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They Just Won't Go Away: Ancient Heresies in Post-Modern Dress (Ecumenical)
Catholic Culture ^ | Kenneth D. Whitehead

Posted on 12/31/2012 9:21:49 PM PST by narses

Virtually as soon as the revelation brought by Christ was delivered to the Church he had established, some of those within the Church got it very wrong about what it meant and entailed. Even some of the bishops, successors of the apostles, got it wrong. The history of the first four or five centuries of Christianity, especially as reflected in the first four ecumenical councils, is largely a history of how the Church developed, formulated, and explained its Creed — beliefs based on the teachings of Christ.

In the process of developing and formulating that Creed — the same Nicene Creed that we profess today at Mass — the Church was obliged to identify and to eliminate various false and mistaken ideas about Christ's original revelation. These false and mistaken ideas about the Church and the faith came to be called heresies. The word heresy comes from the Latin haeresis, meaning "act of choosing." Those adhering to these false and mistaken ideas, i.e., heretics, were understood to have chosen a different interpretation of the faith than the one the Church proclaimed.

Once they were identified as false doctrines, there was no question in the minds of the Fathers of the Church but that these heresies needed to be condemned. Today, of course, the idea of condemning anybody for holding any belief is not very popular. Indeed, the idea that heresy is something necessarily false and harmful is not very popular. In the modern mind heresy is often thought to be something to be proud of; "heretics" are as likely as not to be considered cultural heroes. But if all ideas are accorded equal status regardless of whether or not they are true, then very soon truth itself inevitably goes by the board.

To a great extent, this is what has happened in our world today: Toleration is valued more than truth. Pope Benedict XVI just prior to his election called it a "dictatorship of relativism." It is a situation that the Fathers of the Church, who believed in the primacy of truth, would not have understood at all.

Today's failure to identify and affirm truth doesn't mean that there are no harmful consequences. On the contrary, the harm to souls in need of sanctification and salvation becomes all the greater to the extent that people believe it doesn't matter whether or not they adhere to true belief and practice. For heresy is necessarily harmful — and even fatal — to souls.

Moreover, heresies abound today every bit as much as they did in the days when the Creed was being hammered out at the first great ecumenical councils. Indeed, some of the heresies that are commonly encountered today are virtually the same as those condemned in ancient times — they just go by different names. Let us look at a few examples.

"A Great Moral Teacher"

Arianism was perhaps the most typical and persistent of the ancient heresies. Basically it involved a denial of the divinity of Jesus Christ. It was first effectively advanced by Arius (256-336), a priest of Alexandria in Egypt, who denied that there were three distinct divine Persons in the Holy Trinity. For Arius, there was only one Person in the Godhead, the Father. According to Arian theory, the Son was a created being. The Arians liked to say that "there was a time when he was not." For them, Christ was "the Son of God" only in a figurative sense, or by "adoption" (just as we are children of God by adoption), not in his essential being or nature.

Arianism was formally condemned by the First Council of Nicaea in 325. Indeed, it was the spread of Arianism and Arian ideas among the faithful, and the disputes and disorders that resulted, that prompted Emperor Constantine to call the Council of Nicaea in the first place. What the Council decided — against Arius and his adherents — was that the Son was homo-ousios ("one in being" or "consubstantial") with the Father. In other words, that the Son of God was himself God, was therefore eternal, and hence that there never was a time when he was not.

The fathers of Nicaea issued their Creed precisely to insist on the three Persons in one substance in the Trinity and on the divinity of Christ. If Christ was not divine, then the world was not redeemed by his sacrifice on the cross. Eventually the faith itself dissolves if Christ is not understood to be divine; after all, he very plainly insisted in the Gospels that he was (cf. John 10:30, 38; 14:10, 11).

Yet today nothing is more common, even among some who consider themselves Christians, than to hold that Christ was not really divine: He was just a good man, a great moral teacher, a model to follow; perhaps he even represented the highest ideal of a man for mankind. But, as an all-too-common human skepticism asserts, he was surely not God for the simple reason that no human being could be God. Common sense revolts against it. Indeed, the Church teaches that it is only by divine grace infused in our souls that we can believe in the divinity of Christ.

Thus, there is a human temptation to believe the doctrine of Arianism. Today's Arians, though, do not call themselves Arians; for the most part they are not aware that they are Arians. Yet a religion such as Unitarianism is nothing else but Arian in its denial of the divinity of Christ and of the Trinity. Similarly, a modern American religion such as Mormonism is wholly Arian in its account of a divine being, even if it is ignorant of Arianism historically.

Because it is so easy to doubt that any human being could possibly be divine, though, Arianism was not only the most basic and persistent of all the ancient heresies; it also assumed a number of variant forms. Adoptionism is the belief that Jesus was just a man to whom special graces were given when he was "adopted" by God. Modalism held that there is only one Person in God who manifests himself in various ways or modes, including in Jesus. Semi-Arianism held that the Son was of like substance with God (homo-i-ousios), though not of identical in substance with him. All of these variants of Arianism were sometimes classified under the name Subordinationism (i.e., Christ as "subordinate" to the Father). Even today, poorly instructed Christians can be found espousing one or more of these variants when they are examined closely concerning who and what they think Jesus Christ was and is.

What Is a Person?

Growing out of the long-running Arian controversies were the two opposed heresies of Nestorianism and Monophysitism. Nestorianism was a heresy promoted by a bishop of Constantinople, Nestorius (d. c. 451), who held that there were two distinct persons in Christ, one human and one divine. Thus, the Nestorians claimed that it could not be said that God was born, was crucified, or died. Mary merely gave birth to a man whose human person was conjoined to that of God. The Nestorians saw Christ's divinity as superimposed on his humanity.

Nestorianism was condemned by the Council of Ephesus in 431, where the argument raged over the question of whether Mary was Theotokos ("God-bearer" or "Mother of God") or was merely the "mother of Christ," a man conjoined to God. From the words of the Hail Mary we can figure out what the Church decided at Ephesus, but even today poorly instructed Christians can be found opining that Christ was a "human person." (The same characterization is sometimes even to be encountered today in defective catechetical texts.)

But Christ was not a "human person." He was a divine person who assumed a human nature. The whole question of what a person is was a key question in the Trinitarian and christological definitions formulated by the ancient councils. The ancients were not clear in their minds about what constituted a "person"; it was not apparent to them that there was a "somebody" in each human individual. It was as a direct result of the Church's definitions concerning the three distinct divine Persons in the Trinity that the very concept of what we understand as personhood today was achieved and that the Roman philosopher Boethius (480-524) was able to formulate his famous definition of a person as "an individual substance of a rational nature."

Once this concept of personhood became clear, the Church was able to promulgate the truth that remains valid and operative to this day, namely, that Jesus Christ, the Son of God and the Second Person of the blessed Trinity, is a divine person but possesses both a divine and a human nature.

"I'm a Very Spiritual Person"

Monophysitism, the heresy opposed to Nestorianism, arose as a corrective to the latter, but it went too far in the other direction, holding that in Christ there is only one nature (Greek: mono , "single," physis , "nature"), a divine nature. This position entailed a denial of Christ's true human nature. Monophysitism was condemned by the Council of Chalcedon in 451. This great Council taught that Christ was true God and true man, a divine person possessing both a divine and a human nature, thus rounding out the Church's permanent understanding of Christology.

Yet even today some ill-instructed Christians will tell you that Christ, being the Son of God and hence divine, must also necessarily have a divine nature, without understanding that Christ had a fully human nature as well. Professing some form of Monophysitism is rather common among self-consciously "spiritual" people, as a matter of fact — people who, meanwhile, are not always prepared to affirm and follow Christian moral teaching as the Church defines it.

Entire churches or communities broke away from the Church as a result of the christological definitions of Ephesus and Chalcedon. Some of these breakaway communions still exist today in the ancient churches of the East, such as the Assyrian, Armenian, Coptic, Syrian (Jacobite), etc. Today many of these ancient communions, in ecumenical dialogue with the Catholic Church, are rethinking their positions and are close to agreement with the Catholic Church on doctrinal essentials, stating that their ancient disagreements stemmed at least in part from misunderstandings of exactly what Ephesus or Chalcedon had taught or affirmed — for these ancient councils also had condemned by name certain individuals (such as Nestorius) who commanded personal followings. In ancient times, some of these communities were unwilling to accept the judgments of the councils regarding their then-leaders.

