early Christians believe about...?
records of how early Christians worshipped and what doctrine they believed!
What Christians believed about
- 151 AD Justin Martyr "[W]e have been taught that to
expose newly-born children is the part of wicked men; and this we have
been taught lest we should do anyone harm and lest we should sin against
God, first, because we see that almost all so exposed (not only the girls,
but also the males) are brought up to prostitution. And for this pollution
a multitude of females and hermaphrodites, and those who commit
unmentionable iniquities, are found in every nation. And you receive the
hire of these, and duty and taxes from them, whom you ought to exterminate
from your realm. And any one who uses such persons, besides the godless
and infamous and impure intercourse, may possibly be having intercourse
with his own child, or relative, or brother. And there are some who
prostitute even their own children and wives, and some are openly
mutilated for the purpose of sodomy; and they refer these mysteries to the
mother of the gods" (First Apology 27).
- 181 AD Theophilus of Antioch "Give studious attention
to the prophetic writings [the Bible] and they will lead you on a clearer
path to escape the eternal punishments and to obtain the eternal good
things of God.. [God] will examine everything and will judge justly,
granting recompense to each according to merit. To those who seek
immortality by the patient exercise of good works, he will give
everlasting life, joy, peace, rest, and all good things.. For the
unbelievers and for the contemptuous, and for those who do not submit to
the truth but assent to iniquity, when they have been involved in
adulteries, and fornications, and homosexualities, and avarice, and in
lawless idolatries, there will be wrath and indignation, tribulation and
anguish; and in the end, such men as these will be detained in everlasting
fire" (To Autolycus 1:14).
- 190 AD Clement of Alexandria "All honor to that king
of the Scythians, whoever Anacharsis was, who shot with an arrow one of
his subjects who imitated among the Scythians the mystery of the mother of
the gods . . . condemning him as having become effeminate among the
Greeks, and a teacher of the disease of effeminacy to the rest of the
Scythians" ... [According to Greek myth] Baubo [a female native of
Elusis] having received [the goddess] Demeter hospitably, reached to her a
refreshing draught; and on her refusing it, not having any inclination to
drink (for she was very sad), and Baubo having become annoyed, thinking
herself slighted, uncovered her shame, and exhibited her nudity to the
goddess. Demeter is delighted with the sight--pleased, I repeat, at the
spectacle. These are the secret mysteries of the Athenians; these Orpheus
records" ... "It is not, then, without reason that the poets
call him [Hercules] a cruel wretch and a nefarious scoundrel. It were
tedious to recount his adulteries of all sorts, and debauching of boys.
For your gods did not even abstain from boys, one having loved Hylas,
another Hyacinthus, another Pelops, another Chrysippus, another Ganymede.
Let such gods as these be worshipped by your wives, and let them pray that
their husbands be such as these--so temperate; that, emulating them in the
same practices, they may be like the gods. Such gods let your boys be
trained to worship, that they may grow up to be men with the accursed
likeness of fornication on them received from the gods" (Exhortation
to the Greeks 2).
- 220AD Tertullian "[A]ll other frenzies of the lusts
which exceed the laws of nature, and are impious toward both [human]
bodies and the sexes, we banish, not only from the threshold but also from
all shelter of the Church, for they are not sins so much as
monstrosities" (Modesty 4).
- 250 AD Novatian "[God forbid the Jews to eat certain
foods for symbolic reasons:] For that in fishes the roughness of scales is
regarded as constituting their cleanness; rough, and rugged, and
unpolished, and substantial, and grave manners are approved in men; while
those that are without scales are unclean, because trifling, and fickle,
and faithless, and effeminate manners are disapproved. Moreover, what does
the Law mean when it . . . forbids the swine to be taken for food? It
assuredly reproves a life filthy and dirty, and delighting in the garbage
of vice . . . Or when it forbids the hare? It rebukes men deformed into
women" (The Jewish Foods 3).
- 253 AD Cyprian of Carthage "[T]urn your looks to the
abominations, not less to be deplored, of another kind of spectacle . . .
Men are emasculated, and all the pride and vigor of their sex is
effeminated in the disgrace of their enervated body; and he is more
pleasing there who has most completely broken down the man into the woman.
He grows into praise by virtue of his crime; and the more he is degraded,
the more skillful he is considered to be. Such a one is looked upon--oh
shame!--and looked upon with pleasure. . . . nor is there wanting
authority for the enticing abomination . . . that Jupiter of theirs [is]
not more supreme in dominion than in vice, inflamed with earthly love in
the midst of his own thunders . . . now breaking forth by the help of
birds to violate the purity of boys. And now put the question: Can he who
looks upon such things be healthy-minded or modest? Men imitate the gods
whom they adore, and to such miserable beings their crimes become their
religion" (Letters 1:8).
