History of Dogma - Vol. 2 and 3

History of Dogma - Vol. 2 and 3

History of Dogma - Vol. 2 and 3

History of Dogma - Vol. 2 and 3

Excerpt

The legal and political forms by which the Church secured herself against the secular power and heresy, and still more the lower moral standard exacted from her members in consequence of the naturalisation of Christianity in the world, called forth a reaction soon after the middle of the second century. This movement, which first began in Asia Minor and then spread into other regions of Christendom, aimed at preserving or restoring the old feelings and conditions, and preventing Christendom from being secularised. This crisis (the so-called Montanist struggle) and the kindred one which succeeded produced the following results: The Church merely regarded herself all the more strictly as a legal community basing the truth of its title on its historic and objective foundations, and gave a correspondingly new interpretation to the attribute of holiness she claimed. She expressly recognised two distinct classes in her midst, a spiritual and a secular, as well as a double standard of morality. Moreover, she renounced her character as the communion of those who were sure of salvation, and substituted the claim to be an educational institution and a necessary condition of redemption. After a keen struggle, in which the New Testament did excellent service to the bishops, the Church expelled the Cataphrygian fanatics and the adherents of the new prophecy (between 180 and 220); and in the same way, during the course of the third century, she caused the secession of all those Christians who made the truth of the Church depend on a stricter administration of moral discipline. Hence, apart from the heretic and Montanist sects, there existed in the Empire, after the middle of the second century . . .

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