain from all these things, submittingyourselves to the presbyters and deacons as to God and Christ. The virgins must walk in a blameless and pure conscience.

Polycarp 6:2

If then we entreat the Lord that He would forgive us, we also ought to forgive: for we are before the eyes of our Lord and God, and we must all stand at the judgment-seat of Christ, and each man must give an account of himself.

And he confirms the Lord returned:

Polycarp 6:3

Let us therefore so serve Him with fear and all reverence, as He himself gave commandment and the Apostles who preached the Gospel to us and the prophets who proclaimed beforehand the coming of our Lord; being zealous as touching that which is good, abstaining from offenses and from the false brethren and from them that bear the name of the Lord in hypocrisy, who lead foolish men astray.

Polycarp 7:1

For every one who shall not confess that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, is antichrist: and whosoever shall not confess the testimony of the Cross, is of the devil; and whosoever shall pervert the oracles of the Lord to his own lusts and say that there is neither resurrection nor judgment, that man is the firstborn of Satan.

Polycarp 8:1

Let us therefore without ceasing hold fast by our hope and by the earnest of our righteousness, which is Jesus Christ who took up our sins in His own body upon the tree, who did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth, but for our sakes He endured all things, that we might live in Him.
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Old 11-16-2009, 03:37 PM
 
12,647 posts, read 6,486,069 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sciotamicks View Post
....and Polycarp...apostle of John of Zebedee

Polycarp 2:3

Fixing their minds on the grace of Christ, [the martyrs] despised worldly tortures and purchased eternal life with but a single hour. To them, the fire of their cruel torturers was cold. They kept before their eyes their escape from the eternal and unquenchable fire"

Polycarp 5:3

In like manner also the younger men must be blameless in all things, caring for purity before everything and curbing themselves from every
evil. For it is a good thing to refrain from lusts in the world, for every lust warreth against the Spirit, and neither whoremongers nor effeminate persons nor defilers of themselves with men shall inherit the kingdom of God, neither they that do untoward things. Wherefore it is right to abstain from all these things, submittingyourselves to the presbyters and deacons as to God and Christ. The virgins must walk in a blameless and pure conscience.

Polycarp 6:2

If then we entreat the Lord that He would forgive us, we also ought to forgive: for we are before the eyes of our Lord and God, and we must all stand at the judgment-seat of Christ, and each man must give an account of himself.

And he confirms the Lord returned:

Polycarp 6:3

Let us therefore so serve Him with fear and all reverence, as He himself gave commandment and the Apostles who preached the Gospel to us and the prophets who proclaimed beforehand the coming of our Lord; being zealous as touching that which is good, abstaining from offenses and from the false brethren and from them that bear the name of the Lord in hypocrisy, who lead foolish men astray.

Polycarp 7:1

For every one who shall not confess that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, is antichrist: and whosoever shall not confess the testimony of the Cross, is of the devil; and whosoever shall pervert the oracles of the Lord to his own lusts and say that there is neither resurrection nor judgment, that man is the firstborn of Satan.

Polycarp 8:1

Let us therefore without ceasing hold fast by our hope and by the earnest of our righteousness, which is Jesus Christ who took up our sins in His own body upon the tree, who did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth, but for our sakes He endured all things, that we might live in Him.
Go back over to my thread 'Jesus Christ is Eternal God', and look at Post #234.

But, back to this, how is it that the universalists claim that the early church didn't teach eternal condemnation? A little bit of research is all that is required to put the lie to that claim.
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Old 11-16-2009, 04:08 PM
 
Location: Comunistafornia, and working to get out ASAP!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike555 View Post
Go back over to my thread 'Jesus Christ is Eternal God', and look at Post #234.

But, back to this, how is it that the universalists claim that the early church didn't teach eternal condemnation? A little bit of research is all that is required to put the lie to that claim.
Yep.
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Old 11-16-2009, 04:28 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike555 View Post
Claims are made by those who espouse the heresy of universal salvation, that the doctrine of eternal condemnation was not taught in the early church, but that it was a belief that arose later, with the Catholic Church. This is not true.

