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Author Topic: Tertullian Wouldn't Like the Modern Church  (Read 2360 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: October 19, 2009, 09:47:41 PM »

Catechumens staying for the whole service? Allowing non-believers in the service at all? Women teaching? Priests holding secular employment? Is outrage (according to Tertullian)!

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"I must not omit an account of the conduct also of the heretics— how frivolous it is, how worldly, how merely human, without seriousness, without authority, without discipline, as suits their creed. To begin with, it is doubtful who is a catechumen, and who a believer; they have all access alike, they hear alike, they pray alike— even heathens, if any such happen to come among them. That which is holy they will cast to the dogs, and their pearls, although (to be sure) they are not real ones, they will fling to the swine. Simplicity they will have to consist in the overthrow of discipline, attention to which on our part they call brothelry. Peace also they huddle up anyhow with all comers; for it matters not to them, however different be their treatment of subjects, provided only they can conspire together to storm the citadel of the one only Truth.

All are puffed up, all offer you knowledge. Their catechumens are perfect before they are full-taught. The very women of these heretics, how wanton they are! For they are bold enough to teach, to dispute, to enact exorcisms, to undertake cures— it may be even to baptize. Their ordinations, are carelessly administered, capricious, changeable. At one time they put novices in office; at another time, men who are bound to some secular employment; at another, persons who have apostatized from us, to bind them by vainglory, since they cannot by the truth. Nowhere is promotion easier than in the camp of rebels, where the mere fact of being there is a foremost service. And so it comes to pass that today one man is their bishop, tomorrow another; today he is a deacon who tomorrow is a reader; today he is a presbyter who tomorrow is a layman. For even on laymen do they impose the functions of priesthood." - Tertullian, The Prescription Against Heretics, 41

And Tertullian wasn't exaggerating at the end with the stuff about "today he is a deacon who tomorrow is a reader; today he is a presbyter who tomorrow is a layman". Irenaeus tells about how some gnostic groups did not have established hierarchies in their private meetings. They would pull lots from a bag at the beginning of each meeting, to decide who would be what. So one person would be the priest, one the bishop, etc. Then the next time they met, they would pull lots again and switch up who fulfilled what role.

Also, the part about "Their catechumens are perfect before they are full-taught" is evidence that Tertullian had the internet  Tongue
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« Reply #1 on: October 19, 2009, 10:40:45 PM »

Also, the part about "Their catechumens are perfect before they are full-taught" is evidence that Tertullian had the internet  Tongue

So true!
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« Reply #2 on: October 19, 2009, 11:47:17 PM »

Considering that later in life Tertullian became a heretic, a Montanist which was lead by one prophet and his two female prophetesses, I think that he didn't even like the ancient church.
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« Reply #3 on: October 19, 2009, 11:49:50 PM »

Considering that later in life Tertullian became a heretic, a Montanist which was lead by one prophet and his two female prophetesses, I think that he didn't even like the ancient church.

I can't make statements about a man that lived before Television by any other means than accounts of his life verified by the Church.  I do agree Teruillian must have had the internet and most likely had a high post count on several Christian message boards.
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« Reply #4 on: October 20, 2009, 12:34:40 AM »

Quote
Considering that later in life Tertullian became a heretic, a Montanist which was lead by one prophet and his two female prophetesses, I think that he didn't even like the ancient church.

It's interesting where he ended up, considering what he says about women teaching and such in the quote given above.
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« Reply #5 on: October 20, 2009, 01:49:58 AM »

There's some preservations to Tertullian's practices today.

In Coptic monasteries, you have an area separated for catechumens and visitors in the back, and once the "Liturgy of the Word" is over, they must leave, and then the "Liturgy of the Eucharist" begins.  Most Coptic Churches still don't agree with the idea of allowing women to read an Epistle in Church, let alone teach.  I do not know one Coptic priest who is holding a secular job.  It is a big no-no in our Church, unless the priest agrees to do whatever he wants to do as a volunteer.  I've heard of one Coptic priest who is a volunteer professor.
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« Reply #6 on: October 20, 2009, 01:57:36 AM »

Quote
There's some preservations to Tertullian's practices today.

In Coptic monasteries, you have an area separated for catechumens and visitors in the back, and once the "Liturgy of the Word" is over, they must leave, and then the "Liturgy of the Eucharist" begins.  Most Coptic Churches still don't agree with the idea of allowing women to read an Epistle in Church, let alone teach.  I do not know one Coptic priest who is holding a secular job.  It is a big no-no in our Church, unless the priest agrees to do whatever he wants to do as a volunteer.  I've heard of one Coptic priest who is a volunteer professor.

