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Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol III:
Tertullian: Part II: Christ Not the Father, as Praxeas Said. The Inconsistency of This Opinion, No Less Than Its Absurdity, Exposed. The True Doctrine of Jesus Christ According to St. Paul, Who Agrees with Other Sacred Writers.

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Chapter XXVIII.—Christ Not the Father, as Praxeas Said. The Inconsistency of This Opinion, No Less Than Its Absurdity, Exposed. The True Doctrine of Jesus Christ According to St. Paul, Who Agrees with Other Sacred Writers.

And so, most foolish heretic, you make Christ to be the Father, without once considering the actual force of this name, if indeed Christ is a name, and not rather a surname, or designation; for it signifies “Anointed.” But Anointed is no more a proper name than Clothed or Shod; it is only an accessory to a name. Suppose now that by some means Jesus were also called Vestitus (Clothed), as He is actually called Christ from the mystery of His anointing, would you in like manner say that Jesus was the Son of God, and at the same time suppose that Vestitus was the Father? Now then, concerning Christ, if Christ is the Father, the Father is an Anointed One, and receives the unction of course from another. Else if it is from Himself that He rep. 625 ceives it, then you must prove it to us. But we learn no such fact from the Acts of the Apostles in that ejaculation of the Church to God, “Of a truth, Lord, against Thy Holy Child Jesus, whom Thou hast anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate with the Gentiles and the people of Israel were gathered together.” 8162 These then testified both that Jesus was the Son of God, and that being the Son, He was anointed by the Father. Christ therefore must be the same as Jesus who was anointed by the Father, and not the Father, who anointed the Son. To the same effect are the words of Peter: “Let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ,” that is, Anointed8163 John, moreover, brands that man as “a liar” who “denieth that Jesus is the Christ;” whilst on the other hand he declares that “every one is born of God who believeth that Jesus is the Christ.” 8164 Wherefore he also exhorts us to believe in the name of His (the Father’s,) Son Jesus Christ, that “our fellowship may be with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ.” 8165 Paul, in like manner, everywhere speaks of “God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ.”  When writing to the Romans, he gives thanks to God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 8166 To the Galatians he declares himself to be “an apostle not of men, neither by man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father.” 8167 You possess indeed all his writings, which testify plainly to the same effect, and set forth Two—God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father.  (They also testify) that Jesus is Himself the Christ, and under one or the other designation the Son of God.  For precisely by the same right as both names belong to the same Person, even the Son of God, does either name alone without the other belong to the same Person. Consequently, whether it be the name Jesus which occurs alone, Christ is also understood, because Jesus is the Anointed One; or if the name Christ is the only one given, then Jesus is identified with Him, because the Anointed One is Jesus. Now, of these two names Jesus Christ, the former is the proper one, which was given to Him by the angel; and the latter is only an adjunct, predicable of Him from His anointing,—thus suggesting the proviso that Christ must be the Son, not the Father. How blind, to be sure, is the man who fails to perceive that by the name of Christ some other God is implied, if he ascribes to the Father this name of Christ! For if Christ is God the Father, when He says, “I ascend unto my Father and your Father, and to my God and your God,” 8168 He of course shows plainly enough that there is above Himself another Father and another God. If, again, the Father is Christ, He must be some other Being who “strengtheneth the thunder, and createth the wind, and declareth unto men His Christ.” 8169 And if “the kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord and against His Christ,” 8170 that Lord must be another Being, against whose Christ were gathered together the kings and the rulers. And if, to quote another passage, “Thus saith the Lord to my Lord Christ,” 8171 the Lord who speaks to the Father of Christ must be a distinct Being. Moreover, when the apostle in his epistle prays, “That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and of knowledge,” 8172 He must be other (than Christ), who is the God of Jesus Christ, the bestower of spiritual gifts. And once for all, that we may not wander through every passage, He “who raised up Christ from the dead, and is also to raise up our mortal bodies,” 8173 must certainly be, as the quickener, different from the dead Father, 8174 or even from the quickened Father, if Christ who died is the Father.



Acts iv. 27.


Acts ii. 36.


See 1 John 2:22, 1 John 4:2, 3, 1 John 5:1.


1 John i. 3.


Rom. i. 8.


Gal. i. 1.


John xx. 17.


Amos iv. 13, Sept.


Ps. ii. 2.


Here Tertullian reads τῷ Χριστῷ μου Κυρίῳ, instead of Κύρῳ, “to Cyrus,” in Isa. xlv. 1.


Eph. i. 17.


Rom. viii. 11.


From this deduction of the doctrine of Praxeas, that the Father must have suffered on the cross, his opponents called him and his followers Patripassians.

Next: It Was Christ that Died.  The Father is Incapable of Suffering Either Solely or with Another. Blasphemous Conclusions Spring from Praxeas' Premises.

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