The early church fathers are categorized as: the apostolic fathers; the ante-Nicene church fathers; and the post-Nicene church fathers.

The apostolic church fathers were those who were contemporaries of the Apostles and carried on the teaching of the Apostles. These church leaders taught eternal condemnation in the lake of fire, long before the establishment of the Catholic church. Following are some quotations from some of the writings of some of early church fathers, and afterwards, some links for further information will be provided. I have only used quotations from no later than than about 189 A.D.

It should be pointed out that what matters is what the Bible teaches about the eternal lake of fire. Not what the church at any time in history says about it. But as it turns out, the early church is in agreement with the Bible.


(Exact dates may be subject to debate, but are close.)

Ignatius of Antioch (Letter to the Ephesians 16:1-2, [110 A.D.]) ''Corrupters of families will not inherit the kingdom of God. And if they who do these things according to the flesh suffer death, how much more if a man corrupt by evil reaching the faith of God for the sake of which Jesus Christ was crucified? A man become so foul will depart into unquenchable fire, and so will anyone who listens to him.

Clement of Rome (Second Clement 5:5 [A.D.150]) ''If we do the will of Christ, we shall obtain rest, but if not, if we neglect his commandments, nothing will rescue us from eternal punishment.''

(Second Clement 8:4) ''So also let us, while we are in this world, repent with our whole heart of the evil things which we have done in the flesh, that we may be saved by the Lord, while we have yet time for repentance.''


(Second Clement 8:5) ''After we have gone out of the world, no further power of confessing or repenting will belong to us.'' (In other words, Clement is saying that you must make the decision to believe in Christ while you are alive on this earth.)

Justin Martyr (First Apology 12 [150 A.D]) ''No more is it possible for the evil doer, the avaricious, and the treacherous to hide from God than it is for the virtuous. Every man will receive the eternal punishment or reward which his actions deserve. Indeed, if all men recognized this, no one would choose evil even for a short time, knowing that he would incur the eternal sentence of Fire. On the contrary, he would take every means to control himself and to adorn himself in virtue, so that he might obtain the good gifts of God and escape the punishments.''

Justin Martyr (First Apology of Justin, Chap. VIII [150 A.D.]) ''And we say that the same thing will be done, but at the hand of Christ, and upon the wicked in the same bodies united again to their spirits which are now to undergo everlasting punishment, and not only as Plato said, for a period of a thousand years. And if anyone say that this is incredible or impossible, this error of ours is one which concerns ourselves only, and no other person, so long as you cannot convict us of any harm.'' (Justin is clear in stating that the punishment is eternal and not for a temporary amount of time.)

Justin Martyr (First Apology of Justin, Chap. XXVIII [150 A.D.]) ''For among us the prince of the wicked spirits is called the serpent and Satan, and the devil, as you can learn by looking into our writings. And that he would be sent into the fire with his host, and the men who follow him, and would be punished for an endless duration, Christ foretold.''

Irenaeus of Lyons (Against Heresies, 4:28:2 [189 A.D]) ''The penalty increases for those who do not believe the word of God and despise his coming. It is not merely temporal, but eternal. To whomever the Lor shall say,'Depart from me, accursed ones, into the everlasting fire,'' they will be damned forever.'' (Notice the reference to Matthew 25:41)

I have used only a few of the early church leaders as evidence of the early churches teaching of eternal condemnation. There are more, such as; Polycarp (155 A.D.); Athenagoras (177 A.D.); Theophilus of Antioch (181 A.D.); Mathetes (160 A.D.)

Now here are the links:

What Early Christians believed about Hell & Eternal Punishment

Who were the early church fathers?

What Did the Early Christians Believe About Hell? (http://www.pleaseconvinceme.com/index/what_Did_the_Early_Christians_Believe_About_Hell - broken link)

The claims of universalists that the Catholic church originated the teaching of eternal condemnation are shown to be false. From the beginning of the church, eternal condemnation was taught in accordance with the Word of God, as shown by the very quotations of the church fathers themselves.

