Though he died almost 18 centuries ago, Tertullian is often quoted today in theological and apologetics circles. But what did this man believe and what did he ultimately contribute to historic Christianity? Here’s your crash course on the life and accomplishments of Tertullian—and why he still matters today.
Who Was Tertullian?
Tertullian (c. 160–220) was a North African church father and was likely born in the ancient city of Carthage. His parents were pagans and his father served as a Roman centurion. He was educated in the subjects of law and rhetoric and was an engaging writer. He converted to Christianity in mid-life. Living in the early days in which Christians suffered from persecution, Tertullian wrote a theological treatment on the subject of martyrdom (To the Martyrs). He was a unique, bold, and rather temperamental apologist and polemicist for early Christianity at a time when the faith was…
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