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A great piece of very early Anti Nicene Father work, one in which Clement wrote to the Corinthians probably near the close of his life This epistle is quite fascinating given the extremely early nature of the letter 1st century However, it s also very interesting to note how un apostolic the letter is in compared with the writings of St Paul, who was writing canonical scripture that was God breathed.The epistle is an exhortation to unity, as Clement urges the Corinthians to pursue brotherly love, holiness, and a return back to the principles and teachings that the apostles laid down Clement makes great use of Scripture, as he quotes heatedly from the Old Testament, and makes many references to the New Testament Overall, a great read.Brent McCulley This letter had very little that was original or gave much insight into the early church I found it tedious and repetitive The author borrowed heavily from OldTestament scriptures and gave a paraphrased retelling of most of the famous stories of the Bible The main message of the letter did not come till the latter half, and then it could be boiled down to get right church I found it interesting that, even though it was supposedly written by an early church father, the author believed in oracles and legends Of particular interest was the chapter on the phoenix as proof that with god nothing was impossible, including resurrection. This letter is an amazing church document It is dated anywhere from about 70 AD to 96 AD Even though there is no author mentioned, it is fairly certain among scholars Clement of Rome , 4th Bishop of Rome, penned the letter It is structured very much like any Church document today.The background is sedition at the church in Corinth, presbyters priests have been deposed Two aspects of this letter shed light on the life in the early Church, which I consider remarkable 1 The Bishop of Rome felt it necessary to intervene, so the primacy of Rome is already established The assertive tone in which the letter is written leaves no doubt that Clement saw it as his responsibility to act 2 By quoting Scripture and the precedence of Christ and his Apostles, he states without going into detail, that there are clear instructions pertaining to the appointing of ministers not just for the present, but also for future generations Hence we have a reference to apostolic succession Presbyters cannot justly be removed from office if their conduct has been blameless and honorable Clement makes a strong defense of the Church as one community, the Body of Christ Under no circumstance should this Body be severed He is very forceful as well as inspiring His words haven t lost their relevance They echo down the centuries as a grave warning Clement teaches that to preserve unity requires humility Humility, as we all know too well, is often in very short supply. After the rightful persons who were in charge of the church in Corinth were disposed for ungodly reasons Clement wrote this epistle to correct the wrong.I like how he begins the epistle speaking of envy Envy was at the base of every evil act in the OT Then he proceeds to repentance, then humility All the while showing them examples from the OT.When he speaks of us as members of the army of Christ things start to come together All members of the army have a job whether it is great or small All are important and one should not go beyond your station lest you do so out of envy and create strife Afterwards he gives them the knowledge of apolostic succession and how only those who are pure are to lead the flock It is only after all of this we get into the crux of the matter, the envious men who deposed the holy men of God from their position and took upon themselves what was not truly theirs.He chastises them and asks them to give themselves up to God and do what is right.Overall a pretty powerful message, especially when he claims that this transgression was greater than what Paul wrote to them about earlier. Very good This is the earliest piece of Christian writing we have outside the New Testament, and it would have been written at a similar time to 2 John and Revelation It is a letter from the church in Rome to the church in Corinth, with the occasion being the usurpation of the church leadership there by a group of young men The purpose of this letter, then, is to encourage order in the church through a variety of strategies, moral exhortations, Scriptural expositions and rhetorical devices.The author, whom tradition holds to be Clement the bishop of Rome controversial if he was or wasn t a bishop , has an excellent grasp of the Old Testament, of which there must be hundreds of references in this letter A similarly striking features of the letter is the very high view of Scripture contained in it See 45.2 3, for example, where the author states, You have searched the holy scriptures, which are true, which were given by the Holy Spirit 3 you know that nothing unrighteous or counterfeit is written in them A second important element of this letter is its various allusions and quotations to New Testament documents Regarding this, even the impassioned critic of Christianity, Bart Ehrman, has stated, we can see here the very beginnings of the process in which Christian authorities Jesus and his apostles are assigned authority comparable to that of the Jewish Scriptures, the beginnings, in other words, of the formation of the Christian canon From p26 of his book The Apostolic Fathers.Two final things that struck me were the huge emphases on i hospitality and ii humility With regard to the former, Clement puts hospitality basically on a par with faith No wonder a brand new book has come out entitled Salvation by hospitality and faith by Joshua Jipp The second striking emphasis on humility which comes up almost endlessly This would have been in stark contrast to the Greco Roman view of character of the time, and would have had particular relevance to the men in the church in Corinth who proudly snatched at power for themselves. Clement s letter is perhaps the earliest piece of Christian literature outside of the New Testament It s flow of thought is easy to follow, and Clement is clear in what he is seeking to say There was sedition in Corinth, stirred up by some ambitious members of the