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CYPRIAN OF CARTHAGE
The Seventh Council of Carthage, convened by Cyprian against the teaching
of Pope Stephen on baptism by heretics.
THE SEVENTH COUNCIL OF CARTHAGE, UNDER CYPRIAN.
Translated by the Rev. Ernest Wallis, Ph.D.
CONCERNING THE BAPTISM OF HERETICS.
THE JUDGMENT OF EIGHTY-SEVEN BISHOPS ON THE BAPTISM OF HERETICS.
PROOEMIUM.--WHEN STEPHEN, BISHOP OF ROME, HAD BY HIS LETTERS CONDEMNED THE
DECREES OF THE AFRICAN COUNCIL ON THE BAPTISM OF HERETICS, CYPRIAN LOST NO
TIME IN HOLDING ANOTHER COUNCIL AT CARTHAGE WITH A GREATER NUMBER OF
BISHOPS. HAVING THEREFORE SUMMONED EIGHTY-SEVEN BISHOPS FROM AFRICA,
NUMIDIA, AND MAURITANIA, WHO ASSEMBLED AT CARTHAGE IN THE KALENDS OF
SEPTEMBER, A.D. 258 [actually 256], THIS THIRD COUNCIL ON THE SAME MATTER OF
BAPTISM WAS THEN CELEBRATED; AT THE BEGINNING OF WHICH, AFTER, THE LETTERS
ON EITHER SIDE HAD BEEN READ, CYPRIAN, BY IMPLICATION, CONDEMNS THE
ASSUMPTION OF STEPHEN.
WHEN, in the kalends of September, a great many bishops from the
provinces of Africa, Numidia, and Mauritania, had met together at Carthage,
together with the presbyters and deacons, and a considerable part of the
congregation who were also present; and when the letter of Jubaianus
written to Cyprian had been read, as also the reply of Cyprian to
Jubaianus, about baptizing heretics, and what the same Jubaianus had
subsequently rejoined to Cyprian,--Cyprian said: You have heard, my dearly
beloved colleagues, what Jubaianus our co-bishop has written to me, taking
counsel of my poor intelligence concerning the unlawful and profane baptism
of heretics, as well as what I wrote in answer to him, decreeing, to wit,
what we have once and again and frequently determined, that heretics who
come to the Church must be baptized and sanctified by the baptism of the
Church. Moreover, another letter of Jubaianus has also been read to you,
wherein, replying, in accordance with his sincere and religious devotion,
to my letter, he not only acquiesced in what I had said, but, confessing
that he had been instructed thereby, he returned thanks for it. It remains,
that upon this same matter each of us should bring forward what we think,
judging no man, nor rejecting any one from the right of communion, if he
should think differently from us. For neither does any of us set himself up
as a bishop of bishops, nor by tyrannical terror does any compel his
colleague to the necessity of obedience; since every bishop, according to
the allowance of his liberty and power, has his own proper right of
judgment, and can no more be judged by another than he himself can judge
another. But let us all wait for the judgment of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who is the only one that has the power both of preferring us in the
government of His Church, and of judging us in our conduct there.
Caecilius of Bilta said: I know only one baptism in the Church, and
none out of the Church. This one will be here, where there is the true hope
and the certain faith. For thus it is written: "One faith, one hope, one
baptism;" not among heretics, where there is no hope, and the faith is
false, where all things are carried on by lying; where a demoniac
exorcises; where one whose mouth and words send forth a cancer puts the
sacramental interrogation; the faithless gives faith; the wicked bestows
pardon of sins; and Antichrist baptizes in the name of Christ; he who is
cursed of God blesses; he who is dead promises life; he who is unpeaceful
gives peace; the blasphemer calls upon God; the profane person administers
the office of the priesthood; the sacrilegious person establishes an altar.
In addition to all these things, there is also this evil, that the priests
of the devil dare to celebrate the Eucharist; or else let those who stand
by them say that all these things concerning heretics are false. Behold to
what kind of things the Church is compelled to consent, and is
constrained without baptism, without pardon of sins, to hold communion. And
this thing, brethren, we ought to flee from and avoid, and to separate
ourselves from so great a wickedness, and to hold one baptism, which is
granted by the Lord to the Church alone.