Understand this. Universal reconciliation is NOT universal salvation. Christ died for all, but many will reject the offer of salvation. Reconciliation simply means that Christ died for every single sin that will ever be commited in the human race. He paid the penalty for every last sin that will ever be committed. That means that sin is not an issue in aqquiring salvation, and sin is not an issue in maintaining salvation. But where the barrier of sin once stood between God and man, there is now an open door to salvation through which whosoever may walk through faith in Christ. God requires a volitional decision to believe in Christ as the condition for salvation. And as mentioned by Clement of Rome, (refer to the above quotation), that decision must be made this side of death.

I have been waiting for this ... And i will now show the ignorance with which you and the ones whom you posted links to their writings are so befuddled that you are unable to see the truth.

Your entire post is disingenuous and lacking any real critical understanding, but is based on unscholarly misrepresentation of the actual facts as i will show.

To start you begin with a lie, you wrote ...
Quote:
Claims are made by those who espouse the heresy of universal salvation, that the doctrine of eternal condemnation was not taught in the early church, but that it was a belief that arose later, with the Catholic Church. This is not true.
When in fact ... All these men in the list below believed in Universal salvation, even Jerome, who like many others not listed here practiced the method of teaching Called "double doctrine" which means, depending on the crowd to which they did appeal, they would change their position on the permanence of torments thinking that the uninitiated would not be "Good Christians" if they were taught the highest truth of UR. Only to the high initiates of the Church did they reveal their belief in UR, even as many pastors and teachers in the church today do, fearing anathema from their particular denominations if they admitted to their belief in universal reconciliation.

To say that Apoctastasis/universal reconciliation was a latter development of the Catholic church is an outright lie and you are being overtly deceptive. Anyone studying these things for themselves will find you to be a trickster and your own words will prove that you cannot be trusted.

You wrote ...
Quote:
Ignatius of Antioch (Letter to the Ephesians 16:1-2, [110 A.D.]) ''Corrupters of families will not inherit the kingdom of God. And if they who do these things according to the flesh suffer death, how much more if a man corrupt by evil reaching the faith of God for the sake of which Jesus Christ was crucified? A man become so foul will depart into unquenchable fire, and so will anyone who listens to him.
Now, there is no mention of eternal torment in his words, but he only repeats what Christ has already said. As a matter of fact, in all the letters which he wrote to the churches in Asia, this one quote is the most he had to say on the issue as far as i can detect. I am still in the process of searching his writings, but most of his concern was over the Eucharist and its importance in the worship of God as being the like kind of the oblation of the Jews, and his desire to die.

Now the mention of one entering the unquenchable fire of Gods wrath has never been denied by those that believe in UR ... Indeed, it is only what the power of Gods fiery judgments procures in those so judged. The use of this quote to show that Ignatius was a believer in eternal damnation is completely against the character of the man himself as is seen in his writings wherein he demonstrates that the greatest of Virtues is love.

In his letter to the Smyrneans he mentioned what is now translated into English as damnation ... But Ignateus having been a Greek, never used words that are not found in the bible to represent his beliefs, and we know that the only words in the bible that were translated as damnation in the English are the words Krisis and Krima ... Which mean seperation or judgment ...

Again, as with the bible, in order to understand what the early church father believed we must not take any one sentence or paragraph or passage of any letter and think to obtain from that the whole of their understanding or belief but we must instead take everything they have written into account in the original language it was written and then we will come to understand what it i s that they believed. As a matter of fact he Says that one must believe in the blood of Christ or face judgment. Which again we see that the Doctrine of universal reconciliation has never taught that unbelievers and the wicked will not face judgment, only that through judgment they shall come to confess that Christ is lord, which is what the bible clearly teaches.


Next you wrote ...

