2nd Clement on The Prosperity Gospel

For if God paid the wages of the righteous immediately, we would soon be engaged in business, not godliness; through we would appear to be righteous, we would in face be pursuing not piety but profit. And this is why the divine judgment punishes a spirit that is not righteous, and loads it with chains. (2nd Clement 20.4)

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15 Replies to “2nd Clement on The Prosperity Gospel”

  1. I didn't see 2nd Clement as part of the earlier Ante-Nicene Fathers set. Given the apparent gnostic links, is this accepted as a legitimate Christian work?

    My main memory of 1st Clement was the disorderly organization and large number of random references. In this area, 1st and 2nd Clement seem quite similar. The other aspect of the letter was his extremely poor judgment with regard to the issue at Corinth.

    I don't know fully the reasons for claiming they came from two different hands, but would like to know more.

  2. Looney, there was a lot not include in Schaff – who is not inspired, but was doing his best, I'd say. Lightfoot and others recognized the legitimacy of the letter

    Further, his 'gnosticism' is should be seen as a break from that. You shoudn't base everything from memory… You may think that he had poor judgment, but I have going to have ask why?

    The letter was only later attached to Clement, which like other works, was most likely done so to preserve the letter. I don't see a similarity between the two, except for the 'prophetic word', more like an exhortation.

  3. The first letter – Clement of Rome to the Corinthians – was about the expulsion of the elders. The elders appealed to Clement, and Clement sided entirely with the elders, condemned the church, and apparently never spent any effort on fact finding. Whether it was right to expel the elders or not I don't know, but the letter essentially became a license for sinful elders to abuse the church. The instructions of 1 Timothy 5:19 were voided in favor of a completely different model of church government.

  4. Looney, I'm not sure how that verse applies to the letter. Further, since we don't know the background of the dispute, except that it doesn't seem to be about morality, I think it would bad judgment on our part to accuse Clement of bad judgment.

    Further, we already know that Corinth was factious since Paul, who sent a letter as well upon hearing only from Chloe's household, and to intervene. It is possible that the same factions developed and over through the Elders. There is no reason to distrust Clement, especially since Paul had already written about the factions there.

  5. 1 Timothy 5:19 establishes procedures for complaints against elders. Whether the procedures were followed or not we don't know – nor does Clement seem to know. Clement's letter effectively says that the church has no rights or relief of any kind against bad elders.

    Paul certainly did observe the fractiousness, although that was 1 Corinthians. In 1 Corinthians 6, Paul advises to choose someone of “little account” to judge between disputing Christians – not seek out some outside super-Christian authority. In Luke 12:13-14, Jesus refuses to be made a judge when one party makes a request. Then there is Proverbs 18:17 which Clement has ignored: “The first to present his case seems right, till another comes forward and questions him”. Whether Clement's judgment was right or wrong isn't the issue. It is the fact that the letter apparently disregards all Biblical precedents and procedures in reaching the judgment.

    But I am admittedly biased since this letter forms a foundational piece for popery as well.

  6. Looney, you made your judgment call, assuming the things you didn't know. I don't think that he said that at all. I believe he came down because it wasn't a removing base on morality, but on division and faction.

    Everything forms a foundation for 'popery' so that is a tired excuse for biasness. You have to remove how other people have used it.

    You proof text, especially since Christ is the Judge. Further, Paul notes that we should be able to judge the matter between ourselves on things – that was excluded from Corinth when one side won the civil war.

  7. As you might suspect, I would disagree. First, there is no reason given, then it would wrong for us to cast judgment on Clement for his intervention or to use it to develop papal authority.

    Second, I do believe that chapter 3 gives us the reason – in that it was factions which led to sedition based on pride and position.

  8. If an elder is caught banging on someone else's wife and is somehow removed, he will generally report that it was the result of something like “sedition based on pride and position”. That is why Clement's letter – being based exclusively on the elder's words – is of no value in determining the reason for the elder's removal. (I have heard plenty of elder excuses!)

  9. You are assuming too much based on your own experience and not on the text itself. We know that Corinth had a long standing problem. Your position is too subjective, Looney

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