Contender For God
Tertullian was born around
A.D. 150 in the city of Carthage in North Africa. Both of
his parents were pagan, and his father was a centurion.
Tertullian received a thorough education in the knowledge
of the Romans and the Greeks, and he apparently practiced
law before his conversion. His writings indicate that he
did not become a Christian until he was in his thirties
However, once Tertullian gave
his life to Christ, he held nothing back. Like Paul, he
viewed all of his worldly education and social rank as "dung"
in relation to the things of Christ. At the same time, he
used his vast learning in the cause of Christ. At the risk
of his life, he wrote several works to the Romans, defending
Christianity and attempting to persuade the authorities
to halt their senseless persecution.
Tertullian apparently served
as an elder or presbyter in Carthage, completely devoting
his life to the ministry of Christ. Not only did he write
apologetic works to the Romans, but he also composed a considerable
number of writings in which he defended orthodox Christianity
against various heretics. In other writings, he attacked
the growing spiritual laxity he saw developing in the church.
The New Testament was written
in Greek, and up until the time of Tertullian nearly all
other Christian works had likewise been written in Greek.
Although Tertullian was fluent in Greek and wrote several
works in Greek, he penned most of his works in Latin--in
order to benefit the growing number of western Christians
who knew only Latin. As a result, Tertullian often had to
develop Latin terminology to express the truths that had
previously been presented primarily in the Greek language.
The most famous of his newly coined terms was the word "Trinity,"
which has become a standard term in the Christian vocabulary.
Because of his fiery temperament
and forceful convictions, nearly all of Tertullian's writings
have polemic overtones. Church historian Phillip Schaff
said of him: "He resembled a foaming mountain torrent
rather than a calm, transparent river in the valley. His
vehement temper was never fully subdued, although he struggled
sincerely against it. He was a man of strong convictions,
and never hesitated to express them without fear or favor.
...His polemics everywhere leave marks of blood. It is a
wonder that he was not killed by the heathens, or excommunicated
by the Catholics." [Philip Schaff, History of the Christian
Church, vol. 2 (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1910), pp.
is one of the best-known works of the pre-Nicene era. In
it, he provides a stirring defense of Christianity to the
Writings of Tertullian 63% Off!
Tertullian is the most often quoted writer of the pre-Nicene
church. He is famous for his phrase, “The blood of the martyrs
is the seed” of the church. He also coined the word “Trinity.”
Here is a collection of the vast majority of his extant
writings, in a hard volume.
This collection is actually volume 3 of the Ante-Nicene
Fathers set, which we have been able to purchase as a separate
volume, at a special price.
73% Off! Hardback. 745 pp.