When discussing theology, I've come to realize that not only is personal study of doctrine a necessary component to faith, but it is something that shouldn't be kept to oneself. I want to share my journey, both past and ongoing, into the realm of theology. Through this, I hope that you will gain insight into the Christian faith as a whole. Before reading anything else, I suggest you read the introduction and definitions (found in the pages tabs above) so you may better understand where I am coming from in everything I write. Because many of my posts are on heresies, there is also a page above with a family tree of heresies and links to all the posts I have so far on the topic.

02 December, 2013

Heresy of the Week: Elcesaitism

Some heresies are very distinct.  Others borrow from all different branches of heresy and muddle them together.  This weeks heresy is one of the latter.
Elcesaitism (also known as Elchasaitism, Elkasitism, or Elkesaitism—the spelling depends upon who you are reading) was an early church Jewish-Christian heresy closely related to Ebionitism. From the little that was written about Elcesaites that survived, it appears they, too, believed in a Monophysitism-style angelology, claiming that the Son of God was a giant angel and His sister was the Holy Ghost, another giant angel. They believe, in a somewhat Gnosticism twist, that they had a special Gospel that fell out of the sky just for them and they reject many portions of the Bible, particularly the writings of the Apostles. There have also been connections made between this sect and Mandaeism.

25 November, 2013

Heresy of the Week: Anglo-Israelism

This week's heresy gets into some dispensationalism/Messianic Jewish ideas.
Anglo-Israelism (also known as British Israelism) is a 19th-21st century protestant heresy that forms the basis of the Christian Identity Movement and purports that the English (in specific) and white people (in general) are descendants of the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel. They subscribe to something called the “Two House Theology”, meaning all Jews are Israelites, but not all Israelites are Jews. They believe that the Jews descended only from the tribes of Judah and Benjamin. There is documentation to show that even the British Monarchy believes itself descendants of King David. While the Catholic Church has no official stance on this heresy, many sects and denominations have rejected Anglo-Israelism.

12 November, 2013

Heresy of the Week: Eudoxianism

What do you mean, at some point all the posts I queued up end?  Yes, I forgot to add more this weekend.  So here is your day-late heresy of the week!  Since we are getting close to my favorite saint feast day (6 December), you'll start to notice a theme with the next few heresies...
Eudoxianism is a Semi-Arianism heresy. It teaches that Christ is very like, perhaps even exactly like, God the Father, but that Christ does not share in the exact same being as the Father. Originally, it was seen as a compromise offered to the Arianism sect, that, had they accepted the compromise, would have made it possible to avoid their condemnation as heretics and splitting from the church. However, since this, too, is a heretical doctrine, it was condemned at the first Council of Constantinople in 381 as a Semi-Arianism heresy.

04 November, 2013

Heresy of the Week: Anabaptism

This week's heresy is one of the three main categories of protestantism.
Anabaptism is a 16th-21st century protestant heresy which teaches that Jesus did not derive his humanity from his human mother, Mary. This is known as the “doctrine of heavenly flesh” and “Incarnational Christology”. They believed that if Jesus was human like us, because of the fall of Adam, that redemption was impossible through the “seed of the Devil”. Some sects of Anabaptism also deny the trinity in the vein of Socinianism. Additionally, many of the other teachings of the “Radical Reformed” church are suspect. They believe in “believer baptism” only, meaning a public confession of faith must occur first, and if that didn’t happen (as in the case of an infant or Roman Catholic baptism), one must be re-baptized. Anabaptists adamantly deny being “rebaptizers”, since they consider the initial baptism to be invalid. Holy Communion was viewed as merely symbolic or memorial (see Symbolism). They taught that Christians should be separated from the world, should not make oaths or hold political office of any kind and should not exercise self-defense or ever go to war (pacifism). These teachings are still prevalent in churches who trace their roots back to the Radical Reformed churches, such as the Amish.

28 October, 2013

Heresy of the Week: Apollinarianism

This week's heresy is one of the most detailed of which we still have surviving documentation.
Apollinarianism (also known as Apollinarism) is a 4th century heresy that teaches Jesus could not have had a human mind, but rather that Jesus had a human body and “lower soul” (the seat of emotions), but a Divine mind. Apollinaris, for whom this heresy is named, taught that the two natures simply couldn’t coexist, and so the “lesser form” (His human nature) gave way to the “greater form” (His Divine nature). This, along with Eutychianism, is a form of Monophysitism, which errantly teaches Christ only had one nature. Some at the time considered this an overreaction in response to Arianism, whose teachings were that Christ was simply not divine in nature. Polemianism and Antidicomarianism are considered to be “sub-Apollinarianism” heresies. At the First Council of Constantinople in 381, the followers of this heresy were accused of attempting to create a “tertium quid” (a “third thing” that is neither God nor Man). Apollinaris also taught in the same vein as Tertullian that the souls of men were propagated by other souls as well as their bodies (also known as Traducianism).

21 October, 2013

Heresy of the Week: Marcionism

Part two of last week's heresy of the week (Cerdonianism) is Marcionism.
Marcionism was an early church heresy, beginning in the 2nd century, with a dualistic belief system similar to Gnosticism (some have categorized it as Gnostic, others have not), influenced by Cerdonianism. Marcion taught that the Hebrew God was evil and less than the God of the New Testament. He taught that Jesus was the Savior sent by the all-forgiving God and Paul was his chief apostle. His canon consisted of edited portions of the Gospel of Luke and 10 of Paul’s epistles. All other books were rejected. The primary premise of Marcionism is that the teachings of Jesus are incompatible with the actions of the Old Testament God. They opposed any connection between Jesus and the Jewish religion. The God of the Old Testament (creator God—teaching that the material world is defective because it was created by Him) is considered to be wrathful, whereas the New Testament God was unknown before Christ and is only love and mercy. The main difference between Marcionism and Gnosticism is the lack of pursuit of secret wisdom in Marcionism.

14 October, 2013

Heresy of the week: Cerdonianism

Next week's heresy will be "part two": Marcionism.  They are closely related enough I wanted to do them in a series, but distinct enough to not put them in the same post.
Cerdonianism is a Gnosticism sect founded by Cerdo in the 2nd century. Cerdo was the teacher of Marcion, who founded Marcionism. Very little is known about this sect, other than they held fairly typical Gnosticism beliefs—two “causes”, one perfectly good and one perfectly evil. The evil “cause” created the world and was the Old Testament Jewish God. Christ is the Son of the good “cause”, and He was sent here to oppose evil, but they deny his humanity (Monophysitism). As the body and all material things are evil, they were strict Asceticism followers and had a very severe moral system which must be closely followed for “salvation” (Legalism and Pelagianism).