Christian Trivia #5 asked how many ‘persons’ were present at the Transfiguration event. It was kind of a trick question to see if you picked up that the Father and the Son are each persons even though they are ONE God. This is what we call “The Trinity”: One God – 3 Persons.
Today, the vast majority of Christians today are “Trinitarian” – they believe in the Trinity. This seems like a no-brainer.
But it wasn’t always like that for Christians. There were many erroneous teachings about Jesus in the early centuries of Christianity. Some incorrect ideas of who Jesus was became accepted by many Christians and some even lasted many decades until they died off in favor of the true Apostolic teaching. So these Christians did not deny Christ, they just had a flawed understanding of who He was.
These false beliefs were called “heresies”. The word heresy comes from the Greek word ”haireo” which means to choose. The idea is that these false teachings were chosen by Christians rather than accepting the Apostolic teaching which comes Divinely protected by Christ.
But those Christians chose to follow either their own ideas or a popular idea presented by another Christian about the faith. Someone believing a heresy is called a heretic.
So, Trivia #6 is about the early heresies that popped up concerning exactly who Jesus was.
Name at least 3 heresies that mischaracterized who Jesus was.
I’ll give you hints:
1. Jesus was a Divine being, but not the same substance as the Father. He was a created being, He had a beginning – created by the Father.
2. Jesus was Divine, but actually only Spirit who only appeared to have a human body. His human form was only an illusion to those who saw Him.
3. God was one God, but acted in 3 modes – the Son (Jesus) being one of the modes of God. Kind of like saying I am one person, but I can assume 3 modes: a brother, a son, and a father - all at the same time. This heresy denied that God was 3 Persons and therefore rejected that Jesus was a distinct Person.
Obviously, you can look these up – I don’t expect you to know them off hand. It’s an “open internet” quiz.
(Yes, they're getting harder.)
Been a long time between Trivia questions, and nobody took a stab at this one. Probably a good reason. It was a little overboard for a trivia question. I'll let you off the hook.ReplyDelete
Here are the answers:
3 ancient heresies that mischaracterized who Jesus was:
1. ARIANISM: Jesus was a Divine being, but not the same substance as the Father.
He was a created being, He had a beginning – created by the Father.
This heresy was started in the 3rd century by a bishop named Arius. The belief spread throughout the Roman Empire and divided Christianity to such an extent that it led to the first Christian Council (after the Jerusalem Council recorded in Acts 15) - the Council of Nicea. The Roman Emperor Constantine called all the Christian leaders together in AD325 to settle this dispute in a town called Nicea (in what is now Turkey).
Why did Constantine care? Because hundreds of thousands of pagans had converted to Christianity by then and they had become a positive influence that had a unifying effect on the Empire. But Constantine knew that a fractured Christian community threatened the harmony of his Empire.
At the council, arguments were presented to the 318 leaders by both Arius and those representing the traditional, Apostolic position that Jesus was in fact, God. The final vote was 316-2 against Arius and the statement defining the divinity of Jesus as "the same substance" as God the Father was written into the "Nicene Creed". This is the same Creed recited in many Christian services around the world today 1600 years later. (I even remember saying it in our church growing up.)
2. DOCETISM: Jesus was Divine, but actually only Spirit who only appeared to have a human body. His human form was only an illusion to those who saw Him. Those Christians who followed this idea were known as Docetists.
John even warns against this idea in his 2nd epistle:
“Many false teachers have appeared in the world, who will not acknowledge that Jesus Christ has come in human flesh; here is the deceiver you were warned against, here is Antichrist.” 2 John 1:7
3. MODALISM or Sabellianism (named after Sabellius, a theologian and priest in the 3rd century): God is one God, but acts in 3 modes – the Son (Jesus) being one of the modes of God. Kind of like saying I am one person, but I can assume 3 modes: a brother, a son, and a father - all at the same time. Another false analogy often used to describe the Trinity is that God is like water, but can exist in 3 different modes: vapor (steam), liquid (water), solid (ice).
This heresy denied that God was 3 Persons and therefore rejected that Jesus was a distinct Person and rejected what the Apostles taught - the Trinity: One God in 3 persons.