Miscellaneous Church Father Quotes

By Matt Slick

  1. Satan will be saved:  
    1. Gregory of Nyssa ( 330-394) said Satan will be saved, "A certain deception was indeed practised upon the Evil one, by concealing the Divine nature within the human; but for the latter, as himself a deceiver, it was only a just recompense that he should be deceived himself: the great adversary must himself at last find that what has been done is just and salutary, when he also shall experience the benefit of the Incarnation. He, as well as humanity, will be purged." (The Great Catechism, 26,  newadvent.org/fathers/2908.htm)
  2. Fallen angels and the dead unbelievers can be saved:  
    1. Clement of Alexandria (150-215) said angels and the dead unbelievers can be saved. “And not only for our sins,'-that is for those of the faithful,-is the Lord the propitiator, does he say, 'but also for the whole world.' He, indeed, saves all; but some He saves, converting them by punishments; others, however, who follow voluntarily He saves with dignity of honour; so 'that every knee should bow to Him, of things in heaven, and things on earth, and things under the earth;' that is, angels, men, and souls that before His advent have departed from this temporal life." (Fragments, 1:3, c. 2, v. 2)
  3. Salvation can be lost: 
    1. Hermas (150?) said salvation can be lost: “For the Lord has sworn by His glory, in regard to His elect, that if any one of them sin after a certain day which has been fixed, he shall not be saved. For the repentance of the righteous has limits. Filled up are the days of repentance to all the saints; but to the heathen, repentance will be possible even to the last day." (The Shepherd, 1:2:2)
  4. Universal Salvation:  
    1. Origen (185-254) taught universalism: "If, then, that subjection be held to be good and salutary by which the Son is said to be subject to the Father, it is an extremely rational and logical inference to deduce that the subjection also of enemies, which is said to be made to the Son of God, should be understood as being also salutary and useful; as if, when the Son is said to be subject to the Father, the perfect restoration of the whole of creation is signified, so also, when enemies are said to be subjected to the Son of God, the salvation of the conquered and the restoration of the lost is in that understood to consist." (De Principiis, 3:5:7)
  5. Predestination
    1. Predestined to eternal destruction: "Ye have already learned above (in Lecture XLV.) who the sheep are: be ye sheep. They are sheep through believing, sheep in following the Shepherd, sheep in not despising their Redeemer, sheep in entering by the door, sheep in going out and finding pasture, sheep in the enjoyment of eternal life. What did He mean, then, in saying to them, "Ye are not of my sheep"? That He saw them predestined to everlasting destruction, not won to eternal life by the price of His own blood," (Lectures or Tractates on the Gospel According to St. John. Tractates XLV to XLIX, Chapter 10.22-42, par. 4).
    2. Gospel Tract predestined to destructionAnd they shall never perish:" you may hear the undertone, as if He had said to them, Ye shall perish for ever, because ye are not of my sheep. "No one shall pluck them out of my hand." Give still greater heed to this: "That which my Father gave me is greater than all."What can the wolf do? What can the thief and the robber? They destroy none but those predestined to destruction. But of those sheep of which the apostle says, "The Lord knoweth them that are His;" and "Whom He did foreknow, them He also did predestinate; and whom He did predestinate, them He also called; and whom He called, them He also justified; and whom He justified, them He also glorified;"--there is none of such sheep as these that the wolf seizes, or the thief steals, or the robber slays.(Lectures or Tractates on the Gospel According to St. John. Tractates XLV to XLIX, Chapter 10.22-42, par. 6)
    3. Predestined by God before the world was: We are they "upon whom the ends of the ages have met, having ended their course." We have been predestined by God, before the world was, (to arise) in the extreme end of the times. And so we are trained by God for the purpose of chastising, and (so to say) emasculating, the world. We are the circumcision--spiritual and carnal--of all things; for both in the spirit and in the flesh we circumcise worldly principles. (On the apparel of Women--Book II, Chapter 9)
    4. Clement speaks of predestined souls:  "But how can that be called good which is not done of purpose? And on this account the world required long periods, until the number of souls which were predestined to fill it should be completed,, and then that visible heaven should be folded up like a scroll, and that which is higher should appear, and the souls of the blessed, being restored to their bodies, should be ushered into light; but the souls of the wicked, for their impure actions being surrounded with fiery spirit, should be plunged into the abyss of unquenchable fire, to endure punishments through eternity." (Recognitions of Clement, Book 3, Chap. 26)
    5. Augustine says Christians were predestined to eternal life:  "When you ask why a Christian does not observe the distinction in food as enjoined in the law, if Christ came not to destroy the law, but to fulfill it, I reply, that a Christian does not observe this distinction precisely because what was thus prefigured is now fulfilled in Christ, who admits into His body, which in His saints He has predestined to eternal life, nothing which in human conduct corresponds to the characteristics of the forbidden animals." (Reply to Faustus The Manichaean A.D. 400, Book 19, par. 10)
    6. Augustine says Christians were predestined to eternal life:  "The things which are in heaven are gathered together when what was lost therefrom in the fall of the angels is restored from among men; and the things which are on earth are gathered together, when those who are predestined to eternal life are redeemed from their old corruption." (Chap. 62)
    7. Augustine says some predestined to punishment and others to grace   "These are the great works of the Lord, sought out according to all His pleasure, and so wisely sought out, that when the intelligent creation, both angelic and human, sinned, doing not His will but their own, He used the very will of the creature which was working in opposition to the Creator's will as an instrument for carrying out His will, the supremely Good thus turning to good account even what is evil, to the condemnation of those whom in His justice He has predestined to punishment, and to the salvation of those whom in His mercy He has predestined to grace. For, as far as relates to their own consciousness, these creatures did what God wished not to be done: but in view of God's omnipotence, they could in no wise effect their purpose. (Augstine, The Enchiridion: on Faith, Hope, and Love, Chap. 100)