Primus of Misgirpa said: I decide, that every man who comes to us
from heresy must be baptized. For in vain does he think that he has been
baptized there, seeing that there is no baptism save the one and true
baptism in the Church; because not only is God one, but the faith is one,
and the Church is one, wherein stands the one baptism, and holiness, and
the rest. For whatever is done without, has no effect of salvation.
Polycarp from Adrumetum said: They who approve the baptism of
heretics make void our baptism.
Novatus of Thamugada said: Although we know that all the Scriptures
give witness concerning the saving baptism, still we ought to declare our
faith, that heretics and schismatics who come to the Church, and appear to
have been falsely baptized, ought to be baptized in the everlasting
fountain; and therefore, according to the testimony of the Scriptures, and
according to the decree of our colleagues, men of most holy memory, that
all schismatics and heretics who are converted to the Church must be
baptized; and moreover, that those who appeared to have been ordained must
be received among lay people.
Nemesianus of Thubunae said: That the baptism which heretics and
schismatics bestow is not the true one, is everywhere declared in the Holy
Scriptures, since their very leading men are false Christs and false
prophets, as the Lord says by Solomon: "He who trusteth in that which is
false, he feedeth the winds; and the very same, moreover, followeth the
flight of birds. For he forsaketh the ways of his own vineyard, he has
wandered from the paths of his own little field. But he walketh through
pathless places, and dry, and a land destined for thirst; moreover, he
gathereth together fruitless things in his hands." And again: "Abstain
from strange water, and from the fountain of another do not drink, that you
may live a long time; also that the years of life may be added to thee."
And in the Gospel our Lord Jesus Christ spoke with His divine voice,
saying, "Except a man be born again of water and the Spirit, he cannot
enter the kingdom of God." This is the Spirit which from the beginning
was borne over the waters; for neither can the Spirit operate without the
water, nor the water without the Spirit. Certain people therefore interpret
for themselves ill, when they say that by imposition of the hand they
receive the Holy Ghost, and are thus received, when it is manifest that
they ought to be born again in the Catholic Church by both sacraments. Then
indeed they will be able to be sons of God, as says the apostle: "Taking
care to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one
body, and one Spirit, as ye have been called in one hope of your calling;
one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God." All these things speaks the
Catholic Church. And again, in the Gospel the Lord says: "That which is
born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit;
because God is a Spirit, and he is born of God." Therefore, whatsoever
things all heretics and schismatics do are carnal, as the apostle says:
"For the works of the flesh are manifest, which are, fornications,
uncleannesses, incest, idolatries, witchcrafts, hatreds, contentions,
jealousy, anger, divisions, heresies, and the like to these; concerning
which have told you before, as I also foretell you now, that whoever do
such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God." And thus the apostle
condemns, with all the wicked, those also who cause division, that is,
schismatics and heretics. Unless therefore they receive saving baptism in
the Catholic Church, which is one, they cannot be saved, but will be
condemned with the carnal in the judgment of the Lord Christ.
Januarius of Lambesis said: According to the authority of the
Holy Scriptures, I decree that all heretics must be baptized, and so
admitted into the holy Church.
Lucius of Castra Galbae said: Since the Lord in His Gospel said,
"Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt should have lost its savour,
wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be
cast out of doors, and to be trodden under foot of men." And again,
after His resurrection, sending His apostles, He gave them charge, saying,
"All power is given unto me, in heaven and in earth. Go and teach all
nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of
the Holy Ghost." Since, therefore, it is manifest that heretics--that
is, the enemies of Christ--have not the sound confession of the sacrament;
moreover, that schismatics cannot season others with spiritual wisdom,
since they themselves, by departing from the Church, which is one, having
lost the savour, have become contrary to it,--let it be done as it is
written, "The house of those that are contrary to the law owes a
cleansing." And it is a consequence that those who, having been baptized
by people who are contrary to the Church, are polluted, must first be
cleansed, and then at length be baptized.