I knew that the Oriental Orthodox were sticklers for traditional practices, but I certainly didn't know that. Generally I think it's a shame (e.g. I think women should be able to teach), though admirable in it's way as well.
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« Reply #7 on: October 20, 2009, 03:06:17 AM »

I don't think I've ever seen women in the choir whenever I've visited Coptic churches. 

Mina,
Are women allowed to sing in the choir in Coptic churches?  Or have I just been to parishes that happen to not have women interested in being in the choir? 
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« Reply #8 on: October 20, 2009, 03:18:42 AM »

Considering that later in life Tertullian became a heretic, a Montanist which was lead by one prophet and his two female prophetesses, I think that he didn't even like the ancient church.

So true!







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« Reply #9 on: October 20, 2009, 03:21:32 AM »

Quote
Considering that later in life Tertullian became a heretic, a Montanist which was lead by one prophet and his two female prophetesses, I think that he didn't even like the ancient church.

It's interesting where he ended up, considering what he says about women teaching and such in the quote given above.

He changed his mind on a number of things latter in life, you can see it in his latter works.







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« Reply #10 on: October 20, 2009, 03:26:37 AM »

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He changed his mind on a number of things latter in life, you can see it in his latter works.

I can sorta identify with him, actually.  Grin
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« Reply #11 on: October 20, 2009, 04:57:33 AM »

There's some preservations to Tertullian's practices today.

In Coptic monasteries, you have an area separated for catechumens and visitors in the back, and once the "Liturgy of the Word" is over, they must leave, and then the "Liturgy of the Eucharist" begins.  Most Coptic Churches still don't agree with the idea of allowing women to read an Epistle in Church, let alone teach.  I do not know one Coptic priest who is holding a secular job.  It is a big no-no in our Church, unless the priest agrees to do whatever he wants to do as a volunteer.  I've heard of one Coptic priest who is a volunteer professor.

According to coptickev in this thead... http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,23698.0.html this is not the practice in non-monastic Coptic settings and according to pensateomnia dismissing the catechumens is still done in many monasteries in the Eastern Orthodox Church as well.
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« Reply #12 on: October 20, 2009, 10:57:11 AM »

...dismissing the catechumens is still done in many monasteries in the Eastern Orthodox Church as well.

I can verify that St. Anthony's Greek Orthodox Monastery in Arizona still does this.  In fact, everything there is really strict.
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« Reply #13 on: October 20, 2009, 11:29:53 AM »

Considering that later in life Tertullian became a heretic, a Montanist which was lead by one prophet and his two female prophetesses, I think that he didn't even like the ancient church.

Montanists were schismatics. Their prophets emphasized fasting, never giving in under torture, specific instructions about women's head covering, and never allowing remarriage. Those were all big things for Tertullian, even before he become a Montanist in 202. Montanists were for a "pure" church, with strict discipline, versus the broader church, which had lost its eschatological tenor and was too accommodating to the world. Even after becoming a Montanist, though, Tertullian still had plenty of complaints against women who wore fancy clothes, put on makeup, didn't cover their heads in church, and -- even worse -- didn't enroll as widows after divorce/death of their husband...so, even the Montanists weren't perfect.  Wink
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« Reply #14 on: October 20, 2009, 11:41:51 AM »

Considering that later in life Tertullian became a heretic, a Montanist which was lead by one prophet and his two female prophetesses, I think that he didn't even like the ancient church.

Montanists were schismatics. Their prophets emphasized fasting, never giving in under torture, specific instructions about women's head covering, and never allowing remarriage. Those were all big things for Tertullian, even before he become a Montanist in 202. Montanists were for a "pure" church, with strict discipline, versus the broader church, which had lost its eschatological tenor and was too accommodating to the world. Even after becoming a Montanist, though, Tertullian still had plenty of complaints against women who wore fancy clothes, put on makeup, didn't cover their heads in church, and -- even worse -- didn't enroll as widows after divorce/death of their husband...so, even the Montanists weren't perfect.  Wink
They kinda remind of me of charismatic Pentacostals with their intensely strict rules and "revelations" from the Holy Spirit.
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« Reply #15 on: October 20, 2009, 12:11:39 PM »

...Tertullian still had plenty of complaints against women who wore fancy clothes...

I wonder what he would have thought of fancy embroidered vestments?
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« Reply #16 on: October 20, 2009, 12:35:27 PM »

I don't think I've ever seen women in the choir whenever I've visited Coptic churches. 

Mina,
Are women allowed to sing in the choir in Coptic churches?  Or have I just been to parishes that happen to not have women interested in being in the choir? 

A somewhat complicated answer.  Ultimately, it is indeed allowed for women to sing in the choir.  However, in Egypt alone, this never happens.  Coptic people are too influenced by Islamic chauvinism to see women stand with the rest of the "Singers" to praise God, and this later on lead to a misunderstanding of what the Church teaches (i.e. Coptic people themselves are not chauvinistic in this regard, they just treat this issue like they would treat the issue of reading the gospel, going in the altar, teaching, or being a priest...they feel the Church disallows this, which is not true), and this idea carried on to the US.  In the US, priests usually won't try to deal with the situation because they know how this would lead to an "outrage" by Coptic people.  I've met several women that outshine any subdeacon in the Church hymns, and yet even they seem to have a belief that women should not stand in the choir.

At the same time, many parishes do have women who are not interested in being in the choir or evev learning the hymns anyway, so the feeling is mutual.  I don't know whether to blame the women for being less interested or for the Church in general for not sparking interest to women.  In the diocese of California, the bishop there started to consecrate women to be in the choir and to even lead in Church hymns.  As predicted, this did cause outrage among Coptic people.  I know a female friend of mine from California who is also against this, and she loves the Church hymns, who even goes on to say that her priest won't allow it, which I find it hard to believe.  I just think her church is filled with ignorant folks to which the priest is not taking any drastic steps to cause any outrage.

Another part of the complicated answer is that the Coptic Church historically really was never structured to have a choir.  It was structured to have the congregation involved.  However, as the congregation seemed to be less interested in learning all the Church hymns, a choir evolved, or at least one man who lead the congregation, called a "mu'allim" (the master, or the teacher) developed in our Church.  So it never crossed anyone's mind to include women in the choir since then probably (although convents have no choice but to include singing women in their all-female choir).

So this is generally my experience with Coptic parishes in the states.

And to answer someone else's question, yes, Coptic parishes generally don't kick out non-Orthodox people after Liturgy of the Word.  It just so happens that monastics like to keep the tradition of old.
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« Reply #17 on: October 22, 2009, 02:10:24 AM »

Thanks for the explanation.  What you said is kind of what I suspected.  I know that the Armenian Church in "the old days" didn't have women in the choir.  Now people think nothing of it.  There is a choir called the "Khachadourian Choir," which is composed only of men, and they sometimes travel to different churches to sing during the liturgy.  A couple of times a year they come to our parish.  The sound of an all male choir can be very powerful.

There is an article about them here:

http://www.armenianchurchwd.com/The-Khachadourian-Choir-of-The-Mother-Cathedral/
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« Reply #18 on: December 01, 2009, 07:09:21 PM »

...dismissing the catechumens is still done in many monasteries in the Eastern Orthodox Church as well.

I can verify that St. Anthony's Greek Orthodox Monastery in Arizona still does this.  In fact, everything there is really strict.

Cool!






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« Reply #19 on: December 02, 2009, 04:49:40 AM »

Considering that later in life Tertullian became a heretic, a Montanist which was lead by one prophet and his two female prophetesses, I think that he didn't even like the ancient church.

I can't make statements about a man that lived before Television by any other means than accounts of his life verified by the Church.  I do agree Teruillian must have had the internet and most likely had a high post count on several Christian message boards.

And the moderator of a montanist sub-forum, most likely  police
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« Reply #20 on: December 02, 2009, 04:28:36 PM »

Tertullian died a Donatist, not a Montanist.
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« Reply #21 on: January 13, 2011, 08:25:03 PM »

of course not hes pentacostal now!
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« Reply #22 on: January 13, 2011, 09:28:41 PM »

Tertullian died a Donatist, not a Montanist.

I'm highly skeptical of what you're saying, given that the death of Tertullian seems to be dated for the early 3rd century and the beginning of the Donatist movement seems to be dated for the early 4th century.
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« Reply #23 on: January 13, 2011, 10:08:28 PM »

...dismissing the catechumens is still done in many monasteries in the Eastern Orthodox Church as well.

I can verify that St. Anthony's Greek Orthodox Monastery in Arizona still does this.  In fact, everything there is really strict.

As does the monastery of St. John Chrysostom in Wisconsin and the Holy Transfiguration monastery in Illinois.  They are also under the direction of Elder Ephraim. 
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