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November 30, 2011 Lecture

Course Code
Joseph Bryant

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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
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
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
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

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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
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.
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