Quote:
Clement of Rome (Second Clement 5:5 [A.D.150]) ''If we do the will of Christ, we shall obtain rest, but if not, if we neglect his commandments, nothing will rescue us from eternal punishment.''

(Second Clement 8:4) ''So also let us, while we are in this world, repent with our whole heart of the evil things which we have done in the flesh, that we may be saved by the Lord, while we have yet time for repentance.''


(Second Clement 8:5) ''After we have gone out of the world, no further power of confessing or repenting will belong to us.'' (In other words, Clement is saying that you must make the decision to believe in Christ while you are alive on this earth.)

Justin Martyr (First Apology 12 [150 A.D]) ''No more is it possible for the evil doer, the avaricious, and the treacherous to hide from God than it is for the virtuous. Every man will receive the eternal punishment or reward which his actions deserve. Indeed, if all men recognized this, no one would choose evil even for a short time, knowing that he would incur the eternal sentence of Fire. On the contrary, he would take every means to control himself and to adorn himself in virtue, so that he might obtain the good gifts of God and escape the punishments.''

Justin Martyr (First Apology of Justin, Chap. VIII [150 A.D.]) ''And we say that the same thing will be done, but at the hand of Christ, and upon the wicked in the same bodies united again to their spirits which are now to undergo everlasting punishment, and not only as Plato said, for a period of a thousand years. And if anyone say that this is incredible or impossible, this error of ours is one which concerns ourselves only, and no other person, so long as you cannot convict us of any harm.'' (Justin is clear in stating that the punishment is eternal and not for a temporary amount of time.)

Justin Martyr (First Apology of Justin, Chap. XXVIII [150 A.D.]) ''For among us the prince of the wicked spirits is called the serpent and Satan, and the devil, as you can learn by looking into our writings. And that he would be sent into the fire with his host, and the men who follow him, and would be punished for an endless duration, Christ foretold.''

Irenaeus of Lyons (Against Heresies, 4:28:2 [189 A.D]) ''The penalty increases for those who do not believe the word of God and despise his coming. It is not merely temporal, but eternal. To whomever the Lor shall say,'Depart from me, accursed ones, into the everlasting fire,'' they will be damned forever.'' (Notice the reference to Matthew 25:41)
Now i agree that none of these three men believed in universal reconciliation/apocatastasis ... However, as noted already in one of my previous posts, the Latin west headed up by rome, which was the pagan capital of of the world at the time, was the only theological siminary in the first five centuries that taught Eternal torment, so the fact that Clement of Rome taught this doctrine is of no surprise, neither is it a surprise that Justin Martyr did, as he was of the Latin speaking western Churches as well, himself having little understanding of the Greek language. Now the argument that Justin Marty or Irenaeus of Lyons were believers in eternal torment is severely lacking, as they were most likely according to the bulk of their writings believers in conditional mortality or annihilation.

Quote:
The conditional immortality/annihilationist view: The soul is mortal by nature and sleeps until the resurrection at Christ’s Second Coming. Jesus will raise the righteous dead immortal and annihilate the wicked dead in fiery judgment. Like view #1, it asserts that most human beings will, unfortunately, not be saved. And like the traditional view, it maintains that eternal destiny is inalterable once a person is dead. It is the doctrine of the Adventist tradition. Church Fathers who held this view (arguably) include Justin Martyr and Irenaeus.

From an article written by Steve Jones and reprinted from the university of Auburn website.
Finally you wrote ...

Quote:
The claims of universalists that the Catholic church originated the teaching of eternal condemnation are shown to be false. From the beginning of the church, eternal condemnation was taught in accordance with the Word of God, as shown by the very quotations of the church fathers themselves.

