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).

13 October, 2013

Hearing Voices

I've seen several posts about this on Facebook in recent weeks, and then we talked about this in Confirmation Class tonight (I'll have notes up later this week--we missed the last two weeks because we were out of town, so I want to watch the videos from those and post those notes first before I post tonight's class notes because I'm OCD like that).  So, of course, I have to commentate on it. 

One of my biggest frustrations with my protestant friends is hearing about how “God spoke to me,” as if it is some kind of conversation.  It isn’t.  There’s more that goes bump in the night than God—and if you can’t test the spirit from which your voice came and unequivocally prove it is Biblical, then you can pretty safely assume it wasn’t God.  If you’re still convinced it is of God, even if what was said isn’t Biblical, then, my dear friend, you are a Gnostic—getting secret knowledge from God that has not been revealed to anyone else, any time else, anywhere else.

“But God has plans for me—plans for good, and plans for me to prosper!” you may say (Jeremiah 29:11).  That is, perhaps, the single most consistently ripped-out-of-context verse in the entire Bible.  It is a specific promise to a specific people in a specific time and specific place—it is not a blanket promise to and for you.  God’s promise to and for you is His Son—Christ and Him crucified for your sins, and all you need to do is not reject that promise.

Don’t worry about tomorrow (Matthew 6).  Instead, focus on your vocations: wife, mother, sister, daughter, cousin, political activist, friend… tomorrow will worry about itself.

And next time you hear what you think is a still, small voice—test it (1 John 4).  If it isn’t of God (i.e. clearly found in the written words of the Bible), ignore it.  If you don’t ignore it, you’re either a Gnostic or listening to spirits not of God.  Neither is a good option… since they are essentially the same thing.

My Pastor made a great point in class tonight about having heard what he thought were voices of God himself--only to find out they weren't, and it was a disappointment and a faith-shaking experience.  That is what happens when we let things other than God into our faith.  That's why sound doctrine is so important.

Another good resource is the current (Fall 2013) issue of the Around the Word Journal on the Internal vs. External Word.

07 October, 2013

Heresy of the Week: Symbolism

This particular heresy is one that really bugs me because of how prevalent it is.  If you can doubt the clear saying of Scripture here, where else are you allowed to fill in your own meaning?
Symbolism is a term to describe the protestant Eucharistic heresy taught by the Arminians, Calvinists, and Radical Reformed. Their teaching is that the bread and wine simple “represent” or “symbolize” the Body and Blood of Our Lord. This teaching was resoundingly rejected by Martin Luther at the Marburg Colloquy with Zwingli, and is also condemned by the Catholic Church.

30 September, 2013

Heresy of the Week: Millenarianism

The last of the eschatological heresies on my list is Millenarianism.
Millenarianism (also known as Millenarism) is a belief that everything revolves around a one thousand-year cycle after which a major transformation will come. Millennialism is a specific example of Millenarianism. These views were condemned by both the Catholic Church, and Lutherans (in the Augsburg Confession of 1530). Many modern movements, such as Millerism, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Branch Davidians and (by some) even Judaism are considered to be Millenarianists.

23 September, 2013

Heresy of the Week: Priscillianism

Back to Gnosticism for a bit with this week's heresy...
Priscillianism is a Manichaeism and Gnosticism heresy of the 4th century. Like most Gnostic sects, they teach a dualistic heresy with two kingdoms, light and dark. Human souls were originally destined to conquer the Kingdom of Darkness, but fell and were imprisoned in material bodies. Both light and dark is therefore in humans. Salvation comes in liberation from the dominion of matter. They taught that a savior came in a heavenly body, appeared to be like a man and appeared to die, which released the souls of men from the influence of earthly matter. They practiced Asceticism. Like the Islamic doctrine of Taqiyya, Priscillianists were allowed to lie if the ends were holy.

22 September, 2013

Adult Confirmation: Ten Commandments--Second Table (part two)

After a break last week due to the flooding (my church was flooded), we finished up the 10 Commandments this week.

Sixth Commandment

Diagnostic Questions
  • Am I content in my spouse (delight)? (married) 
  • Am I content in my chastity (delight)? (single) 
Only commandment with a “do do” not a “do not do and do do”

Chaste – purity

  • Impure 
  • Lust 
  • Indecent 
Lord gives us rules about having sex: appropriate only for a husband and wife with each other—and that’s it.

Sexual immorality is now such the norm that being chaste is considered immoral.

Sexual immorality is the only internal, rather than external, sin. It is a joining not only of flesh, but of spirit.

Intimacy is much more than our culture acknowledges.

Picture of…
  • …responsibility: parent 
  • …irresponsibility: sex 
Sex must be the act of someone responsible, not irresponsible. Not recreational, but procreational.

Different risks for sex:
  • Man’s risk is minimal 
  • Woman risks pregnancy 
Feminism should be about accountability for men, rather than “reducing” risk for women

Abstinence is the negative side of chastity. Continence is the gift of perpetual abstinence.

Can be broken in:
  • Adultery: sexual activity with someone not your spouse 
  • Fornication: any sexual activity by unmarried people 
  • Divorce: two reason that are acceptable (but not necessary)— 
    • Abandonment 
      • Abuse (understood as a form of abandonment) 
    • Adultery 
  • Marriage: between one man and one woman 
    • Polygamy is tolerated, but never okay (never ends well) 
    • Homosexuality is not allowed 
  • Pornography: sexually explicit writing and images (dulls our conscience so we become unaware of our sin—addictive like drugs and alcohol; doesn’t manifest itself like other addictions, masquerades as a secret) 
Chastity includes our eyes and imagination

There is a lot of guilt and shame associated with the sixth commandment: nakedness and depression; whether you commit sexual sin or have it committed against you.

“What I have called clean do not call unclean.”

Does marriage belong to the church or state? It’s God’s own separate institution, which means it is apart from both.

