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.

25 February, 2013

Heresy of the Week: Molinism

By special request, this week's heresy was mentioned on the YouTube live recording of Table Talk Radio show #239 (where I got 2,000 TTR points, by the way).

Molinism is a 16th century protestant Semi-Pelagian heresy (of a largely Calvinist bent) that attempts to reconcile predestined action and free will. Molina taught that God has three sets of knowledge, obtained by God in this order: necessary truths, “middle” knowledge (or counterfactuals) and free knowledge (the ontology of the world). They believe that God uses His “middle” knowledge and foreknowledge to survey all possibilities (somewhat like multiple realities) and then actualize whichever one He wants to come to pass. Essentially, it was used to try and explain that while we still have free will (we can and do choose whatever action we want in some realm of existence) that God still has final control to make His predetermined outcome ultimately occur. Molina believed that one could learn about salvation by understanding this concept. This attempt was made to try bringing Arminianism (free will) and Calvinism (predestination) into harmony.

19 February, 2013

Heresy of the Week: Kenosism

This week's heresy is yet another example, as is often the case with heresies, of attempting to over-explain or understand a foundational doctrine of the Church as a way to make some of the more "incomprehensible" bits make sense to our human minds.  Rather than leaving these issues to faith, some feel it necessary to explain them into oblivion and ignore clear doctrine to "understand" some of the mysteries of our faith.

Kenosism comes from the Greek word “kenoo”, which means “to empty”, and is a 19th century Arianism heresy promoted by an errant German Lutheran theologian, Gottfried Thomasius. This heresy teaches that Christ voluntarily gave up some of His Divine attributes (specifically, omniscience, omnipresence and omnipotence) in order to function as a man and better fulfill His redemptive mission. While this would make sense to humans, without Christ being fully God and fully man, His redemptive death loses its power and meaning for us.

17 February, 2013

Sunday Night Humor

A little more low-key than my usual posts, thought you all might enjoy some stand-up from my Pastor, Bryan Wolfmueller.

11 February, 2013

Lent is coming!

This Wednesday, 13 February, marks the beginning of Lent--Ash Wednesday.  It falls on my mom's birthday this year (happy birthday, mom!).  Lent (and Holy Week) is my favorite season in the church year.  Lent is a time of penitence and reflection.  Purple, the liturgical color for this season, is a reminder of that penitence.

To focus us on what was given for us in the culmination of this season--Good Friday--many often "give up" something for Lent, something that they would normally do, use, eat, etc. so that every time you think about it, you also pause to think about what Lent means and signifies.  In addition to giving something up for Lent, I also try to pick up a good habit.  So, this year for Lent, what I'm doing is...

  • Giving up Facebooking from my phone (which is where I do a majority of my Facebooking)
  • Renewing my study of Koine Greek (starting with reviewing the basics, which I already sort of know, and then doing the next best thing to immersion (since it is a dead language)--translating, beginning with Romans, because it is my favorite book of the Bible and I'm ambitious like that)
  • Attempting to get myself into good exercising habits
Hopefully you will reap the benefits of my Greek study as I chronicle it on here (to help keep me accountable).  Passing on any resources you know of that might benefit my learning would be appreciated.

A blessed Lent season to you all!

Heresy of the Week: Eutychianism and Miaphysitism

Because they are related, this week's heresy is a two-for-one: Eutychianism and Miaphysitism.  Both are subsets of Monophysitism, which, as the name might suggest, are heresies that teach Christ only having one nature (sometimes Divine, sometimes Human, and for a variety of reasons or by different means).

Eutychianism is a Monophysitism heresy. This sect teaches that the human nature of Christ was overcome by the divine aspects, or that His human nature was unlike the rest of humanity—it was often stressed that the unity of Christ’s nature was to such an extent that His divinity consumed His humanity. Eutyches (for whom this heresy is named) said that Christ was of two natures, but not in two natures (i.e. that he was homoousian with the Father, but not homoousian with His humanity). Eutychianism was condemned at the Council of Chalcedon in 451, where the Chalcedonian Creed was written to counter the Eutychian and Miaphysitism heresies. This reaction by the Council lead to the schism with the Oriental Orthodoxy Church.

Miaphysitism is a moderate form of Monophysitism (teaching that both natures are merged into one, rather than that the divine subsumes the human). After the 451 Council of Chalcedon, where the two natures of Christ were affirmed, this belief caused a split with the Oriental Orthodoxy Church (other issues, including political, were also at play), who still practice Miaphysitism today (although they object to that term being used to describe them).

05 February, 2013

Heresy of the Week: Euchitism

While not still practiced (at least en masse), many themes from this week's heresy are present in modern protestantism, particularly, dismissal of the sacraments, that God "reveals" Himself to us mystically (rather than through His Word), and that we can save ourselves (even though most protestant churches would deny teaching that, they clearly do).

Euchitism, also known as Messalianism (both of which mean “one who prays” in Greek and Syriac, respectively), was first condemned as heretical at a synod in 383, and persisted well into the 12th century, being condemned again by resolution at the 1231 Council of Trier. It is considered to have influenced Bogomilism. This heretical sect taught “mystical materialism” and promoted a few strange teachings: first, that the essence (“ousia”) of the Trinity can be perceived by human senses; second, that the threefold (not triune) God transforms Himself into a single substance to unite with the souls of the perfect; third, that God takes different forms in order to reveal Himself to human senses; fourth, such revelations to the senses, and only such revelations, confer perfection upon a Christian; and fifth, that this state of perfection, which frees one from the world and passion, is only attained through prayer, therefore they eschewed the church, baptism and any sacraments. Once a person had experienced God with their senses, they were called the “perfecti” and freed from all moral obligations (Antinomianism). Some opponents have accused this sect of incest, cannibalism and other debauchery.