January 19th 2011- Sociology Of Religion.
i.e., new members, waning purity, and growing doubt
early second-century Christian writings disclose signs of mounting internal strains, as
“double-minded” believers- the disychoi- 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” (1 Clement 23.3. (c.96))
the double-minded “leave the true road” -” apostates from God” (Hermas, 8.9.1)
How to deal with this crisis? The baptismal promise of being “freed from sin’s dominion
yet the reality of continues sinning?
A “second remission” of sins was gradually introduced and adopted: initially as a special
“jubilee” period of restored grace for all those displaying heartfelt repentance (c.130),
and then as a formal sacrament of penance (c.190), which offered a second, but now
final, “back-up” cleansing to remove the venial sins that had accumulated since baptism.
The delay of Jesus’s second coming started to create problems, people said people were
falling into the grip of satan and leaving the right path. That brought the problem of the
post-baptismal sinning. Now what chance do the have of being saved when jesus does
The first test that dealt with the issue- the shephard of hermus(what did that text offer?) it
offered a chance to be cleansed again. If you broke the seal of baptism – the angel of
repentance int eh form of an angel came to this Christian teacher hermous – and said that
god had anticipated that Christians would slip so if they repented their sins right away
they would be forgiven. The angel also carried the promise that Jesus was coming soon.
he carried this ecclesial promise. Problem witht the hermous thing was that it was just a
window of time.
-There was a “back-up” cleansing now.By the year 200 we have this second penance that
is more in place. What is the problem with this second penance? If you are told now that
there is a second sacrement that will wipe away your sins , you will contemplate when to
use this card. Because this is the last time you can repent your sins so when are you done
sinning.What is the risk of delaying? You don’t know when you will die andyou don’t
know when jesus will come?
-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 ( paententia secunda) for opening to those who knock: but
now once for all, because now for the second time; and enevr 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 commited 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 from all that is discordant,
providing a foundation for faith. But the Lord, having knowledge of hearts and
foreknowing all that will happen, has foreknowing all that will happen has
foreknowledge from the outset of both human instability and of the devil’s 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 be repented of
This imposter (callistus).. established a school in antagonism to the teachings of the
church. He was the first to think up a way o collusing wih thte sinul pleasures of men,
saying to all that he himself would remit their sins… and those hearing him, overjoyed
with his tenets, contine deluding themselves and many others, and crowds stream into his
school. So his followers multiply, and they exult in throngs attending for the sake of
pleasures that chritst did not permit.for in contempt of hIM, THEY FORBID NO KIND
OF SIN, ALLEGING THAT CHRist will remit the offenses they have approved of
The Decian Persecution(249-51)
imperial edict demands universal sacrifices to the gods
leads to widespread apostacy in the Christian churches across the empire
- the Novatianist schism
he believes that one reasn why the empire is going through this crisis is because the
Romans have lost their virtues, people no longer as religious as they were, the roman
ideology the reason why they were such successful empire bec they were more
religious.the romans regarded their empire as a gift from the gods and the gods preserved
the roman power. When a society undergoes threat they try to revive tradition and
religion, bec maybe our troubles are due to having lost our previous devotion to god.
He issues a decree across the empire, except the Jews all the other inhabitants of the
empire have to go to the shrine and make sacrifices tot eh gods, and they receive
certificates proving that they have done this.
How did the Christian members of the Roman empire handle this problem?
-sign a certificate that you have always sacrificed to the gods.
-that would be apostacy and idolatatory and concealing in a way that you are a Christian.
-christians were called upon that they were Christians, Christians were expected not to
conceal that they were Christians, so to pretend that they had made sacrifices all their
lives. They had to eat the meats, worship idols and pretend they were not Christians.
martyr(to bear witness/ testify)
-they made a distinction b/w the fallen and the standing- the more low key and more
moderate Christians are more likely to succumb to this deadly pressure, this is the first
time the roman empire is trying to smoke out the Christians and force them to abandon
what the romans regarded as a superstiuttion they regarded Christianity as disloyal bec
they were not worshipping th gods that preserved the empire, anti-social bec they didn’t
go to the theatres. The non- Christian population thought that the Christians were
responsible for floods or plagues droughts. Popular poly-theistic piety reffered to the
Christians as atheists and were the problem.
-we know formt eh Christian writings that a majority of the Christians went to the shrine
to make the sacrifice those who had money bribed the officials to fake certificates.
-many Christians were repeatedly tortured.
-majority of the Christians had fallen but what turned out to be lucky for the Christians
that decius died in battle- so the persecution died out. And there were so many crisis after
his death- who would succeed him- civil war etc. so the pressue formt eh Christians died
out. So these people came rushing back to the leaders of their church.
-with calistus and some of the others they already softened it for idolatory and ..
but renouncing Christianity was a sin against god this was a difficult change to make but
the moderates (catholics ) worked it out.
-big group true Christian the other groups are not – main stream (catholics ) through
difficult negotiations starts to forgive and accept
-the hardliners groups will not go along with it the novatianist chism
one of the elders of the novatian said that there is no way that we can forgive those who
return to Christianity- no power given to biships or priests to forgive that sin. Novatian
was elected bishop charged the person sitting on the throne(the bishop of rome) as an
idolator so the more staunch Christians made novation bishop , so now you have 2
bishops. Across the world there are many Christians, they all fight out this battle that can
we forgive this sin of idolatry and apostacy or not. Christianity splits into these 2 groups
the mainstream group calling itself universal or the group headed by novation( they
refered to themselves as the pure Christians- even sins like idolitary and fornication
cannot be forgiven)
-the church of the cathiroy(aka novation church) and the catholic church formed. The
catholics only called them the novation church bec. when you look at Christian history
the group that is in power say they are the orthodox or the correct and straight belief. The
orthodox group says that they are the right ones and to discredit the other groups they will
brand them according to their leader so they like to call the novationists as the noviation
or if they do recognize they call themselves pure they’ll mock it call thmt he so called
-the majority stays with the catholic groups.
The Great Persecution (303-313)- Melitianist and Donatist schisms
Towards the end of the 3rd cent some powerful military leaders take over Rome.
The problem that the great persecution created the roman penants focused largely on the
officials of the church confiscated property and demanded that the holy scriptures be