A resource for defining the doctrine and works of the Nicolaitans

Revelation 2:6


But this thou hast that thou hatest the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.


Revelation 2:15

15 Even so hast thou them that maintain the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.

A thing Christ hates

History of the Christian Church, Volume II: Ante-Nicene Christianity. A.D. 100-325

Philip Schaff

§ 122. The Nicolaitans.

The Nicolaitans are mentioned as a licentious sect in the Apocalypse 2:6, 15. They claimed as their founder Nicolas, a proselyte of Antioch and one of the seven deacons of the congregation of Jerusalem (Acts 6:5). He is supposed to have apostatized from the true faith, and taught the dangerous principle that the flesh must be abused, that is, at least as understood by his disciples, one must make the whole round of sensuality, to become its perfect master.

But the views of the fathers are conflicting. Irenaeus (who is followed substantially by Hippolytus) gives a very unfavorable account.

“The Nicolaitanes,” he says, “are the followers of that Nicolas who was one of the seven first ordained to the diaconate by the apostles. They lead lives of unrestrained indulgence. The character of these men is very plainly pointed out in the Apocalypse of John, where they are represented as teaching that it is a matter of indifference to practice adultery, and to eat things sacrificed to idols. Wherefore the Word has also spoken of them thus: ‘But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitanes, which I also hate.’”

Clement of Alexandria says that Nicolas was a faithful husband, and brought up his children in purity, but that his disciples misunderstood his saying (which he attributes also to the Apostle Matthias), “that we must fight against the flesh and abuse it.”


18 thoughts on “A resource for defining the doctrine and works of the Nicolaitans

  1. Interesting, Maria. So, some say the Nicolaitans practiced a form of antinomianism. I’ve noticed a form of this is creeping into the church via popular TBN televangelist, Joseph Prince, who says Christian’s don’t need to heed the conviction of the Holy Spirit for sin and ask for forgiveness because all of their sins – past, present, and future – were forgiven when they accepted Christ.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Tom, it’s been a while since I’ve listened to Joseph Prince, but I believe that what you’ve described – that is, not having to ask forgiveness for our sins as we walk in this life because all sins are already forgiven – is error. All sins are under the blood, yes, but we must confess as we fail. I don’t think this error is antinomianism. The Nicolaitans who, according to Ireneaus, lived lives of “unrestrained indulgence”, were definitely law-breakers but were they antinomians? I think antinomianism is a difficult subject and I don’t know enough about it to have much to say. I will study up!

    Lord bless your evening, faithful brother!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good morning, Maria! I see that my earlier comment was not altogether clear so I would like to clarify a bit. I’m not suggesting that Prince is advocating “unrestrained indulgence” like the Nicolaitans, but his teaching that Christians needn’t confess sin and that they can ignore the conviction of the Holy Spirit is a form of antinomianism that could lead to flagrant abuses like the Nicolaitans. If you google “Joseph Prince antinomianism” and “Nicolaitans antinomianism” you’ll get a ton of hits.
      Have a blessed day in the Lord, sister!

      Liked by 1 person

        • Lee, have you been following this conversation? Do you have concerns? I know that you believe that believers do not have to confess sins in order to obtain the Lord’s forgiveness, right? Because forgiveness is already ours? I want you to know how much I respect your walk with the Lord and what you write and preach.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Okay, I’ve read the thread, and here are my thoughts, (and they’re worth what you paid for em’).

            First of all, I believe that Joseph Prince is a false teacher for many reasons. So whatever he says about anything is of no consequence to me.

            I’m going to testify a little, because I believe that it’s necessary for understanding the fullness of my position.

            You already know my testimony, including the huge guilt I carried that had me on the roadside seeking God’s mercy with my face to the earth, as well as the countless HEAVY sins that I confessed to that people that to this day many still haven’t forgiven me over.
            All of this was part of my coming to God.
            We’re talking gigantic guilt.

            Well, the usual religious methodologies of dealing with one’s guilt has NEVER given me ANY relief. ..keep short accounts with God, and continually seek His forgiveness. (There’s no end to it).

            And one night God flipped a switch inside me, quickening unto me what was accomplished at the cross. Especially as stated in Colossians 2.13.

            Finally!!!!! I knew that all forgiveness for me was successfully accomplished.
            Jesus ain’t bleeding any more, and He sat down. ☺

            But I believe that it’s normal and healthy to discuss with God our sin struggles.
            Of course the indwelling Spirit reveals our sins to us, He’d rather us recognize & correct our actions and attitudes rather than have to chastise us wouldn’t He?
            But you can’t find a scriptural backing for ongoing forgiveness from God after the cross, after the atonement has been made.
            That is, unless one interprets 1 John 1.9 as such.
            But I read that as evangelistic. (A person can’t even be a Christian who believes that he’s never sinned).

            But in all candour, I still sometimes say please forgive me Lord for xy or z. But I know that I’m not really being forgiven, it’s just an intuitive thing to say.
            What I prefer to do is, talk with God about my sins, and thank Him for the forgiveness that I already have been given, 😀.

            Thank you for welcoming my thoughts to yalls discussion Maria. ☺

            God bless you, Tom, and Greta.

            Liked by 1 person

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