congregation against the elders, and Clement calls the troublemakers to repentance The entire letter is an exhortation to humility, peace and unity Many examples from the Old Testament are pointed to by Clement to encourage the Christians to repentance.As I analyse this letter, my opinion is that the soteriology of the letter is confusing Any person reading the letter would not arrive at a clear understanding of the work of Christ and the way of eternal salvation There is one passage in the letter that seems to agree very well with the New Testament teaching of justification through faith It is this And we, too, being called by His will in Christ Jesus, are not justified by ourselves, nor by our own wisdom, or understanding, or godliness, or works which we have wrought in holiness of heart but by that faith through which, from the beginning, Almighty God has justified all men to whom be glory forever and ever Amen Ch XXXII This is very good indeed But a little leaven leavens the whole lump, and throughout the majority of the letter we find warnings and exhortations that seem to contradict this statement of justification through faith Clement repeatedly warns his readers that obedience to God s commands and righteous behavior is the way to eternal blessing, and that for those who spurn obedience to God s commands destruction is what they will receive Thus, if a reader was to find hope in the passage quoted above, it is immediately smothered by the consideration of God rewarding him with good or evil based upon his personal behavior.Other things of note in the letter are Clement s high view of Scripture that the writings of the prophets and apostles are inspired of the Holy Spirit and without error Also, he appears to have a strong view of human depravity, that people are born in sin and cannot fully live without sin He has a strong sense of the nothingness of human beings and their dependence upon God, who both gives and takes away at His will Clement also makes several statements concerning divine election, but his view on election is not developed enough to know what he believed about it.An interesting letter, but no substitute nor supplement for the New Testament I couldn t find one original doctrinal insight made by Clement that couldn t be found in the New Testament The most interesting parts of the letter are the historical insights Clement provides us about Paul, the apostles, and the early churches All things considered, I do not believe that this letter is vital for Christians. Clement s epistle to the church at Corinth will be fascinating reading to anyone interested in Christian history It dates from before the closing of the biblical canon probably about the time Revelation was composed, though ambitious scholars have sometimes tried to place it in the late 60s A.D chapter 41 may imply it was written before the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem However, the letter also obviously lacks the proofs of inspiration Major topics are humility, schism, and church governance and discipline Chapter 5 mentions the martyrdom of the apostles Peter and Paul Below are some passages of personal interests in which Clement comes close to particular Reformation concerns.Chapter XVII seems to affirm a notion of original sin in which a man is defiled from his first moments of life Regarding the attitude of humility a follower of Christ ought to strive for, Clement writes Moreover, it is thus written of Job, Job was a righteous man, and blameless, truthful, God fearing, and one that kept himself from all evil But bringing an accusation against himself, he said, No man is free from defilement, even if his life be but of one day Chapter XXII makes a statement very like sola fide And we, too, being called by His will in Christ Jesus, are not justified by ourselves, nor by our own wisdom, or understanding, or godliness, or works which we have wrought in holiness of heart but by that faith through which, from the beginning, Almighty God has justified all men to whom be glory for ever and ever Chapter XXXVIII following can easily be taken as support for the Reformation understanding of depravity and human nature Let us consider, then, brethren, of what matter we were made who and what manner of beings we came into the world, as it were out of a sepulchre, and from utter darkness Chapter XVL the centrality of salvation as the Church s message Ye are fond of contention, brethren, and full of zeal about things which do not pertain to salvation Look carefully into the Scriptures, which are the true utterances of the Holy Spirit Finally, the passage below is worth noting for its simple elegance Chapter XLIX Who can describe the blessed bond of the love of God What man is able to tell the excellence of its beauty, as it ought to be told The height to which love exalts is unspeakable. Looks like Clement was dealing with some sedition and dissension in Corinth So he used a lot of examples from the OT to demonstrate humility, obedience, righteousness and faith He encourages everybody by reminding them of their blessings and the promise of the forthcoming resurrection Then he throws a phoenix into his epistle which is pretty cool He concludes by telling them to knock it off and embrace each other in brotherly love I liked the book for the most part It seemed a bit stale to me as the scripture examples are so familiar My son reminded me that having books was rare in the day and there was nowhere they could order a complete Bible That was a good point so I figure it s okay for Clement to go heavy on the quotes He seems like a decent guy so I give him four stars. Interesting church history document Filled with Scripture, so it s also an interesting example of how early Christian authors made a case from Scripture. ^FREE PDF ⇱ The First Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians ⇱ To These Men Who Spent Their Lives In The Practice Of Holiness, There Is To Be Added A Great Multitude Of The Elect, Who, Having Through Envy Endured Many Indignities And Tortures, Furnished Us With A Most Excellent Example Through Envy, Those Women, The DanaidsAnd Dircae, Being Persecuted, After They Had Suffered Terrible And Unspeakable Torments, Finished The Course Of Their Faith With Stedfastness,And Though Weak In Body, Received A Noble Reward