Holier Than Thou

Donatism was a fourth- and fifth-century African heresy that held that the validity of the sacraments depended upon the moral character of the person administering the sacraments. Donatists also denied that serious sinners could be true members of the Church. Donatism began as a schism when rigorists claimed that a bishop of Carthage, Caecilian (c. 313), could not be a true bishop because he had been ordained by a bishop who had caved in under pressure and apostatized during the Diocletian persecutions around 303.

The Donatists ended up as a widespread sect that ordained its own bishops, one of whom was Donatus, who gave his name to the movement. Vigorously opposed by the great St. Augustine (354-430), the Donatist movement persisted in northern Africa until the Muslim conquest in the seventh century.

Today the continuing temptation to a modern kind of Donatism can be seen in such phenomena as the Lefebrvist schism after Vatican II, when some people who objected to certain teachings and acts of the Council decided to found their own little church, the Society of St. Pius X. The SSPX has its own bishops, validly but illicitly ordained by French archbishop Marcel Lefebvre. The group is thus not just a group of disgruntled traditionalists who want to retain the old Latin Mass; rather, the SSPX has serious doctrinal and pastoral disagreements with the Church. They consider the pope and the bishops who have governed the Church since the Council to be unworthy to carry on what they hold to be the true "tradition" of the Church. Basically their reasoning is that the leaders of the Church were wrong at and after Vatican II; hence their acts since then have been invalid. This kind of reasoning is similar to that by which the ancient Donatists decided that the ordination of the bishop of Carthage was invalid because of the unworthiness of his ordaining bishop.

But the truth is, of course, that sacraments correctly administered with the proper intention by a validly ordained minister are valid regardless of the moral character or condition of the minister. Thus, even if mistakes were made in the implementation of the Council, the pope and the bishops nevertheless remain the Church's legitimate rulers, in accordance with the Church's constant teaching going back at least to the condemnation of Donatism. The powers and authority conferred by Christ on the apostles and their successors are not dependent upon the worthiness of those on whom they are conferred — think of Peter's threefold denial of Christ!

We also see a revival of Donatist-type thinking in those who have recently left the Church because of the much-publicized sins of priests guilty of sex abuse and bishops guilty of enabling and covering up for them. The idea that the wrongs or sins of the clergy invalidate their acts or status has frequently recurred in the history of the Church. As early as the second century, for example, a morally rigorous priest named Novatian set himself up as an anti-pope in 251 because the followers of the true pope, St. Cornelius, were allegedly too lenient toward Christians who had lapsed during the Decian persecutions in 249-251. The Novatianists rejected the Church's authentic belief and practice that the lapsed and other serious sinners could be readmitted to Communion after doing penance.

"If It Feels Good, Do It"

A recurring phenomenon in the history of the Church is that heresies often arose because of either moral rigorism or moral laxity. An example of the latter was the heresy of Pelagianism, championed by a monk from the British Isles named Pelagius (355-425). Pelagius denied that divine grace in the soul is necessary to do good; his doctrine included a number of heretical tenets such as that Adam would have died even if he had not sinned and that Adam's fall injured only himself. Essentially, Pelagianism amounted to a denial of the doctrine of original sin, and it also entailed a denial of the supernatural order and of the necessity of divine grace for salvation. Augustine, who had discovered from bitter personal experience that he could not be chaste without the help of grace, strongly and persistently contested Pelagius and his teaching.

In modern times, Pelagianism has sometimes been called "the British heresy" because of its resemblance to a certain species of modern British-style liberalism (which, the suggestion is, goes all the way back to Pelagius!). But nothing is more common in modern thinking than the denial of original sin. Outside the Catholic Church, it is nearly universal, and it persists in the face of all the evidence against it.

Probably the whole range of behavior related to the contemporary sexual revolution, for example, as well as to the theological dissent that is still rife in the Church — particularly on matters of sexual morality — can be ascribed to a basic Pelagian impulse. People today, including too many Catholics, simply do not recognize or take seriously that there are or could be any harmful consequences stemming from what is erroneously thought to be sexual liberation, as evidenced, for example, by the widespread rejection by Catholics of Pope Paul VI's 1968 encyclical Humanae Vitae. The harmful consequences have long since been obvious to anyone who cares to look at today's multiple plagues of divorce, pre- and extramarital sex, cohabitation, teenage pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, and abortion, not to speak of the contemporary acceptance of homosexuality as a normal condition.

In an important sense, even the clerical sex abuse crisis in the Catholic Church goes back to the explosion of sexual immorality that began in the 1960s and both helped cause and was in part caused by the rejection of Humanae Vitae. Modern opinion nevertheless generally goes on stoutly and obstinately maintaining that the so-called sexual liberation ushered in by the sexual revolution, along with the moral acceptance of contraception, is a good and necessary thing. All this is Pelagianism with a vengeance.

"I'm in with the In Crowd"

Gnosticism is the idea that salvation comes through knowledge — usually some special kind of knowledge claimed by an elite. Think of the New Age, for example. Think of Dan Brown's runaway best-seller The Da Vinci Code, which, along with other falsehoods, exhibits a good deal of Gnostic-style thinking that the book's millions of readers seem to have embraced wholly and uncritically. Most varieties of Gnosticism also hold that matter and the body are evil while only "spirit" is good. Some forms of Gnosticism even see human beings as trapped in our bodies. The theory thus denies the truth of the biblical teaching that "God saw that it was good" (Gen. 1:10, 12, 18, 21, 25). For the true Gnostic, the Incarnation is a scandal — God would not contaminate his spirit by taking on a body.

Gnosticism existed before Christianity and attached itself to it as a convenient vehicle for its own very un-Christian ideas about reality and God's creation. The surprising thing, perhaps, is that it ever attempted to use Christianity for its purposes. The historical fact of the matter, though, is that Gnosticism has been a persistent element in practically every major Christian heresy. Probably one of the reasons for this is that, in some ways, our bodiliness is a burden to us. As Paul remarked, "the whole creation has been groaning in travail" (Rom. 8:22) until we can realize the fullness of our salvation in Christ — thus the temptation to look for salvation in some kind of escape from our bodiliness and creatureliness as God has created us in this world.

But true salvation lies elsewhere; it comes uniquely from Jesus Christ: "There is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12). This revelation of salvation in Christ is essentially what Gnosticism denies. Like all heresies to which we might be tempted, any form of Gnostic thinking is therefore to be avoided as we cleave to the truths revealed by and in Jesus Christ and unerringly taught by the magisterium of the Catholic Church.

What Is Heresy?

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that "heresy is the obstinate post-baptismal denial of some truth that must be believed with divine and Catholic faith, or it is likewise an obstinate doubt concerning the same" (CCC 2089).

To commit heresy, one must refuse to be corrected. A person who is ready to be corrected or who is unaware that what he has been saying is against Church teaching is not a heretic.

A person must be baptized to commit heresy. Movements that have split off from or been influenced by Christianity but do not practice baptism (or do not practice valid baptism) are not heresies but separate religions.

Finally, the doubt or denial involved in heresy must concern a matter that has been revealed by God and solemnly defined by the Church (for example, the Trinity, the Incarnation, the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, the sacrifice of the Mass, the pope's infallibility, or the Immaculate Conception and Assumption of Mary). — Catholic Answers staff

More Ancient Heresies

The Circumcisers (First Century)

The Circumcision heresy may be summed up in the words of Acts 15:1: "But some men came down from Judea and were teaching the brethren, 'Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.'"

Many of the early Christians were Jews who brought to the Christian faith many of their former practices. They recognized in Jesus the Messiah predicted by the prophets and the fulfillment of the Old Testament. Because circumcision had been required in the Old Testament for membership in God's covenant, many thought it would also be required for membership in the New Covenant that Christ had come to inaugurate. They believed one must be circumcised and keep the Mosaic law to come to Christ. In other words, one had to become a Jew to become a Christian.

But God made it clear to Peter in Acts 10 that Gentiles are acceptable to God and may be baptized and become Christians without circumcision. The same teaching was vigorously defended by Paul in his epistles to the Romans and the Galatians — to areas where the Circumcision heresy had spread.

