Ante-Nicene Fathers/Volume III/Anti-Marcion/The Prescription Against Heretics/Chapter XVI

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Chapter XVI.—Apostolic Sanction to This Exclusion of Heretics from the Use of the Scriptures. Heretics, According to the Apostle, are Not to Be Disputed With, But to Be Admonished.

I might be thought to have laid down this position to remedy distrust in my case,[1] or from a desire of entering on the contest[2] in some other way, were there not reasons on my side, especially this, that our faith owes deference[3] to the apostle, who forbids us to enter on “questions,” or to lend our ears to new-fangled statements,[4] or to consort with a heretic “after the first and second admonition,”[5] not, (be it observed,) after discussion.  Discussion he has inhibited in this way, by designating admonition as the purpose of dealing with a heretic, and the first one too, because he is not a Christian; in order that he might not, after the manner of a Christian, seem to require correction again and again, and “before two or three witnesses,”[6] seeing that he ought to be corrected, for the very reason that he is not to be disputed with; and in the next place, because a controversy over the Scriptures can, clearly,[7] produce no other effect than help to upset either the stomach or the brain.


Footnotes[edit]

  1. De consilio diffidentiæ.
  2. Constitutionis, “prima causarum conflictio,”—a term of the law courts.
  3. Obsequium.
  4. 1 Tim. vi. 3, 4.
  5. Tit. iii. 10.
  6. Matt. xviii. 16.
  7. Plane, ironical.