2 creeds councils-heresies


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Why necessary for creeds? Bec. rise of heretical writings and beliefs....

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  • “May I be no man's enemy, and may I be the friend of He who is eternal and abides. May I neverquarrel with those nearest me; and if I do, may I be reconciled quickly. May I wish for all people'shappiness and envy none. May I never rejoice in the ill-fortune of one who has wronged me. When Ihave done or said what is wrong, may I never wait for the rebuke of others, but always rebuke myselfuntil I make amends. May I win no victory that harms either me or my opponent. May I reconcile friendswho are angry with one another. May I, to the extent of my power, give all needful help to my friendsand to all who are in want. May I never fail a friend in danger. When visiting those in grief may I beable by gentle and healing words to soften their pain. May I accustom myself to be gentle and never beangry with people because of circumstances. Amen.” - Eusebius
  • Creeds = a statement of the basic beliefs of a religion Councils = a group of people who are chosen to make rules, laws, or decisions about something Heretics = someone who believes or teaches something that goes against accepted or official beliefs 
  • Power Points are on the church website
  • 313 – Edict of Milan – The Edict of Milan was a letter signed by emperors Constantine I and Licinius that proclaimed religious toleration in the Roman Empire. The letter was issued in AD 313, shortly after the conclusion of the Diocletianic Persecution. Issued in AD 313, in the names of the Emperor Constantine, who ruled the western parts of the empire, and Licinius, who ruled the East. The two Augusti were inMilan to celebrate the wedding of Constantine's younger half-sister Constantia with Licinius.325 - Council of Nicea– Christ was God330 - Constantinople founded – Constantine wanted to restore the empire but unlike Decius and Diocletian who wanted to do it by restoring the pagan religions, Constantine tried to do it by uniting the nation under Christianity. Thus he moved his government out of Rome, the strong hold of pagan religions, and founded Constantinople.354 -Augustine is born361 - Julian the Apostate gains control – Julian wished to bring about a total restoration and reformation of paganism. He not only promoted paganism, but also sought to hinder Christianity. He did so by forbidding Christians from teaching classical literature and writing a book against them mocking Christianity. He also started rebuilding the temple in Jerusalem to refute the Christian claim that its destruction was a fulfillment of OT prophecy.381 - Council of Constantinople – The Holy Spirit is God and reaffirmed Nicea410- Fall of Rome – Rome sacked by the Goths431-Council of Ephesus – Human Beings are Totally Depraved (Pelagianism) – also condemned Nestorius and stated was the bearer of God451 – Council of Chalcedon – Christ is both fully God and fully man – has two natures in union
  • DefinitionsOrthodoxy – Literally “Right Belief”Heresy - an error in an essential doctrine of Christianity – Dr. Brown, “Heresy did not refer to simply any doctrinal disagreement, but to something that seemed to undercut the very basis for Christian existence. Practically speaking, heresy involved the doctrine of God and the doctrine of Christ.”Which came first? Many modern scholars claim Orthodoxy is simply the belief that conquered. There were many beliefs in early Christianity, with no or little agreement, but with time what we know today was simply the belief that beat the others.Implicit Orthodoxy – While Heresy does often precede orthodoxy in the written record, it did not precede it in the common belief of the people. Orthodoxy was implicit until it was challenged.Explicit Heresy – Explicit heresy was a reaction against implicit orthodoxy. Once a heresy arose the Church was forced to clearly define its Orthodoxy. The fact that we see the same heresies arising today shows that there has been, to a large extent, consistency in the orthodoxy it is reacting against.Christianity generates more heresies than any other religion – Why do you think that is? Because other religions focus on right practice while Christianity is not a religion of works but rather of faith, and faith presupposes right belief.Heresies are always “dressed” in Christianity though they are often another religion altogether – “Error, indeed, is never set forth in its naked deformity, lest, being thus exposed, it should at once be detected. But it is craftily decked out in an attractive dress, so as, by its outward form, to make it appear to the inexperienced more true than truth itself. -Irenaeus “Against Heresies 1.2”