Montanism (Late Second Century)

Montanus began his career innocently enough through preaching a return to penance and fervor. His movement also emphasized the continuance of miraculous gifts, such as speaking in tongues and prophecy. However, he also claimed that his teachings were above those of the Church, and soon he began to teach Christ's imminent return in his home town in Phrygia. There were also statements that Montanus himself either was, or at least specially spoke for, the Paraclete that Jesus had promised would come (in reality, the Holy Spirit).

Iconoclasm (Seventh and Eighth Centuries)

This heresy arose when a group of people known as iconoclasts (literally, "icon smashers") appeared, who claimed that it was sinful to make pictures and statues of Christ and the saints, despite the fact that in the Bible, God had commanded the making of religious statues (Ex. 25:18-20; 1 Chr. 28:18-19), including symbolic representations of Christ (cf. Num. 21:8-9 with John 3:14).

Catharism (Eleventh Century)

Catharism was a complicated mix of non-Christian religions reworked with Christian terminology. The Cathars had many different sects; they had in common a teaching that the world was created by an evil deity (so matter was evil) and we must worship the good deity instead.

The Albigensians formed one of the largest Cathar sects. They taught that the spirit was created by God and was good, while the body was created by an evil god and the spirit must be freed from the body. Having children was one of the greatest evils, since it entailed imprisoning another "spirit" in flesh. Logically, marriage was forbidden, though fornication was permitted. Tremendous fasts and severe mortifications of all kinds were practiced, and their leaders went about in voluntary poverty. — Catholic Answers staff

Kenneth D. Whitehead is the author of One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic: The Early Church Was the Catholic Church (Ignatius Press, 2000). His new book, What Vatican II Did Right: Forty Years after the Council and Counting, is forthcoming from Ignatius Press.


TOPICS: Catholic; Ecumenism; Mainline Protestant
KEYWORDS:

1 posted on 12/31/2012 9:21:59 PM PST by narses
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To: narses; HerrBlucher; mgist; raptor22; victim soul; Isabel2010; Smokin' Joe; Michigander222; ...
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2 posted on 12/31/2012 9:23:38 PM PST by narses
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To: narses; HerrBlucher; mgist; raptor22; victim soul; Isabel2010; Smokin' Joe; Michigander222; ...
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3 posted on 12/31/2012 9:23:58 PM PST by narses
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To: narses; HerrBlucher; mgist; raptor22; victim soul; Isabel2010; Smokin' Joe; Michigander222; ...
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4 posted on 12/31/2012 9:24:59 PM PST by narses
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To: narses

Religion Forum threads labeled “Ecumenical”
Ecumenical threads are closed to antagonism.
To antagonize is to incur or to provoke hostility in others.
Unlike the “caucus” threads, the article and reply posts of an “ecumenical” thread may discuss more than one belief, but antagonism is not tolerable.

More leeway is granted to what is acceptable in the text of the article than to the reply posts. For example, the term “gross error” in an article will not prevent an ecumenical discussion, but a poster should not use that term in his reply because it is antagonistic. As another example, the article might be a passage from the Bible which would be antagonistic to Jews. The passage should be considered historical information and a legitimate subject for an ecumenical discussion. The reply posts however must not be antagonistic.

Contrasting of beliefs or even criticisms can be made without provoking hostilities. But when in doubt, only post what you are “for” and not what you are “against.” Or ask questions.

Ecumenical threads will be moderated on a “where there’s smoke, there’s fire” basis. When hostility has broken out on an “ecumenical” thread, I’ll be looking for the source.

Therefore “anti” posters must not try to finesse the guidelines by asking loaded questions, using inflammatory taglines, gratuitous quote mining or trying to slip in an “anti” or “ex” article under the color of the “ecumenical” tag.


5 posted on 12/31/2012 9:26:43 PM PST by narses
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bkmk


6 posted on 12/31/2012 9:45:34 PM PST by Ruy Dias de Bivar (REOPEN THE CLOSED MENTAL INSTITUTIONS! Damn the ACLU!)
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To: narses
One minor (in relation to the article) but significant point. It seems to me that all of "orthodox" Christianity affirms the doctrine of original sin: Pentecostals, Southern Baptists, PCA and ARP Presbyterians, Missouri- and Wisconsin-Synod Lutherans, RCA, Wesleyans, Holiness, and of course the Orthodox, among others. It is only within the Situation-Ethicist "liberal" denominations, such as the American Baptists, the PCUSA Presbyterians, ELCA Lutherans, and the United Methodists where one finds the disavowel of original sin, along with the virgin birth, the divinity of Christ, and the necessity for divine atonement.

Catholics, Orthodox, and Protestants who affirm, explicitly or implicitly, the doctrines of the Nicene Creed (we can debate filioque another time :> ) may differ in numerous ways--many of which might be considered adiaphora--but when it comes to the heresies as listed in this article, they are just as anathema to the "orthodox" outside of the Catholic Church as to those inside.

7 posted on 12/31/2012 10:17:29 PM PST by chajin
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To: narses

Jews who keep the law, would, in theory, not be in need of divine grace.

Pelagius had a list of Biblical characters who were free from sin. That included the Virgin Mary, Enoch who was translated, and a few others.


8 posted on 12/31/2012 10:42:12 PM PST by donmeaker (Blunderbuss: A short weapon, ... now superceded in civilized countries by more advanced weaponry.)
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To: narses
A SIGN of the TIMES ?
9 posted on 12/31/2012 10:46:52 PM PST by Yosemitest (It's Simple ! Fight, ... or Die !)
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To: chajin; The_Reader_David

Do the Eastern Orthodox maintain belief in the notion of original sin?

I am pinging TheReader to this, as he is so learned.

I have a notion that original sin comes from the teachings of St Augustine, and is not in the Eastern Church. They believe baptism is entry into the community of faith, rather than a washing away of original sin. At least, that is what I have heard.


10 posted on 12/31/2012 10:52:20 PM PST by BlackVeil
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To: chajin

I think the notion of killing heretics, as in the crusade against the Cathars was a heresy imported from Islam.

A military leader asked how he could determine if a Cathar was a heretic.

“Neco es omnes, Dio se agnoscet”. was reportedly the response that the learned monk gave.

Kill them all, G-d knows his own.


11 posted on 12/31/2012 11:00:52 PM PST by donmeaker (Blunderbuss: A short weapon, ... now superceded in civilized countries by more advanced weaponry.)
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To: donmeaker

That’s not a heresy “in post modern dress” or otherwise today - not in the Church anyway.

Today, heretics are given TV shows..

:)


12 posted on 01/01/2013 12:18:20 AM PST by D-fendr (Deus non alligatur sacramentis sed nos alligamur.)
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To: donmeaker

Long on gossip short on facts.


13 posted on 01/01/2013 12:44:18 AM PST by JCBreckenridge (Texas is a state of mind - Steinbeck)
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To: narses

Not that i disagree with anything in particular but it is easy to see the reason for the disagreements on the God head.

But i think i will just read the Bible and not get caught up in Church doctrine.

Jesus tells me in plain and few words what i need to know and do be saved and i have a hard time even doing that much.


14 posted on 01/01/2013 4:51:31 AM PST by ravenwolf
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To: donmeaker

You wrote:

“I think the notion of killing heretics, as in the crusade against the Cathars was a heresy imported from Islam.”

False. Christians - and secular states like the Roman Empire - were killing violent heretics before Islam existed.

“A military leader asked how he could determine if a Cathar was a heretic. “Neco es omnes, Dio se agnoscet”. was reportedly the response that the learned monk gave. Kill them all, G-d knows his own.”

Actually, no. You made two mistakes: 1) Your first mistake is believing it ever happened. No contemporary source supports the story. Caesarius of Heisterbach probably invented the quote for dramatic effect. 2) You also have the quote wrong. It is “Caedite eos. Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius.” http://gahom.ehess.fr/relex/dialogusmiraculorum1/CdH-Dialog.mir.-Vol1/CdH-Dialog.mir.-Volume1-308.html Even the version of the quote you use is odd in that it appears in several different spellings on the internet. That leads me to believe it is made up, phony quote made up by people sitting online with a Cassel’s dictionary and little knowledge about history. Don’t be fooled.


15 posted on 01/01/2013 5:24:13 AM PST by vladimir998
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To: narses

Good information, but it’s unfortunate the author misunderstands the origin and purpose of the Society of St. Pius X.


