Author Topic: What did the Donatists do that was so heretical?  (Read 1186 times)

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Offline dzheremi

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Re: What did the Donatists do that was so heretical?
« Reply #45 on: September 01, 2014, 11:29:27 PM »

Their heresy is said to be the lack of forgiveness, yet the others did the same thing.

I have a feeling that my admittedly brief reply to Gebre is being misunderstood. Please allow me to clarify. I did not mean that the heresy of the Donatists was not forgiving (in itself, full stop), but that by not forgiving those who had strayed, and making it a matter of doctrinal strictness (or however you want to put it) that they should not be forgiven, the Donatists in effect denied the forgiveness inherent in Christ's teachings, life, death, and resurrection, thereby warping Christianity itself into a religion very different than the Orthodox Christian faith that had been entrusted to them (and to all of us). As has been pointed out in this very thread, it is recognized that when giving His apostles the power to forgive sins, our Lord did say that whatsoever sin you forgive shall be forgiven and whatsoever you retain shall be retained. This is well and good, but also a far cry from "Don't forgive anyone should they stray." In fact, we need only meditate upon our Lord's forgiveness of St. Peter who denied Him three times to see in effect what damage the Donatists' and other rigorists' positions do to our religion. I hope you won't respond to this with any kind of reply suggesting that giving up written scriptures should be seen in a worse light than denying the Word of God in the flesh about Whom those scriptures testify. :) So as Christ forgave the errant Peter, it would have been right for those calling themselves Christians (whether Donatists or not) to follow His example and forgive those who had erred in their own day. This is what I meant by posting that their error was that they had denied forgiveness. To be strict with people for their benefit in a pastoral setting is one thing; to out-and-out deny the efficacy of forgiveness/reconciliation (as I understand the Donatists did) such that you teach and practice that those who fell away can never be absolved is quite another. Christ's life, death, and resurrection was not for the perfect, of which there are none but Him anyway.

Quote
Repentance is not always necessary to forgive, as Christ forgave those who crucified him.

Of course. I would forgive the Donatists of their errors, gladly, that they may be reconciled with the Church from which they split. But reconciliation and reception into the Church does require a repudiation of errors. Anyone who has been through an Orthodox baptismal service upon being received from another tradition will tell you (if they are old enough to remember, that is) that it involves renunciation of errors. The Donatists and any others would have to do the same. Our Lord forgave those who crucified Him, knowing that they knew not what they were doing. The Donatists, through the years (centuries) of their battles against the Orthodox over this matter during which it was explained to them tirelessly exactly where they had faltered, knew exactly what they were doing. There is a difference.

Offline TheMathematician

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Re: What did the Donatists do that was so heretical?
« Reply #46 on: September 01, 2014, 11:34:54 PM »
Yesh, I honestly dont know anything about this issue, besides what has been posted here, but

From what I am reading, it is not lacking forgiveness, but refusing to forgive, while the others would forgive

Offline Hawkeye

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Re: What did the Donatists do that was so heretical?
« Reply #47 on: September 02, 2014, 12:48:59 AM »
I just don't understand how the Donatists were supposed to forgive those who gave up the scriptures to save themselves, yet those who saved themselves would not forgive the Donatists.

Their heresy is said to be the lack of forgiveness, yet the others did the same thing.

While Donatists were spilling blood in the streets, St. Aurelius of Carthage received with love and leniency those who repented of their schism and hardheartedness.
Quote from: The Life of Ivan Neronov
[Ecclesiastics] conspired against him because they hated his teaching for its zealous emphasis on proper Christian conduct: with great courage he denounced all whom he saw behaving in an ungodly fashion... [As such] he was deprived of his priestly rank, bound in iron chains, and broken down in jails.

Offline yeshuaisiam

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Re: What did the Donatists do that was so heretical?
« Reply #48 on: September 02, 2014, 05:41:36 PM »
I just don't understand how the Donatists were supposed to forgive those who gave up the scriptures to save themselves, yet those who saved themselves would not forgive the Donatists.

Their heresy is said to be the lack of forgiveness, yet the others did the same thing.

While Donatists were spilling blood in the streets, St. Aurelius of Carthage received with love and leniency those who repented of their schism and hardheartedness.