  • One of the earliest Christian heresies– Probably started before the NT cannon was even complete. In fact many think that the language of John’s writings is specifically crafted to exclude gnostic thoughts. For example “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14Gnostic TeachingsGnosis – a secret knowledge – The secret knowledge allowed people to be free of their physical bodiesThe material world is evil – The world was created by a mistake of a lower God. It denied the biblical view of creation as well as the resurrectionEvil and good are in constant conflict – dualism – There is no one God who is completely in controlDocetism – Christ only appeared to be human – Because the material world is evil it was repulsive to the gnostic sentiment to think of the incarnation. They taught that Christ seemed to be human, but really wasn’t. In this way they removed the historical facts of Christianity.Christ as mediator – They taught that Christ was mediator, but not in the way we understand. They said that he didn’t come to die (he couldn’t since he only appeared to be human), but to teach us the secret gnosis. In this way they changed Christian teaching that puts emphasis in the person of Christ, not in his teachings to one that puts emphasis in the teachings of Christ. This is also a mistake of liberal and emergent Christianity.Gnostic infiltration of Christianity – Three Paths - There were three paths that allowed Gnostic ideas to infiltrate Christianity. First, asceticism which was focused on self-denial already had a low view of the material world and saw flesh as evil. Second, charismatic tendencies disliked the idea of restricting revelation to Scripture alone, but instead wanted more knowledge. Third, speculative philosophy created a desire to know more than was taught in scriptures alone.Syncretistic Christianity – While not naturally syncretistic, as Christianity moved into the second century it saw a time of relative peace. This allowed people to play with Christianity. Dr. Brown says “It was not so much that the Christians toyed with Gnosticism as that the Hellenistic world was trying to integrate Christ into its thinking without being profoundly changed by him, and proposed Gnosticism to the church as a means to this end.” How does our culture try to integrate Christianity, without being changed by it?
  • Was a gnostic –Distinction between the Old Testament Creator and God the FatherCreated the first cannon – Excluded the Old Testament completely and many parts of the New Testament. Saw Christ as the revelation of God the Father to free us from the Creator – Christ was not equal to God the Father, but was a lower spirit who appeared to be human to teach us the knowledge to be free from the Creator.Law vs. Gospel distinction – Taught that the law and gospel were completely at odds with each other since the law had come from a evil god while the gospel from a good god.How do we understand and use the Old Testament law today?
  • Roots of the controversy-Apologists desired to reconcile the Bible with classical philosophy, which tells us that the Divine cannot be fully understood by the mortal. Justin Martyr relied on the doctrine of Logos to reconcile these views, saying that God spoke to us through Jesus. Arius took this view a step further and said that Jesus was an intermediary deity; a created being who was less than God, but more than man (there was a time when He was not). Two sides: Arius and Athanasius-these presbyters, both from Alexandria, took opposite sides of the issue. Arius accused Athanasius of believing in two gods. He said that Jesus was created first and was the highest being, but was not fully God. Athanasius said that the church had, from the earliest time, accepted Christ as God without question, and that Arius was defying the church’s teaching.“Arius of Alexandria, I am the talk of all the town. Friend of saints, elect of heaven,filled with learning and renown. If you want the Logos-doctrine, I can serve it steaming hot. God begatHim and before He was begotten He was not.”Christ’s divinity: what’s at stake? Can Christ be savior if he was not God?What’s at stake here is man’s salvation, because Christ’s work and person are inseparable. If Christ is not God, He cannot be our Savior. The Council of Nicea-Emperor Constantine, alarmed that this growing controversy might threaten the stability of his empire, called a council in Nicea, a small town in Asia Minor (modern Turkey). This was the first of all the councils. Nearly 300 bishops were called to come. Many had to travel long distances, and many still bore the marks of persecution in their bodies. Arianism was the most important of many issues that were discussed at the council.The council’s verdict-A small number of Arians were in attendance. Because Arius was not a bishop, he was not allowed to attend. But his follower, Eusebius of Nicomedia, was extremely confident that Arianism, once explained, would be accepted by all. You can imagined how surprised he was, once he started reading his argument to hear shouts of “You lie!” and “Blasphemy!” from the bishops. Eventually the speech was snatched from his hands, torn up, and trampled. It was clear now to this assembly that no compromise could be reached: Arianism was a dangerous heresy that had to be rejected. A vote was cast and Arianism lost by a fairly wide margin: only two (of 300) voted in its favor.The Nicene Creed-the council became convinced that they must set down a formal refutation of Arianism. Initially, they used Scripture alone, but found that Arians could easily twist selected passages for their own use. Instead, they chose to write a creed, based in Scripture, that would express in no uncertain terms the deity of Christ.