16 posted on 01/01/2013 5:28:12 AM PST by Daffy
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To: JCBreckenridge

The Jehovah’s Witnesses hold to some variation of the Arian heresy.

The Buddha said ‘The things of God are unknown, and unknowable, so why argue?’


17 posted on 01/01/2013 7:00:32 AM PST by donmeaker (Blunderbuss: A short weapon, ... now superceded in civilized countries by more advanced weaponry.)
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To: narses

Every heresy can find its root in one of the three lies Satan told Eve to tempt her.


18 posted on 01/01/2013 7:50:17 AM PST by circlecity
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To: BlackVeil

The Eastern Orthodox practice a Mass that holds much in common with how it was practiced in the 5th century, including the Creed from that time. The separation between Eastern and Western parts of the Church were more due to politics than doctrine, i.e. where the legitimate seat of the Church should be, since at the time of the Great Schism the active heart of the Empire was in Constantinople and Rome was in decline. That is why it is called a schism, not a heresy.


19 posted on 01/01/2013 8:54:17 AM PST by Seraphicaviary (St. Michael is gearing up. The angels are on the ready line.)
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To: BlackVeil

Also, the Eastern Orthodox practice all the sacraments of initiation (Baptism, Confirmation, Communion) all at once. In the West, bishops wanted to keep control of Confirmation, and they could not get around fast enough to keep up with the demand for Baptisms, so they allowed priests to Baptize and waited for the bishop to do his annual tour for Confirmation. In the seminary, I was taught that because of this history, Confirmation is a sacrament without a clear theology. That is also why bishops in different dioceses hold Confirmation at different ages today in the U.S.


20 posted on 01/01/2013 9:00:57 AM PST by Seraphicaviary (St. Michael is gearing up. The angels are on the ready line.)
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To: narses

It’s the Nestorianism that deals with the Solemnity of today, The Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God.

Christ was true man and true God in one body. And Mary gave him his dna part — the human part.

Amazing how many do not believe that today.


21 posted on 01/01/2013 9:31:32 AM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
They Just Won't Go Away: Ancient Heresies in Post-Modern Dress (Ecumenical)
Radio Replies Second Volume - Eutychianism
Radio Replies Second Volume - Nestorianism
Radio Replies Second Volume - Arianism
Radio Replies Second Volume - Manichaeism
Radio Replies Second Volume - Defections From the Catholic Church
Radio Replies Second Volume - Gnosticism
Marcionites

Nestorius on Mary as the Mother of God (Ecumenical)
The Day Nestorius Rocked the Church and an Empire
How Quickly Catholic Heresy Took Over the Church (Immediately)
Hilaire Belloc’s “The Great Heresies” now available in EPUB format
Chapter 6: The Modern Phase [The Great Heresies]
Chapter 5: What Was The Reformation? [The Great Heresies]
Chapter 4: The Albigensian Attack [The Great Heresies]
Chapter 3: The Great and Enduring Heresy of Mohammed [The Great Heresies]
Chapter 2: The Arian Heresy [The Great Heresies
Chapter 1: Scheme Of This Book [The Great Heresies]

Introduction: Heresy [The Great Heresies]
The Great Heresies
John Calvin’s Worst Heresy: That Christ Suffered in Hell
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Succumbs to Heresy
The Bishop Discovers Heresy?
From Orthodox to Heresy: The Secularizing of Catholic Universities
Progressivism/Liberalism is Heresy [Excellent read & reference]
Is heresy better than schism? [Ecumenical]
Modernism: The Modernist Heresy
THE GREAT HERESIES-THE MODERN PHASE

The Protestant Heresy
The Gospel According to Mary Magdalene
Americanism, Then and Now: Our Pet Heresy (encyclical of Pope Leo XIII)
Heresies then and now: ancient Christian heresies practiced in modern times
The Plain Truth About The Baptist Bride Heresy
Balthasar, Hell, and Heresy: An Exchange (is it compatable with the Catholic faith?)
Know Your Heresies
The Rev. John Piper: an interesting look at "heresy vs. schism"
Pietism as an Ecclesiological Heresy
Heresy
Arian Heresy Still Tempts, Says Cardinal Bertone (Mentions Pelagianism As Well)

Catholic Discussion] Church group stays faithful (to heresy!)
An overview of modern anti-Trinitarian heresies
Where heresy and dissent abound [Minnesota]
Gnostic Gospels - the heresy entitled "Gnosticism."
Christian mavericks find affirmation in ancient heresies
The So-Called ‘Gospel’ of Judas: Unmasking an Ancient Heresy
Benedict XVI Heresies and Errors
Donatism (Know your heresies)
The Heresy of Mohammed (Chapter 4, The Great Heresies)
Father & Son Catholic Writers Tag-Team Old & New Heresies

22 posted on 01/01/2013 9:35:43 AM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All; narses
One thing I do know is how important to declare 1John4 which is what Apostles Creed and Nicene Creed is all about with the basics of Gospel.

When I challenge a woman deep into the "Spell Casting" and "tarot card reading. " She got me mad when I was helping her husband to move. She decided to "read" me. I covered the Blood of Christ over this as she still insisted that demonic process. Manifestions were resulted. I finally challenge her that she was not a Christian if we practice such " nonsense." We'll to cut to the chase she could not declare Christ came in the Flesh/human as literally words or in the Creeds. When she got to born of a virgin she would contort and stutter that there were " many Gods" . It really opened my eyes even more how the " devil" is making inroads. She was born Christian.

By the way please pray for her she is in a great delusion.

1 John Chapter 4

2 Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:..Read More[Read More]

3 and every spirit that confesseth not Jesus is not of God: and this is the spirit of the antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it cometh; and now it is in the world already...Read More[Read More]

15 Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God abideth in him, and he in...Read More[Read More]

2 John Chapter 1

7 For many deceivers are gone forth into the world, even they that confess not that Jesus Christ cometh in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist...Read More[Read More]

Revelation Chapter 3

5 He that overcometh shall thus be arrayed in white garments; and I will in no wise blot his name out of the book of life, and I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels...Read More[Read More]

23 posted on 01/01/2013 11:12:04 AM PST by johngrace (I am a 1 John 4! Christian- declared at every Sunday Mass , Divine Mercy and Rosary prayers!)
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To: BlackVeil

The Orthodox Church does NOT teach the doctrine of Original Sin in the Augustinian sense.

We do not believe that Adam’s guilt is inherited by his descendents. Death is inherited but not guilt.

This is why we do not hold to the Immaculate Conception of the Mother of God. That teaching is not meaningful without inherited guilt.


24 posted on 01/01/2013 11:12:57 AM PST by newberger (Put not your trust in princes, in sons of men in whom there is no salvation.)
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To: BlackVeil

The Orthodox doctrine of the Fall is usually referred to as Ancestral Sin, rather than Original Sin.

The main difference between the Orthodox teaching and the views of Blessed Augustine of Hippo on the matter is that Augustine regarded all of humanity as sharing in the guilt of Adam’s transgression, while the Orthodox hold that we are guilty only of the sins we, ourselves, commit. Augustine based his view on his notion of the origin of the soul: traductionism, the idea that one’s soul is a fragment of one’s parents’ (father’s) soul, and thus all human souls are part of Adam’s soul. This view of the origin of the soul is actually repudiated by both the Orthodox and the Latins, in favor of creationism, the understanding that each human soul is a new creation. But, for reasons mysterious to me, the Latins (and to a far greater extent most protestants) accepted Augustine’s understanding of what happened in the Fall, albeit (in the case of the Latins and often among protestants, not all of whom are traductionists) without the mechanism Augustine proposed.

Ancestral Sin — the sin of our ancestor — propagates its baleful effects not by inheritance of guilt, but by the inheritance of disordered passions, which create in all of us since Adam a propensity to sin, in the fact that we, unlike Adam at his creation, are not natively clothed with the Holy Spirit (referred to in this context in Orthodox hymnography as ‘the First Robe’ — according to the Fathers it is the loss of the Uncreated Light that made Adam and Eve suddenly perceive themselves as naked), and in the state of the world filled with sins as temptations.