Seventh Commandment

Not just stewards, but owners

Commands us to be generous, sin is to be greedy (lust for stuff)

Laziness is a sin against the 7th commandment (diligence)

Anti-socialism commandment
  • Inflation is theft (manipulation of value) 
  • Usury in the realm of theft 
  • Debt is destabilizing 
Economics is a continued meditation on the 7th commandment

Eighth Commandment

Anti-gossip commandment (intent to destroy reputation)

Establishes the judiciary and courts

Attempt to protect neighbor’s reputation in private first (then public if necessary); unless it is a false teaching, then address it publicly

Test for bringing sin to light: you risk your own reputation, be willing to bring it to court (Luther’s test)

Ninth and Tenth Commandment


10th: enticement

Every sin starts with 9th and 10th commandments (faulty desire)

1st and 2nd + 9th and 10th are matters of the heart (others with mouth and actions)

16 September, 2013

Heresies of the Week: Noeticism and Patripassianism

Two more related heresies this week, both of a Sabellianism flavor.
Noeticism is a 3rd century, antitrinitarian heresy that says God moved into Mary as a single spirit (with no distinction in the Trinity), became Christ upon birth and the Father himself died on the cross. Noeticism is considered the forerunner of Patripassianism­.
Patripassianism (also spelled Patripassionism) is a 3rd century heresy that believes God the Father also suffered with Christ on the Cross (or that the Father alone suffered on the Cross), and anything that happened to Jesus happened to the Father as well. It is considered heretical because only the human nature of Christ could suffer, not His divine nature. It is an antitrinitarian heresy because it denies the distinctness of the three persons in the Trinity. Patripassianism is considered to be a Sabellianism heresy, but the “father” of Patripassianism is Noeticism.

09 September, 2013

Heresy of the Week: Christadelphianism

This week is the last of the Adoptionism heresies.
Christadelphianism is the name for a 19th-21st century heretical church that follows Unitarianism (making it both antitrinitarian and a Pelagianism-family heresy). They now have churches in 120 countries, but a relatively small membership worldwide. They believe in rebaptism through total immersion and pacifism (Anabaptism), and they deny the Trinity (believing instead in God the Father only). They claim all their teachings are from the inerrant Bible. They believe in Jesus, but as a Father-created being, not eternal God. They believe there is no security in salvation, and that you must keep trying to live a perfect life your whole life. You will not know if you were “good enough” until the Second Coming when all mankind finds out where they spend the rest of eternity—in Hell, or on a new, transformed earth with God (they do not believe in Heaven). The Nazarenes we know today started out as Christadelphians, but separated in the late 19th century.

08 September, 2013

Adult Confirmation: Ten Commandments--Second Table (part one)

Click on the links to see notes from Week 1 and Week 2.

This week, we dug into the meat of the 4th and 5th commandments ("Thou shalt honor thy father and thy mother," and "Thou shalt not murder," respectively).  We were supposed to cover the rest of the commandments... but you know how that goes.

Here are my notes from tonight's class.


  • 1st Commandment--God gives us Himself, and takes everything else away (deals with our heart)
  • 2nd Commandment--God gives us his name and gives us a life of prayer (deals with our lips)
  • 3rd Commandment--God gives us the gift of worship and His Word (deals with our ears)
  • The Commandments are not only restrictive ("do not do this bad thing"), but also positive ("do this good thing")
  • What does it mean to live a Christian life?  Listening.  Our "action" is passive, not active.
Before we got into the rest of the class, my husband asked a good question about why we say "fear and love" in the response to each Commandment in our Small Catechism.
  • Fear and Love are contradictory ideas
  • Some say that fear is "holy awe and respect"--but the Bible doesn't say that (those words could have been used, but weren't)
  • Fear leaves you completely at the the mercy of God
  • God commands us to fear Him only--once we believe, the threat of damnation (fear) is removed, and only love remains
  • Fear gives way to love; Law gives way to Gospel
  • We have a continual battle between Fear and Love (Law and Gospel), which is why we say both
We then talked about Luther's "tower experience" (when he first understood the Gospel)
  • Romans 1:16--Luther was hung up on the phrase "righteousness of God"
  • He believed that the Law = 10 Commandments, and the Gospel = more commands
  • That makes this "active righteousness", or our works used to fulfil the Law and the "Gospel commands"
  • Luther felt this was oppressive and wondered why God would do this--it's like asking us to complete an impossible task
  • Luther realized, unlike any other theologian, that we don't need to try and make God's Word more palatable; we don't need to add or subtract anything--we just need to believe (and not always understand)
  • The Scriptures tell us all we need to know, not all we want to know
  • He realized that righteousness was passive (through faith and trust) rather than active (through works)

Second Table

  • The Fourth Commandment (establishing authority) is the font of societal order and the foundation of all other commandments following.
  • Estates: the ordering of society
    • 1st: Family - parents --> children
      • Foremost estate of human society--the primary building block
    • 2nd: Church - preacher --> preachee (hearer)
      • Also deals with the 3rd commandment
      • Canonical governance, means of disseminating Law and Gospel
    • 3rd: State - ruler --> ruled
      • Civil governance (derived from family)
      • Unlike the other two estates, the structure of the state is complex, although overly simplified, it becomes ruler and ruled
      • Unique caveat with constitutional representative government (like America)
      • Family does not serve the state, the state serves the family (since the estate of the family is the building block of the state)
    • It is VERY important not to confuse these estates (i.e. in a theocracy unless it is established by God--the ONLY one ever established was in Old Testament Israel)
  • Vocation: calling and station in life
    • Who is my neighbor?
    • Who our neighbor is determines how we specifically act towards those involved with our vocations.
  • Authority vs. Power = function of vocation vs. essential
  • Authority is to give gifts
  • Satan attacks the institutions of the family and attempts to pervert the balance of family supremacy over the state
  • See my previous post on the Left Hand and Right Hand Kingdoms here (we reviewed it in class tonight)
  • When dealing with the 5th Commandment (which protects life), understand that there is a distinction between killing and murder (i.e. self defense, war, capital punishment)
  • How do you distinguish between the two?  Ask: "Am I angry?"
  • The Just War Theory was developed to help determine when it was justified for Christians to be involved in war
  • Violence is sometimes necessary to use against death to bring death to an end.

