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Thursday, 1 March 2018


                  ‘BISI OLUWOLE
                (Date: May, 2016).

This paper work gives short notes on different heresies and wrong teachings that some of the heretics has committed in the early time of the Church. It will also discuss about some councils convoked in settling and correcting the heresies.

Heresy came to mean a baptised persons willfully and persistent dissent from orthodox doctrine of faith. At times the challenge of heresy has encouraged the solemn definition of the Church’s teaching. The Church’s teaching in all its forms, which is intended not only to communicate orthodox beliefs but also to feed Christian life and worship. It has sometimes being contaminated with wrong teachings of some individuals in the early Church’s life, but corrected with authentic with teaching of faith.

The principal heresy which denied the true Divinity of Jesus Christ, So called after its author Arius. Arius was a priest in the Catholic Church. Arius maintained that the son of God was not eternal but was created by the father from nothing. He said that Jesus was not God by nature but a changeable creature. This called for council of Nicaea in 325 A.D. Athanasius defined Catholic faith in the coeternity   and equality of the father and the son; the famous term homonoouios was used to express their consusbstantiality.

This Nestorianism is on the doctrine that Jesus existence is in two persons, the man Jesus and the divine son of God. This was identified by Nestorius. Nestorius argued against call Mary the mother of God as the Church was beginning to do. He maintained this with respect to his humanity. Nestorius so fully divided the Divine and the human in Christ that he taught a double personality or a twofold being in Christ; it became incumbent on his opponents to emphasize the unity in Christ and to exhibit the God-man, not as two beings but as one.

This is an error that refused to accept Caecilia, bishop of Carthageian the ground that his consecrator had been a traditor in the Dioclematic persecution. This came into faith in 316-321. King Donatus was theologically rigorous and maintained that they alone formed the Church. Donates drew on African regional, Numidiary jealousy of Carthage, and economic unrest. This brought Schism to the Church in 7th-8th Centuries. A commission under Miltrade, Bishop of Rome, investigated the dispute and decides against the Donatists.

This is a heresy associated with Eutyches. He lived between 378-454, A head of large Monastery in Constantinople. He was acknowledging only on Divine nature or physis of Christ after incarnation. A monophysite view which denies that Christ also has a human nature like ours. It means that there were two natures before, it only one after, the union in the incarnate Christ, and was thus the real beginning of Monophysitism.

This heresy maintained that Jesus was the human son of Joseph and Mary and that the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove delighted on Him at His baptism, and overemphasized on the binding character of the mosaic. The Ebionites rejected the Paulist epistles and to have used only one Gospel.

It is a theological and spiritual movement, characterised by moral rigidity about the human condition. It is named after Cornelius Otto Jansen.(1585-1638 ). He is consecrated bishop of Ypres, Belgium. Jansen wanted to encourage a true transformation of Catholic Church Doctrine and morals.
The heresy is that without a special grace from God, the performance of His commands is impossible to man, and that the operation of grace is irresistible; hence man is the victim of either a natural or a supernatural determinism, limited only by not being coercive.

This heresy is the one committed by Marcion and a religious movement that based on the teachings of the 2nd century. Marcion denied that the God of the Old Testament was the same God represented in the New Testament. Marcion was a native of scope in Pontus, he made his way to Rome 140 A.D and attached himself to the local Church; he was excommunicated in 144 A.D.

The heresy that so stressed the divine unity to assert that the father, son and Holy Spirit are only distinctions made by the human mind are not personally distinct. It came about in the early Church a form of unorthodox teaching on Trinity which denied the permanence of the three persons in one God.

It is a heresy concerning Christ nature which is one. The nature was either divine or a synthesis of divine and human: monophysitism which maintains that Christ maintained two natures, one divine and one human, after the incarnation. This heresy expressed its own Christological doctrine in the obstinately repeated preposition; I confess that before the union our Lord consisted of two natures, but after the union I confess on single nature.

A 7th century heresy confessing only one will in Christ. Under the auspices of the emperor Monophysites and chalcedonians was produced in 624; it asserted two natures In Christ but only one mode of activity or energy. Sergius wrote about this in 634 A.D. Pope in his reply used the unfortunate expression “one will” in Christ this controversy was finally settled in 681 A.D. when the third Council of Constaatinople proclaim the existence of two wills in Christ: Divine and Human.