Baptism is understood as, indeed, cleansing us from sin (see, for example the exhortations to catechumens in the Catechetical Homlies of St. Cyril of Jerusalem), but chiefly as uniting us to the Death and Resurrection of Christ as members of His Mystical Body. A great deal of Orthodox baptismal hymnography speaks of “being buried with Christ through Baptism” — the normative use of immersion being connected with the imagery of burial. (”Entry into the community of faith” might be the way a secular sociologist with no conception, Eastern or Western, of the nature of the Church might term being made members of Christ’s Mystical Body, but it’s a denatured description which fails to do justice to the Orthodox understanding.)

Of course, Baptism is not the end of the “Rite of Initiation” — it is normative for the baptized to immediately receive the Gift of the Holy Spirit through anointing with the Holy Chrism (oil upon which the Holy Spirit has descended in a rite performed by the chief hierarch of the local church), the one exception being emergency baptisms, whether performed by a priest on short notice so that he lacks chrism or by a layman, deacon or someone in minor orders. (The form of the rite of Chrismation is that of an ordination, so that some commentators refer to it as “the ordination of the laity” — this being connected with the understanding of all members of the Church as part of the Royal Priesthood. Something goes amiss in the transition from Greek to English here: the English word “priest” is derived from the Greek presbyteros = elder, but also gets used as equivalent to the Greek hiereus, which is the word in the phrase translated as “Royal Priesthood”. Every Orthodox Christian is an hiereus of Christ, but only those who have “the grace of the priesthood” as we say in English are presbyteroi.)

I mention this although it is not strictly in line with your query, chiefly because of your sociologists’ phrase (to give a complete view of what the secular would call “entry into the community of faith” in the Orthodox context), but also because Chrismation, along with Baptism is part of our restoration not only to what Adam was before the fall, but to what he was intended to become — “What Christ is by nature, we are to become by grace” — without the Gift of the Holy Spirit (given to Adam when God breathed into him and he became a living soul) we aren’t restored (even though, being Baptized we have something Adam didn’t: union with Christ in his Burial and Resurrection.)


25 posted on 01/01/2013 11:47:01 AM PST by The_Reader_David (And when they behead your own people in the wars which are to come, then you will know...)
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To: vladimir998; donmeaker
I note your qualification: killing violent heretics [emphasis added].

The Fathers of the Church wrote urgently against killing heretics. All of the great heresiarchs condemned by the Ecumenical Councils died in exile, rather than being executed for heresy (though admittedly some received very harsh treatment during their exile), as did some Fathers of the Church, accused of heresy by heretics (as St. John Chrysostom). It is also true that burning was the prescribed method of execution for heretics from very early on -- but that meant, until contact with Islam created the idea in the West, later, alas, copied in Russia, that heresy per se should be a capital offense, contrary to the teachings of the Fathers -- that heretics found guilty of capital crimes were executed by burning, rather than beheading or hanging. (Oddly to modern sensibilities this was considered a merciful act since the hope was that dying in a foretaste of hell-fire, the heretic might in death abjure his heresy and be saved.)

Can you find any well-attested instances of Christian heretics being executed solely on a charge of heresy, without another capital charge as the basis for the execution, prior to the rise of Islam, and with the approval of the Church? I am aware of none.

The view suggested by donmeaker -- that the Western treatment of heresy as a capital offense is a corruption imported from Islam -- certainly has current scholarly support, cf. Emmett Scott's Mohammed and Charlemagne Revisited. Scott also notes a shift in the attitude toward witchcraft after contact with Islam: before that the Church, uniformly, East and West, taught that the notions that witches flew through the air, and the like, were pagan superstitions unworthy of belief by Christians; after, in the West, if one didn't believe nonsense about witches, which largely paralleled Muslim ideas, one was condemned as heretical.

26 posted on 01/01/2013 12:12:13 PM PST by The_Reader_David (And when they behead your own people in the wars which are to come, then you will know...)
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To: The_Reader_David

You wrote:

“The Fathers of the Church wrote urgently against killing heretics.”

No. The Fathers wrote against THE CHURCH killing anyone - and the Church never has. Some Fathers also explicitly wrote against the state inferring and executing heretics. None of the Fathers ever once wrote against the state’s authority in executing violent heretics who disturbed the public order.

“All of the great heresiarchs condemned by the Ecumenical Councils died in exile, rather than being executed for heresy (though admittedly some received very harsh treatment during their exile),”

Yes, exile often equaled death.

“Can you find any well-attested instances of Christian heretics being executed solely on a charge of heresy, without another capital charge as the basis for the execution, prior to the rise of Islam, and with the approval of the Church? I am aware of none.”

The place to look is Lambert’s Medieval Heresy. See page 33. There were some 11th-12th century cases, the earliest cases of secretive heresy, the first major cases of group heresy in centuries, where people were apparently executed by the state with the consent of local Church authorities - ‘reluctant’ consent is the word Lambert uses - even though the heretics were not violent. Those cases were few and far between and the heretics were clearly thought of as great disturbers of the peace who were to be stamped out.

“The view suggested by donmeaker — that the Western treatment of heresy as a capital offense is a corruption imported from Islam — certainly has current scholarly support,”

No, it doesn’t.

” cf. Emmett Scott’s Mohammed and Charlemagne Revisited. Scott also notes a shift in the attitude toward witchcraft after contact with Islam: before that the Church, uniformly, East and West, taught that the notions that witches flew through the air, and the like, were pagan superstitions unworthy of belief by Christians; after, in the West, if one didn’t believe nonsense about witches, which largely paralleled Muslim ideas, one was condemned as heretical.”

Emmet Scott spells his first name with one ‘t’ not two. Also, his theory is poppycock. He doesn’t realize it but he is subscribing to the “Islam is the creator and Christians are mere inheritors” nonsense which was always so common about modern secular research about medieval Spain. Only this time, instead of something good like Aristotle’s philosophy (which actually came through translations made in the Latin Empire of Greece and not Muslim Spain) it’s something bad like killing heretics. What he does is STILL negate the sources, resources and creativity of the Christian West. Scott’s pseudo research on this point would especially delight any moron influenced by the sciolist John S. Romanides who held bizarre and completely unsupported views of the Carolingians as a way to lend credence to his own anti-papal Orthodox sentiments.

Someone like Scott also makes the mistake of ignoring medieval sources in which “witches” themselves made claims about night flights. Call them crazy. Fine. They were crazy. But why would the average clergyman doubt these things when people claimed they did them at the very time such an admission imperiled their freedom and possibly their lives? The famous case of the ‘Hound of Heaven’, Thiess of Kaltenbrun, and those of the Friulian Benandanti, makes me think Scott simply doesn’t know what he’s talking about. (Yeah, I actually misspent much of my youth studying Livonian Lycanthropy. I even was invited to study the subject for my PhD at university in Germany - the eastern half of Germany unfortunately. Sometime I wish I had done it just to be able to travel all over Eastern Europe just after the fall of the Berlin Wall). Then again, if I had stayed on that track, I would have to deal with this stuff for a living rather than for occasional fun: http://depot.knaw.nl/6117/1/Werewolf,_Witch_%26_Warlock.pdf


27 posted on 01/01/2013 3:38:34 PM PST by vladimir998
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To: vladimir998

In short you have no examples until the 11th century, which is precisely the period when Scott argues the Islamic views of the appropriateness of treating heresy as a capital offense and Islamic superstitions about witchcraft infiltrated Western Europe.


28 posted on 01/01/2013 5:13:15 PM PST by The_Reader_David (And when they behead your own people in the wars which are to come, then you will know...)
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To: The_Reader_David

You wrote:

“In short you have no examples until the 11th century, which is precisely the period when Scott argues the Islamic views of the appropriateness of treating heresy as a capital offense and Islamic superstitions about witchcraft infiltrated Western Europe.”

Did you miss what I actually wrote or did you not read closely enough? Here, let me help you. I’m used to helping K-State faculty anyway. I wrote:

“There were some 11th-12th century cases, the earliest cases of secretive heresy, the first major cases of group heresy in centuries...”

Get that? THERE WERE NO HERETICAL GROUPS FROM LATE ANTIQUITY UNTIL THE 11TH-12TH CENTURIES. In other words, Scott makes the mistake of assuming that heretics were treated in a certain way after Christian society encountered Islam when in reality what happened is that there simply were no notable heretical groups until the 11th-12th centuries. None. After the collapse of the Arian Church among the Visigoth and Ostrogoths and the collapse of Pelagianism there simply were no heretical groups in Western Europe that anybody knew of. None at all show up in the sources. None.

