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What Did Clement of Rome Teach

Earliest Church leader and teacher outside of The Bible.

Appointed by Peter to lead the Christian community in Rome according to Tertullian.  He is mentioned by Paul in Philippians 4:3.  He knew the Apostles personally and would have access to a lot of eye witness testimony of Jesus and original writings himself.  A every early 2nd century extra-biblical writing called The Shepard of Hermas also mentions him.  In his letter, Clement names Fortunatus, as one of the people who carry his letter to Corinth.  He is named by Paul in 1 Corinthians 16:17 as well.

The only reliably known writing from him is known as 1st Clement to Corinth. A 2nd letter has his name attached but is clear it was not by him.

He was martyred around 98-100 AD.

What makes his writing and teaching so important?

Not all modern pastors clearly understand the letters from the Apostles.  They must research the opinions of other scholars to discover the truth of what is being stated.  Clement read the letters, was taught by the Holy Spirit AND was able to ask eye witness about the details.  He could have even asked the Apostles themselves what they meant.  In ch 5:2 He even states that the apostles were of their "own generation".  He is even with Fortunatus, who is one of the seventy apostles.

He got to witness the book of Acts happen before his own eyes and was even with Paul on one of his mission trips.  The information he was able to experience holds more weight.  He was chosen by God to live at that time, to see what he saw, to hear what he heard, and to write this letter.  Not that his letter is divine in nature but his understanding is deeper than everyone after him.

What Does He Support and Teach?

Church Offices:

He supports the teachings of the Apostles as of highest authority and that appointed presbyters and bishops (used the name interchangeable) should be respected as it is their responsibility to teach what the apostles taught (1 Clement 1:3).  He does NOT mention anything about an office of a pope.  He then explains that deacons are under them but have responsibilities in the church as well.  And that both offices need to be respected.  Ch37 and 38 are problematic for an office of Pope and is actually not compatible with what 1 Clement is teaching

Husbands and Wives:
1C 1:3 "Women ye exhorted to perform all things in a blameless and honourable and pure conscience, loving dutifully their own husbands; and ye taught them to manage the affairs of their houses with gravity, keeping in the rule of obedience, being temperate in all things."
He states that "women" should love their own "husbands".  Thus the genders of marriage were clearly understood.  Women marry Men and each has their unique responsibility before God in the community and family.
21:6 "Let us direct our wives to that which is good; 21:7 let them show forth the lovely habit of chastity, and exhibit the pure disposition of meekness. Let them make manifest by their conversation the government of their tongues; let them show love, not according to partiality, but equally to all that fear the Lord in holiness."
Prosperity Teaching:
"ye were all humble, boasting of nothing, submitting yourselves rather than subjecting others, more gladly giving than receiving, content with the provision that God had given you; and attending diligently to his words..." 
Clement would completely disagree with the teachings of the modern prosperity movement.  Here he is reminding the Corinth community how he WERE and not not how they are now in their current poor behavior.
ye were all humble, boasting of nothing, submitting yourselves rather than subjecting others, more gladly giving than receiving, content with the provision that God had given you; and attending diligently to his words - See more at:
ye were all humble, boasting of nothing, submitting yourselves rather than subjecting others, more gladly giving than receiving, content with the provision that God had given you; and attending diligently to his words - See more at:

The Holy Spirit
1 Clement 2:2-3 "Thus a deep and rich peace was given to all, and an insatiable longing for doing good, and a plentiful outpouring of the Holy Spirit was upon all of you.  (3) And ye, being filled with a holy desire, with excellent zeal and pious confidence, stretched out your arms to Almighty God, beseeching him to be merciful unto you, if ye had in anything unwillingly done amiss."
Outpouring of the Holy Spirit in 90AD brought about a holy desire, rich peace, longing to do good, zeal for The Gospel, and compelled everyone to beg God for mercy.  The mercy realization is the Holy Spirit's conviction of sin and revelation of God's Holiness.  A lot different from how more charismatic and Pentecostal churches claim.