Understand this. Universal reconciliation is NOT universal salvation. Christ died for all, but many will reject the offer of salvation. Reconciliation simply means that Christ died for every single sin that will ever be commited in the human race. He paid the penalty for every last sin that will ever be committed. That means that sin is not an issue in aqquiring salvation, and sin is not an issue in maintaining salvation. But where the barrier of sin once stood between God and man, there is now an open door to salvation through which whosoever may walk through faith in Christ. God requires a volitional decision to believe in Christ as the condition for salvation. And as mentioned by Clement of Rome, (refer to the above quotation), that decision must be made this side of death.
The belief of eternal torment was held by various Peoples in the early Church no doubt, as i had already pointed out is reporting that the theological seminary in Rome taught eternal torment, though this doctrine was not the prevailing doctrine of the early church and was never made orthodoxy until the sixth century AD.. But as you can see in the list above of early church father that believed in and taught universal reconciliation/apocatastasis is by far greater than any list of early church father that you can produce from the same era ...

Understand this, you can redefine what the word reconcile means to try and make the scriptures which speak of reconciliation of all things fit your traditional indoctrination, but the definitions of both the English word "reconcile" and the Greek word "apokatallassō" thus translated reconcile in the English translation of the new testament mean to return to a former state of harmony, and if anyone is in eternal torments and forever separated and at enmity with God, they are not reconciled to him not matter how you would like that to be the meaning of the words. Any semi-intelligent man or woman who is not abused by the same indoctrination that you are can see right through your twisting of the words to fit your indoctrination, but the fact is it doesn't fly.

In my next post i will produce multiple evidences that show that the majority of early Native Greek speaking Christians and church father taught universal reconciliation/apocatastasis and show your deception for what it is.

Last edited by Ironmaw1776; 11-16-2009 at 04:37 PM..
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Old 11-16-2009, 04:33 PM
 
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Umm, Mike, Clement was an avowed universalist and a Greek one at that.

He did not ever use the word "eternal".

Try to get your history straight.

Also, the two Gregories were universalists one of which oversaw the Council of Nicea and helped craft the doctrine of the trinity. And no one ever came against them on their universalism. You know why? Because most of them were universalists back then.
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Old 11-16-2009, 04:38 PM
 
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This is just a small part of "Universalism: The Prevailing Doctrine of the Christian Church During Its First Five Hundred Years" ...


Quote:
From the Book by J. W. Hanson, first published in 1899:
"Universalism: The Prevailing Doctrine of the Christian Church During Its First Five Hundred Years"

During the First Century the primitive Christians did not dwell on matters of eschatology, but devoted their attention to apologetics; they were chiefly anxious to establish the fact of Christ's advent, and of its blessings to the world. Possibly the question of destiny was an open one, till Paganism and Judaism introduced erroneous ideas, when the New Testament doctrine of the apokatastasis was asserted, and universal restoration became an accepted belief, as stated later by Clement and Origen,

A.D. 180-230.
The Catacombs give us the views of the unlearned, as Clement and Origen state the doctrine of scholars and teachers. Not a syllable is found hinting at the horrors of Augustinianism, but the inscription on every monument harmonizes with the Universalism of the early fathers.
Clement declares that all punishment, however severe, is purificatory; that even the "torments of the damned" are curative. Origen explains even Gehenna as signifying limited and curative punishment, and both, as all the other ancient Universalists, declare that "everlasting" (aionion) punishment, is consonant with universal salvation.
So that it is no proof that other primitive Christians who are less explicit as to the final result, taught endless punishment when they employ the same terms.

Like our Lord and his Apostles, the primitive Christians avoided the words with which the Pagans and Jews defined endless punishment aidios or adialeipton timoria (endless torment), a doctrine the latter believed, and knew how to describe; but they, the early Christians, called punishment, as did our Lord, kolasis aionios, discipline, chastisement, of indefinite, limited duration.
The early Christians taught that Christ preached the Gospel to the dead, and for that purpose descended into Hades. Many held that he released all who were in ward. This shows that repentance beyond the grave, perpetual probation, was then accepted, which precludes the modern error that the soul's destiny is decided at death.