Next week, we will finish up the 10 Commandments and hopefully start the Apostles' Creed.  The political animal in me is looking forward to more thorough discussion of the 7th Commandment, which Pastor calls the "anti-socialism" Commandment.  I already enjoy the discussions we've had about the 4th Commandment and authority.  A little teaser for next week:

02 September, 2013

Heresies of the Week: Ebionitism and Psilanthropism

A continuation of Adoptionism-related heresies...
Ebionitism (coming from a word meaning “the poor” in Hebrew) refers to a Jewish Christian heretical sect of the early church. They regard Jesus as the Messiah and insist that it is still necessary to follow all Jewish laws, traditions and rites (a Legalism heresy). They rejected the writings of Paul as “apostate”. As suggested by their name, they put a high premium on voluntary poverty. Some scholars differentiate Ebionites from groups such as the Nazarenes or Messianic Jews, other considered them the same. Ebionites believe in a Monophysitism-style angelology, claiming that Christ is a great archangel who was incarnated in Jesus and then adopted as the Son of God (quasi-Adoptionism and Psilanthropism). 
Psilanthropism is sometimes used to describe Ebionitism, and is considered part of the Adoptionism family of heresies. It teaches that Jesus is “merely human” and is the literal son of two human parents (coming from the Greek for “plain human” or “mere human”). Modern iterations of this heresy include the Unitarian Church (Unitarianism) and the Unification Church.

01 September, 2013

Adult Confirmation: Ten Commandments--First Table

Tonight we had a brief review of Law and Gospel, an overview of the Ten Commandments, and talked a little more in-depth about the first table of the Law (see below for a definition of that).  Here are my notes.

Law and Gospel (review)

See my notes from last week's class for more on Law and Gospel.

Briefly, the Law condemns, and the Gospel brings salvation.

There are three uses of the Law:

  1. Curb (for all people)
  2. Mirror (the primary purpose of the Law, for all people)
  3. Guide or Rule (exclusive to Christians)
The Holy Ghost drives us in different directions based on Law and Gospel, but always towards the same place.
Forgiveness of sins is meaningless without a knowledge of sin.

Ten Commandments Overview

There are two tables to the Ten Commandments:

The First Table is God's table, or how we relate to God, and is the first three commandments.
The Second Table is our neighbor's table, or how we interact with our neighbor, and is the last seven commandments.

Note: Lutherans and Catholics number our commandments a little differently than protestantism.  This is because when God gave the commandments, He didn't number them, just said there were 10, and as Pastor pointed out last week, there really should be 9 or 11 "logically", so we make them work as 10 as best we can.  Protestantism separates our first commandment into two, and combines our ninth and tenth into one.  I'll say what each commandment is when I talk about it to hopefully help avoid confusion.  I don't know if there is a right or wrong way to number then, this is just how we do it.

The First Table drives us vertically in faith towards God; the Second Table drives us horizontally in love towards our neighbor.

If you were to boil down the Ten Commandments even further from the two tables, they can be summarized in one word: love.

Love is a very deadly word.  Love ensures that we know we have never fulfilled the Law.  Remember, the Law always accuses.

The Ten Commandments are institutions that establish order in this world.  The commandments protect what God institutes.  The commandments are less of a "leash" (to yank us back when we sin), and more of a fence (to protect God's institutions).  In each commandment, God gives us these gifts:
  • God Himself (in the first commandment, "Thou shalt have no other gods," God take everything else away from us and gives us the gift of Himself)
  • His Name (in the second commandment, "Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord, thy God, in vain," God gives us the gifts of prayer, worship, and right doctrine)
  • Holiness (in the third commandment, "Thou shalt sanctify the holy-day," God gives us the gift of His Word and the Church)
  • Authority (in the fourth commandment, "Thou shalt honor thy father and thy mother [that it may be well with thee and thou mayest live long upon the earth]," God gives us the gift of family and the state)
  • Life (in the fifth commandment, "Thou shalt not murder," God gives us the gift of life)
  • Marriage (in the sixth commandment, "Thou shalt not commit adultery," God gives us the gifts of marriage and sex)
  • Property (in the seventh commandment, "Thou shalt not steal," God gives us the gifts of money, labor, and possessions)
  • Honor (in the eighth commandment, "Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor," God gives us the gifts of reputation and our good name)
  • Contentment (in the ninth and tenth commandments, "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's house," and "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife, nor his man-servant, nor his maid-servant, nor his cattle, nor anything that is his," God gives us the gift of contentment)

First Table

Below are specific notes on each commandment from the first table.  The questions are diagnostic questions to help self-examine when reflecting on the commandments.

First Commandment: There is no fear left.  God, who can destroy our body and soul, won't because He destroyed his Son instead of us.
  • Primary: Of what am I afraid?  What do I fear?
  • Secondary: In what do I trust?  What do I love?
Second Commandment: God is trusting us to rightly use His name, not to hide it away.  Jews, for fear of misusing God's name, wouldn't use it, however, we are sinning when we don't use His name rightly--which also means when we don't use it at all.  When praying, you ask (because that is who He is) and give thanks (for what He gives).
  • Primary: How are my prayers?
Third Commandment: The way something is made holy is by having God's name put on it.  Holy means to be set apart.  Holiness isn't a form of morality.
  • Primary: What is my attitude towards worship?