    8. Augustine says some are predestined to life and others to death.  "What will He give to those whom He has predestined to life, who has given such things even to those whom He has predestined to death? What blessings will He in the blessed life shower upon those for whom, even in this state of misery, He has been willing that His only-begotten Son should endure such sufferings even to death? Thus the apostle reasons concerning those who are predestined to that kingdom," (Augustine, City of God, Chapter 24).
  6. Eternal Security
    1. Augustine teaches eternal security:  "If you wish to be a catholic, do not venture to believe, to say, or to teach that "they whom the Lord has predestinated for baptism can be snatched away from his predestination, or die before that has been accomplished in them which the Almighty has predestined." There is in such a dogma more power than I can tell assigned to chances in opposition to the power of God, by the occurrence of which casualties that which He has predestinated is not permitted to come to pass." (Augustine, Treatise on the soul and its origin, Book 3, chapter 13)
    2. Augustine says there are those predestined to eternal life:  "what Christian is not aware that he [the devil] seduces nations even now, and draws them with himself to eternal punishment, but not those predestined to eternal life? And let no one be dismayed by the circumstance that the devil often seduces even those who have been regenerated in Christ, and begun to walk in God's way. For "the Lord knoweth them that are His," and of these the devil seduces none to eternal damnation," (Augustine, The City of God, Book 20, Chapter 7).
    3. Augustine says we can't lose our salvationThe seventh [error of Vincentius Victor] is, that "they whom the Lord has predestinated to be baptized may be taken away from his predestination, or die before that has been accomplished in them which the Almighty has predestined." (Augustine, Treatise on the soul and its origin, Book 3, chapter 22)
  7. The Church
    1. Augustine refers to the Church as those that belong to the Lord:  "After that," says John, "he must be loosed a little season." If the binding and shutting up of the devil means his being made unable to seduce the Church, must his loosing be the recovery of this ability? By no means. For the Church predestined and elected before the foundation of the world, the Church of which it is said, "The Lord knoweth them that are His," shall never be seduced by him. And yet there shall be a Church in this world even when the devil shall be loosed, as there has been since the beginning, and shall be always, the places of the dying being filled by new believers. (Augustine, The City of God, Book 20, Chapter 8)
  8. Not saved by works
    1. Chrysostom says we are not saved by works in righteousness:  "The calling is from the Father, but the cause of it is the Son. He it is who hath brought about reconciliation and bestowed it as a gift, for we were not saved by works in righteousness: or I should rather say that these blessings proceed from Both ; as He says, "Mine are Thine, and Thine are Mine." (John xvii: 10.) (Commentary of St. John Chrysostom on the Epistle of St. Paul to the Galatians, Chapters 1.)
  9. Faith Alone
    1. Chrysostom says by faith alone he looks to find mercy in the day of the Lord's appearing. "Even the great teacher of the world who is wont to style himself last of saints and first of sinners, that he might stop the mouths of liars was compelled to set forth a list of his own labours; and in shewing that this account of his sufferings was of necessity, not of free will, he added "I am become a fool in glorying; ye have compelled me."(2) I own myself wretched--aye thrice wretched. I am guilty of many errors. Through faith alone I look for finding some mercy in the day of the Lord's appearing. I wish and I pray that I may follow the footprints of the holy Fathers, and I earnestly desire to keep undefiled the evangelic teaching which was in sum delivered to us by the holy Fathers assembled in council at the Bithynian Nicaea."(Letters of the Blessed Theodoret, Bishop of Cyrus, Letter 83)
    2. Chrysostom says we are purified by faith alone:  "Perhaps those were present who of old found fault with him in the matter of Cornelius, and went in with him (on that occasion): for this reason he brings them forward as witnesses. "From old days," he says, "did choose among you." What means, "Among you?" Either, in Palestine, or, you being present. "By my mouth." Observe how he shows that it was God speaking by him, and no human utterance. "And God, that knoweth the hearts, gave testimony unto them:" he refers them to the spiritual testimony: "by giving them the Holy Ghost even as unto us." (v. 8.) Everywhere he puts the Gentiles upon a thorough equality. "And put no difference between us and them, having purified their hearts by faith." (v. 9.) From faith alone, he says, they obtained the same gifts. This is also meant as a lesson to those (objectors); this is able to teach even them that faith only is needed, not works nor circumcision. For indeed they do not say all this only by way of apology for the Gentiles, but to teach (the Jewish believers) also to abandon the Law. However, at present this is not said. "Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples?" (John Chrysostom, Commentary on Acts 15.1)
    3. Ambrose speaking of our redemption and earthly riches say faith alone will accompany us. "Do not trust in riches; for all such things are left here, faith alone will accompany you. And righteousness indeed will go with you if faith has led the way. Why do riches entice you ? "Ye were not redeemed with gold and silver," with possessions, or silk garments, "from your vain conversation, but with the precious Blood of Christ. " He then is rich who is an heir of God, a joint heir with Christ. Despise not the poor man, he has made you rich. " This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him." Do not reject a poor man, Christ when He was rich became poor, and became poor because of you, that by His poverty He might make you rich. Do not then as though rich exalt yourself, He sent forth His apostles without money," (Ambrose, Letter 63, par. 87)

About The Author

Matt Slick is the President and Founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.