Prayers for the dead were universal in the early church, which would be absurd, if their condition is unalterably fixed at the grave.
The idea that false threats were necessary to keep the common people in check, and that the truth might be held esoterically, prevailed among the earlier Christians, so that there can be no doubt that many who seem to teach endless punishment, really held the broader views, as we know the most did, and preached terrors pedagogically.
The first comparatively complete systematic statement of Christian doctrine ever given to the world was by Clement of Alexandria,

A.D. 180, and universal salvation was one of the tenets.
The first complete presentation of Christianity as a system was by Origen (A.D. 220) and universal salvation was explicitly contained in it.
Universal salvation was the prevailing doctrine in Christendom as long as Greek, the language of the New Testament, was the language of Christendom.
Universalism was generally believed in the best centuries, the first three, when Christians were most remarkable for simplicity, goodness and missionary zeal.

Universalism was least known when Greek, the language of the New Testament was least known, and when Latin was the language of the Church in its darkest, most ignorant, and corrupt ages.
Not a writer among those who describe the heresies of the first three hundred years intimates that Universalism was then a heresy, though it was believed by many, if not be a majority, and certainly by the greatest of the fathers.
Not a single creed for five hundred years expresses any idea contrary to universal restoration, or in favor of endless punishment.
With the exception of the arguments of Augustine (A.D. 420), there is not an argument known to have been framed against Universalism for at least four hundred years after Christ, by any of the ancient fathers.
While the councils that assembled in various parts of Christendom, anathematized every kind of doctrine supposed to be heretical, no ecumenical council, for more than five hundred years, condemned Universalism, though it had been advocated in every century by the principal scholars and most revered saints.

As late as A.D. 400, Jerome says "most people" (plerique). and Augustine "very many" (quam plurimi), believed in Universalism, notwithstanding that the tremendous influence of Augustine, and the mighty power of the semi-pagan secular arm were arrayed against it.

The principal ancient Universalists were Christian born and reared, and were among the most scholarly and saintly of all the ancient saints.
The most celebrated of the earlier advocates of endless punishment were heathen born, and led corrupt lives in their youth. Tertullian one of the first, and Augustine, the greatest of them, confess to having been among the vilest.
The first advocates of endless punishment, Minucius Felix, Tertullian and Augustine, were Latins, ignorant of Greek, and less competent to interpret the meaning of Greek Scriptures than were the Greek scholars.
The first advocates of Universalism, after the Apostles, were Greeks, in whose mother-tongue the New Testament was written. They found their Universalism in the Greek Bible. Who should be correct, they or the Latins?
The Greek Fathers announced the great truth of universal restoration in an age of darkness, sin and corruption. There was nothing to suggest it to them in the world's literature or religion. It was wholly contrary to everything around them. Where else could they have found it, but where they say they did, in the Gospel?
All ecclesiastical historians and the best Biblical critics and scholars agree to the prevalence of Universalism in the earlier centuries.

From the days of Clement of Alexandria to those of Gregory of Nyssa and Theodore of Mopsuestia (A.D. 180-428), the great theologians and teachers, almost without exception, were Universalists. No equal number in the same centuries were comparable to them for learning and goodness.
The first theological school in Christendom, that in Alexandria, taught Universalism for more than two hundred years.

In all Christendom, from A.D. 170 to 430, there were six Christian schools. Of these four, the only strictly theological schools, taught Universalism, and but one endless punishment.
The three earliest Gnostic sects, the Basilidians, the Carpocratians and the Valentinians (A.D. 117-132) are condemned by Christian writers, and their heresies pointed out, but though they taught Universalism, that doctrine is never condemned by those who oppose them. Irenaeus condemned the errors of the Carpocratians, but does not reprehend their Universalism, though he ascribes the doctrine to them.
The first defense of Christianity against Infidelity (Origen against Celsus) puts the defense on Universalistic grounds. Celsus charged the Christians' God with cruelty, because he punished with fire. Origen replied that God's fire is curative; that he is a "Consuming Fire," because he consumes sin and not the sinner.