Western Europeans, however, had had intense contact with Muslims in Spain since 711. The idea that they would only develop a way of treating heretics from the Muslims in the 11th century makes no sense. Also, there were notable examples of heretics being put to death in Late Antiquity - and medieval Christians were not unaware of those cases. Apparently Scott doesn’t take that into account either.


29 posted on 01/01/2013 5:22:50 PM PST by vladimir998
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To: vladimir998
I asked for examples of executions of heretics on the charge of heresy, rather than on the basis of a capital offense other than heresy, prior to Islamic influence, and you cited the 11th century. Now you assert, without providing one, that "there were notable examples of heretics being put to death in Late Antiquity - and medieval Christians were not unaware of those cases". Rather than giving me bluster and irrelevant examples from the 11th century, why did you not cite an actual "notable example" from Late Antiquity to begin with? How about actually rising to the challenge and answering the question I originally posed:

Can you find any well-attested instances of Christian heretics being executed solely on a charge of heresy, without another capital charge as the basis for the execution, prior to the rise of Islam, and with the approval of the Church?

You've asserted they exist. Cite one. In fact, you've asserted multiple such examples exist. Cite two. But executions of heretics for plots to assassinate the Emperor or a king or for murder or for anything else which was a capital offense under the prevailing laws of the time, unless it was a law prescribing a death penalty for heresy, don't count, only execution for heresy per se, which is what donmeaker and I and Scott suggest was copied from the Muslims.

30 posted on 01/01/2013 7:47:57 PM PST by The_Reader_David (And when they behead your own people in the wars which are to come, then you will know...)
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To: The_Reader_David

You wrote:

“I asked for examples of executions of heretics on the charge of heresy, rather than on the basis of a capital offense other than heresy, prior to Islamic influence, and you cited the 11th century.”

Because that’s what we’re talking about.

“Now you assert, without providing one, that “there were notable examples of heretics being put to death in Late Antiquity - and medieval Christians were not unaware of those cases”. Rather than giving me bluster and irrelevant examples from the 11th century, why did you not cite an actual “notable example” from Late Antiquity to begin with?”

Seriously, you honestly don’t know about any of this do you? You’ve never heard of Priscillian, for instance?

“How about actually rising to the challenge and answering the question I originally posed:”

How about actually providing proof for your own claims? Name the Islamic source which Christians cited as an authority to influence their own persecution of heretics. Can you? No, because there never were any.

“Can you find any well-attested instances of Christian heretics being executed solely on a charge of heresy, without another capital charge as the basis for the execution, prior to the rise of Islam, and with the approval of the Church?”

Magic is a form of heretical depravity and that was the official charge for which Priscillian was executed, for instance. The point is, strictly speaking, no one was ever executed SOLELY for heresy because that could and would not be known. Heretical ACTS were an entirely different matter.

“You’ve asserted they exist. Cite one.”

Already did. See above.

“In fact, you’ve asserted multiple such examples exist. Cite two.”

I’ll provide another one when you cite a single Muslim source quoted by a pope, council, leading canonist or theologian as a rationale for Christians executing heretics in the 12th and 13th centuries. If you can’t do that, then your poppycock theory will be shown to be exactly that.

“But executions of heretics for plots to assassinate the Emperor or a king or for murder or for anything else which was a capital offense under the prevailing laws of the time, unless it was a law prescribing a death penalty for heresy, don’t count, only execution for heresy per se, which is what donmeaker and I and Scott suggest was copied from the Muslims.”

And you’re all still wrong. Even if Christians did not execute men for solely heresy in Late Antiquity, it still in no way implies that any such notion was borrowed from Muslims. Such an idea is silly on the face of it and there are exactly zero sources to back it up.

You’re making several notable errors:

1) You’re assuming there was an Islamic influence on this subject based upon exactly nothing.
2) You are completely negating the massive European development of its own resources and sources which was COMPLETELY unconnected to anything remotely Islamic (e.g. the rediscovery of Roman Law in the 12th century; the desire of French monarchs to stymie outbreaks of popular violence and assert central control, etc.).
3) You are de facto denying the actual nature and understanding of medieval heresy on the part of medieval Christians. Those executed, for instance, were always viewed as dangers to society even if the charge was only heresy.
4) You are denying what medieval heretics themselves claimed (e.g. Hound of Heaven, Friulian witches, etc.).
5) You present not a single source - NOT ONE - which actually substantiates a single thing you claim. ZERO.

Now, unless you can present ONE MUSLIM SOURCE which was quoted by a pope, council, leading canonist or theologian as a foundational rationale for Christians executing heretics in the 12th and 13th centuries then this is a pointless exercise. Time to post some proof for what you claim. Got any? Any at all? I’m betting this will be a classic K-State choke.


31 posted on 01/02/2013 2:16:16 AM PST by vladimir998
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To: vladimir998

What precisely is your problem? Can you not carry on a civil written discussion of social, political and ecclesiastical history without engaging in invective and abuse?

Indeed we are discussing changes in the behavior of Western Christians in the 11th and 12th centuries, which you and old-school Latin ecclesiastical historians attribute to the unprecedented rise of “secret heresies”, but which Scott and I attribute to Islamic influence. My question, however, had been about purely Christian precedents for the execution of heretics prior to the rise of Islam, and your pointing to events in the 11th and 12th centuries was quite unresponsive.

Thank you for pointing out Priscillian, now finally you answered the question (and also the subsequently given challenge of giving multiple instances since reviewing that sorry bit of history, I see that the Empire executed six of Priscillian’s followers). Yes, my knowledge of ecclesiastical history is much deeper and broader in the history of the Eastern Patriarchates than in the history of the Patriarchate of Rome.

Even in this instance the capital charge was the practice of magic, which you want to conflate with heresy. So you are engaging in a bit of definition-stretching here to support your claim. But perhaps this is just one of those East-West differences: you say magic constitute heresy, we tend to say it’s humbug. Though regarding it as humbug is not to say that someone deluded into believing they can practice magic is not imperiling his or her soul, only that he or she is imperiled by delusion.

Now, you demand documentary evidence of Christians explicitly citing Muslim sources for “authority”, knowing perfectly well that no Christian would cite a Muslim source for authority. This is an absurd demand. (Oh, but because it’s absurd, you get to sneer at me, my employer and colleagues, and claim that my not being able to cite such a document will be a ‘typical K-State choke.’ How marvelous for you! It must make you feel like such a big man!) (And with brief counter-sneer, I will attempt to return to civility.)

Do any historians, social, political or ecclesiastical doubt that the aniconism of Islam was an influence upon iconoclasm? None certainly that I have read — and I have read extensively on the history of both the Church and the Empire in the relevant period. But can you point to any iconoclast writings citing Islamic sources of authority for the destruction of icons? To have done so would have laid bare the heretical nature of iconoclasm, so, of course, non-Christian sources were not cited for authority.

Did Emperor Frederick II leave documentary evidence citing Islamic authority for his adoption of the Muslim custom of keeping a harem? Did the Crusaders leave documentary evidence citing Muslim authority for adopting practice previously unknown among Christians of waging religious wars? How about those Crusaders who appealed (blessedly in vain) to have death in battle in a Crusade regarded as Christian martyrdom — did they leave documents citing Islamic authority for their view? But, do you really think that Frederick’s polygamy or the notion of Christian holy war or the desire of some Crusaders to establish a Christian analogue of the Muslim conception of martyrdom were not influenced by Islam simply because no documents citing an Islamic source of authority exist?

For that matter do you really think that my not citing vladimir998 as authority for writing bits of invective in posts to fellow FReepers means that your sneering posts did not influence my engaging in the bit of sneering above?

We have enough instances in our own time of social and cultural influences spreading without documentary chains of “authority” — for example, various European parliaments create “gay marriage”, leftish politicians and celebrities throughout the Anglosphere embrace the idea, but American courts cite American jurisprudence to conjure a right to “gay marriage” out of thin air. Do you really want to argue that since the American courts cited the 14th Amendment, or some provision of their state constitution, that the European legislation and “elite” opinion was not merely an influence on, but actually the real basis for, the courts’ actions? Latin Church sets up inquisitions — investigative tribunals unprecedented in Christian history, but entirely analogous to Muslim tribunals in neighboring Almohad Spain — and because they don’t cite Islamic “authority”, you want to argue that the bad example set by the Muslims in Spain was not an influence?