The Importance of Doctrine

The second and third commandments in particular warn against false doctrine.  Dr. Luther said that all false doctrines strike at Christ.  We misuse the name of God when we teach something false in His name.  We do not worship God when we teach false doctrine in our churches or use it in worship.  That is why right doctrine is so important.  The one of the most loving things we can do for our neighbor is insist on sound doctrine.  Other forms of prevalent false worship today are:
  • Unionism: joining in worship with other denominations who teach incorrect doctrine
  • Syncretism: worshiping with those of other religions, giving the impression that "all paths lead to God"
That is why, as Lutherans, we practice closed communion, because we cannot partake of a table where false doctrine is the confession.  We also do not allow those we know do not confess as we do to commune with us.  This is a loving, not mean, thing.  It protects the Pastor (who is accountable for those he communes), the congregation (who then would partake in a unified confession of false doctrine), and you (who may potentially eat the Body and drink the Blood to your damnation, as 1 Corthinians 15 says).

26 August, 2013

Heresy of the Week: Paulicianism

The next few weeks will be Adoptionism-related heresies.
Paulicianism is a 7th century Adoptionism and Gnosticism heresy that is still practiced in small sects today. Paulicianism was accused of being a Neo-Manichaean (Manichaeism) movement and is similar to Albigensism, Bogomilism, and Patarenism. The founder, a man renamed Silvanus, considered his work to be calling Christians ‘back’ to a pure Christianity, which was dualistic under his teaching. Little is known about their actual theology, other than it was dualistic and adoptionist. Their other known tenants are reminiscent of common Gnosticism teachings. They were anti-Marians (actually ‘opposing Mary’, as opposed to Antidicomarianism, which simply oppose her perpetual virginity) and rejected the Old Testament.

25 August, 2013

Adult Confirmation: Introduction, Law/Gospel, Scripture

Today was the start of Adult Confirmation at my church.  I'm going just as a refresher (I was confirmed when I was 14) and so my husband would have company while attending.  Since I took copious notes (5 notebook pages), I thought I would share them here.


What is a catechism? A catechism is the Bible boiled down, like Cliff Notes.  Luther's Small Catechism, the basis of our confirmation studies in the LCMS, consists of several parts:

  • Six Chief Parts:
    • 10 Commandments
    • Apostles' Creed
    • Lord's Prayer
    • Baptism
    • Confession and Absolution
    • Lord's Supper
  • Explanation (what is properly Luther's Small Catechism)
  • Short explanation (added on later)

Law and Gospel

Boiled down even further, the Bible can be summed up in two words: Law and Gospel.  These two words are the very essence of the Bible.

Word of Command
Word of Promise
God’s “Do”s
God’s “Done” (it is finished)
Description of God’s Holiness and command to be holy like God
Declares “You are holy.” (by faith and not works)
Summarized in the 10 Commandments (Natural Law)
Summarized in the Creeds
Shows us our sin and the need for a Savior
Shows us our Savior
Can only condemn

There are 3 uses of the law:
  1. As a Curb
  2. As a Mirror
  3. As a Guide (or rule)

The necessary conclusion of the Law is: I need help.  I need a Savior.

Old Testament Law is divided into three categories:
  1. Moral Law (Natural Law, the 10 Commandments)
  2. Civil Law (bound up to Israel, our civil law is now bound to secular governments)
  3. Ceremonial Law (fulfilled in Christ)

Ceremonial law:
  • Belongs only to the Old Testament
  • Points us to Christ
  • To now practice any ceremonial law is to deny the work, life, death, and resurrection of Christ: it denies Him as the fulfillment of the law and as Savior of the world
(an interesting note about Hebrew: the word for "whole burnt offering" is holocaust)

New Testament "ceremonial law":
  • Baptism
  • Confession and Absolution
  • Lord's Supper

There are only two religions in the world:
  • The Religion of Law (all religions except...)
  • The Religion of Gospel (...Christianity)

It is very important for a proper distinction of Law and Gospel. "Glawspel" is nothing more than diluted law.  We confess that, outside of the Lutheran church, the proper distinction between Law and Gospel does not exist.

There are two sources for knowledge about God: Natural and Revealed.  Natural knowledge of God comes through Creation and the Conscience.  Revealed knowledge of God comes through Scripture.

We learn from Nature that God is:
  • Big (creation)
  • Good (order)
  • Mad (we are bad)
Nature shows us only law.

Revealed to us in Scripture is:
  • God's name
  • Triune nature
  • Salvation
The revealed God is Gospel.

Consciences can be broken when:
  • It tells us we are guilty when we are not
  • It tells us we are not guilty when we are
  • It tells us we are condemned when we are saved
The Devil works on two things:
  • Your conscience
  • The Church

The Bible

This was the "Bible in 15 minutes" summary given by Pastor.

Old Testament:
  • Written by the prophets
  • Written in Hebrew
  • 39 books in 5 'sections':
    • Torah (Books of Moses, 5 books)
    • History (12 books)
    • Wisdom (5 books)
    • Major Prophets (4 books)
    • Minor Prophets (13 books)
  • The major theme running through the whole Old Testament is the promise of Jesus, the seed--every word, every person, every event is driving you towards Christ.
Between the Testaments is the Apocrypha (mostly written in Greek).  We believe it to be helpful, but not sacred or inspired.

New Testament:
  • Written by the Apostles
  • Written in Greek
  • 27 books in 5 'sections':
    • Gospels (4 books)
      • Each book follows the same basic pattern with two major sections in each: the birth and ministry of Jesus; and His death and resurrection
    • Acts (history of the early Church, 1 book)
    • Pauline Epistles (named for "to whom", 13 books)
    • Catholic (universal) Epistles (named mostly for "by whom" because they were addressed to the whole church, 8 books)
    • Prophesy (Revelations, 1 book)
  • Three major authors in the New Testament:
    • Luke: author of Luke and Acts
    • Paul: oversaw the writing of the Gospel of Luke and book of Acts, authored the 13 Pauline Epistles
    • Peter: oversaw the writing of the Gospel of Mark, authored 1 and 2 Peter

Next week, we tackle the first table of the law (Commandments 1-3, by the Lutheran numbering--there are about 5 different ways to number the Commandments, which we will talk about next week).

Hopefully you can make sense of my notes, if not--please comment and I'll be happy to clarify!

