Gnosticism And Tertullian's Development Of Christian Apologetics

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During a time where Gnostic ideology was one of the heresies gaining momentum, Tertullian and Irenaeus were two of the individuals that brilliantly defended the faith. They saw Gnosticism through the same lens as many other Church Fathers, as nothing else but a heresy. In their time this was a real threat to the true faith that was laid out for them through the Scriptures and through the oral tradition passed down by the apostles. Like many heresies, Gnosticism started off within a Christian foundation. However, what makes it more interesting is that Gnosticism as philosophy or the ideology as a whole may have predated Christianity since we see some epistles arguing against some of the Gnostic principles (Kelly 23). To further refute the heresy, Irenaeus and Tertullian had a tremendous contribution in the development of Christian apologetics. While similar, many have credited Irenaeus to his ecclesiological development and Tertullian to his Christological development in the early Church.
Through the writings of Irenaeus, we quickly learn of how he viewed the Scriptures and the apostles. Irenaeus laid his argument by stating a foundation that every Christian would agree with, which was that Christ himself is the ultimate source of Christian doctrine. While this may seem very intuitive, it is because of this foundation that Irenaeus lays out that he is able to further develop his argument. Irenaeus continues with this argument by stating that Christ has revealed his message

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