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.

29 April, 2013

Heresy of the Week: Bogomilism

This week's heresy is a branch of Gnosticism, from which one of the heresies we already covered (Albigensism) comes.
Bogomilism is a heresy of the Gnosticism branch founded in the First Bulgarian Empire, and was formed as a political movement in opposition to both the Bulgarian church and state. Bogomils called for a return to early Christianity by rejecting church hierarchy and resisting both church and state authorities. Bogomils were dualists, believing the world was not created by God but by the Devil (the spiritual realm was good and governed by God, the material world was sinful and governed by Satan). They eschewed icons and buildings, preferring the outdoors for worship. Bosnianism was a localized sect of Bogomilism. They were believed to be influenced by Euchitism. Bogomilism was accused of being a Neo-Manichaean (Manichaeism) movement.

22 April, 2013

Heresy of the Week: Montanism

This week's heresy shows that holy rollers aren't a recent phenomenon...
Montanism (also known as Cataphrygianism and Phrygianism) was a 2nd century heresy that ultimately was the precursor of the Charismatic and Pentecostal movements. Montanism survived in limited pockets until the 8th century. It was a prophetic movement that relied on the spontaneity of the Holy Ghost and a more conservative personal moral. They called themselves “spiritales” (meaning “spiritual people”), while their opponents called them “psychici” (meaning “carnal, natural people”). They believed that they received modern prophesies through ecstatic, frenzied behavior and speaking in tongues. Often their “prophesies” contradicted the Bible and orthodox Christian doctrine. They believed many of their prophesies cleared up “ambiguities” in Scripture and believed their new prophesies superseded Scripture. Montanists believed that if a believer “fell from grace”, they were permanently lost and could not ever be brought to repentance. Some Montanists were Quartodecimanism believers. They recognized female bishops and ministers. They were strict followers of Asceticism.

15 April, 2013

Heresy of the Week: Impanationism

This week's heresy deals with the Eucharist, and has been condemned by both Lutherans and Catholics.
Impanationism is an Eucharistic heresy styled after the Incarnation (that the Son was made flesh in Jesus) which teaches that “God is made bread” in the Eucharist. This means that the divine attributes of God are shared with the bread via the Son’s body. While considered similar to the real presence teaching of Consubstantiation, the Lutherans rejected it as heretical in the 1577 Formula of Concord. The Catholic Church also rejects this teaching as heretical.

08 April, 2013

Heresy of the Week: Jansenism

This week's heresy comes to us from the Reformation era, blending bits of Catholicism with Calvin's TULIP principles (and a little bit of Arminianism).  For those not familiar with TULIP, it stands for: Total Depravity (or, "Original Sin"), Unconditional Election (or, "no free will"--the Lutheran interpretation of this idea is similar but not quite the same, although we sometimes call it by the same name), Limited Atonement (or, "God predestined some to heaven..."--unless you're a double predestinationist, which adds to the end, "...and the rest to hell"), Irresistible Grace (or "if God 'elected' you to salvation, you have no free will to reject it"), and Perseverance of the Saints (or "once saved, always saved").
Jansenism was a 16th-18th century French Calvinist-flavored movement within the Catholic Church that arose out of the Council of Trent (1545-1563), with emphasis on original sin, human depravity, the need for divine grace (with huge weight placed on efficacious grace) and predestination. They believed that there are some commandments no human could ever keep no matter how hard they tried, and that it was impossible to resist grace. They subscribed to the Semi-Pelagianism teaching that man may both resist and ‘accept’ grace. By Pope Innocent X’s papal bull in 1653, Jansenism was condemned as heretical.

02 April, 2013

Heresy of the Week: Donatism

I'd consider this week's heresy to be a precursor to pietism and the Anabaptists, but that's just me.  
Donatism is a North African (Tunisia and Algeria-area) heresy of the 4th and 5th centuries. Donatists, like their predecessors of the Novatianism flavor, were rigorists (practicing Asceticism, and filled with Legalism) and held that the church must be one of saints, not sinners. It was considered that Sacraments performed by those deemed unworthy (the traditores—those who gave up the Scriptures to the authorities, turned over other Christians or gave incense offerings to Roman Gods to save their lives from martyrdom by the state, or those living with a great enough sin) were not valid—they even began to practice re-baptism of those baptized by “unworthy” individuals. They in particular revered martyrs and martyrdom. Donatism was condemned in 314 Synod of Aries, because by denying the Sacraments performed by some ordained bishops and priests, they were denying the authority of the Church. This heresy survived until the Arab conquest of North Africa in the 7th and 8th centuries.