Cyprian and “The Lapsed”

Cyprian’s position on the lapsed was considered the moderate position, which believed those who repented after the persecution would be granted inferior benefits. The two exceptions were if, the lapsed were sick or dying or they went in front of the Romans and claimed their Christian faith. Cyprian believed that the persecution was happening because God is punishing them for the lack of unity in the church. The theme of unity vs. purity is why Cyprian wanted to wait until the end of the Persecution to decide what the Church should do about the lapsed. Under Cyprian, the lapsed had the opportunity to repent the sins they committed if they came before God.

Other views that contrast the moderates were the rigorists who did not allow the lapsed back into the church and the the lax who believed everyone should be allowed back into the church. The rigorist focus on purity within the church, but lack a sense of community. The lax focus on unity, but not purity, as in they let everyone back.

On the issue of Baptism Cyprus believes, if there is one church and one baptism then baptism should be recognized. Does Cyprian want to argue that there is one true church and two false churches? Is there one church or multiple and are they right or wrong?

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