Origen, the chief representative of Universalism in the ancient centuries, was bitterly opposed and condemned for various heresies by ignorant and cruel fanatics. He was accused of opposing Episcopacy, believing in pre-existence, etc., but never was condemned for his Universalism. The very council that anathematized "Origenism" eulogized Gregory of Nyssa, who was explicitly a Universalist as was Origen. Lists of his errors are given by Methodius, Pamphilus and Eusebius, Marcellus, Eustathius and Jerome, but Universalism is not named by one of his opponents. Fancy a list of Ballou's errors and his Universalism omitted; Hippolytus (A.D. 320) names thirty-two known heresies, but Universalism is not mentioned as among them. Epiphanius, "the hammer of heretics," describes eighty heresies, but he does not mention universal salvation, though Gregory of Nyssa, an outspoken Universalist, was, at the time he wrote, the most conspicuous figure in Christendom.

Justinian, a half-pagan emperor, who attempted to have Universalism officially condemned, lived in the most corrupt epoch of the Christian centuries. He closed the theological schools, and demanded the condemnation of Universalism by law; but the doctrine was so prevalent in the church that the council refused to obey his edict to suppress it. Lecky says the age of Justinian was "the worst form civilization has assumed."
The first clear and definite statement of human destiny by any Christian writer after the days of the Apostles, includes universal restoration, and that doctrine was advocated by most of the greatest and best of the Christian Fathers for the first five hundred years of the Christian Era.

In one word, a careful study of the early history of the Christian religion, will show that the doctrine of universal restoration was least prevalent in the darkest, and prevailed most in the most enlightened, of the earliest centuries--that it was the prevailing doctrine in the Primitive Christian Church.
More evidence by scholarly sources ...
Quote:
The Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, vol. 12, p. 96; Retrieved April 29, 2007. “In the West this doctrine had fewer adherents and was never accepted by the Church at large. In the first five or six centuries of Christianity there were six theological schools, of which four (Alexandria, Antioch, Caesarea, and Edessa, or Nisibis) were Universalist; one (Ephesus) accepted conditional mortality; one (Carthage or Rome) taught endless punishment of the wicked.”
* Seymour, Charles. A Theodicy of Hell. p. 25. Springer (2000).
* Ludlow, Morwenna. Universal Salvation: eschatology in the thought of Gregory of Nyssa and Karl Rahner. Pp. 1-2. Oxford University Press (2000).
* Schmithals, Walter. The Theology of the First Christians. Pp 85-88. Westminster John Knox Press (1998).

Also see these sources for more proof that Universal reconciliation was the prevailing doctrine by far in the first five hundred years AD ...


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Universal_reconciliation

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apocatastasis

http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/origen.html (Here you can find writings from some of the Church fathers i listed above who were believers in universal reconciliation/apocatastasis, proving Mikes statement that universal reconciliation was not a teaching of the early church but was invented by Catholics centuries later is an outright lie)

http://hellbusters.8m.com/updintro.html

And for further research on the evidence of universal reconciliation in the bible see ...

http://alampthatburns.net/jukes/jukes.htm

http://pantheon.yale.edu/~kd47/univ.htm

Last edited by Ironmaw1776; 11-16-2009 at 05:01 PM..
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Old 11-16-2009, 04:40 PM
 
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Understand this. Universal reconciliation is NOT universal salvation. Christ died for all, but many will reject the offer of salvation. Reconciliation simply means that Christ died for every single sin that will ever be commited in the human race. He paid the penalty for every last sin that will ever be committed. That means that sin is not an issue in aqquiring salvation, and sin is not an issue in maintaining salvation. But where the barrier of sin once stood between God and man, there is now an open door to salvation through which whosoever may walk through faith in Christ. God requires a volitional decision to believe in Christ as the condition for salvation. And as mentioned by Clement of Rome, (refer to the above quotation), that decision must be made this side of death.
Well, you can just thank yourself you were strong enough to make the decision.

You can thank yourself it was all up to you and you pulled yourself up by your own bootstraps.