Election & God's Sovereignty:
1 Clement 2:4, 6:1
"Ye contended day and night for the whole brotherhood, that in his mercy and good pleasure the number of his elect might be saved... To these men [Peter and Paul], who walked in holiness, there was gathered a great multitude of the elect"
He understand that the genuinely faithful in the church were elected by God to be in his body and that the elect just gather others who have already been elected by God.
1C 18:1 I have found a man after my own heart, David the son of Jesse; and in everlasting mercy have I anointed him?
God showed mercy and anointed him.
1C 20:11 "All these the great Creator and Lord of all has appointed to exist"
He goes through a lengthy explanation about God's supreme sovereignty over creation in ch 20.
IC 21:9 "For he is a searcher out of thoughts and counsels, his breath is in us, and when he willeth he will take it away."
IC 27* "let us consider that all things are near unto Him. By the word of His might He established all things, and by His word He can overthrow them. Who shall say unto Him, What have you done? Or, Who shall resist the power of His strength? When, and as He pleases, He will do all things, and none of the things determined by Him shall pass away.  All things are open before Him, and nothing can be hidden from His counsel."
Clement teaches that God is completely sovereign.  That His will is done no matter what.  But not just his Will but is knowledge is perfect as well.  He sees all, which means he knows all.
IC 28* "Since then all things are seen and heard [by God], let us fear Him, and forsake those wicked works which proceed from evil desires; so that, through His mercy, we may be protected from the judgments to come. For whither can any of us flee from His mighty hand? Or what world will receive any of those who run away from Him?...Whither, then, shall anyone go, or where shall he escape from Him who comprehends all things?
 IC 40* "He [God] has enjoined offerings [to be presented] and service to be performed [to Him], and that not thoughtlessly or irregularly, but at the appointed times and hours. Where and by whom He desires these things to be done, He Himself has fixed by His own supreme will, in order that all things, being piously done according to His good pleasure, may be acceptable unto Him"
IC 52 "The Lord, brethren, stands in need of nothing; and He desires nothing of any one except that confession be made to Him."
Scriptures authority:

Clement quotes from other writings as if they were the standard they needed to believe in.  That they were authority.  He shares in common or alludes to some books like Acts and 1 Peter in ch2; 2 Peter in ch11; Hebrews in ch17.  But he quotes literately from others like Titus and Proverbs in ch2; Deut in ch3; Gen, Ex, and Lev in ch4; Ezekiel and Isaiah in ch8; Job in ch17; Daniel 7 and 1st Corinthians in ch34; Romans in ch35;

In ch8 he states that "ministers of the Grace of God, by The Holy Spirit spoke" then quoted from Ezekiel and Isaiah; thus saying that God spoke through the scriptures.
1C 42* "The apostles have preached the gospel to us from the Lord Jesus Christ; Jesus Christ [has done so] from God. Christ therefore was sent forth by God, and the apostles by Christ. Both these appointments, then, were made in an orderly way, according to the will of God. Having therefore received their orders, and being fully assured by the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, and established in the word of God, with full assurance of the Holy Ghost, they went forth proclaiming that the kingdom of God was at hand."
IC 45 "Look carefully into the Scriptures, which are the true utterances of the Holy Spirit."
IC 47 "Take up the epistle of the blessed Apostle Paul. What did he write to you at the time when the gospel first began to be preached? Truly, under the inspiration of the Spirit, he wrote to you concerning himself, and Cephas, and Apollos, because even then parties had been formed among you."
Adam - Fact or Fiction

1 Clement 6:3 He is going through and naming examples of actual people that have suffered and maintained an example for them to learn from.  He then states "our father Adam" and quotes from Genesis.  In his context, Adam is an actual person.
IC 50 "All the generations from Adam even unto this day have passed away; but those who, through the grace of God, have been made perfect in love,"
Salvation is of God

1 Clement 7 He talks about The Gospel message.  That even repentance of sin is God's Grace.  Though it is offered to the whole word, God shows favor for our ability to repent.

"Let us look steadfastly to the blood of Christ, and see how precious in the sight of God is his blood, which having been poured out for our salvation, brought to the whole world the grace of repentance. 7:5 Let us go back to all generations, and learn that in every generation God hath granted a place for repentance to such as wished to return unto him."
 Obey God over Man
1 Clement 14:1 "It is therefore meet and right, men and brethren, that we should be obedient unto God rather than follow them that in pride and disorderliness are leaders of detestable sedition."
Clement stresses that some times God and Man do not line up.  That men want one thing done and God wants something else done.  When it comes to things that are contrary to God, He makes it clear we do not bend to satisfy man.  That we should encourage and support those who actually seek peace and not those who use peace to further their own interests.
1C 21:5 "Let us offend against men who are foolish, and senseless, and puffed up in the pride of their own speech, rather than against God. "
21:5 Let us offend against men who are foolish, and senseless, and puffed up in the pride of their own speech, rather than against God. - See more at:
Substitution Atonement:
1 Clement 16:4-5 "He beareth our sins and suffereth pain on our account, and we esteemed him as one in toil, stricken and afflicted. He was wounded for our sins, and for our transgressions did he suffer infirmity; the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and by his stripes we were healed."
Clement quotes form Isaiah to stress a point that Jesus took on our sins, suffered what we should have suffered on our account.  He was our substitution.

