What did early Christians believe about...?
(Before 300 AD)
Uninspired records of how early Christians worshipped and what doctrine they believed!
Discipleship, Self Denial, Carrying Cross
- 140-230 AD Tertullian, encouraged a group of local Christians who were languishing in a Roman dungeon with these words, "Blessed ones, count whatever is hard in this lot of yours as a discipline of your powers of mind and body. You are about to pass through a noble struggle, in which the living God is your manager and the Holy Spirit is your trainer. The prize is an eternal crown of angelic essence-citizenship in the heavens, glory everlasting." He also told them, "The prison does the same service for the Christian that the desert did for the prophet. Our Lord himself spent much time in seclusion so he would have greater freedom to pray and so he would be away from the world.... The leg does not feel the chains when the mind is in heaven." (Tertullian To the Martyrs chaps. 2, 3)
- 140-230 AD Tertullian "The more you cut us down, the more in number we grow. The blood of Christians is seed.... For after thinking about it, who among you is not eager to find out what is really at the bottom of it all? And after inquiring, who does not end up embracing our teachings? And when he has embraced them, who does not also willingly suffer so that he may partake fully of God's grace?" (Tertullian, First Apology chap. 50)
- 260-330 AD Lactantius "He who chooses to live well for eternity, will live in discomfort for the present. He will be subjected to all types of troubles and burdens as long as he is on earth, so that in the end he will have divine and heavenly consolation. On the other hand, he who chooses to live well for the present will fare badly in eternity." (Lactantius Institutes bk. 7, chap. 5)
- 260-330 AD Lactantius "When people see that men are lacerated by various kinds of tortures yet remain unsubdued even when their very torturers are worn out, they come to believe that the agreement of so many and the unyielding faith of the dying is not without meaning. [They realize] that human perseverance alone could not endure such tortures without the aid of God. Even robbers and men of robust frame are unable to endure tortures of this kind.... But among us, boys and delicate women-not to speak of men-silently overcome their torturers. Even the fire is unable to extort a groan from them.... These persons-the young and the weaker sex-do not endure mutilation and burning of their whole bodies because they have no other choice. They could easily avoid this punishment if they wished to [by denying Christ]. But they endure it willingly because they put their trust in God." (Lactantius Institutes bk. 5. chara. 13)
- 250 AD Ignatius "It is necessary, therefore, to not only be called by the name 'Christian' but to actually be a Christian.... If we are not ready to die in the same manner of His suffering, His life is not in us" (John 12:25). (Ignatius, , Letter to the Magnesians chap. 5)
- 250 AD Ignatius "Bring on the fire and the cross. Bring on the packs of wild beasts. Let there be the breaking and dislocating of my bones and the severing of my limbs. Bring on the mutilation of my whole body. In fact, bring on all the diabolical tortures of Satan. Only let me attain to Jesus Christ! ... I would rather die for Jesus Christ than to reign over the ends of the entire earth." (Ignatius, bishop of Antioch, Letter to the Romans chap. 5 [Shortly after penning those words, Ignatius was brought before a screaming mob in the Colosseum of Rome, where he was torn to pieces by wild animals.])
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