This is the belief in one and only one personal, all-powerful, all-knowing, all-loving God, who is the creator and Lord of everyone and everything and yet exists distinct from and beyond the universe. In 19th century, it was frequently maintained that the religious beliefs of man has progressed from animism by way of polytheism to monotheism, but this theory is now less widely held.

A 2nd century apocalyptic movement; its adherents expected a speedy outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Church, saw the first manifestation of this in own leader. This was initiated by Monatnus, a pagan priest.

The doctrine that only, material phenomena can be the subject of real knowledge and that all knowledge of such entities as a Divine Being and supernatural world is impossible. This is the position that the existence and nature of a god or gods are unknown. It also refers to one who believes that it is impossible to know whether there is a God. Agnosticism is compatible with all but the most dogmatic of religious fathers.

It is a complex religious movement which in its Christian form came into prominence in the 2nd century. A central issue was attached to “gnosis”, the supposedly revealed knowledge of God and of the origin and destiny of mankind, by means of interior element

This is the view that was proposed by Apollinaris of Laodicea that Jesus coult not  Have had a human mind rather Jesus had a human body and lower soul but a divine mind. Apollinarianism and Eutychianism were two forms of monophysitism.

The dogmatic formula expressing the doule procession of the Holy Spirit added by the western Chusrch  to the Nicene Creed immediately after the words, the Holy Ghost. i.e who proceeds from the father. It first met with as an interpolation at the third council of Toledo in 589.

Council of Nicaea (325)
First Ecumenical Council of the Catholic Church, held in 325 on the occasion of the heresy of Arius (Arianism). As early as 320 or 321 St. Alexander, Bishop of Alexandria convoked a council at Alexandria at which more than one hundred bishops from Egypt and Libya anathematized Arius. This was the first council in the Church. It opened on 19th June in the presence of the emperor, but it is uncertain who presided over the sessions. The bold text in the profession of faith of the 318 fathers constitutes the council according to tanner. The additions made by the council to an underlying form of the creed.

Chalcedon (451)
The Fourth Ecumenical Council, held in 451, from 8 October until 1 November inclusive, at Chalcedon, a city of Bithynia in Asia Minor. Its principal purpose was to assert the orthodox Catholic doctrine against the heresy of Eutyches and the Monophysites, although ecclesiastical discipline and jurisdiction also occupied the council's attention.
the council of Chalcedon was convened by emperor Marcion with the reluctant approval of Pope Leo the Great. It issued the Chalcedonian definition which repudiated the notion of a single nature in Christ and declared that he has two natures in one person. It also insisted on the completeness of his two natures: Godhead and manhood.

Ephesus (431)
This is the third ecumenical council held in 431 A.D. the idea of this great council seems to have been due to Nestorius the Bishop of Constantinople. The Emperor was able to take this course without seemed to favour Nestorius had excommunicated for their opposition to his heretical teaching had also appealed to him to call together a council.

This concerned the controversy on the veneration of icons which agitated the Greek Church from 725 to 842. In 726 the emperor; Leo III published a decree declaring all images idols and ordering their distruction, Disturbances and persecution. It claims that, the icons of Jesus and Blessed Virgin Mary divided their unity.

Heresies can now be referred to as denial or doubt of a defined truth. Heresy is by its very nature a grave sin. One who does not believe will be condemned (Mk 16:16). Heresy always includes schism because a heretic cuts himself away from the unity of the Church. Succinctly, heresies are denial of the doctrines of the Church about the Divinity and human nature of Christ. The heretics who are stiff necked are sometimes breaking from the Church or excommunicated. So, these heresies are the issues that the Church Fathers were responding to in their teachings.

Wiiliam A. Jurgens, The Faith of the Early Father Vol.2, The Liturgical Press Collegeville Minnesota, USA, 1979.

Elizabeth A. Livingstone, Ed. The Concise Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, Oxford University       Press, New York, 1997.

Gerald O. Collins, S.J. and Edward G. Fairugia, S.J. A Concise Dictionary of Theology, Paulist Press, USA, 2000.

  Karl Baus, et al; The Imperial Church from Constantine to the Early Middles’ Ages,  Burn and Oates, USA, 1980,

Charles E. Curran and Richard A. McCormit S.J. Moral Theology No 5: Official Catholic SocialTeaching, Paulist Press, New York, 1986.

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