- 253 AD Cyprian of Carthage "Oh, if placed on that
lofty watch-tower, you could gaze into the secret places--if you could
open the closed doors of sleeping chambers and recall their dark recesses
to the perception of sight--you would behold things done by immodest
persons which no chaste eye could look upon; you would see what even to
see is a crime; you would see what people embruted with the madness of
vice deny that they have done, and yet hasten to do--men with frenzied
lusts rushing upon men, doing things which afford no gratification even to
those who do them" (Letters 1:9).
- 305 AD Arnobius "[T]he mother of the gods loved [the
boy Attis] exceedingly, because he was of most surpassing beauty; and
Acdestis [the son of Jupiter] who was his companion, as he grew up
fondling him, and bound to him by wicked compliance with his lust . . .
Afterwards, under the influence of wine, he [Attis] admits that he is . .
. loved by Acdestis . . . Then Midas, king of Pessinus, wishing to
withdraw the youth from so disgraceful an intimacy, resolves to give him
his own daughter in marriage . . . Acdestis, bursting with rage because of
the boy's being torn from himself and brought to seek a wife, fills all
the guests with frenzied madness; the Phrygians shriek, panic-stricken at
the appearance of the gods . . . [Attis] too, now filled with furious
passion, raving frantically and tossed about, throws himself down at last,
and under a pine tree mutilates himself, saying, `Take these, Acdestis,
for which you have stirred up so great and terribly perilous
commotions'" (Against the Pagans 5:6-7).
- 319 AD Eusebius of Caesarea "[H]aving forbidden all
unlawful marriage, and all unseemly practice, and the union of women with
women and men with men, he [God] adds: `Do not defile yourselves with any
of these things; for in all these things the nations were defiled, which I
will drive out before you. And the land was polluted, and I have
recompensed [their] iniquity upon it, and the land is grieved with them
that dwell upon it' [Lev. 18:24-25]" (Proof of the Gospel 4:10).
- 367 AD Basil the Great "He who is guilty of
unseemliness with males will be under discipline for the same time as
adulterers" (Letters 217:62).
- 373 AD Basil the Great "If you [O, monk] are young in
either body or mind, shun the companionship of other young men and avoid
them as you would a flame. For through them the enemy has kindled the
desires of many and then handed them over to eternal fire, hurling them
into the vile pit of the five cities under the pretense of spiritual
love.. At meals take a seat far from other young men. In lying down to
sleep let not their clothes be near yours, but rather have an old man
between you. When a young man converses with you, or sings psalms facing
you, answer him with eyes cast down, lest perhaps by gazing at his face
you receive a seed of desire sown by the enemy and reap sheaves of
corruption and ruin. Whether in the house or in a place where there is no one
to see your actions, be not found in his company under the pretense either
of studying the divine oracles or of any other business whatsoever,
however necessary" (The Renunciation of the World).
- 390 AD John Chrysostom "[The pagans] were addicted to
the love of boys, and one of their wise men made a law that pederasty . .
. should not be allowed to slaves, as if it was an honorable thing; and
they had houses for this purpose, in which it was openly practiced. And if
all that was done among them was related, it would be seen that they
openly outraged nature, and there was none to restrain them. . . . As for
their passion for boys, whom they called their 'paedica,' it is not fit to
be named" (Homilies on Titus 5).
- 391 AD John Chrysostom "[Certain men in church] come
in gazing about at the beauty of women; others curious about the blooming
youth of boys. After this, do you not marvel that [lightning] bolts are
not launched [from heaven], and all these things are not plucked up from
their foundations? For worthy both of thunderbolts and hell are the things
that are done; but God, who is long-suffering, and of great mercy,
forbears awhile his wrath, calling you to repentance and amendment"
(Homilies on Matthew 3:3).
- 391 AD John Chrysostom "All of these affections [in
Rom. 1:26-27] . . . were vile, but chiefly the mad lust after males; for
the soul is more the sufferer in sins, and more dishonored than the body
in diseases" ... "[The men] have done an insult to nature
itself. And a yet more disgraceful thing than these is it, when even the
women seek after these intercourses, who ought to have more shame than
men" ... "And sundry other books of the philosophers one may see
full of this disease. But we do not therefore say that the thing was made
lawful, but that they who received this law were pitiable, and objects for
many tears. For these are treated in the same way as women that play the
whore. Or rather their plight is more miserable. For in the case of the
one the intercourse, even if lawless, is yet according to nature; but this
is contrary both to law and nature. For even if there were no hell, and no
punishment had been threatened, this would be worse than any
punishment" (Homilies on Romans 4).
- 400AD Augustine "[T]hose shameful acts against
nature, such as were committed in Sodom, ought everywhere and always to be
detested and punished. If all nations were to do such things, they would
be held guilty of the same crime by the law of God, which has not made men
so that they should use one another in this way" (Confessions
- 400 AD The Apostolic Constitutions "[Christians]
abhor all unlawful mixtures, and that which is practiced by some contrary
to nature, as wicked and impious" (Apostolic Constitutions 6:11).
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Also: The Bible
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