An Ancient Theologian takes an ironic look at Judgment Day

497px-TertullianTertullian closes out his work, Prescription against Heretics, reminding his readers that we all will stand at the judgment seat of Christ (2 Cor 5:10). In his mind he imagines all of the excuses that the heretics and those they deceived will offer to Christ for their rejection of Him.

Allowing his imagination to continue, Tertullian, with unmistakable sarcasm, paints a picture of what judgment might look like for the disciples of Christ who endured in their faith should the heretics prevail in their argument and be given entrance into the kingdom. Each biting comment is a jab at one of the false doctrines that were prevalent during his time. The text (in italics) that follows is an excerpt from the concluding chapter of his book.

If, however, any, being mindful of the writings and the denunciations of the Lord and the apostles, shall have stood firm in the integrity of the faith, I suppose they will run great risk of missing pardon, when the Lord answers: Continue reading

Tertullian on the Problem of Evil and Free Will

This is part of a series of posts that captures the early church views on free will and determinism. The idea for this series was motivated by Calvinist claims that their view was held by the early church.



Tertullian (160-225), a 2nd century theologian lived in North Africa, wrote numerous works explaining and defending Christianity. We explored his views of orthodoxy (or the Rule of Faith) already, in this post we will look at how he approached the problem of evil.

One of his works is The Five Books against Marcion. In Book 2, Tertullian explores the problem of evil because Marcion (the heretic of Pontus) was wrestling with how a good God could be the author of all the evil in the world (i.2).

The problem of evil, as stated by Marcion and presented by Tertullian goes, something like this (ii.5): Continue reading

What is Orthodoxy? [Part 3] Tertullian’s Rule of Faith

In light of Rob Bell’s claim in Love Wins  that orthodoxy is wide and diverse I have been exploring historic orthodoxy.  In part 1, narrow orthodoxy was defined as the basic set of Christian essential doctrine that has been held throughout the history of the church. It does not incorporate speculative theological ideas.  Wide orthodoxy was defined as encompassing all the varying and often speculative teachings found in church history. I have asserted that orthodoxy is narrow. In part 2 we looked at what  Irenaeus listed as the essential apostolic tradition that was handed down. We examined these beliefs with one of the earliest creeds – the Apostle’s Creed . Irenaeus who lived in both Asia Minor and Gaul during his life was writing around 180 AD.

The main two points from that study was that the Scripture were accepted as the basis for doctrine and that the tenets of the Apostle’s Creed were considered the essential truths. Today we are going to look at Tertullian and see if these two points hold up. Continue reading