Truth Matters Newsletter – November 2004 – Vol. 9 Issue 10 – Examples of Christological Heresies Regarding the Nature of Christ – by Rev. Robert S. Liichow
Not only has the work of Christ been attacked historically by either adding to His atoning sacrifice or taking away from it, there have also been many attacks on His very person or nature. I have listed several examples and many of them still find themselves being believed and taught within various cultic groups and sects within the Church. Space does not allow me to cite what groups today fall into these categories, but it is a “fun” exercise for all of our budding heresy-hunting readers!
Apollinarianism (named for Apollinarius) Belief that Christ had no soul, but rather was filled with logos, or the Word, and was neither fully human nor fully divine.
Arianism (named for Arius) Belief that the Father existed before the Son, the Son was created by the Father, and there was a time when the Son did not exist.
Docetism (from the Greek word dokesis, which means to seem) Belief that Christ was wholly God, and his humanity and suffering only seemed to be real.
Dynamic Monarchianism Claimed Jesus Christ was simply a man, whom God filled with an impersonal power, either at his conception, baptism, or resurrection. This denies Christ taking any personality from God, and teaches that Christ “became” God.
Ebionitism Belief that Jesus was nothing more than a prophet: a man, but not divine. Named after the Ebionites. They were a first-century Jewish-Christian sect who emphasized Jewish law and rejected Paul’s teachings.
Eutychianism (Named after Eutyches of Constantinople). This belief states that Christ had only a divine nature, not a human one.
Monophysitism This heresy denies the humanity of Christ. It removes the value of Christ’s redemptive work, because it denies that Christ suffered as a man. It declares that Christ had a single (mono), divine, nature. This doctrine is still taught by the Oriental Orthodox churches: Coptic Church of Egypt; Ethiopian Orthodox; Syrian Orthodox; Armentian Orthodox; and Malan Kara (Indian) Orthodox.
Monothelitism Belief that Jesus possessed one divine-human energia, not two cooperating (divine and human) wills. This view is still held by the Maronite Church in Syria.
Nestorianism Named for Netstorius). This belief teaches that God was not in Christ and that Mary gave birth only to the human Jesus. Nestorianism teaches that Jesus was filled with the logos, that only the human part of Jesus suffered and died, and that man simply needs an infilling of logos for salvation.
Noeticism (Named for Noetus). They believe that God moved as a single spirit into Mary, and was transferred into Christ at birth. God himself was crucified and raised himself from the dead.