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 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.