Crescens of Cirta said: In such an assembly of most holy fellow-
priests, as the letters of our most beloved Cyprian to Jubaianus and also
to Stephen have been read, containing in them so much of the holy
testimonies which descend from the divinely made Scriptures, that with
reason we ought, all being made one by the grace of God, to consent to
them; I judge that all heretics and schismatics who wish to come to the
Catholic Church, shall not be allowed to enter without they have first been
exorcised and baptized; with the exception of those indeed who may
previously have been baptized in the Catholic Church, and these in such a
way that they may be reconciled to the penitence of the Church by the
imposition of hands.
Nicomedes of Segermae said: My opinion is this, that heretics coming
to the Church should be baptized, for the reason that among sinners without
they can obtain no remission of sins.
Munnulus of Girba said: The truth of our Mother6 the Catholic
Church, brethren, hath always remained and still remains with us, and even
especially in the Trinity of baptism, as our Lord says, "Go ye and baptize
the nations, in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy
Spirit." Since, then, we manifestly know that heretics have not either
Father, or Son, or Holy Spirit, they ought, when they come to the Church
our Mother, truly to be born again and to be baptized; that the cancer
which they had, and the anger of damnation, and the witchery of error, may
be sanctified by the holy and heavenly layer.
Secundinus of Cedias said: Since our Lord Christ says, "He who is
not with me is against me;" and John the apostle calls those who depart
from the Church Antichrists--undoubtedly enemies of Christ--any such as are
called Antichrists cannot minister the grace of saving baptism. And
therefore I think that those who flee from the snares of the heretics to
the Church must be baptized by us, who are called friends of God, of His
Felix of Bagai said: As, when the blind leads the blind, they fall
together into the ditch; so, when the heretic baptizes a heretic, they fall
together into death. And therefore a heretic must be baptized and made
alive, lest we who are alive should hold communion with the dead.
Polianus of Mileum said: It is right that a heretic be baptized in
the holy Church.
Theogenes of Hippo Regius said: According to the sacrament of God's
heavenly grace which we have received, we believe one baptism which is in
the holy Church.
Dativus of Badis said: We, as far as in us lies, do not hold
communion with heretics, unless they have been baptized in the Church, and
have received remission of their sins.
Successus of Abbir Germaniciana said: Heretics can either do
nothing, or they can do all. If they can baptize, they can also bestow the
Holy Spirit. But if they cannot give the Holy Spirit, because they have not
the Holy Spirit, neither can they spiritually baptize. Therefore we judge
that heretics must be baptized.
Fortunatus of Tuccaboris said: Jesus Christ our Lord and God, Son
of God the Father and Creator, built His Church upon a rock, not upon
heresy; and gave the power of baptizing to bishops, not to heretics.
Wherefore they who are without the Church, and, standing in opposition to
Christ, disperse His sheep and flock, cannot baptize, being without.
Sedatus of Tuburbo said: In the degree in which water sanctified in
the Church by the prayer of the priest, washes away sins; in that degree,
if infected with heretical discourse as with a cancer, it heaps up sins.
Wherefore we must endeavour with all peaceful powers, that no one infected
and stained with heretical error refuse to receive the single and true
baptism of the Church, by which whosoever is not baptized, shall become an
alien from the kingdom of heaven.
Privatianus of Sufetula said: Let him who says that heretics have the
power of baptizing, say first who rounded heresy. For if heresy is of God,
it also may have the divine indulgence. But if it is not from God, how can
it either have the grace of God, or confer it upon any one?
Privatus of Sufes said: He who approves the baptism of heretics,
what else does he do than communicate with heretics?
Hortensianus of Lares said: Let either these presumptuous ones,
or those who favour heretics, consider how many baptisms there are. We
claim for the Church one baptism, which we know not except in the Church.
Or how can they baptize any one in the name of Christ, whom Christ Himself
declares to be His adversaries?
