One of the major strengths of a political and technological system is its ability to absorb into itself and to direct toward social purposes the aspirations and abilities of diverse groups and peoples. Empire, as opposed to despotism, traffics in the relentless proclivity of societal man to find contentment in the culture's values and personal advancement within the society's political, social, and economic structures. To paraphrase an old political maxim, a man who can be rewarded by the social system can be ruled by it. In this proclivity of societal man to make a place for himself in the social structures lay one of the major dangers to the church of Tertullian's day. Tertullian's attempt to lay the foundations for a divine community which could withstand the “pull” of society's “success” or “status” ethic on Christians is the focus of this article. It goes without saying that Tertullian's understanding of the essentially unique and separate character of the Christian community was also formulated against the heretics' theological “push,” but I would like to concentrate on the social problem in keeping with the theme of the meeting.