1 Clement 16:12 "to justify the righteous man who serveth many well; and their sins he shall bear himself."
He points out in Isaiah that Jesus is the one that justified our righteousness.  That we were not inherently righteous but through Jesus' death and atonement, he made us righteous by taking on our sins.  We are justified by Jesus, not our works.
IC 32* "All these, therefore, were highly honoured, and made great, not for their own sake, or for their own works, or for the righteousness which they wrought, but through the operation of His will. And we, too, being called by His will in Christ Jesus, are not justified by ourselves, nor by our own wisdom, or understanding, or godliness, or works which we have wrought in holiness of heart; but by that faith through which, from the beginning, Almighty God has justified all men; "
Again it is restated that ALL men are justified by God, not their works.
IC 33* "What shall we do, then, brethren? Shall we become slothful in well-doing, and cease from the practice of love? God forbid that any such course should be followed by us! But rather let us hasten with all energy and readiness of mind to perform every good work."
Then he addresses evangelism, cheap grace, and anitnomialism (freedom to sin).  That in fact our justification from God should compel us to do good.

Limited Atonement:
1 Clement 16:13-14 "16:13 Wherefore he shall receive the inheritance of many, and shall divide the spoils of the strong, because his soul was delivered up unto death, and he was numbered among the transgressors, 16:14 and he bore the sins of many, and was given up for their sins."
Clement correctly quotes Isaiah and uses the word "many" instead of "all".  He states in 1C 7:4 that God brought the whole world grace of repentance but that is not saying the whole world will accept the free grace of repentance.  By correctly using the word "many" Clement makes it clear that even though grace is offered to all to cover their sins, not all will accept; thus not all sins were bore on the cross.  This is the difference between VALUE and ACTUAL.   The Value of Christs payment COULD pay for all sins in all time but not all people will Actually accept his payment.

The Resurrection
1C 24 "Let us consider, beloved, how the Lord continually proves to us that there shall be a future resurrection, of which He has rendered the Lord Jesus Christ the first-fruits by raising Him from the dead. Let us contemplate, beloved, the resurrection which is at all times taking place."
To be fair, some scholars feel that this chapter is an interpolation.  But not all scholars think it is.  I will consider it given its age and relation.  It is clear that the author teaches of Jesus' bodily resurrection and also teaches in the coming resurrection for believers as well.

Resist Sin
1C 30* "Seeing, therefore, that we are the portion of the Holy One, let us do all those things which pertain to holiness, avoiding all evil-speaking, all abominable and impure embraces, together with all drunkenness, seeking after change, all abominable lusts, detestable adultery, and execrable pride.
Notice that he lists "abominable lusts" and "detestable adultery" in different groups.  Sexual sins between male and female is adultery; sexual sin in all the other ways are abominable lusts.
IC 56 "Let us then also pray for those who have fallen into any sin, that meekness and humility may be given to them, so that they may submit, not unto us, but to the will of God. For in this way they shall secure a fruitful and perfect remembrance from us, with sympathy for them, both in our prayers to God, and our mention of them to the saints. Let us receive correction, beloved, on account of which no one should feel displeased. Those exhortations by which we admonish one another are both good [in themselves], and highly profitable, for they tend to unite us to the will of God."
 With meekness, humility, and sympathy for others who are in sin we still discuss it with others and correct and exhort them.  The community is united and not individual.  If one is in sin, it is discussed and addressed.
 IC 57 "who laid the foundation of this sedition, submit yourselves to the presbyters, and receive correction so as to repent, bending the knees of your hearts. Learn to be subject, laying aside the proud and arrogant self-confidence of your tongue. For it is better for you that you should occupy a humble but honourable place in the flock of Christ, than that, being highly exalted, you should be cast out from the hope of His people."
Those in sin are called out and called to repent.  Not left alone.

The Trinity
IC 58 "For, as God lives, and as the Lord Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost live"
Deity of Jesus
IC 64 "our High Priest and Protector, Jesus Christ, by whom be to Him glory, and majesty, and power, and honour, both now and for evermore."

In Summery
  • Disciple of The Apostles
  • Lived around eye witness
  • Access to the original writings 
  • Completely supports Reformed Theology.
    • Traditional Marriage
    • Only 2 church offices: Presbytr/bishiop and Deacon
    • Holy Spirit convicts and spiritually matures
    • Not support worldly prosperity teaching
    • Election
    • God's supreme sovereignty
    • Absolute authority of scripture
    • Salvation by faith, not works
    • Justified by faith alone
    • Limited Substitution Atonement
    • Actual Bodily death and bodily resurrection
    • The Trinity
    • Deity of Jesus

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