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Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol III:
Tertullian: Part II: Apostolic Sanction to This Exclusion of Heretics from the Use of the Scriptures. Heretics, According to the Apostle, are Not to Be Disputed With, But to Be Admonished.

Early Church Fathers  Index     

p. 251 Chapter XVI.—Apostolic Sanction to This Exclusion of Heretics from the Use of the Scriptures. Heretics, According to the Apostle, are Not to Be Disputed With, But to Be Admonished.

I might be thought to have laid down this position to remedy distrust in my case, 2027 or from a desire of entering on the contest 2028 in some other way, were there not reasons on my side, especially this, that our faith owes deference 2029 to the apostle, who forbids us to enter on “questions,” or to lend our ears to new-fangled statements, 2030 or to consort with a heretic “after the first and second admonition,” 2031 not, (be it observed,) after discussion.  Discussion he has inhibited in this way, by designating admonition as the purpose of dealing with a heretic, and the first one too, because he is not a Christian; in order that he might not, after the manner of a Christian, seem to require correction again and again, and “before two or three witnesses,” 2032 seeing that he ought to be corrected, for the very reason that he is not to be disputed with; and in the next place, because a controversy over the Scriptures can, clearly, 2033 produce no other effect than help to upset either the stomach or the brain.



De consilio diffidentiæ.


Constitutionis, “prima causarum conflictio,”—a term of the law courts.




1 Tim. 6:3, 4.


Tit. iii. 10.


Matt. xviii. 16.


Plane, ironical.

Next: Heretics, in Fact, Do Not Use, But Only Abuse, Scripture. No Common Ground Between Them and You.

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