Cassius of Macomadae said: Since there cannot be two baptisms, he
who yields baptism to the heretics takes it away from himself. I judge
therefore that heretics, lamentable and corrupt, must be baptized when they
begin to come to the Church; and that when washed by the sacred and divine
washing, and illuminated by the light of life, they may be received into
the Church, not as enemies, but as made peaceful; not as foreigners, but
as of the household of the faith of the Lord; not as children of adultery,
but as sons of God; not of error, but of salvation; except those who once
faithful have been supplanted, and have passed over from the Church to the
darkness of heresy, but that these must be restored by the imposition of
Another Januarius of Vicus Caesaris said: If error does not obey
truth, much more truth does not consent to error; and therefore we stand by
the Church in which we preside, that, claiming her baptism for herself
alone, we should baptize those whom the Church has not baptized.
Another Secundinus of Carpi said: Are heretics Christians or not? If
they are Christians, why are they not in the Church of God? If they are not
Christians, how come they to make Christians? Or whither will tend the
Lord's discourse, when He says, "He that is not with me is against me, and
he who gathereth not with me scattereth?" Whence it appears plain that
upon strange children, and on the offspring of Antichrist, the Holy Ghost
cannot descend only by imposition of hands, since it is manifest that
heretics have not baptism.
Victoricus of Thabraca said: If heretics are allowed to baptize and
to give remission of sins, wherefore do we brand them with infamy and call
Another Felix of Uthina said: Nobody doubts, most holy fellow-
priests, that human presumption is not able to do so much as the adorable
and venerable majesty of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, remembering the
danger, we ought not only to observe this also, but moreover to confirm it
by the voice of all of us, that all heretics who come to the bosom of
Mother Church should be baptized, that thus the heretical mind that has
been polluted by a long decay, purged by the sanctification of the layer,
may be reformed for the better.
Quietus of Baruch said: We who live by faith ought to obey with
careful observance those things which before have been foretold for our
instruction. For it is written in Solomon: "He that is baptized from the
dead, (and again toucheth the dead,) what availeth his washing?"
which certainly speaks of those who are washed by heretics, and of those
that wash them. For if those who are baptized among them obtain by
remission of their sins life eternal, why do they come to the Church? But
if from a dead person no salvation is received, and therefore,
acknowledging their previous error, they return to the truth with
penitence, they ought to be sanctified with the one vital baptism which is
in the Catholic Church.
Castus of Sicca said: He who with contempt of the truth presumes to
follow custom, is either envious and malignant in respect of his brethren
to whom the truth is revealed, or is ungrateful in respect of God, by whose
inspiration His Church is instructed.
Euchratius of Thence said: God and our Lord Jesus Christ, teaching
the apostles with His own mouth, has entirely completed our faith, and the
grace of baptism, and the rule of the ecclesiastical law, saying: "Go ye
and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the
Son, and of the Holy Ghost." Thus the false and wicked baptism of
heretics must be rejected by us, and refuted with all detestation, from
whose month is expressed poison, not life, not celestial grace, but
blasphemy of the Trinity. And therefore it is manifest that heretics
who come to the Church ought to be baptized with the sound and Catholic
baptism, in order that, being purified from the blasphemy of their
presumption, they may be reformed by the grace of the Holy Spirit.
Libosus of Vaga said: In the Gospel the Lord says, "I am the
truth." He said not," I am the custom." Therefore the truth being
manifest, let custom yield to truth; so that, although for the past any one
was not in the habit of baptizing heretics in the Church, let him now begin
to baptize them.
Lucius of Thebeste said: I determine that blasphemous and
unrighteous heretics, who with various words tear asunder the holy and
adorable words of the Scriptures, are to be accursed, and therefore that
they must be exorcised and baptized.
Eugenius of Ammedera said: And I determine the same--that heretics
must be baptized.
Also another Felix of Amaccora said: And I myself, following the
authority of the divine Scriptures, judge that heretics must be
baptized; and, moreover, those also who contend that they have been
baptized among the schismatics. For if, according to Christ's warning, our
font is private to us, let all the adversaries of our Church understand
that it cannot be for another. Nor can He who is the Shepherd of the one
flock give the saving water to two peoples. And therefore it is plain that
neither heretics nor schismatics can receive anything heavenly, seeing that
they dare to receive from men who are sinners, and from those who are
external to the Church. When there is no place for the giver, assuredly
there is no profit for the receiver.
