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Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol III:
Tertullian: Part II: Granted that the Apostles Transmitted the Whole Doctrine of Truth, May Not the Churches Have Been Unfaithful in Handing It On? Inconceivable that This Can Have Been the Case.

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter XXVII.—Granted that the Apostles Transmitted the Whole Doctrine of Truth, May Not the Churches Have Been Unfaithful in Handing It On? Inconceivable that This Can Have Been the Case.

Since, therefore, it is incredible that the apostles were either ignorant of the whole scope of the message which they had to declare, 2139 or failed to make known to all men the entire rule of faith, let us see whether, while the apostles proclaimed it, perhaps, simply and fully, the churches, through their own fault, set it forth otherwise than the apostles had done. All these suggestions of distrust 2140 you may find put forward by the heretics.  They bear in mind how the churches were rebuked by the apostle: “O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you?” 2141 and, “Ye did run so well; who hath hindered you?” 2142 and how the epistle actually begins: “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from Him, who hath called you as His own in grace, to another gospel.” 2143 That they likewise (remember), what was written to the Corinthians, that they “were yet carnal,” who “required to be fed with milk,” being as yet “unable to bear strong meat;” 2144 who also “thought that they knew somewhat, whereas they knew not yet anything, as they ought to know.” 2145 When they raise the objection that the churches were rebuked, let them suppose that they were also corrected; let them also remember those (churches), concerning whose faith and knowledge and conversation the apostle “rejoices and gives thanks to God,” which nevertheless even at this day, unite with those which were rebuked in the privileges of one and the same institution.



Plenitudinem prædicationis.




Gal. iii. 1.


Gal. v. 7.


Gal. i. 6.


1 Cor. iii. 1, and following verses.


1 Cor. viii. 2.

Next: The One Tradition of the Faith, Which is Substantially Alike in the Churches Everywhere, a Good Proof that the Transmission Has Been True and Honest in the Main.

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