Some responded with a letter to the editor complaining that I had distinguished between the Reformed churches and the Baptist churches.
Donatism The Donatist controversy is among the most serious and remarkable schisms in the history of Christianity. It concerned a single issue, not even a doctrinal one, but rather, one more organizational than anything else.
It resulted in two parallel Churches in northern Africa, a situation which endured for centuries. Setting the Stage In the last decade of the 3rd century CE, Emperor Diocletian ordered persecutions of various groups he blamed for a wave of plagues and pestilences which had swept the western Empire and resulted in economic and social instability.
The chief target-groups ended up being initially Manicheans, and then Christians. Such a combination of factors did not exist anywhere else in the Empire; hence, the controversy to come was unique to northern Africa.
Those who refused — especially those caught with Christian texts that they refused to hand over or destroy — were usually killed. While some Christian clergy resisted and were martyred, many did not.
They renounced Christianity, allowed their books to be burned, and were spared. This was, of course, also true of many lay Christians, although a smaller percentage of them were affected because most had no sacred texts to give them away.
In the first decade of the 4th century, churches were restored, clergy performed services again, and so on. Christians were, however, still cautious, afraid of invoking another persecution. Clergy were particularly cautious, due to their own vulnerability.
At first no one had much choice in the matter; too few clergy were willing to make themselves known again. But as it became ever safer to be Christian, the problem came to a head.
Adding to it was the problem of Christians, particularly clergy, who wished to mollify the Imperial regime and thus try to accomodate it. Many of these same north African Christians did not want to allow lapsed clergy i.
They might return to the Church as laymen — after an appropriate penance — but not as clergy ever again. Even prior to the Edict of Milan, this sentiment had been building; the open acceptance by Rome of Christianity merely caused the dam to break.
When he died inthe purists elected Donatus, also called Donatus Magnus. Due to his long tenure as the purist Bishop of Carthage from to despite an exile inDonatus ended up being the primary spokesman for the movement, and it bears his name.
Donatus and his faction declared the lapsed clergy ineligible to perform the sacraments, and that any which they may have performed, were invalid. The opposing party declared, again, that lapsed clergy could be restored to full authority — including the perfomance of sacraments — after having performed appropriate penance.
They based this idea on the concept of forgiveness for all. Duelling Churches Each side in the conflict denounced the other in the harshest terms. The two bishops coexisted, with each being succeeded by another bishop of the same faction.
Over time, each side built its own churches, some next door to each other which only made the situation even more heated. Across northern Africa, there were essentially two overlapping churches; one Donatist, the other traditionalist.
For the most part these were doctrinally identical; their prime difference was the matter of lapsed clergy. A few decades into the controversy, though, some liturgical and ritual differences emerged. This schism endured long after the point was moot after all, once the generation after the Edict of Milan had died out, the problem of lapsed clergy no longer existed.
With the passage of time, each side in the dispute became increasingly intransigent. Attempts to reconcile them, by a number of Popes as well as respected figures such as St Augustine, all failed. Most of this time, the Donatists outnumbered the traditionalists, or Catholics.
And they drifted apart in matters beyond just the fate of lapsed clergy.The post-Nicene period. The 4th and early 5th centuries witnessed an extraordinary flowering of Christian literature, the result partly of the freedom and privileged status now enjoyed by the church, partly of the diversification of its own inner life (compare the rise of monasticism), but chiefly of the controversies in which it hammered out its fundamental doctrines.
The Donatist controversy, which raised questions about the validity of the sacraments, dominated all North African church life. Cyprian and the Donatists said that the validity of the sacraments depended on the worthiness of the minister, while Rome and North African Christians in communion with Rome.
A Little Book of Eternal Wisdom – Suso A Sermon Preached at the Quaker's Meeting House – Penn A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Guyon A Short Method Of Prayer And Spiritual Torrents – Bouvieres. Yes, he is a former Catholic priest, but his formation in the Catholic Faith was sorely lacking in many respects.
Jeremy Tate June 8th, pm. Hi Christophe, Thanks for the response. Below is the original essay prefixed to the King James Version in the edition of , in which the translators defend their version against criticisms they expected to be brought against it.
Sources. A stichometrical list, probably made in , of the Books of the Bible, and of many works of St. Cyprian, was published in from a manuscript then at Cheltenham by MOMMSEN, Zur lat.
Stichometric; Hermes, XXI, ; ibid. (), XXV, , on a second MS. at St. Gall.