  • Pelagius’ belief on human nature – bishop from England. Adam was created mortal, and would have died, even if he had not sinned.Adam’s fall injured himself alone, not the human race. Children come into the world in the same condition in which Adam was before the fall. The human race neither dies in consequence of Adam’s fall, nor rises again in consequence of Christ’s resurrection. Unbaptized children, as well as others, are saved.  The law, as well as the gospel, leads to the kingdom of heaven. Even before Christ there were sinless men.Humans are not corrupted from birth – each of us are born with complete freedom. We are not born under sin until we choose to sin. Adam merely left a bad example for us, but did not in anyway change the natural state of man. Humans are free to choose to sin or not sin – even after sinning each of us has the ability to choose to sin or not sin. The human will is completely free.Augustine's refutation of Pelagius – life of AugustineOriginal sin – Taught that even from birth that human nature was corrupted and under sin. People aren’t sinners because they sin, but rather sin because they are sinners. If Adam merely set a bad example then Christ only needed to set a good example.The freedom of the will – The human will is free to choose that which is in its nature to choose. Therefore the fallen human nature will always choose to sin. Tiger/Lamb example.
  • 2 creeds councils-heresies

    1. 1. A brief examination of church history
    2. 2. 1. Introduction (Continental Europe)2. The Church Fathers 9. The Reformation (the3. Creeds, Councils, and British Isles) Heretics 10. The Puritans and4. The Cannon Colonial America5. Eastern Orthodoxy 11. 1st and 2nd Great6. Roman Catholicism Awakenings7. The Crusades and Islam 12. Liberal Christianity8. The Reformation 13. Retrospect and Prospect
    3. 3.  313 – Edict of Milan 315 – Arian Controversy Begins 325 - Council of Nicea 330 - Constantinople founded 354 - Augustine is born 361 - Julian the Apostate gains control 381 - Council of Constantinople 410- Fall of Rome 431- Council of Ephesus 451 - Council of Chalcedon
    4. 4.  Definitions  Orthodoxy – Literally “Right Belief”  Heresy - an error in an essential doctrine of Christianity Which came first?  Implicit Orthodoxy  Explicit Heresy Christianity generates more heresies than any other religion Heresies are always “dressed” in Christianity though they are often another religion altogether
    5. 5.  One of the earliest Christian heresies Gnostic Teachings  Gnosis – a secret knowledge  The material world is evil  Evil and good are in constant conflict – dualism  Docetism – Christ only appeared to be human  Christ as mediator Gnostic infiltration of Christianity  Three paths  Syncretistic Christianity
    6. 6.  Was a gnostic Distinction between the Old Testament Creator and God the Father Created the first cannon Saw Christ as the revelation of God the Father to free us from the Creator Law vs. Gospel
    7. 7.  Roots of the controversy Two sides: Arius and Athanasius Christ’s divinity: what’s at stake? The Council of Nicea The council’s verdict The Nicene Creed
    8. 8.  We believe in one God,  On the third day he rose again the Father, the Almighty, in accordance with the Scriptures; maker of heaven and earth, he ascended into heaven of all that is, seen and unseen. and is seated at the right hand of the We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, Father. He will come again in glory to the only Son of God, judge the living and the dead, eternally begotten of the Father, and his kingdom will have no end. God from God, Light from Light,  We believe in the Holy Spirit, the true God from true God, Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds begotten, not made, from the Father and the Son. of one Being with the Father. With the Father and the Son he is Through him all things were made. worshiped and glorified. For us and for our salvation He has spoken through the Prophets. he came down from heaven: We believe in one holy catholic and by the power of the Holy Spirit apostolic Church. We acknowledge one he became incarnate from the Virgin baptism for the forgiveness of sins. Mary, and was made man. We look for the resurrection of the For our sake he was crucified under dead, and the life of the world to come. Pontius Pilate; he suffered death and Amen. was buried.
    9. 9.  Pelagius’ belief on human nature  Humans are not corrupted from birth  Humans are free to choose to sin or not sin Augustines refutation of Pelagius  Original sin  The freedom of the will
    10. 10.  Augustine was born in 354 in Northern Africa His father was a pagan, but his mother, Monica, was a devout Christian Went to Rome to teach Rhetoric and eventually moved to Milan Started listening to Ambrose’s sermons and was eventually converted by what he heard Eventually moved back to Northern Africa and became Bishop of Hippo Wrote many books against heresies and defending the Christian faith Died as the Vandals were conquering the Roman empire