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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. IV:
Writings in Connection with the Donatist Controversy.: Chapter 23

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter 23.—40.  Successus of Abbir Germaniciana 1667 said:  "Heretics may either do nothing or everything.  If they can baptize, they can also give the Holy Spirit; but if they cannot give the Holy Spirit, because they do not possess the Holy Spirit, then can they not either spiritually baptize.  Therefore we give our judgment that heretics should be baptized." 1668

41.  To this we may answer almost word for word:  Murderers may either do nothing or everything.  If they can baptize, they can also give the Holy Spirit; but if they cannot give the Holy Spirit, because they do not possess the Holy Spirit, then can they not either spiritually baptize.  Therefore we give our judgment that persons baptized by murderers, or murderers themselves who have been baptized without being converted, should, when they have corrected themselves, be baptized.  Yet this is not true.  For "whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer;" 1669 and Cyprian knew such men within the Church, who certainly baptized.  Therefore it is to no purpose that words of this sort are used concerning heretics.


Footnotes

489:1667

Abbir Germaniciana was in ecclesiastical province of Zeugitana, or Africa Proconsularis.  Successus probably identical with one mentioned in Cypr. Epp. lvii., lxvii., lxx., lxxx.

489:1668

Conc. Carth. sec. 16.

489:1669

1 John iii. 15.


Next: Chapter 24

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