19 August, 2013

Heresy of the Week: Anomœanism

Another Arian heresy this week... a somewhat hard-line sect.
Anomœanism: Anomœanism (also known as Aëtianism, Anomeanism, Eunomianism, or Heterousianism) is a 4th century Arianism sect. It comes from a Greek word, literally meaning “not similar”. They purported that Jesus (the Son) was of a different nature and in no way like God (the Father). They rejected Arian’s later confession adopted to be readmitted into the church and clung to his original teachings. They went farther than semi-Arianism, who also denied the consubstantiality of Jesus, but believed that he was like the Father simultaneously.

12 August, 2013

Heresies of the Week: The Seven Deadly "ism"s

A slight break from my usual heresy of the week post for the seven "ism"s destroying modern Christendom as laid out in Pr. Jonathan Fisk's wonderful book "Broken: 7 "Christian" Rules That Every Christian Ought to Break as Often as Possible".  Not all of these are actual "ism"s, in that they don't all end that way, but they are "ism"s in that they are movements rather than sound doctrine.

Without giving the book away, here are the 7 "ism"s (with their description from the website above):
  • Mysticism: Never follow a rule that follows your liver, your heart, your pancreas, or any other bodily organ that could conceivably have its mind changed by the shifting of the wind.
  • Moralism: Never follow a rule that wasn't written in stone a very, very long time ago (doubly so if the grass is only greener on the other side because it's made of plastic). 
  • Rationalism: Never follow a rule just because it makes sense (especially if it promises to work because it makes sense [and especially, especially if it either contains the words "spirit-led" or can be entirely explained by a petri dish full of midi-chlorians]).
  • Prosperity: Never follow a rule because it benefits you now (and if it mentions "abundance," run screaming from the room).
  • Pragmatism: Never follow a rule that has to start over (again and again … and again …) again.
  • Werechurch: Never follow a rule that doesn't like rules.
  • "Seven Degrees of You": Never follow a rule in order to justify yourself. Seriously.
There really is nothing new here.  Mysticism has been around forever (taking great root in the Gnostic and Arminian movements in particular); Moralism found its way via legalism and asceticism; Rationalism in the enlightenment; Prosperity in the "Prosperity Gospel" movement that is just reiterations of many older movements; Pragmatism is deep in Arminian theology (particularly the Charismatic movement); the "Werechurch" in some Gnostic sects and Antinomians; and the "Seven Degrees of You" is perhaps the most rampant in today's "me-centric" culture that has taken over much of American Christendom.

Heresies are important to study and learn, not only to be obnoxious or drudge up old history (although I'm okay with both of those as well), but because there is nothing new under the sun--and these things recycle themselves over and over and over and over.  I'm not doing this just to hear myself talk (er... read my writing?), but to hopefully remind fellow Christians that doctrine matters.  Sound doctrine matters.  Pure doctrine matters.  False doctrine is deadly.  And that is why I'm so "fixated" on heresies--because, in the end, it really matters.

P.S. Take some time to watch Worldview Everlasting.  It's awesome.

07 August, 2013

Update and New Blog Series

As expected, my New Year's/Lenten Resolution to work on Greek every day has gone by the wayside since the birth of my son (he will be 4 months old tomorrow!), so my plans to do that on my blog have followed accordingly.  At least I've been keeping up about once a week, but that has slowed progress significantly.  And with the political season kicking into gear (since that's what I do in real life), it'll probably stay stagnated like that for the next year or more.

Besides which, Pr. Jonathan Fisk over at Worldview Everlasting does excellent Greek Tuesday videos almost every week (I would highly recommend starting with his recent video on the Lord's Prayer from Luke), and those are much better than anything I could come up with on my humble little blog--so go watch and enjoy!

However, I'd like to have a little more depth to this blog besides just Heresies (as much fun as those are), and occasional theological screeds.

Hump day is now "Church Council Wednesday", which I'll start in the next few weeks (depending on when I have time to queue up my first set of posts on the topic).  I'm not going to go crazy in-depth because there are a plethora of sites that do so already--some of which I will link to in my posts--but I will give a basic overview of each council: reason(s) called, major players, controversies, related heresies, and results of the council.

I've done some research already into them, and have compiled the following color-coded list.  The key below will show you which councils are recognized as ecumenical by which groups.  If I've missed a council, or mislabeled one, please let me know.

Universally recognized as Ecumenical
Recognized as Ecumenical by the Roman Catholic Church
Recognized as Ecumenical by the Eastern Orthodox Church
Not recognized as Ecumenical by any church body
  • Council of Jerusalem (Apostolic Council) (50)
  • First Council of Nicaea (325)
  • First Council of Constantinople (381)
  • Council of Ephesus (431)
  • Second Council of Ephesus (449)
  • Council of Chalcedon (451)
  • Second Council of Constantinople (553)
  • Third Council of Constantinople (680-681)
  • Quinisext Council (Council in Trullo) (692)
  • Council of Hieria (754)
  • Lateran Council (769)
  • Second Council of Nicaea (787)
  • Fourth Council of Constantinople (869-870)
  • Fifth Council of Constantinople (879–880)
  • First Council of the Lateran (1123)
  • Second Council of the Lateran (1139)
  • Third Council of the Lateran (1179)
  • Fourth Council of the Lateran (1215)
  • First Council of Lyon (1245)
  • Second Council of Lyon (1274)
  • Council of Vienne (1311-1312)
  • Council of Constantinople (1341–1351)
  • Council of Pisa (1409)
  • Fifth Council of Constance (1414-1418)
  • Council of Siena (1423–1424)
  • Council of Basel, Ferrara and Florence (1431-1445)
  • Fifth Council of the Lateran (1512-1517)
  • Council of Trent (1545-1563)
  • First Synod of Jerusalem (1583)
  • Second Synod of Jerusalem (1672)
  • First Vatican Council (1870)
  • Second Vatican Council (1962-1965)

I'm also planning on an "Early Church Father of the Month" series, beginning with a list by century of Early Church Fathers.  There are a number of excellent resources online where you can read many of their works, particularly the more "obscure" Fathers (it's much harder to find their writings intact and/or in print), which I've started compiling as well.  I am hopefully that I can get that series up and running this Fall.

