Please forgive the close to four month absence, it seems a four + month old doesn’t leave much spare time for translation. But we’ll continue in the series of Fr. Clement’s letters; however, I don’t know when the next installation will turn out to be.
Christ is Risen! In Truth He is Risen! I heartily wish you, most dear father, kind mother, and all of you to happily and merrily meet the feast.
I had already decided to finish my letter which I had began to you but I received your kind lines from the fourth of April. You write that if I find something in your letters which would be awkward to answer then to leave it without an answer. On the contrary, recently our correspondence has become especially interesting and I have many subjects in mind about which I would like to know your opinion. But I only would like that in your letters you would not so much busy yourself with arguments against false views but would rather speak positively about views which, according to you, are true. The negation of falsehood is unsatisfactory and does not provide a positive truth. This time I would like to know your opinion about “heresy” and “heretics.” But I repeat, tell me your positive view and not that, for example, which you can say against the view of, in this case, the Roman church. That the Roman church is in many ways mistaken is well known and we warrant you [Protestants] the fact that you protest against Roman abuses. But it is very far from protest against untruth to positive truth. Besides Roman errors regarding heresy (which we also do not accept) there is a correct view for which I find an explanation in the New Testament, which you also consider the foundation for true Christian teaching. The apostle says, there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you. (1 Cor. 11:19); but it is clear that it is not heretics who are approved Christians and due to human weakness and corruption they must be considered in society predators and so forth. But in spite of this those people continue to go their own way, that is, into prison, into Siberia, etc. But the main question is what is heresy and who, in essence, are heretics? This is what I would like to know your opinion about. The Apostle Peter says, there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies (2 Peter 2:1). The principal place about which I would like that you expressed your opinion is the following (Titus 3:10-11) A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject; Knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself. Who, in essence, according to your opinion, are these self-condemned people, and what are the indications, on the foundation of the Gospel, of true Christians, from whom these people separate themselves? You talk about your heartfelt wish to convey to a dear to you soul all that stirs your soul. For my part, I would accept your communications with much interest and, if you like, I would also like to hear your opinion about many other interesting subjects.
April 14, 184