Also another Januarius of Muzzuli said: I am surprised, since all
confess that there is one baptism, that all do not perceive the unity of
the same baptism. For the Church and heresy are two things, and different
things. If heretics have baptism, we have it not; but if we have it,
heretics cannot have it. But there is no doubt that the Church alone
possesses the baptism of Christ, since she alone possesses both the grace
and the truth of Christ.
Adelphius of Thasvalte said: Certain persons without reason impugn
the truth by false and envious words, in saying that we rebaptize, when
the Church does not rebaptize heretics, but baptizes them. Demetrius of
Leptiminus said: We maintain one baptism, because we demand for the
Church Catholic alone her own property. But they who say that heretics
truly and legitimately baptize, are themselves the people who make not one,
but many baptisms. For since heresies are many, according to their number
will be reckoned baptisms.
Vincentius of Thibaris said: We know that heretics are worse than
Gentiles. If, therefore, being converted, they should wish to come to the
Lord, we have assuredly the rule of truth which the Lord by His divine
precept commanded to His apostles, saying, "Go ye, lay on hands in my name,
expel demons." And in another place: "Go ye and teach the nations,
baptizing them in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy
Ghost." Therefore first of all by imposition of hands in exorcism,
secondly by the regeneration of baptism, they may then come to the promise
of Christ. Otherwise I think it ought not to be done.
Marcus of Mactaris said: It is not to be wondered at if heretics,
enemies, and impugners of the truth claim to themselves a matter in the
power and condescension of others. But it is to be wondered at, that some
of us, prevaricators of the truth, support heretics and oppose themselves
to Christians. Therefore we decree that heretics must be baptized.
Sattius of Sicilibba said: If to heretics in baptism their sins are
remitted, they come to the Church without reason. For since, in the day of
judgment, they are sins which are punished, there is nothing which the
heretics can fear from Christ's judgment, if they have already obtained
remission of their sins.
Victor of Gor said: Since sins are not remitted save in the
baptism of the Church, he who admits a heretic to communion without baptism
does two things against reason: he does not cleanse the heretics, and he
befouls the Christians.
Aurelius of Utica said: Since the apostle says that we are not to
communicate with other people's sins, what else does he do but communicate
with other people's sins, who holds communion with heretics without the
Church's baptism? And therefore I judge that heretics must be baptized,
that they may receive forgiveness of their sins; and thus communion may be
had with them.
Iambus of Germaniciana said: They who approve of the baptism of
heretics, disapprove of ours, in denying that they who are, I will not say
washed, but befouled, outside the Church, ought to be baptized in the
Lucianus of Rucuma said: It is written, "And God saw the light, that
it was good, and divided between the light and the darkness." If there
can be agreement between light and darkness, there may be something in
common between us and heretics. Therefore I determine that heretics must be
Pelagianus of Luperciana said: It is written, "Either the Lord is
God, or Baal is God." Therefore in the present case also, either the
Church is the Church, or heresy is the Church. On the other hand, if heresy
is not the Church, how can the Church's baptism be among heretics?
Jader of Midila said: We know that there is but one baptism in the
Catholic Church, and therefore we ought not to receive a heretic unless he
has been baptized among us; lest he should think that he has been baptized
out of the Catholic Church.
Also another Felix of Marazana said: There is one faith, one
baptism, but of the Catholic Church, which alone has the right to baptize.
Paulus of Obba said: It does not disturb me if any man does not
assert the faith and truth of the Church, since the apostle says, "For what
if some of them have fallen away from the faith? Has their unbelief made
the faith of God of no effect? By no means. For God is true, but every man
a liar." But if God is true, how can the truth of baptism be among the
heretics, among whom God is not?
Pomponius of Dionysiana said: It is evident that heretics cannot
baptize and give remission of sins, seeing that they have not power to be
able to loose or to bind anything on earth.
