Origen says treat opponents mildly: Church Fathers, Day 350

Origen says treat opponents mildly: Church Fathers, Day 350 July 6, 2015

origen_spotlightTreat opponents mildly

Answering the pagan Celsus, who wrote a tirade against the Christians, Origen admits that there are divisions among us. But Christians worthy of the name treat their opponents mildly, remembering how Christ said, “Blessed are the peacemakers.”

Celsus goes on to say, “And they even say the most shameful things of one another; they would not make the least concession in the interests of harmony; for they utterly detest one another.”

To reply: even in philosophy, as I have already said, rival sects may be found, and so it is in medicine. We, however, following the Word of Jesus, and having made it our study to think and speak and do whatever he has said, when we are reviled, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure; when we are defamed, we pray; and we would not say shameful things of those whose views differ from our own, but we would do all in our power to raise them to a higher level through persevering loyalty to the Creator alone, and by acting as men who will one day be judged.

But if the heterodox will not be persuaded, we have our rule for dealing with them. “As for a man who is factious, after admonishing him once or twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is perverted and sinful; he is self-condemned” (Titus 3:10-11). And again, those who understand the words “Blessed are the peacemakers” and “Blessed are the meek” would not utterly detest opponents who debase Christianity.

–Origen, Philocalia, 16.4


When I see others who seem to stand against the Church, am I more likely to judge them or to try to win them back?


Blessed be Christ who did not scold, because he was good! Blessed be Christ who did not spurn, because he was just also! Blessed be Christ who was silent, and rebuked; that he might bring us life with both!

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