free choice: and there was one not three?

Goethe was enchanted by Gottfried Arnold’s “The Impartial History of the Church and the Heretics,” writing, ” that every man in the end came to have his own religion, and now it seemed to me the most natural thing in the world that I should devie my own; which I did with great comfort…” To devise one’s own religion- that is, in fact, exactly what hersy is: private choice, the opposite of orthodoxy which is not chosen but imposed and accepted….

—And as with any new obsession, once you start to learn the ins and outs, you start seeing it everywhere. Recently, I’ve been seeing signs of the heresies in Doonesbury:This distinction between God and His son smacks of Arianism. I suspect a lot of present-day Christians are Arian heretics without realizing it.—Read More: 

However dangerous, an injection of mysticism was necessary to the Church. Periodically, it reinflated the sagging body. It also lifted it over some of the jagged texts of Scripture which might otherwise have punctured it. But not everyone is capable of skipping lightly over solid difficulties, and there have always been some men, even within the Church, who insist on facing them, even if they are thereby forced to disturbing consequences.

—The First Ecumenical Council was summoned by Emperor Constantine the Great in 325, May 20th. The Council assembled at Nicaea in the province of Bithynia of Asia Minor and was formally opened by Constantine himself. …
The main reason for its being called was the Arian controversy. Arius, a presbyter (priest) from Alexandria, held that Jesus Christ was created by God and denying Christ’s divinity. Arius argued that if Jesus was born, then there was time when He did not exist; and if He became God, then there was time when He was not. Arius’ original intent was to attack another heretical teaching by which the three persons of the Godhead were confused (Sabellianism).
A number of bishops followed Arius, and the Church went into her first and perhaps deepest division of faith.—Read More:

At first such men were few. Critics could stay outside the Church, and converts, when they swallow, swallow whole. But with the rise of learning in a Christian society, Biblical critics arose who were not afraid of following their rational conclusions  even into heresy. They were never very many, but their impact was great. It was they, for instance, who, in the sixteenth-century, refloated the long-wrecked hulk of Arianism and converted the simple, puritan intolerance of barbarian tyrants into the rationalized belief of a Servetus or a Priestly. It was they who, slowly and painfully, built up the irreversible science of Biblical criticism, and thereby devalued orthodoxy and heresy alike.

—St. Remigius Baptizes Clovis, by the Master of St. Gilles. Clovis, king of the Franks, became Catholic instead of Arian, changing the religious history of Europe. (Arianism taught that Jesus was a lesser being than God the Father, and thus denied the Trinity.)—Read More:

Puritanism, millenarianism, mysticism, rationalism, in sum are the four permanent sources of heresy. None of them are necessarily heretical; all of them, at times, have been contained within the Church. Nor need they be radical. All have been held, at times, by fundamentally conservative men. But at certain times and at certain places, something has happened to swell these streams into floods, threatening the whole structure of Church and society. …


(see link at end)…Scholars trained in the schools of Greek philosophy and rationality did not entirely lose

ir mind when they became Christian theologians. It was quite reasonable, therefore, for them to proceed from the concept of a single, universal creator god to the proposition that whatever else Christ may have been, he was less than the supreme god, a subordinate deity somewhere between man and the Almighty.

This, in a nutshell, was the view of Arius, a theorizing presbyter in 4th century Alexandria.

“A creation,” said Arius, “is less than its creator. The Son is less than the Father that ‘begot’ him. In the Beginning was the Creator God and the Son did not exist.”

It was a simple theology, one that had a certain rationality and also the merit that it could be readily understood. It showed the influence upon Arius of Alexandrian neo-Platonism, and more particularly, the speculations of Lucian of Antioch.

Borrowing freely from the lexicon of pre-Christian philosophers, Greek words like ‘ousia’ (essence), ‘hypostasis’ (substance), ‘physis’ (nature), and ‘hyposopon’ (person), were given new ‘Christian’ meanings by Arius and those who came after him. Read More:

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