Since Google Reader has gone away (I've done much grumbling over this), I've begun listing all the confessional Lutheran blogs I follow on the side.  I haven't quite finished that list yet, but the majority is up there now.

Finally, a little project of mine (the genesis for all the content of this blog, in fact) will hopefully be getting more attention now that I'm sleeping most of the way through the night again.  Stay tuned for more on that in the coming months.

05 August, 2013

Heresy of the Week: Samosatenism

This week's heresy is a precursor of Arianism.
Samosatenism: Samosatenism is a pre-Arianism heresy of the 2nd century. Paul of Samosata (for whom this heresy is named) was one of Arius’ teachers. This heresy proposes that Christ was the adopted Son of the Father, not His Son by nature (in the vein of moderate Adoptionism). Christ was taught to be neither perfect God nor perfect Man. Christ was believed to be a created being, not uncreated as the Father is, and therefore less than fully divine (and thus is an antitrinitarian heresy). This heresy was condemned in 325 at the Council of Nicaea along with Arianism.

29 July, 2013

Heresy of the Week: Mohammedanism

I am largely including this in my list because it is listed in the Book of Concord as a heresy.  What say you as to its status as a heresy?
Mohammedanism: Mohammedanism is listed by Lutherans as a heresy in the 1530 Augsburg Confession. While Islam is not usually considered a Christian heresy, there is some significant evidence suggesting a link to Arianism, and that Mohammed likely based what he used in the Qu’ran from the Bible out of an Arian Bible. Clearly, the Islamic view of Jesus is in line with Arianism by denying His deity. Since they deny the Trinity, this is also an antitrinitarian heresy.

22 July, 2013

Heresies of the Week: Antidicomarian Heresies

This week's heresies are largely just a rose of any other name... the root heresy, Antidicomarianism, was discussed on this blog last year.
Bonosianism: see Antidicomarianism. Bonosianism is a 4th century heresy in line with Antidicomarianism.

Helvidianism: Helvidianism is an Antidicomarianism heresy that denies the perpetual virginity of Mary and says that Jesus had younger siblings born of Mary and Joseph. 
Jovinianism: Jovinianism is an Antidicomarianism heresy, but also taught that once a person is baptized, they cannot sin (Antinomianism). They taught that it was better to be a virgin than marry.

15 July, 2013

New Picture

Thanks to Jennifer Pictorian for the awesome new picture near the top of my blog!  Fits the theme of most of my posts here, no?

Heresies of the Week: Obscure Gnostic Sects, Part 2

Part 2 of the obscure Gnostic sects post.
Naassenism is an early 2nd century Gnosticism sect whose name traces back to the Hebrew word for “snake”. They claim their revelations came from James, the brother of Jesus. The initial Montanism rites appear to have come from this sect. Naassenism is considered an Ophitism Gnosticism sect, along with Borboritism, Mandaeism, Peratism, and Sethianism. Their followers were likely absorbed into the Mandaeism sect. 
Notzrimism (also known as Nazaraiosism) was a 1st and 2nd century Gnosticism sect that were the predecessors of the Nazarenes (a Jewish Christian group who were contemporaries of Ebionitism and still exist today). It is suggested that this sect emerged towards the end of the 1st century as a pre-Mandaeism sect. Very little is known about them other than they believed that all Christian books were fiction and that Jesus was just a character invented by the Apostle Paul. 
Sethianism is a 1st century Gnosticism sect that might even predate Christianity. It is considered the forerunner of Basilidianism and Valentinianism. They were named is after the third son of Adam and Eve, Seth, whom they considered to be divinely incarnate, therefore his offspring are considered a ‘superior elect’ within human society. Like most other Gnostic sects, they preached secret knowledge of multiple heavens and a vastly different creation story from the one in the Old Testament. 
Simonianism (also known as Helenianism) is a 2nd-4th century Gnosticism sect, who, based upon the writings of some early church fathers, appear to have been a rather formidable sect. They were an early Valentinianism Gnosticism sect, to whom they are very similar in dogma, and Simonians were heavily influenced by Aristotle and Stoic physics. Much of their writings were allegorical. It was believed they performed magic and adopted a Greek pantheon of ‘lesser gods’. 
Thomasenism (also known as Thomasinism) is a little-known 1st century sub-Sethianism Gnosticism sect. The only distinct thing that has survived about this sect is that they revered the Apostle Thomas. Like most Gnosticism sects, they likely taught dualism, that matter was evil, etc.

08 July, 2013

Heresies of the Week: Obscure Gnostic Sects, Part 1

There are a number of obscure Gnostic sects about which we know little.  Because the information is so sparse, it seems silly to share just one at a time, so I decided to group them into two posts.  Look for Part 2 next week!
Archonticism is a 2nd and 3rd century Gnosticism sect, whose name comes from the Greek “Archontes”, meaning “rulers”, because they believe the world was created and is ruled by evil Archons. They believed in common Gnosticism ideas, such as seven heavens and that the God of the Old Testament was evil. The Archonti practiced Asceticism and lived in extreme poverty.
Bagnolianism is an 8th century sub-Manichaeism Gnosticism French heresy. Their teachings were almost entirely in line with Manichaeism. The believed the world was eternal, that God did not create the soul when He imbued it into the human body, and rejected the Old Testament and much of the New Testament.
Bosnianism: see Bogomilism. Bosnianism, also known as the Bosnian Church, was a branch of Bogomilism in Bosnia during the Middle Ages. It died out by the time of the Ottoman Conquest. 
Cainitism was a small, little-known 2nd century sect of Gnosticism who were said to worship Cain as the first victim of the “material” god. They were believed to use the Gospel of Judas in their teachings. They believed that, by venerating Cain, they would be able to redeem themselves from Original Sin. This sect was likely influenced by Zoroastrianism, an ancient Persian religion, some of whom also venerated Cain. 
Colobasianism was a 4th century Gnosticism sect of whom little survives. They were considered to have made improvements upon the Gnosticism sects who preceded them, but what those “improvements” were is unknown today. 
Luciferianism is a Gnosticism-related, antitrinitarian heresy that venerates the characteristics of Lucifer, many seeing him not as the Devil but as a guiding spirit and some revering him as the true God rather than the Biblical God. Many make the distinction that this isn’t Satanism because Lucifer is the light bearer aspect of Satan, or that Lucifer is a more positive ideal than Satan.