I am also underwhelmed by your assertion that “heresy could not and would not be known” so that only “heretical acts” could be the basis for a capital charge of heresy. The Fathers of the Ecumenical Councils were able to know that some persons (e.g. Arius) were heretics with sufficient certainty to promulgate solemn anathemas against not only their teachings, but their persons, when they refused to recant and accept the council’s statement of the Faith. I, evidently unlike you, trust that the Church can discern heresy in her children or erstwhile children (erstwhile since *unrepentant* heretics separate themselves from the Church), not just “heretical acts”.

In truth the notion of “heretical acts” sounds odd to my Orthodox ears — I have never seen the phrase used by Orthodox writers other than Russians from after the “Latin captivity” of Russian theological education in the 19th century, and that rarely, and only then in connection with actions to establish dioceses on the basis of the heresy of ethnophyletism.


32 posted on 01/02/2013 10:59:27 AM PST by The_Reader_David (And when they behead your own people in the wars which are to come, then you will know...)
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To: The_Reader_David

You wrote:

“What precisely is your problem? Can you not carry on a civil written discussion of social, political and ecclesiastical history without engaging in invective and abuse?”

Yes, I’m doing it right now – and have been.

“Indeed we are discussing changes in the behavior of Western Christians in the 11th and 12th centuries, which you and old-school Latin ecclesiastical historians attribute to the unprecedented rise of “secret heresies”, but which Scott and I attribute to Islamic influence.”

Which neither one of you can document in the least. Also, you’ll still have to prove there was a change at all.

You’re assuming that based on a better known example rather than taking into account that there was a wider spectrum of behavior.

“My question, however, had been about purely Christian precedents for the execution of heretics prior to the rise of Islam, and your pointing to events in the 11th and 12th centuries was quite unresponsive.”

No, I don’t think you have that right. You are falsely framing the issue based upon a strange and ridiculous idea which you are proving is based on NOTHING.

“Thank you for pointing out Priscillian, now finally you answered the question (and also the subsequently given challenge of giving multiple instances since reviewing that sorry bit of history, I see that the Empire executed six of Priscillian’s followers). Yes, my knowledge of ecclesiastical history is much deeper and broader in the history of the Eastern Patriarchates than in the history of the Patriarchate of Rome.”

And yet you produce not a single shred of evidence for your claims. Not a single shred. Not one.

“Even in this instance the capital charge was the practice of magic, which you want to conflate with heresy. So you are engaging in a bit of definition-stretching here to support your claim.”

False. I am merely dealing with things as they actually were. All of these things were more nuanced than you give them credit.

“But perhaps this is just one of those East-West differences: you say magic constitute heresy, we tend to say it’s humbug.”

Really? So why then did Elder Cleopa of Romania wrote:

“The man who resorts to black magic and necromancy is an enemy of God, disobedient to His commandments, not content with the salvatory lessons God teaches him through the Scriptures, but rather, prompted by the demons in this illegitimate work, he seeks to investigate things rationally. And so, believing in these fantasies, he withdraws from God and the teaching of our Church.”

Withdraws from God and the teaching of the Church. Sure sounds like heresy to me.

“Though regarding it as humbug is not to say that someone deluded into believing they can practice magic is not imperiling his or her soul, only that he or she is imperiled by delusion.”

A delusion fostered by Satan. The real danger is not the delusion alone, but the fact that it opens a door for Satan to come through.

“Now, you demand documentary evidence of Christians explicitly citing Muslim sources for “authority”, knowing perfectly well that no Christian would cite a Muslim source for authority. This is an absurd demand.”

Not at all. It strikes right at the core of your claim. That’s the whole point. You’re claiming something which you yourself have just admitted – de facto – you have not a single shred of evidence for. In fact, all the evidence goes against it.

“(Oh, but because it’s absurd, you get to sneer at me, my employer and colleagues, and claim that my not being able to cite such a document will be a ‘typical K-State choke.’”

The point is that I knew from the beginning that you would fail. Sorry, but it’s true. The theory you are supporting has never had any evidence for it nor could it. It is an absurd theory that makes no sense in any way. It denies all that we know about history and the Church.

“How marvelous for you! It must make you feel like such a big man!) (And with brief counter-sneer, I will attempt to return to civility.)”

Counter-sneer? Oy vey. Work on that Dave. Really, try.

“Do any historians, social, political or ecclesiastical doubt that the aniconism of Islam was an influence upon iconoclasm? None certainly that I have read — and I have read extensively on the history of both the Church and the Empire in the relevant period.”

It is a modern as well as almost contemporary fashion among historians to claim that Islam influenced iconoclasm among Christians. I think the intellectually lazy take that in without any critical thought whatsoever. You might want to read this: http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/617544?uid=3739256&uid=2129&uid=2&uid=70&uid=4&sid=21101530069541

“But can you point to any iconoclast writings citing Islamic sources of authority for the destruction of icons?”

Yes – if you simply track down the bibliography of the article I just linked to you’ll see that the Christians themselves blamed Muslim influence for the outbreak of iconoclasm on the part of Christians. See footnotes 3 and 4. The problem is that there is no real proof that such an influence existed nor did any of the original sources offer any. My gosh, that was easy. Now, you try.

“To have done so would have laid bare the heretical nature of iconoclasm, so, of course, non-Christian sources were not cited for authority.”

Again, the influence was claimed by the orthodox to have existed. The issue there would not be the claim, but its validity. You’re really not making a good case here. Your analogy has failed and I have found essentially what you demanded just not in a way you probably expected.

“Did Emperor Frederick II leave documentary evidence citing Islamic authority for his adoption of the Muslim custom of keeping a harem?”

Pope Gregory IV or Pope Innocent IV did document hat in regard to Frederick II saying he followed Saracen ways and had a harem guarded by eunuchs. Here’s just one mentioning of that but there are many: http://books.google.com/books?id=GlIDGodwC30C&pg=PA3&lpg=PA3&dq=innocent+IV+provided+with+a+harem+guarded+by+eunuchs&source=bl&ots=kFVVEzWTpu&sig=qrcsebqoyQSm9ZM_uMsLUcqzowQ&hl=en&sa=X&ei=0bHkUOmDHqWO2QXEvYHYCg&sqi=2&ved=0CEAQ6AEwAw#v=onepage&q=innocent%20IV%20provided%20with%20a%20harem%20guarded%20by%20eunuchs&f=false

“Did the Crusaders leave documentary evidence citing Muslim authority for adopting practice previously unknown among Christians of waging religious wars?”

Uh, you’ve never read Erdmann have you? The Byzantines were fighting religious wars for many, many years before the crusaders. Perhaps you didn’t know that. So, your premise there is seriously flawed to say the least.

“How about those Crusaders who appealed (blessedly in vain) to have death in battle in a Crusade regarded as Christian martyrdom — did they leave documents citing Islamic authority for their view?”

“But, do you really think that Frederick’s polygamy or the notion of Christian holy war or the desire of some Crusaders to establish a Christian analogue of the Muslim conception of martyrdom were not influenced by Islam simply because no documents citing an Islamic source of authority exist?”

No, your premise is wrong, your apparent knowledge is faulty. You can’t even frame things as they actually existed. Again, read Erdmann and your entire view of things will change. Hence, you’ll probably never read it. http://www.amazon.com/Origin-Idea-Crusade-Carl-Erdmann/dp/1597407984 And you never read this book either: http://www.amazon.com/First-Crusader-Byzantiums-Holy-Wars/dp/1403961514

“For that matter do you really think that my not citing vladimir998 as authority for writing bits of invective in posts to fellow FReepers means that your sneering posts did not influence my engaging in the bit of sneering above?”

Your sneering – if there be any – is all your own. And honestly, what you call sneering in your post, I can’t take seriously as sneering any way.

“We have enough instances in our own time of social and cultural influences spreading without documentary chains of “authority” — for example, various European parliaments create “gay marriage”, leftish politicians and celebrities throughout the Anglosphere embrace the idea, but American courts cite American jurisprudence to conjure a right to “gay marriage” out of thin air. Do you really want to argue that since the American courts cited the 14th Amendment, or some provision of their state constitution, that the European legislation and “elite” opinion was not merely an influence on, but actually the real basis for, the courts’ actions?”

