Tuesday, May 14, 2013


As we've seen from the "Know Your Heretics" series, Christology can be a hard subject, with lots of possible error modes.

The orthodox position is well captured by the Chalcedonian creed:
    "We, then, following the holy Fathers, all with one consent, teach people to confess one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, the same perfect in Godhead and also perfect in manhood;
    truly God and truly man, of a reasonable [rational] soul and body;
    consubstantial [co-essential] with the Father according to the Godhead, and consubstantial with us according to the Manhood;
    in all things like unto us, without sin;
    begotten before all ages of the Father according to the Godhead, and in these latter days, for us and for our salvation, born of the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, according to the Manhood;
    one and the same Christ, Son, Lord, only begotten, to be acknowledged in two natures, inconfusedly, unchangeably, indivisibly, inseparably;
    the distinction of natures being by no means taken away by the union, but rather the property of each nature being preserved, and concurring in one Person and one Subsistence, not parted or divided into two persons, but one and the same Son, and only begotten God, the Word, the Lord Jesus Christ;
    as the prophets from the beginning [have declared] concerning Him, and the Lord Jesus Christ Himself has taught us, and the Creed of the holy Fathers has handed down to us." (emphasis added)
The highlighted portions allow us to categorize the Christological heresies:
  1. Denial that Christ is God
    1. Arianism (and Ebionism)
    2. Adoptionism (that a human Jesus became divine at some point)
  2. Denial that Christ is one person with two natures (and two wills)
    1. Nestorianism (two persons for the two natures)
    2. Apollinarism (a human person with a divine spirit or mind)
    3. Docetism (spirit only)
    4. Monothelistism (one will for the two natures)
  3. Unmixed ("inconfusedly")
    1. Monarchianism (the idea the divine overrides the physical)
    2. Monophysitism (mixing of the two natures), which leads to Patripassionism - the idea that the Father suffered on the cross)
Monophysitism is mentioned briefly in my post on Nestorianism.

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