Templo de San Hipoito (Hippolytus of Rome) in Mexico City
Today is the Roman Catholic feast day for Hippolytus of Rome.
Although Hippolytus was apparently elected to be the Bishop of Rome in the early third century, Rome considers that the corrupt Callistus who apparently bribed his way to take control as the one through whom it currently claims “apostolic succession“.
Hippolytus is an interesting figure as the Church of Rome considers him to be both the first “antipope” as well as a Catholic saint.
Furthermore, unlike the corrupt Callistus , Hippolytus was and still is considered to have been an important theologian. Notice what The Catholic Encyclopedia reported about him:
Hippolytus was the most important theologian and the most prolific religious writer of the Roman Church in the pre-Constantinian era. (“St. Hippolytus of Rome.” The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 7. Nihil Obstat. June 1, 1910. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1910. 4 Aug. 2009 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07360c.htm>.)
Although he held some compromised positions, Hippolytus also held several theological positions close to those still held by the Living Church of God that the Church of Rome no longer holds.
For example, he taught that God had a six-thousand year plan for humanity (this believe was held by Roman Catholics throughout history until around the time that Cardinal Ratzinger, the current Pope, became influential). Here is what Hippoplytus wrote:
And 6,000 years must needs be accomplished, in order that the Sabbath may come, the rest, the holy day “on which God rested from all His works.” For the Sabbath is the type and emblem of the future kingdom of the saints, when they “shall reign with Christ,” when He comes from heaven, as John says in his Apocalypse: for “a day with the Lord is as a thousand years. “Since, then, in six days God made all things”, it follows that 6,000 years must be fulfilled. (Hippolytus. On the HexaËmeron, Or Six Days’ Work. From Fragments from Commentaries on Various Books of Scripture. http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0502.htm viewed 9/17/07)
The six-thousand year plan is still taught by the Living Church of God (please see Does God Have a 6,000 Year Plan? What Year Does the 6,000 Years End?).
Towards the end of the six-thousand years, Hippolytus also taught:
And the dragon,he says,saw and persecuted the woman which brought forth the man- child. And to the woman were given two wings of the great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.That refers to the one thousand two hundred and threescore days (the half of the week) during which the tyrant is to reign and persecute the Church, which flees from city to city, and seeks concealment in the wilderness among the mountains… (Hippolytus. On Christ and Antichrist, Chapter 61)
This is consistent with the teachings of the Living Church of God (please see There is a Place of Safety for the Philadelphians. Why it May Be Petra).
He also taught against military service for Christians:
That it is not meet for Christians to bear arms… (Hippolytus. Heads of the Canons of Abulides or Hippolytus, Which Are Used by the Ethiopian Christians. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 5. Edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1886)
16:6 A charioteer, likewise, or one who takes part in the games, or one who goes to the games, he shall cease or he shall be rejected. 7 If someone is a gladiator, or one who teaches those among the gladiators how to fight, or a hunter who is in the wild beast shows in the arena, or a public official who is concerned with gladiator shows, either he shall cease, or he shall be rejected. 8 If someone is a priest of idols, or an attendant of idols, he shall cease or he shall be rejected. 9 A military man in authority must not execute men. If he is ordered, he must not carry it out. Nor must he take military oath. If he refuses, he shall be rejected. 10 If someone is a military governor, or the ruler of a city who wears the purple, he shall cease or he shall be rejected. 11 The catechumen or faithful who wants to become a soldier is to be rejected, for he has despised God. (Hippolytus. The Apostolic Tradition of Hippolytus of Rome. From the work of Bernard Botte (La Tradition Apostolique. Sources Chretiennes, 11 bis. Paris, Editions du Cerf, 1984) and of Gregory Dix (The Treatise on the Apostolic Tradition of St. Hippolytus of Rome, Bishop and Martyr. London: Alban Press, 1992) as translated by Kevin P. Edgecomb http://www.bombaxo.com/hippolytus.html viewed 08/06/09)
The Living Church of God still holds to pacifism for Christians (please see Military Service and the Churches of God: Do Real Christians Participate in Carnal Warfare?).
Hippolytus also taught that one is begotten by the Holy Spirit upon conversion:
This is the Spirit, the Comforter, that is sent because of thee, that He may show thee to be the Son of God. Come then, be begotten again, O man, into the adoption of God…For he who comes down in faith to the layer of regeneration, and renounces the devil, and joins himself to Christ; who denies the enemy, and makes the confession that Christ is God; who puts off the bondage, and puts on the adoption,–he comes up from the baptism brilliant as the sun, flashing forth the beams of righteousness, and, which is indeed the chief thing, he returns a son of God and joint-heir with Christ. (Hippolytus. The Discourse on the Holy Theophany, Chapters 9,10. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 5. Edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1886. Online Edition Copyright © 2005 by K. Knight)
Like all early Christians, Hippolytus held a binitarian view of the Godhead as he wrote:
He did not say, “I and the Father am one, but are one.” For the word are is not said of one person, but it refers to two persons, and one power. (Hippolytus. Against Noetus: Against the Heresy of One Noetus, Chapter 7. from The Extant Works and Fragments of Hippolytus: Dogmatical and Historical. Roberts-Donaldson English Translators. Copyright © 2001 Peter Kirby)
Because of that view, the corrupt Callistus called him a ditheist. Hippolytus also complained about Callistus’ heretical view of the Godhead, which indicated that Callistus’ more “trinitarian” view was not universally accepted or Hippolytus would not likely have publicly complained about it as a heresy. The Living Church of God still holds to the original Christian view of the Godhead (please see Binitarian View: One God, Two Beings Before the Beginning).
So why would those in the Vatican claim “apostolic succession” through one who somehow took over the bishopric of Rome through bribery, permitted abortions, and was in other ways corrupt?
Because if it accepted that its greatest third century theologian Hippolytus as a proper “Bishop of Rome”, it would be much more obvious to everyone that the Church of Rome radically changed many of its original teachings and doctrines. Because that is what Hippolytus’ writings show.
It is unlikely that Catholics who will observe Hippolytus’ feast day today are aware of what he and his writings really represent.
But now that you do, an article of possibly related interest should include:
Which Is Faithful: The Roman Catholic Church or the Living Church of God? Do you know that both groups shared a lot of the earliest teachings? Do you know which church changed? Do you know which group is most faithful to the teachings of the apostolic church? Which group best represents true Christianity? This documented article answers those questions. Português: Qual é fiel: A igreja católica romana ou a igreja viva do deus? Tambien Español: Cuál es fiel: ¿La iglesia católica romana o La Iglesia del Dios Viviente? Auch: Deutsch: Welches zuverlässig ist: Die Römisch-katholische Kirche oder die lebende Kirche von Gott?