BibleBeltCatholics | Sharing quotes and writings of the Early Church Fathers with our separated Christian brethren in the South!
Home 1st-2nd Century 3rd-4th Century 5th-8th Century The Catechism Today About this site

The Catholic Church and
the term Catholic
Peter and the Papacy
The Sacraments
Other Church Teaching
  The Blessed Trinity
    Divinity of Christ
    Filioque Clause
    Sign of the Cross
  Intercession of the Angels and Saints
  Relics of Saints
  Pictures & Images
  Salvation Outside the Church
  Creating everything out of nothing
  Sabbath or Sunday
The Word of God
Heaven, Purgatory, and Hell

Pre-Christian through the Second Century  >>

The Early Church Fathers on Salvation Outside the Church.


  • Early Church Fathers
  • From the Scriptures



  1. St. Ignatius of Antioch, (A.D. 50-107)
    St. Justin Martyr, (A.D. 100-163)
    St. Irenæus of Lyons, (A.D. 125-202)
    Origen of Alexandria, (A.D. 184-253)
St. Ignatius of Antioch, (A.D. 50-107), Syrian; ecclesiastical writer, bishop, martyr. A disciple of St. John, the Apostle; he was bishop of Antioch, in which see he succeeded St. Peter, or, as others think, Evodius. He is supposed to have governed that church for about forty years. He suffered martyrdom at Rome in the year 107.

Be not deceived, my brethren: If anyone follows a maker of schism [i.e., is a schismatic], he does not inherit the kingdom of God; if anyone walks in strange doctrine [i.e., is a heretic], he has no part in the Passion [of Christ]. Take care, then, to use one Eucharist, so that whatever you do, you do according to God: For there is one flesh of our Lord Jesus Christ, and one cup in the union of his blood; one altar, as there is one bishop, with the presbytery and my fellow servants, the deacons.

Letter to the Philadelphians 3:3-4:1 [A.D. 110]

St. Justin Martyr, (A.D. 100-163), Samaritan; born in Sichem (Naplousia) in Palestine; a platonic philosopher, apologist, and martyr for the faith; he was a convert to Catholic Christianity in A.D. 133. He wrote two Apologies for the Christian religion, one addressed to Antoninus, the other to Marcus Aurelius. He was martyred at Rome in the year 163.

We have been taught that Christ is the first-begotten of God, and we have declared him to be the Logos of which all mankind partakes [John 1:9]. Those, therefore, who lived according to reason [Greek, logos} were really Christians, even though they were thought to be atheists, such as, among the Greeks, Socrates, Heraclitus, and others like them. . . . Those who lived before Christ but did not live according to reason [logos] were wicked men, and enemies of Christ, and murderers of those who did live according to reason [logos], whereas those who lived then or who live now according to reason [logos] are Christians. Such as these can be confident and unafraid.

First Apology 46 [A.D. 151]

St. Irenæus of Lyons, (A.D. 125-202), Asia Minor; bishop, missionary, theologian, defender of orthodoxy. Though by birth a Greek, he was Bishop of Lyons in the second century. He tells us that, in his early youth, he learned the rudiments of religion from St. Polycarp, the disciple of St. John the Apostle. He wrote several works, of which only a few fragments are now known, with the exception of his Treatise against Heretics which we have in five books.

In the Church God has placed apostles, prophets, teachers, and every other working of the Spirit, of whom none of those are sharers who do not conform to the Church, but who defraud themselves of life by an evil mind and even worse way of acting. Where the Church is, there is the Spirit of God; where the Spirit of God is, there is the Church and all grace.

Against Heresies 3:24:1 [A.D. 189]

[The spiritual man] shall also judge those who give rise to schisms, who are destitute of the love of God, and who look to their own special advantage rather than to the unity of the Church; and who for trifling reasons, or any kind of reason which occurs to them, cut in pieces and divide the great and glorious body of Christ, and so far as in them lies, destroy it— men who prate of peace while they give rise to war, and do in truth strain out a gnat, but swallow a camel. For they can bring about no "reformation" of enough importance to compensate for the evil arising from their schism. . . . True knowledge is that which consists in the doctrine of the apostles, and the ancient constitution of the Church throughout all the world, and the distinctive manifestation of the body of Christ according to the successions of the bishops, by which they have handed down that Church which exists in every place. [i.e., the Catholic Church]

Against Heresies, 4:33:7-8

Origen of Alexandria, (A.D. 184-253), Alexandrian; born in Egypt, philosopher, theologian, writer.

There was never a time when God did not want men to be just; he was always concerned about that. Indeed, he always provided beings endowed with reason with occasions for practicing virtue and doing what is right. In every generation the Wisdom of God descended into those souls which he found holy and made them to be prophets and friends of God.

Against Celsus 4:7 [A.D. 248]

If someone from this people wants to be saved, let him come into this house so that he may be able to attain his salvation. . . . Let no one, then, be persuaded otherwise, nor let anyone deceive himself: Outside of this house, that is, outside of the Church, no one is saved; for, if anyone should go out of it, he is guilty of his own death.

Homilies on Joshua 3:5 [A.D. 250]



The Early Church Fathers taught that those outside of the Catholic Church had no hope of salvation. That is, if they heard the gospel and knowingly rejected it. However, they made an allowance for those who, through no fault of their own, didn't know any better. They didn't see God as being legalistic. Rather they saw a merciful God who judged men by what they did with what they had.


Salvation comes from God alone; but because we receive the life of faith through the Church, she is our mother:

"We believe the Church as the mother of our new birth, and not in the Church as if she were the author of our salvation."


— Faustus of Riez, De Spiritu Sancto 1,2: PL 62,II.

Because she is our mother, she is also our teacher in the faith.


The Church's Scriptures that deals with Salvation outside the Catholic Church:


Jesus, Himself, preaching the Good News states:

16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.


Mark 16:16

Baptism necessary for salvation

5 Jesus answered, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God."


John 3:5

Paul teaches us in men will be judged by the purposes of their hearts.

5 Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then every man will receive his commendation from God.

1 Corinthians 4:5

Faith is necessary to please God

6 And without faith it is impossible to please him. For whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.


Hebrews 11:6

Please report any and all typos or grammatical errors.
Suggestions for this web page and the web site can be sent to Mike Humphrey
Untitled Document