01 July, 2013

Heresy of the Week: Unitarianism

One day in Bible Study, while discussing Atheism, I posited that Unitarianism (which believes in "everything") is the natural opposite of Atheism (which believes in "nothing").  Thoughts?
Unitarianism is an antitrinitarian heresy, beginning in the 16th century, which teaches God is one person, with no distinctness between the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Sabellianism, on the other hand, simply taught they were different modes in one God (rather than being distinct persons in the Godhead). They believe that Jesus was a prophet and some might even say the “son” of God, but not God himself (an Arianism heresy that is followed by some Unitarians) and that Jesus was born a mere human (Psilanthropism) and, because of his greatness, “adopted” by God (Adoptionism and Socinianism followed by the non-Arianism sect of Unitarianism). They reject the doctrines of Original Sin (humanity is neither inherently corrupt nor inherently virtuous, but capable of both good and evil), predestination, eternal damnation, vicarious sacrifice for atonement, and Biblical Inerrancy (God inspired the work, but humans created errors in recording it), and also deny the virginal birth (Ebionitism). This originally started as a subset of the Anabaptism “radical reformed” movement. They believe that reason, rational thought, science and philosophy coexist with faith in God. They lean towards moderate Universalism in that they believe no one religion has a monopoly on theological truth. The Unitarian ‘church’ still exists today.

27 June, 2013

The Semi-Pelagian Narrower Catechism

This has been floating about on the 'net for quite some time (I have it in printed form from 2003...), but in reading it once again after not seeing it for so long (thanks, momma!), I am in tears--partly because it is so close to the truth it is sad, and partly because it's just darn funny--so I had to share.  While clearly written by a Calvinist, the vast majority of it is excellent satire.

The Semi-Pelagian Narrower Catechism

1. Q: What is the chief end of each individual Christian?
A: Each individual Christian's chief end is to get saved. This is the first and great commandment.  
2. Q: And what is the second great commandment?
A: The second, which is like unto it, is to get as many others saved as he can.

3. Q: What one work is required of thee for thy salvation?
A: It is required of me for my salvation that I make a Decision for Christ, which meaneth to accept Him into my heart to be my personal lord and saviour

4. Q: At what time must thou perform this work?
A: I must perform this work at such time as I have reached the Age of Accountability.

5. Q: At what time wilt thou have reached this Age?
A: That is a trick question. In order to determine this time, my mind must needs be sharper than any two-edged sword, able to pierce even to the division of bone and marrow; for, alas, the Age of Accountability is different for each individual, and is thus unknowable.

6. Q: By what means is a Decision for Christ made?
A: A Decision for Christ is made, not according to His own purpose and grace which was given to me in Christ Jesus before the world began, but according to the exercise of my own Free Will in saying the Sinner's Prayer in my own words.

7. Q: If it be true then that man is responsible for this Decision, how then can God be sovereign?
A: He cannot be. God sovereignly chose not to be sovereign, and is therefore dependent upon me to come to Him for salvation. He standeth outside the door of my heart, forlornly knocking, until such time as I Decide to let Him in.

8. Q: How then can we make such a Decision, seeing that the Scripture saith, we are dead in our trespasses and sins?
A: By this the Scripture meaneth, not that we are dead, but only that we are sick or injured in them.

9. Q: What is the assurance of thy salvation?
A: The assurance of thy salvation is, that I know the date on which I prayed the Sinner's Prayer, and have duly written this date on an official Decision card.

10. Q: What is thy story? What is thy song?
A: Praising my Savior all the day long.

11. Q: You ask me how I know he lives?
A: He lives within my heart.

12. Q: And what else hast thou got in thine heart?
A: I've got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart.

13. Q: Where??
A: Down in my heart!

14. Q: Where???
A: Down in my heart!!

15. Q: What witness aid hath been given us as a technique by which we may win souls?
A: The tract known commonly as the Four Spiritual Laws, is the chief aid whereby we may win souls.

16. Q: What doth this tract principally teach?
A: The Four Spiritual Laws principally teach, that God's entire plan for history and the universe centereth on me, and that I am powerful enough to thwart His divine purpose if I refuse to let Him pursue His Wonderful Plan for my life.

17. Q: What supplementary technique is given by which we may win souls?
A: The technique of giving our own Personal Testimony, in the which we must always be ready to give an answer concerning the years we spent in vanity and pride, and the wretched vices in which we wallowed all our lives until the day we got saved.

18. Q: I'm so happy, what's the reason why?
A: Jesus took my burden all away!

19. Q: What are the means given whereby we may large crowds of souls in a spectacular manner?
A: Such a spectacle is accomplished by means of well-publicized Crusades and Revivals which (in order that none may be loath to attend) are best conducted anywhere else but in a Church.

20. Q: Am I a soldier of the Cross?
A: I am a soldier of the Cross if I join Campus Crusade, Boys' Brigade, the Salvation Army, or the Wheaton Crusaders; of if I put on the helmet of Dispensationalism, the breastplate of Pietism, the shield of Tribulationism, and the sword of Zionism, having my feet shod with the gospel of Arminianism.

21. Q: Who is your boss?
A: My boss is a Jewish carpenter.

22. Q: Hath God predestined vessels of wrath to Hell?
A: God hath never performed such an omnipotent act, for any such thing would not reflect His primary attribute, which is Niceness.