Again, your analogy makes no sense.

“Latin Church sets up inquisitions — investigative tribunals unprecedented in Christian history,”

False. Inquisitions were no different in their basic formulation than ecclesiastical courts before them. They were also not set up as investigative bodies. They essentially became so.

“but entirely analogous to Muslim tribunals in neighboring Almohad Spain — and because they don’t cite Islamic “authority”, you want to argue that the bad example set by the Muslims in Spain was not an influence?”

It was no influence at all. There is no relationship at all, no comparison, no evidence and it isn’t even a reasonable comparison.

“I am also underwhelmed by your assertion that “heresy could not and would not be known” so that only “heretical acts” could be the basis for a capital charge of heresy.”

Underwhelmed or not, it’s true. Your lack of understanding of historical events or understandings on the part of medieval men changes nothing.

“The Fathers of the Ecumenical Councils were able to know that some persons (e.g. Arius) were heretics with sufficient certainty to promulgate solemn anathemas against not only their teachings, but their persons,”

Because Arius had openly proclaimed his heresy and had repeatedly refused to recant when patiently asked to do so by his saintly bishop. If Arius had never proclaimed his heresy, no one would ever have known it. Instead he literally sang songs about his heresy – and proclaimed it in front of the council. THEN the council declared him a heretic.

“when they refused to recant and accept the council’s statement of the Faith. I, evidently unlike you, trust that the Church can discern heresy in her children or erstwhile children (erstwhile since *unrepentant* heretics separate themselves from the Church), not just “heretical acts”.”

No one can be known as a heretic without giving a sign of it – and that means an action. Seriously, use common sense. No Orthodox theologian would ever say that the Church knows who heretics are before they give some sign of their adherence to heresy. That’s exactly why Arius was allowed to verbally hang himself with rope given to him by the council fathers. His open proclamation of his heresy was proof enough. Didn’t that ever occur to you?

“In truth the notion of “heretical acts” sounds odd to my Orthodox ears — I have never seen the phrase used by Orthodox writers”

Irrelevant. I have never seen any but the most recent of orthodox theologians use the expression “Final Theosis” outside of Greek yet Eastern Orthodox have used it for centuries. Does that make “Final Theosis” an invalid term? No. Actions are different than thoughts. A heretical thought, a heretical belief, can be held by someone and yet never betrayed by a known action and thus kept secret to mortal men. A seditious thought in someone’s head can’t be known by the U.S. government. Write an email about it and you have an entirely different situation. See the difference? It’s common sense. Don’t forget the very word heresy implies a choice has been made.

“other than Russians from after the “Latin captivity” of Russian theological education in the 19th century, and that rarely, and only then in connection with actions to establish dioceses on the basis of the heresy of ethnophyletism.”

Christian philosophy of personhood is far more developed in the West than in the East. I am not surprised that we take into account thoughts AND actions and also distinguish between the two.

Also, when you can actually get Russian Orthodox and Greek Orthodox to actually agree on whether or not Catholic sacraments are valid let me know. Until then that must mean that one Church or the other embraces a heresy. Either the Russians do – which means that the largest Orthodox church in the world easily fell into heresy and can’t seem to get out of it - or the Greek Orthodox – who so often appear to think of themselves as the purest of the Orthodox - are actually just heretics. Which is it?


33 posted on 01/02/2013 3:26:57 PM PST by vladimir998
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To: vladimir998
Demanding documentary evidence attributing the hostile other as source as the standard of proof for cultural transmission across a hostile frontier seem me (and to a goodly number of historians -- witness the case of the general historical attitude toward the roots of iconoclasm among modern historians) an absurd standard.

But I suppose you could be right. There is an alternative hypothesis to cultural transmission across a hostile frontier that accounts for the outbreak of anti-Jewish riots in Latin Christian Europe shortly after the same phenomenon in Muslim Spain, for the establishment of special tribunals for rooting out heresy in Latin Europe just a few decades after the same happened in Muslim Spain, for the notion of holy war being embraced by the Latins when it was unknown among Christian prior, for the adoption of the notorious kill-them-all attitude when reducing towns held by religious opponents by the Latins when prior precedent had existed only among the Muslims: the same demons were afflicting all the religious leaders in Western Europe who lacked of the light of the Holy Orthodox Faith, both Muslim and Latin alike. (You are doubtless already aware that your assertion that there were no heresies in Western Europe from the Lombard repudiation of Arianism until the 11th century is risible among us Orthodox, and that however much you may discount the late Fr. John Romanides' scholarship and views, the Frankish court were the champions of the erroneous doctrine of the dual procession of the Holy Spirit through centuries when the Popes of Rome continued in the Orthodox Faith -- I simply had had the civility not to point it out in a thread labeled "Ecumenical".)

(And no, the "religous wars" of the Christian Romans were not holy wars in the same sense as jihad or the Crusades.)

I am pleased to see that you can post civilly. Still, you prior behavior -- going to the trouble of following the breadcrumbs I've left in cyberspace to find the real identity of The_Reader_David so as to include ad hominem attacks in your prior posts, and your posting style -- great long swaths of text that your correspondents must wade through to reply -- makes me wonder about your motivation.

It cannot be to persuade me: the ad hominem attacks on K-State, picking on a misremembered spelling, and "moron influenced by the sciolist Fr. John Romanides'" were highly counter-productive.

It cannot be apologetics on behalf of Latin Christianity. Again ad hominem attacks make you seem uncharitable and your substantive argument seem weak and thus would fail in that purpose. Worse, your overall approach, not merely to deny cultural transmission across the Muslim-Christan frontier in Spain, but to attempt to justify as properly Christian the execution of heretics (albeit with qualifiers like "secret" or "violent") when this behavior by your spiritual forebearers has become an impediment to modern folk embracing any variant of Christianity, is counter-productive as apologetics.

I can only conclude that your regard FR discussion threads as a verbal blood-sport akin to high school national topic policy debates, and when either your ad hominem attacks or your posting great swaths of text to which others haven't the patience to reply drives your "opponents" from the field, you take satisfaction from flow-charting the "debate" and scoring it on points. Well, be happy: Since my refutation of your "no heresies" claim came only in my final rebuttal, you can ignore it and "pull that through your flow" as the Georgetown jargon put it, since new arguments can't be made in rebuttals. Congratulations. You won the thread.

I commend to your attention a piece that appeared in The New Yorker' "Shouts and Murmers" feature last year, which avered that "every conversation has a winner and a loser" and gave strategies for winning conversations, which if used "will have you winning conversations so consistently no one will ever dare to challenge you to one again." You can doubtless adapt them for use here at FR.

34 posted on 01/07/2013 8:14:16 AM PST by The_Reader_David (And when they behead your own people in the wars which are to come, then you will know...)
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To: vladimir998

***was reportedly the response that the learned monk gave. Kill them all, G-d knows his own.”***

****That leads me to believe it is made up, phony quote made up by people sitting online with a Cassel’s dictionary***

I remember reading that quote many year before there was an internet.


35 posted on 01/18/2013 5:56:11 PM PST by Ruy Dias de Bivar (Click my name! See new paintings!)
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To: Ruy Dias de Bivar

You wrote:

“I remember reading that quote many year before there was an internet.”

The actual Latin quote is different. So, you can claim to have read that Latin quote, but it is not the one found in Caesarius of Heisterbach (as I showed) - and it is THAT SOURCE that is the first source that claims the quote was actually said - years after the event at which it was supposedly said.


36 posted on 01/18/2013 8:28:14 PM PST by vladimir998
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To: vladimir998

Have you ever thought about writing a book for popular reading that sets the ALL THE recordS straight?

Maybe you could give it a snazzy title like ...1001 THINGS YOU WERE TAUGHT WRONG ABOUT RELIGIOUS HISTORY.

Don’t laugh! I had to get some real old books to find out some things about American history that is not taught today.


37 posted on 01/18/2013 9:38:45 PM PST by Ruy Dias de Bivar (Click my name! See new paintings!)
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To: Ruy Dias de Bivar

You wrote:

“Have you ever thought about writing a book for popular reading that sets the ALL THE recordS straight?”

I was right about the Copts.


38 posted on 01/18/2013 10:06:26 PM PST by vladimir998
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