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Heresies and Heretics in the Early Church (4 of 8)
1 John 4:1-3; 1 Corinthians 3:16; Hebrews 1:8-12
Early church fathers focused much energy on refuting heretical views that infiltrated the church. The majority of the Trinity quotes were written in response to heresy being taught within the church. A heresy is simply a doctrine that strays from the established Christian belief. A heretic is someone who adheres to and teaches this unorthodox doctrine. In the case of the early church, heresies were teachings that directly conflicted with established Christian doctrine that was taught by Jesus and the apostles and passed down to the early church fathers on vital issues, such as the deity of Christ, the nature of God, salvation by grace, etc.
We have seen that many of the early church fathers were taught directly by the apostles themselves. Barnabas was taught directly by Paul and he served with Paul on some of his missionary journeys. Though his writings are not considered scripture, they are powerful testimonies to the original doctrine of Christ and the meaning of the gospel. Those closest to the source are the most credible witnesses. We have seen that those who deny the deity of Christ (Jesus was fully God and fully man), and those who identify Jesus and the Father as the same person were the teachers of heresy. This was not accepted by the early church and this heresy was not allowed into the church until after Constantine became an Arian and used his political power to establish this rejected doctrine as a part of the church. The council of Nicaea rejected this heresy almost unanimously. The church's position did not change from the time of the apostles until the heresy took root. It was political power alone that forced this into the church as an accepted doctrine.
Just as the early church fought against those who departed from historical Christianity, the battle in the church is the same today. Many heresies that began back i ...
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