You just don't believe that God is the Saviour and we the saved. "WHILE WE WERE DEAD IN TRASPASSES AND SINS . . . " Dead, Mike. Dead. God saved us while we were dead and brought us to life to Him. How did you make a decision while you were dead oh mighty Mike? You should bow down to yourself and worship your increddible free will that is soooooo mighty and powerful!
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Old 11-16-2009, 04:44 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Eusebius View Post
Umm, Mike, Clement was an avowed universalist and a Greek one at that.

He did not ever use the word "eternal".

Try to get your history straight.

Also, the two Gregories were universalists one of which oversaw the Council of Nicea and helped craft the doctrine of the trinity. And no one ever came against them on their universalism. You know why? Because most of them were universalists back then.
Your getting your Clements mixed up. Clement of Rome, and Clement of Alexandria were two different people. It was Clement of Alexandria who was a universalist. He lived from about 150 A.D to 220 A.D.

Clement of Rome taught the Biblical truth of eternal condemnation. Clement of Rome's date of birth seems to be uncertain, but he died in 101 A.D. This means that the date of the writing of Second Clement that was given in my other post [150 A.D] is much to late. It was written much earlier. Clement of Rome was a contemporary of the Apostles.

Clement of Alexandria lived much later when the heresy of universalism was beginning to spread.

Last edited by Mike555; 11-16-2009 at 06:04 PM..
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Old 11-16-2009, 04:59 PM
 
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Originally Posted by sciotamicks View Post
....and Polycarp...apostle of John of Zebedee

Polycarp 2:3

Fixing their minds on the grace of Christ, [the martyrs] despised worldly tortures and purchased eternal life with but a single hour. To them, the fire of their cruel torturers was cold. They kept before their eyes their escape from the eternal and unquenchable fire"

Polycarp 5:3

In like manner also the younger men must be blameless in all things, caring for purity before everything and curbing themselves from every
evil. For it is a good thing to refrain from lusts in the world, for every lust warreth against the Spirit, and neither whoremongers nor effeminate persons nor defilers of themselves with men shall inherit the kingdom of God, neither they that do untoward things. Wherefore it is right to abstain from all these things, submittingyourselves to the presbyters and deacons as to God and Christ. The virgins must walk in a blameless and pure conscience.

Polycarp 6:2

If then we entreat the Lord that He would forgive us, we also ought to forgive: for we are before the eyes of our Lord and God, and we must all stand at the judgment-seat of Christ, and each man must give an account of himself.

And he confirms the Lord returned:

Polycarp 6:3

Let us therefore so serve Him with fear and all reverence, as He himself gave commandment and the Apostles who preached the Gospel to us and the prophets who proclaimed beforehand the coming of our Lord; being zealous as touching that which is good, abstaining from offenses and from the false brethren and from them that bear the name of the Lord in hypocrisy, who lead foolish men astray.

Polycarp 7:1

For every one who shall not confess that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, is antichrist: and whosoever shall not confess the testimony of the Cross, is of the devil; and whosoever shall pervert the oracles of the Lord to his own lusts and say that there is neither resurrection nor judgment, that man is the firstborn of Satan.

Polycarp 8:1

Let us therefore without ceasing hold fast by our hope and by the earnest of our righteousness, which is Jesus Christ who took up our sins in His own body upon the tree, who did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth, but for our sakes He endured all things, that we might live in Him.

In case you didn't notice, none of this proves He believe in eternal torment, or eternal damnation for that matter ... And none of his writings, when seen in their original language, so much as mention eternal torment or even expound on hell as far as i remember. Remeber wrote in Greek, and any mention of the word eternal is the translation of the word aionios, and damnation is of Krisis and or krima, and punishment of Kolasis ... If you study Origen And Clement of Alexandria you will see that the early Greek speaking Christians did not see these words to mean what they have been translated as in the English and wrote specifically about what they actually meant.

Last edited by Ironmaw1776; 11-16-2009 at 05:18 PM..
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