Matthew 19:21 NASB Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
Mark 1:35 NASB Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.
MONASTICISM: ITS ORIGIN By the third century it was already common for those seeking after Christian perfection to live in secluded retirement in the deserts or solitary place. These early Christian hermits, or monks, felt that by their solitary lives, without social comforts or relationships, they had discovered a new dimension to the deepest realities of life especially a closer relationship with God.
ST. ANTHONY St. Anthony, called the Father of Monasticism, was born about A.D. 251 in Fayum, Egypt, and spent much of his adult life as a desert hermit (eremite). Knowledge of St. Anthony comes from a life of St. Anthony attributed to Athanasius.
THE MONASTIC LIFE A life of a hermit or solitude A life of abstinence A life of prayer and meditation
EIGHT SINS AS ENEMIES OF THE MONKS In time in the monastic tradition eight demons were identified. These demons were considered to be the special enemies of the monks. They were gluttony, sexual thoughts, love of money, grief, wrath, sloth, vainglory, and arrogance. In time these came to be called the deadly sins that the church so often talks about and warns against.
Cenobiticor common life monasticism Cenobiticmonasticism refers to communities of monks, of solitaries. These communities were small groups of monks, later larger groups who came together to live under a certain rule that described how they would live together. It was a simple life of prayer, work, and meditation.
Basil of Cappadocia “How can a person test his humility when he has no one to whom he can show himself the inferior? It is very hard to be humble all by yourself, out in the middle of the desert. But if there are other people around then you can be. If the Lord washed the feet of the disciples, whose feet will you wash?”
MONASTICISM IN THE EAST Stay more or less with the solitary ideal rather than the cenobitic development. Tended to have an extreme, almost fanatical With a very strong missionary spirit
MONASTICISM IN THE WEST Giving up of worldly ambitions to serve God. There are to be times of prayer, times of study, and times of work.
MONASTICISM: GOOD OR BAD? Prayer Learning Charity or benevolent works Missions Separation from the world Two levels of Christian spirituality Tendency toward salvation by works
POSTSCRIPT Well, monasticism could become, and often did become, corrupt. A movement that started with principles of giving away everything to help the poor, this movement often in its various expressions became wealthy, corrupt, and worldly. But there was always within the history of monasticism a kind of reviving movement which even led to the Reformation.
INTRODUCTION Marcion and Montanis, back in the second century, had founded separate churches. They broke away from the main church and started their own movements. In the third and fourth centuries two very similar movements arose and broke away from the established church. These were the Novationistsin the third century and the Donatists in the fourth century. The issue that motivated both of these schisms was this: what really is the nature of the true church?
What were the issues? Sins of the Christians: post-baptism sins The problem with those who committed apostasy.
Post-baptism sins The Shepherd of Hermas- God forgives one major sin, and one major sin only, after baptism Origen - believed that idolatry and adultery and fornication were three sins that could not be forgiven Tertullian - forgiveness could not be granted to those guilty of adultery and fornication.
Those who committed apostasy People who sacrificed to the Roman gods during the persecution under Decius or who bought fake certificates to prove that they sacrificed to the gods These people wanted to go back to the church-fold and be restored
The “Confessors” A confessor was someone who had stood true during the persecution, who had refused to sacrifice, who had honored the name of the Lord. The tradition developed that it was the confessors who could forgive the lapsed. If someone had failed under persecution, they could go to a confessor and ask for forgiveness. The confessor in many cases, perhaps in most or even all cases, would grant forgiveness.
Cyprian of Carthage Separatism is unacceptable -“outside the church there is no salvation” Baptism outside the “true” church is invalid The bishop is the key to the unity and purity of the church Lapsed clergy must be treated more strictly Lapsed laity can be restored with care The sacraments had no efficacy if offered by an unworthy minister
The rise of Donatism Donatism was a strict movement in North Africa started by a man named Donatus. The Donatists said, “We are the church of the martyrs, a pure and holy church” as over against the worldly church of the Catholics. Donatism was finally condemned in a church council in the year 411 AD.
How were the people who lapsed during the persecutions disciplined? It was mainly in terms of excommunication or being kept from the Lord’s Table. This was often an exclusion that lasted for years; it was not often a short time. So they were excluded from the Lord’s Supper for years during which time there would be teaching and prayer.
“There is one, holy and apostolic church outside of which thereis no salvation.”- Cyprian of Carthage
“You cannot have God for your Father unless youhave the church for your mother.”- Cyprian of Carthage