Hooker and Tertullian

In an act of sheer brilliance, Richard Hooker produces a quote from Tertullian’s de Resurrectione Carnis where Tertullian says:

We may (saith he), even in matters of God, be made wiser by reasons drawn from the public persuasions, which are grafted in men’s minds: so they be used to farther the truth, not to bolster error; so they make with, not against that which God hath determined. For there are some things even known by nature, as the immortality of the soul to many, our God unto all. I will therefore myself also, use the sentence of some such as Plato, pronouncing every soul immortal. I myself too will use the secret acknowledgment of the commonalty, bearing record of the God of gods: but when I hear men allege, that which is dead, is dead; and while thou art alive, be alive; and after death an end of all, even of death itself: then will I call to mind, both that the heart of the people with God is accounted dust, and that the very wisdom of the world is pronounced folly. If then an heretic fly also unto such vicious, popular, and secular conceits, my answer unto him shall be: Thou heretic, avoid the heathen; although in this ye be one; that ye both belie God; yet thou that dost this under the name of Christ, differeth from the heathen, in that thou seemest to thyself a Christian. Leave him therefore his conceits, seeing that neither will he learn thine. Why dost thou, having sight, trust to a blind guide ? thou which hast put on Christ, take raiment of him that is naked ? If the apostle have armed thee, why dost thou borrow a stranger’s shield ? Let him rather learn of thee to acknowledge, than thou of him to renounce the resurrection of the flesh.

~ Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity 3.8

So the orthodox are free to use the public persuasions, but the heretics are not.  Indeed, Tertullian says that “our God” is known to all.  There is a secret commonalty.

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This entry was posted in church history, Richard Hooker by Steven Wedgeworth. Bookmark the permalink.

About Steven Wedgeworth

Steven Wedgeworth is the pastor of Christ Church in Lakeland, FL. He is also a founder and general editor of The Calvinist International. A graduate of Reformed Theological Seminary (Jackson, MS), a full-time minister, and occasional classical school teacher, Steven lives in Lakeland, FL with his wife, son, and daughter.

One thought on “Hooker and Tertullian

  1. I saw that Tertullian quote this summer. Good stuff. Sorry I didn’t get the CVT quote for you. I am still looking

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