Irenaeus thinks of the process of salvation in terms of a mystical regeneration into immortality. Against this, Tertullian speaks of a wholesome discipline as the content of the Christian life. He speaks of a process of education by the law, and the reality of obedience to it is eternal life. Here we have the Roman who is a jurist and likes the law, and at the same time the ascetic pietist, who became a Montanist. We have in Irenaeus mystical participation; and in Tertullian subjection to the law: the two sides of early Catholicism, the two sides which were always effective. The second was decisive, before the Protestant break. But the Protestant break denied also the Irenaean form and returned to the one side of Paul, namely justification by faith. So we have always similar problems arising as early as that. We have the relationship to Christ more spiritual mystical participation, more legal by accepting Him as the new law. And these two sides are going on also in Protestantism.

In Tertullian we have the Roman Catholic form of Jewish legalism. The relation to God is legal. Christianity is merely the new law. Christianity returns to the religion of the law but is prevented from becoming simply another Jewish system of laws and rules by the sacramental salvation. Therefore one can say: “the evangelion, the Gospel, is our special law.” Trespassing has the consequence that guilt is produced and punishments demanded. “But if we do His will, He will make Himself our debtor. Then we gain merits. ” There are two classes of demands: precepts and counsels. In this way every man can acquire a treasury of holiness in which he returns to Christ what Christ has given him. The virtue of the Christian is crowned. The sacrifice of asceticism and martyrdom moves God to do good to us. “In the measure in which you don’t spare yourselves, in this measure, believe me, God will spare you.” This of course has a lot of Roman Catholic ideas. This was at the end of the second century. We have now already the difference of precepts for everybody, and counsels for the monks; we have already the idea of Christ as the new law. Roman Catholicism came quickly, and the reason for this is that Roman Catholicism was the form in which Christianity could be received including all the Roman and Greek forms of thinking and living.