Discussions of Mormons and Mormon life, Book of Mormon issues and evidences, and other Latter-day Saint (LDS) topics.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

"Steps to Perfection"?? Exposing St. Clement of Alexandria, An Early Non-Christian Cultist

The mainstream Christian world for centuries has esteemed the ancient theologian Clement of Alexandria, as a "saint" or at least an early "Christian father." What delusion! What madness! Fortunately, thanks to the Internet, we can now access once hard-to-find information such as the actual writings of St. Clement, writings which clearly expose him not as a Christian, but as a classic non-Christian cultist, much like those modern Mormons.

Thanks to the online Christian Classics Ethereal Library, we can read Chapter 10, "Steps to Perfection" from Book 7 of St. Clement's The Stromata, or Miscellanies (the trained Christian ear already strains at cult-like sound of this bizarre title, and a spiritually sensitive reader will naturally recoil at the chapter title with its eerie Mormonesque overtones). Only four paragraphs into Chapter 10, we find this alarming, soul-numbing passage that should forever strip the saintly mask off this cultish masquerader:

And this takes place, whenever one hangs on the Lord by faith, by knowledge, by love, and ascends along with Him to where the God and guard of our faith and love is. Whence at last (on account of the necessity for very great preparation and previous training in order both to hear what is said, and for the composure of life, and for advancing intelligently to a point beyond the righteousness of the law) it is that knowledge is committed to those fit and selected for it. It leads us to the endless and perfect end, teaching us beforehand the future life that we shall lead, according to God, and with gods; after we are freed from all punishment and penalty which we undergo, in consequence of our sins, for salutary discipline. After which redemption the reward and the honours are assigned to those who have become perfect; when they have got done with purification, and ceased from all service, though it be holy service, and among saints. Then become pure in heart, and near to the Lord, there awaits them restoration to everlasting contemplation; and they are called by the appellation of gods, being destined to sit on thrones with the other gods that have been first put in their places by the Saviour.

Perfection? Reaching a state in which humans are called "gods" and sit on thrones with other "gods"? Most troubling. Some of you still call this man a Saint? Hmm, maybe a "Latter-day Saint," but don't tell me this is compatible with historic Christianity (here I define "historic Christianity" as Christianity since, oh, about 1500 A.D.) With doctrines shockingly similar to theosis, it's pretty clear he's not saint at all, but some kind cultist, or even worse, some kind of proto-Mormon.

The gaffe quoted above was not a freak momentary lapse in his life. In another work, he again reveals his frightening proto-Mormon delusions in this passage which you can read in his "Exhortations to the Heathen" (Protrepticus 1.8.4), available at EarlyChristianWritings.com or also at the Christian Classics Ethereal Library:

But if thou dost not believe the prophets, . . . the Lord Himself shall speak to thee, "who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God, but humbled Himself" . . . yea, I say, the Word of God became man, that thou mayest learn from man how man may become God. Is it not then monstrous, my friends, that while God is ceaselessly exhorting us to virtue, we should spurn His kindness and reject salvation?

Monstrous indeed, as in monstrous Mormonism. Time to set the record straight at last! Unfortunately, this is not the only early so-called "Christian" leader with such problems. I expose even more on my LDSFAQ page on theosis. We've got to get the word out and help our fellow Christians see who some of these early "fathers" really were. The fact that they were venerated for centuries by Christians and seemed sincere in their belief in Christ and defense of Christian faith in no way qualifies them as authentic Christians according to our more rigorous recent definitions of "Christian" as required by modern historic Christianity. With flawed proto-Mormon theology, we must reject their status as Christians and, frankly, recognize that these deluded men are surely roasting in hellfire now. Them's the breaks.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

Whoa, this guy was almost as bad as that ancient dude who said, how he put it, "Ye are gods"! (exposed in John 10, quoting Psalm 82).

Bonnie said...

Charming! Thanks for this.

Anonymous said...

Haha. I love how you define historical Christianity. Reminds me how the Evvie version of biblical inerrancy is still a relatively young doctrine.

You'd think, for evvies, that the Great Apostasy were those years when the bible wasn't even formed yet, and scripture held a much different weight.

-Openminded

Martin said...

I've always thought that criticizing the LDS belief that humans can attain godhood as being non-Christian or non-Biblical is obtuse. Besides being consistent with early church teachings, it is one of Joseph Smith's most inspiring and ennobling revelations. It is unlikely, however, that Clement would have agreed with Joseph Smith's additional teaching that God the father of Jesus Christ was once a man. Clement criticized the Greeks' anthropomorphizing of God. His belief in God's having the physical form of a man was limited to Jesus Christ.

Although the idea that God the father of Jesus was once a man didn't make it into the LDS canon, it was preached by Joseph Smith during the last few months of his life and is believed by many if not most Mormons who are acquainted with it. I can't reconcile such a belief with the evidence for evolution, however. God would have had to obtain his human body after the evolution of humans, somewhat reminiscent of the Adam-God theory.

Anonymous said...

Martin,

You are assuming that the evolution of man is a one off event.

Steve

Martin said...

Yes, I am. We have no examples of two reproductively compatible species evolving independently. If man evolved twice, the second man wouldn't be reproductively compatible with the first. We're asked to believe things about the lineage of Jesus that would imply reproductive compatibility.

Anonymous said...

The universe is a big place. I'll hold out until we know more.

Steve

Martin said...

Big enough to duplicate the series of stochastic events that gave us our 46 chromosomes? Not likely, birth of Spock notwithstanding.

Momo said...

Hmm, while naturally I know evolution is a real thing, in order to believe any bible-based religion we have to consider that the evolution of humankind was divinely guided...it only seems reasonable that this could happen in many other worlds and times. It wasn't a random happenstance and has a much higher probability because of that.

Martin said...

Which part was divinely guided, and what does "guided" mean? We can agree that a set of natural laws resulting in evolution may have come from a divine lawgiver, but if you're suggesting, like a lot of theists do, that the various stochastic events (i.e. mutations and other DNA changes) that gave us our final DNA structure were each controlled by God in a way that would duplicate a reproductively compatible species, then you're not really talking about evolution. Such "guided" molecular events wouldn't be stochastic, which isn't consistent with chemistry. That's just God miraculously making DNA. And He could have done it much more quickly than He did without the need to go through making now extinct species.

Patrick said...

What if our form is another universal constant; pi, e, c, human. Provided that the conditions for life exist, the human form will evolve. Once intelligent life on another planet is found we'll confirm or disprove this idea. If confirmed I hereby name the constant the "Stewart Constant", represented with an Hm. (This can't be a new idea.)

Anonymous said...

Interesting that Martin says our DNA structure is final. He is probably the smartest person in the world. Knows that evolution stops.

Martin said...

By "final" I only meant most recent, but thanks for your enormously insightful contribution to the conversation.

Raphaƫl said...

Thank's, if you find more tell us.
Happy New Year !