Time Period: 2nd Century (A.D. 140/155)
Position: Layman, brother of Pope St. Pius I
Important works: The Shepherd
Language: Originally Greek (fragments), Complete extant texts in Latin and Ethiopic
The text deals with some great topics such as the nature of the Church, creation ex-nihilo (that God created the world out of nothing), repentance (at that time this could only happen one time, you could not go to confession over and over again they way that you can now), etc.
Here's a short passage...
As many as repent with their whole heart and purify themselves of all wickedness mentioned before, and no longer add anything to their former sins,-they shall receive from the Lord a healing for their former sins, provided they are not double-minded in regard to these commandments; and they shall live to God. But as many as add to their sins and live in the lusts of this world--they shall condemn themselves to death.
What I really appreciate about this writing is the seriousness by which repentance is taken. This whole "Sin-Confession-Sin-Confession" lifestyle some Christians live is just a tad overdone. Don't get me wrong. I go to confession at least twice a month and believe me, I have something to confess. But what makes absolution legitimate is that you are truly contrite and serious in your resolve to "go and sin no more." The early Church took baptism and repentance so seriously that many delayed baptism until the end of their life. Constantine is an example of this.
My professor makes a good point about the double-mindedness of some Christians. This see-saw of the Christian v. worldly life seems to imply that as he said in class, "you only half want the Kingdom."
Friends, you can't half want it. You either want it or you don't. But you are the one who chooses.