23. Q: What is sanctification?
A: Sanctification is the work of my free Will, whereby I am renewed by having my Daily Quiet Time.

24. Q: What rule hath God for our direction in prayer?
A: The rule that we must bow our hands, close our heads, and fold our eyes.

25. Q: What doth the Lord's Prayer teach us?
A: The Lord's Prayer teacheth us that we must never memorize a prayer, or use one that hath been written down.

26. Q: What's the book for thee?
A: The B-I-B-L-E.

27. Q: Which are among the first books which a Christian should read to his soul's health?
A: Among the first books which a Christian should read are the books of Daniel and Revelation, and The Late Great Planet Earth.

28. Q: Who is on the Lord's side?
A: He who doth support whatsoever is done by the nation of Israel, and who doth renounce the world, the flesh, and the Catholic Church.

29. Q: What are the seven deadly sins?
A: The seven deadly sins are smoking, drinking, dancing, card-playing, movie-going, baptizing babies, and having any creed but Christ.

30. Q: What is a sacrament?
A: A sacrament is an insidious invention devised by the Catholic Church whereby men are drawn into idolatry.

31. Q: What is the Lord's Supper?
A: The Lord's Supper is a dispensing of saltines and grape juice, in the which we remember Christ's command to pretend that they are His body and

32. Q: What is baptism?
A: Baptism is the act whereby, by the performance of something that seems quite silly in front of everyone, I prove that I really, really mean it.

33. Q: What is the Church?
A: The Church is the tiny minority of individuals living at this time who have Jesus in their hearts, and who come together once a week for a sermon, fellowship and donuts.

34. Q: What is the office of the keys?
A: The office of the keys is that office held by the custodian.

35. Q: What meaneth "The Priesthood Of All Believers"?
A: The Priesthood Of All Believers meaneth that there exists no authority in the Church, as that falsely thought to be held by elders, presbyters, deacons, and bishops, but that each individual Christian acts as his own authority in all matters pertaining to the faith.

36. Q: Who is the Holy Spirit?
A: The Holy Spirit is a gentleman Who would never barge in.

37. Q: How long hath the Holy Spirit been at work?
A: The Holy Spirit hath been at work for more than a century: expressly, since the nineteenth-century Revitalization brought about by traveling Evangelists carrying tents across America.

38. Q: When will be the "Last Days" of which the Bible speaketh?
A: The "Last Days" are these days in which we are now living, in which the Antichrist, the Beast, and the Thief in the Night shall most certainly appear.

39. Q: What is the name of the event by which Christians will escape these dreadful entities?
A: The event commonly known as the Rapture, in the which it is our Blessed Hope that all cars driven by Christians will suddenly have no drivers.

40. Q: When is Jesus coming again?
A: Maybe morning, maybe noon, maybe evening, and maybe soon.

41. Q: When the roll, roll, roll, is called up yonder, where will you be?
A: There.

42. Q: Hallelu, hallelu, hallelu, hallelujah!
A: Praise ye the Lord!

43. Q: Praise ye the Lord!
A: Hallelujah!

44. Q: Where will we meet again?
A: Here, there, or in the air.

45. Q: What can a pastor say while all heads are bowed?
A. Yes, I see that hand.

46. Q. How is a person saved?
A. If you walk this aisle…

47. Q. And what requirement is there if you should fall into sin?
A. You just need to rededicate your life to God.

48. Q: Can I hear an Ay-men?
A: Ay-men.

24 June, 2013

Heresies of the Week: Futurism, Historicism, Idealism, and Preterism

Continuing on the theme of the last two weeks, here are four more eschatological views regarding the interpretation of when events in Revelation take place.  When I have time, I'll try and write a post about the Lutheran (and Amillennial) view of when these events occur.
Futurism is a heretical eschatological view that interprets end-time portions of the Bible (specifically, the parable of the Sheep and Goats, Daniel and Revelation) as future literal events. By comparison, Historicism and Preterism say these have already come to pass in a literal, physical sense and Idealism says they are currently occurring in a non-literal, spiritual sense. It, along with Preterism, was conceptualized as a counter to the protestant Historicism heresy by a Roman Catholic Jesuit Priest. 
Historicism is an eschatological protestant heresy which tries to link events that have already happened and people who have already lived with end-times prophesies and beings. The eighteenth century brought about the thought that the Pope (man, not the office) could be the Anti-Christ (a distinction from the Lutheran teaching that the office of the pope is an, not the, Anti-Christ). Catholicism developed Preterism and Futurism as a response to this. Historicists attempt to use timelines and events to predict the end of the world. Millerism is a subset of Historicism that spawned the Seventh-day Adventist church. This is also largely the view of Jehovah’s Witnesses. 
Idealism is a Renaissance-era eschatological heresy that says the establishment of the Kingdom of Heaven on earth is subjective for each individual. The establishment of the Kingdom of Heaven is metaphorical, and has not, cannot and will not literally happen. The only literal fulfillment of prophesies they expect is the Second Coming and Final Judgment, although it is not universally accepted in Idealist circles that even those will physically occur, which makes it starkly different from Futurism, Historicism, and Preterism
Preterism is an eschatological heresy that interprets most of the end times prophesies of the Bible has having been fulfilled before or at destruction of Jerusalem in 70 and that ancient Israel finds its continuation and fulfillment in the Christian church. The other thoughts on doctrine this are Futurism (most common with Premillennialism, this teaches that all the end times prophesies will be literally fulfilled at a future time and place), Historicism (closest to Preterism in that it says end times prophesies have already occurred literally on earth, but they identify these events with other people and places long after the destruction of Jerusalem, and have used these ‘timelines’ to attempt to divine the date of Jesus’ return, as in Millerism), and Idealism (the teaching that the prophesies have been, are, and will be fulfilled in a non-literal, spiritual sense and may be fulfilled differently for each person).