Christian Sects  

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The Catholic Church condemned numerous Christian sects as heretical

In the early years, the Catholic Church was ruthless in condemning and silencing rival Christian sects, their followers killed or forced to flee. Below are a few of the rival sects and their beliefs.

1. Adoptionism
Jesus was adopted by God
Jesus was in nature a man who became God by adoption. Therefore, God adopted Jesus the Man, who then became God himself.
Theodotus of Byzantium, Rome
190 AD
2. Apollinarism
Jesus was human
Jesus had a human body and lower soul (the seat of the emotions) but a divine mind.
Apollinaris of Laodicea
390 AD
3. Arianism
Jesus was subordinate to Father
Jesus is the Son of God, created by God the Father. Jesus was distinct from the Father and therefore below the Father.
Arius of Alexandria
250 AD
4. Docetism
Jesus was a spirit
Jesus only seemed to be human, and that his human form was an illusion, as was his crucifixion; Jesus only seemed to have a physical body and to physically die, but in reality he was incorporeal, a pure spirit, and hence could not physically die.
1st Century
5. Luciferians
Strongly anti-Arian sect in Sardinia
Lucifer Calaritanus a bishop of Cagliari
370 AD
6. Macedonians or Pneumatomachians ("Spirit fighters")
Jesus was divine, not the Holy Spirit
They accepted the divinity of Jesus Christ, but denied divinity of the Holy Spirit who was a creation of the Son, and a servant of the Father and Son. The substance of Jesus Christ as being of "similar substance" (homoiousios) but not of the "same essence" (homoousios) as that of God the Father.
Macedonius of Constantinople
342 AD
7. Melchisedechians
Jesus was Melchizedek
Jesus Christ is Melchizedek who lives, preaches, dies and is resurrected. Jesus Christ is identified as "a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek", and so Jesus assumes the role of High Priest once and for all.
4th Century
8. Monarchianism
God is One
God is one person. Opposite of Trinity which defines God as three persons, coexisting as one in being.
2nd Century
9. Monophysitism or Eutychianism
Jesus was more God, than Man
Belief that Jesus' divinity dominates and overwhelms his humanity
448 AD
10. Miaphysite
Jesus was equal God and Man
In Jesus, the divinity and humanity are united in one nature, without separation, without confusion, and without alteration
11. Monothelitism
Jesus had two natures, one will
Jesus had two natures, but only one will
629 AD
12. Dyothelitism or Chalcedonian
Jesus had two natures, two wills
Jesus has two natures and two wills (human and divine)
451 AD
13. Nestorianism
Jesus had two natures
Jesus had two natures, divine and human. He was a separate human united, but not identical, to the divine Son of God.
386 AD
14. Patripassianism
Father suffered when Son was crucified
Father, Son and the Holy Spirit are three different aspects of one God. The Father suffered out of love, when His beloved Son, Jesus was made to suffer on Earth. God the Father suffered on the cross as Jesus.
15. Psilanthropism
Jesus was just a Man
Jesus was simply human, the literal son of human parents. Jesus was not born of the virgin birth and he was not divine.
16. Sabellianism
Father, Son and Holy Spirit are three distinct aspects of one God
Father, Son and Holy Spirit are three different aspects of one God as perceived by the Christian believer, rather than three distinct persons within the Godhead (Trinity)
Noetus of Smyrna
190 AD
17. Paulicianism
Paul was a prophet
Pure Christianity of Paul (of Tarsus) is the truth and needs to be rejuvenated. A Gnostic and dualistic sect. Belief in the two kingdoms of Good and Evil.
Constantine, Armenian
275 AD
18. Antinomianism
Salvation is by faith and divine grace alone. It does not require following the Law of Moses.
19. Audianism
God became a Man
God has human form
4th Century
20. Circumcellions
Fighting and dying is required
Martyrdom (dying for your religion) is the true Christian virtue. Disagreed with chastity, sobriety, humility, and charity. Focused on bringing about their own martyrdom. They would attack random travellers on the road, while shouting "Praise God". The aim being to provoke their victim to kill them, thereby the Christian adherents become "martyrs". A militant subset of Donatism
21. Donatism
Only righteous can enter Church
Donatists were rigorists, holding that the church must be a church of saints, not sinners. They regarded martyrdom as the supreme Christian virtue and regarded those that actively sought martyrdom as saints.
Donatus Magnus
4th Century
22. Ebionites
Jesus was a Jewish prophet
Jesus was not divine. The Father and Son (Jesus) are not of the same substance, the same "person" or being. Need to observe Jewish law and rites.
23. Euchites / Messalians
God has three forms
God takes different forms in order to reveal himself to the senses. Trinity could be perceived by the carnal senses. The Threefold God transformed himself into a single hypostasis (substance) in order to unite with the souls of the perfect (i.e. clergy)
Bishop Flavian of Antioch
376 AD
24. Iconoclasm
Idols to be destroyed
All religious idols, images and monuments must be destroyed.
726 AD
25. Marcionism
Jesus/New Testament is superior to previous prophets/scripture
Jesus was sent by God and Paul was his chief apostle. The God of the New Testament was all-forgiving; unlike the Hebrew God who was wrathful, avenging and a lower entity. Rejected the Hebrew Bible and the Hebrew God.
Marcion of Sinope, Rome
144 AD
26. Montanism
Sinners cannot be forgiven
Christians who fell from grace could not be redeemed. Avoid sin and church discipline, emphasize chastity, including forbidding re-marriage. Some of the Montanists were also "Quartodeciman"
Montanus of Hierapolis
2nd Century
27. Pelagianism
Original sin did not effect Man
Original sin did not taint human nature. Man is seen as effecting his own salvation. Man is capable of living a sin-free life; determining good and evil, without the need of Gods' assistance.
354 AD
28. Semipelagianism
Man needs grace to reach God
Man cannot come to God without the grace of God. Increased faith is the work of God, while the beginning of faith is an act of mans free-will.
529 AD

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