I don't have any information of them spilling blood in the streets.  Can you point me towards a book with the information (or a source)?
« Last Edit: September 02, 2014, 05:42:01 PM by yeshuaisiam »
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Offline Hawkeye

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Re: What did the Donatists do that was so heretical?
« Reply #49 on: September 02, 2014, 08:02:42 PM »
While Donatists were spilling blood in the streets, St. Aurelius of Carthage received with love and leniency those who repented of their schism and hardheartedness.

I don't have any information of them spilling blood in the streets.  Can you point me towards a book with the information (or a source)?

Here's an article and a book.

Pretty much anything you can find on the Circumcellions applies. They may not have started off as Donatists nor characterized all of them but they were certainly part of the movement, utilized by its leaders when expedient against the Catholic Church and its own internal dissenters (i.e. the Maximianists).
Quote from: The Life of Ivan Neronov
[Ecclesiastics] conspired against him because they hated his teaching for its zealous emphasis on proper Christian conduct: with great courage he denounced all whom he saw behaving in an ungodly fashion... [As such] he was deprived of his priestly rank, bound in iron chains, and broken down in jails.

Offline yeshuaisiam

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Re: What did the Donatists do that was so heretical?
« Reply #50 on: September 02, 2014, 09:04:35 PM »
While Donatists were spilling blood in the streets, St. Aurelius of Carthage received with love and leniency those who repented of their schism and hardheartedness.

I don't have any information of them spilling blood in the streets.  Can you point me towards a book with the information (or a source)?

Here's an article and a book.

Pretty much anything you can find on the Circumcellions applies. They may not have started off as Donatists nor characterized all of them but they were certainly part of the movement, utilized by its leaders when expedient against the Catholic Church and its own internal dissenters (i.e. the Maximianists).

Wow, it's so pathetic what Christians can do to one another.

Is it fair though to label the entire embodiement of Donatists as Circumcellions though as they were pretty much the small radical group?
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Offline Mor Ephrem

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Re: What did the Donatists do that was so heretical?
« Reply #51 on: September 02, 2014, 09:52:15 PM »
Is it fair though to label the entire embodiement of Donatists as Circumcellions though as they were pretty much the small radical group?

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Offline kelly

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Re: What did the Donatists do that was so heretical?
« Reply #52 on: September 02, 2014, 10:38:33 PM »
Is it fair though to label the entire embodiement of Donatists as Circumcellions though as they were pretty much the small radical group?

 ;)

Yeah but at least they're not Catholics.
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Offline Hawkeye

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Re: What did the Donatists do that was so heretical?
« Reply #53 on: September 02, 2014, 10:39:46 PM »
While Donatists were spilling blood in the streets, St. Aurelius of Carthage received with love and leniency those who repented of their schism and hardheartedness.

I don't have any information of them spilling blood in the streets.  Can you point me towards a book with the information (or a source)?

Here's an article and a book.

Pretty much anything you can find on the Circumcellions applies. They may not have started off as Donatists nor characterized all of them but they were certainly part of the movement, utilized by its leaders when expedient against the Catholic Church and its own internal dissenters (i.e. the Maximianists).

Wow, it's so pathetic what Christians can do to one another.

Is it fair though to label the entire embodiement of Donatists as Circumcellions though as they were pretty much the small radical group?

I'd agree that would be unfair to conflate all Donatists with the Circumcellions, thought the activity of the latter was often the only news concerning Donatism which filtered out of north Africa. In the minds of many people throughout the Empire, the two were one and the same.

There were those Donatists who indeed deplored the behavior of the Circumcellions but it seems that there were many more who supported them and lauded them as saints and their dead as martyrs. Even the dissenters sometimes kept their mouths shut simply because they were all on the same side. Such was the case during the reign of the Roman general Gildo (incidentally, the brother of the failed Roman usurper Firmus, himself pro-Donatist) and the “brigand bishop” Optatus of Thamugadi who jointly tyrannized the African province for 10 years or so, if Blessed Augustine is to be believed.
« Last Edit: September 02, 2014, 10:41:30 PM by Hawkeye »
Quote from: The Life of Ivan Neronov
[Ecclesiastics] conspired against him because they hated his teaching for its zealous emphasis on proper Christian conduct: with great courage he denounced all whom he saw behaving in an ungodly fashion... [As such] he was deprived of his priestly rank, bound in iron chains, and broken down in jails.