Venantius of Timisa said: If a husband, going into foreign parts,
had commended his wife to the guardianship of his friend, that friend would
take care of her who was commended to him with all possible diligence, that
her chastity and holiness should not be corrupted by any one. Christ the
Lord and our God, going to His Father, has commended to us His bride. Shall
we guard her incorrupt and inviolate, or shall we betray her integrity and
chastity to adulterers and corrupters? For he who makes the Church's
baptism common to heretics, betrays the spouse of Christ to adulterers.
Ahymnus of Ausvaga said: We have received one baptism, and that
same we maintain and practise. But he who says that heretics also may
lawfully baptize, makes two baptisms.
Saturninus of Victoriana said: If heretics may baptize, they who do
unlawful things are excused and defended; nor do I see why either Christ
should have called them adversaries, or the apostle should have called them
Saturninus of Thucca said: The Gentiles, although they worship
idols, do yet know and confess a supreme God as Father and Creator.
Against Him Marcion blasphemes, and some persons do not blush to approve
the baptism of Marcion. How do such priests either observe or vindicate
God's priesthood, who do not baptize God's enemies, and hold communion with
them as they are!
Marcellus of Zama said: Since sins are not remitted save in the
baptism of the Church, he who does not baptize a heretic holds communion
with a sinner.
Irenaeus of Ululi said: If the Church does not baptize a heretic,
for the reason that he is said to be already baptized, it is the greater
Donatus of Cibaliana said: I know one Church and her one baptism.
If there is any who says that the grace of baptism is with heretics, he
must first show and prove that the Church is among them.
Zosimus of Tharassa said: When a revelation of the truth is made,
let error give place to truth; because Peter also, who previously
circumcised, yielded to Paul when he preached the truth.
Julianus of Telepte said: It is written, "No man can receive
anything unless it have been given him from heaven." If heresy is from
heaven, it can also give baptism.
Faustus of Timida Regia said: Let not them who are in favour of
heretics flatter themselves. He who interferes with the baptism of the
Church on behalf of heretics, makes them Christians, and us heretics.
Geminius of Furni said: Some of our colleagues may prefer heretics
to themselves, they cannot to us: and therefore what we have once
determined we maintain--that we baptize those who come to us from the
Rogatianus of Nova said: Christ instituted the Church; the devil,
heresy. How can the synagogue of Satan have the baptism of Christ?
Therapius of Bulla said: He who concedes and betrays the Church's
baptism to heretics, what else has he been to the spouse of Christ than a
Also another Lucius of Membresa said: It is written, "God heareth
not a sinner." How can a heretic who is a sinner be heard in baptism?
Also another Felix of Bussacene said: In the matter of receiving
heretics without the baptism of the Church, let no one prefer custom to
reason and truth, because reason and truth always exclude custom.
Another Saturninus of Avitini said: If Antichrist can give to any
one the grace of Christ, heretics also are able to baptize, for they are
Quintus of Aggya: He can give something who has something. But what
can heretics give, who, it is plain, have nothing?
Another Julianus of Marcelliana said: If a man can serve two
masters, God and mammon, baptism also can serve two masters, the Christian
and the heretic.
Tenax of Horrea Caeliae said: Baptism is one, but it is the
Church's. Where the Church is not there, there can be no baptism.
Another Victor of Assuri said: It is written, that "God is one, and
Christ is one, and the Church is one, and baptism is one." How,
therefore, can any one be baptized there, where God, and Christ, and the
one Church is not?
Donatulus of Capse said: And I also have always thought this, that
heretics, who can obtain nothing without the Church, when they are
converted to the Church, must be baptized. Verulus of Rusiccada
said: A man who is a heretic cannot give what he has not; much more a
schismatic, who has lost what he once had.
Pudentianus of Cuiculis said: The novelty of my episcopal
office, beloved brethren, has caused me to await what my elders should
judge. For it is manifest that heresies have nothing, nor can have any
thing. And thus, if any one comes from them, it is most justly decreed that
they must be baptized.
