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Lecture

November 30, 2011 Lecture


Department
Religion
Course Code
RLG210Y1
Professor
Joseph Bryant

Page:
of 7
12-03-26 1:01 AM
Converts were said to be awakened and reborn a transformative redemption
that secured and immediate bestowal of charis or grace and the promise of
eternal salvation
Spiritual rebirth was achieved thru baptism a sacred ceremonial…..
Sealed in purity
forgiveness and penance:
1) the gospels present Christ as granting his disciples the charismatic power
of “binding and loosing” sins
2) the value of mercy and forgiveness is affirmed in a number if scriptural
passages
3) the traditional Jewish atonement practices of alms-giving, fasting and
prayer are frequently enjoined upon the faithful and
4) there are several exhortations to open confessions before the assembled
congregation
as to what kinds of sins are to be forgiven and how often and through whom
and by what means on these issues there remained considerable uncertainty
and dispute
i.e. no penitential system in place
HARDLINERS, RIGORTIST (THEY INSIST UPON VIRTUOS STANDARDS)
Paul’s injunction to expel gross sinners from the community
Wavering saints, the dipsychol and the crisis of post-baptismal sin
maintaining virtuoso standards of purity and holiness became increasingly
difficult as the ranks of the faithful were augmented by less zealous converts
and as doubts and anxieties were generated by continuing delays in their
redeemers anticipated return
ie new members, waning purity and growing doubt
early secondary century Christian writing disclose signs of mounting internal
strains as “double minded” believers – dipsychoi- were accused of taking up
anew the worldly vanities and vices they had renounced at conversion while
other tainted members despaired over their possible salvation
we have heard these things even in the days of our fathers and behold we
have grown old and none of these things has happened to us
the double minded “leave the true road”
how to deal with the crisis? The baptismal promise of being freed from sins
dominion yet the reality of continued sinning?
a second remission of sins was gradually introduced and adopted: initially as
a special “jubilee” period of restored grace for all those displaying heart felt
repentance and then as a formal sacrament of penance which offered a
second but now find “back up” cleansing to remove the venial dins that had
accumulated since baptism
the shepherd of hermas a visionary text widely regarded as scripture in the
early church hermas a teacher/prophet in Rome is granted a series of visions
and encounters with heavenly messengers/beings which he records in his
texts
the key revelation: a second repentance for sins after baptism is possible if
done now:
all the sins that they have formerly committed shall be remitted and for all
the saints who have sinned up to this day, if they repent with their whole
heart and put aside double mindedness (dipsychia) for the master by his
glory has sworn to his elect that if there still occur sin after this day is fixed
they shall find no salvation. For repentance (metanoia) for the righteous has
an end…but for the gentiles repentance is possible until the last day
this visionary revelation concludes with a warning that a great persecution is
pending and that those who lapse will find no forgiveness for their apostasy.
The special repentance on offer is retrospective only covering all past but no
future offenses
Rigorist resistance – the montanist movement of new prophesy led by
montanus, prisca and maximilla – ecstatic who claimed to voice continuing
revelations from the Paraclete ( = holy spirit) fallen Christian sinners cannot
be redeemed condemn growing laxity in church discipline and spirituality
announce the imminent arrival of gods kingdom
but the long march towards "mass religiosity" was well underway by the turn
of the second century when references to the shepherd by various church
fathers uniformly drop the temporal limitations that had framed the initial
pronouncement and so remake the jubilee offer of a post baptismal
remission into a formal penitential sacrament
although the gate of forgiveness has been shut and fastened up with the bar
of baptism, god has permitted it still to remain somewhat accessible. In the
vestibule he has stationed a second repentance (paenitentia secunda) for
opening to those who knock: but now once for all, because now for the
second time and never again because the first had been in vain.
it is fitting for one who has received the remission of sins to sin no more. For
the first and only repentance of sins should be for those committed
previously by the gentile I mean during his first life lived in ignorance. For
repentance is immediately set before those who are called and purifies the
region of the soul form all that is discordant providing a foundation for faith.
But the lord having knowledge of hearts and foreknowing al that will happen
has foreknowledge from the outset of both human instability and of the
devils subtle wiles and how envying humanity the forgiveness of sins he
would present to the servants of god occasions for sinning cleverly plotting
evil that they might fall together with himself. Accordingly the lord
abounding in mercy has granted a second repentance (metanoia deutera) to
those who though in the faith have fallen into any discordance so that should
any be tempted after their calling overcome by force or fraud they may still
receive a repentance not to be repented of.