Who was Tertullian?

Tertullian (c.160 - c.230) was a gifted Christian apologist and theologian. He was born and raised in Carthage. Carthage was part of the Roman Empire and a leading center of Christianity during the third century.

Tertullian was trained as a lawyer in Rome. He returned to Carthage, where he wrote for over twenty years in defense of the Christian faith. While Tertullian's writings failed to convert much of the Roman world to Christianity, his works contributed to the Church's understanding of Christian doctrine.

Later in life, Tertullian became frustrated with the laxity of his Orthodox brethren. He left the church in 213 and joined a prophetic movement known as Montanism. Montanism was founded in the 170s by a Christian leader named Montanus. Montanism demanded that its members adhere to very high standards of behavior. Members of the sect believed that they were the only true Christians.

Tertullian left that movement to form his own sect, the Tertullianists, which survived in Africa until the fifth century.

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