Peter of Hippo Diarrhytus said: Since there is one baptism in the
Catholic Church, it is manifest that one cannot be baptized outside the
Church. And therefore I judge that those who have been dipped in heresy or
in schism, when they come to the Church, should be baptized.
Also another Lucius of Ausafa said: According to the direction of
my mind, and of the Holy Spirit, as there is one God and Father of our Lord
Jesus Christ, and one Christ, and one hope, and one Spirit, and one
Church, there ought also to be one baptism. And therefore I say, that if
any thing had been set on foot or accomplished by heretics, it ought to be
rescinded, and that those who come thence must be baptized in the Church.
Also another Felix of Gurgites said: I judge that, according to the
precepts of the holy Scriptures, he who is unlawfully baptized by heretics
outside the Church, when he wishes to take refuge in the Church, should
obtain the grace of baptism where it is lawfully given.
Pusillus of Lamasba said: I believe that there is no saving baptism
except in the Catholic Church. Whatsoever is apart from the Catholic Church
is a pretence.
Salvianus of Gazaufala said: It is certain that heretics have
nothing, and therefore they come to us that they may receive what they have
Honoratus of Thucca said: Since Christ is the Truth, we ought
rather to follow truth than custom; so that we should sanctify heretics
with the Church's baptism, seeing that they come to us for the reason that
they could receive nothing without.
Victor of Octavum said: As yourselves also know, I have not long
been appointed a bishop, and I therefore waited for the decision of my
predecessors. I therefore think this, that as many as come from heresy
should undoubtedly be baptized.
Clarus of Mascula said: The sentence of our Lord Jesus Christ is
plain, when He sent His apostles, and accorded to them alone the power
given to Him by His Father; and to them we have succeeded, governing the
Lord's Church with the same power, and baptizing the faith of believers.
And therefore heretics, who neither have power without, nor have the Church
of Christ, are able to baptize no one with His baptism.
Secundianus of Thambei said: We ought not to deceive heretics by our
presumption; so that they who have not been baptized in the Church of our
Lord Jesus Christ, and have not obtained by this means remissions of their
sins, when the day of judgment shall come, should impute to us that through
us they were not baptized, and did not obtain the indulgence of divine
grace. On which account, since there is one Church and one baptism, when
they are converted to us they should obtain, together with the Church, the
Church's baptism also.
Also another Aurelius of Chullabi said: John the apostle laid it
down in his epistle, saying: "If any one come unto you, and have not the
doctrine of Christ, receive him not into your house, and say not to him,
Hail. For he that saith to him, Hail, partakes with his evil deeds." How
can such be rashly admitted into God's house, who are prohibited from being
admitted into our private dwelling? Or how can we hold communion with them
without the Church's baptism, to whom, if we should only say Hail, we are
partakers of their evil deeds?
Litteus of Gemelli said: If the blind lead the blind, both fall
into the ditch, Since, then, it is manifest that heretics cannot give light
to any, as being themselves blind, their baptism does not avail.
Natalis of Oea said: As well I who am present, as Pompey of
Sabrata, as also Dioga of Leptis Magna--who, absent indeed in body,
but present in spirit, have given me charge--judge the same as our
colleagues, that heretics cannot hold communion with us, unless they shall
be baptized with ecclesiastical baptism.
Junius of Neapolis said: From the judgment which we once determined
on I do not recede, that we should baptize heretics who come to the Church.
Cyprian of Carthage said: The letter which was written to our colleague
Jubaianus very fully expresses my opinion, that, according to evangelical
and apostolic testimony, heretics, who are called adversaries of Christ and
Antichrists, when they come to the Church, must be baptized with the one
baptism of the Church, that they may be made of adversaries, friends, and
of Antichrists, Christians.
Taken from "The Early Church Fathers and Other Works" originally published
by Wm. B. Eerdmans Pub. Co. in English in Edinburgh, Scotland beginning in
1867. (ANF 5, Roberts and Donaldson). The digital version is by The
Electronic Bible Society, P.O. Box 701356, Dallas, TX 75370, 214-407-WORD.