Seminary Program

This is where we post the essays from many of our Universal Life Church Seminary students. When students finish a ULC course, they write a comprehensive essay about their experiences with the course, what they learned, didn't learn, were inspired by, etc. Here are their essays.

Search This Blog

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Christian History Lesson 8

          What were the routes of these heresies at the time?
          In the 2nd and 3rd centuries A.D., Christianity had to fight for its survival on several fronts, the main ones of these are external and internal. The external front came mainly from the persecution of the christian church by the Roman state, this came in numerous forms emperors imposing acts which are against christian doctrine such as sacrifices and the use of prostitutes to raise funds for the state . The internal front came from members  within the Christian church who were teaching false heretical doctrines this included the converts who still wished to practice in their old religious ways whether it be Judaism or aspects of a pagan following. The roots were many of these heresis such as legalistic greek philosphic to name but a few ,also persons writing in their own doctrine to suit their own beliefs.
Why was Gnosticism in particular such a great danger to Christianity
Gnosticism originated with Simon Magus [Simon the Magician] whom the Apostle Peter severely condemned (Acts 8:9-11, 18-24).
Gnostics believed that matter is evil. As such they wanted to create a method to keep God, as spirit, separate from evil and in which humanity could be related on the spiritual side of his nature to Deity. Also they had rejected the god of the old testament and accept a god of love revealed by Jesus and that all material things are therefore evil. All this in itself caused confusion amongst followers or potential converts
How did the existence of these heretics help the Christian church in the long run?
   The heretical challenges  upon the church emphasized the need to clarify its beliefs and practices and to establish a structure which would enforce them and stop persons from practicing old ways and altering the teachings. Conciliar activity was intensified with positive results e.g Nicaea 325 settles the Pascal dispute while Constantinople 381 declares the Montanists to be pagan.

The authority of the bishops was stressed in many writings by church fathers such as Augustine of Hippo  . It is certainly arguable that the types of challenge, external and internal, were needed to impress upon the church the need to defend its position both from the point of view of disciple and doctrine.

  This in turn  strengthened the position of Bishops as the protectors and enforcers of the true doctrine of the Christian church (strength in unity).

Andrew Longsden
Universal Life Church

No comments: