Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Arianism Explained

It dawned on me yesterday, and it was confirmed today, that I should have taken the time to define my terms a bit in my post about the Emergent Church and Arianism.

Arianism is a teaching which arose early in the history of the Church which taught, among other things, that Christ was not co-equal with God, but was the first created being. It was quickly opposed by several of the leading theologians in the church at the time and a handful of the early church councils dealt with Arius and his theology. One of the things Arius had going for him was his ability to popularize his teachings. It is said that he would revise lyrics to the songs merchant men and sailors would sing and teach the new songs to them. In turn, they would carry them around the Mediterranean.

When Arianism is discussed with regard to its influence today, it is almost always in the context of Mormonism, Jehovah’s Witness, or some other cult with a similar view of Christ’s humanity.

If you want further information on the subject there is a good, concise entry in the Catholic Encyclopedia.


Anonymous said...

Tim-the-not-so-anonymous says -

Thanks for clearing things up, Phil.

I found this excerpt on a website devoted to debunking the popular "DaVinci Code":

"The Council specifically addressed and condemned the popular heresy of that time, called Arianism, which insisted that the Son was a lesser god, created by the Father at some point in time and not eternally existent."

I wonder if the "DaVinci Code" has helped fuel the EC movement. Do you know anything about this book that debunks the myths?

Phil Steiger said...

Because I have not read the book, I can only rely on the reviews. The ones I have read are unanimous: it is a great read but horrible history. What makes it so bad historically is that the author actually claims in his forward that everything in the book is true. It is amazing how much weight a simple (although false) statement like that carries. Here is a sampling of some of the reviews that critically and historically asses the book: - lots of follow-up resources as well.

Steve said...

Hello anonymous and Phil-

From my readings, the DaVinci Code has had very little if any influence on the emerging church discussions. Most of the emerging church discussions seem to focus on the decline of the church and the need for reforming the church so that it can have a more significant impact in the world today and in the future. Much of the discussion is currently in the deconstructing stage though many people are calling for this to end and for people to start putting their ideas into action.