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Christian Heresies

The Problem
Gnosticism The Gnostics believed that the material world is evil--the goal is to set free the spirit that is entrapped in a physical existence. They believed this was possible through the reception of secret teachings.
Monarchianism Monarchians argued that Jesus was an ordinary human, to whom came the power of God--usually understood at his baptism or at the resurrection. He was not God, but God worked in and through him.
Manicheism Mani, a Babylonian from the 200s CE, claimed to have secret knowledge that would set the entrapped goodness of Spirit free. YHWH, Mani argued, was an evil spirit who had entrapped that goodness in creation.
Modalism Another form of Monarchainism, Modalism is the argument that God acts in three different modes, but one at a time--hence, for a time God is Father, then Son, then Holy Spirit.
Arianism Arius argued that the Father alone was without beginning. The Son, therefore, was created or made.
Montanism Montanus (ca. AD 156) asserted a direct relationship with the Holy Spirit, which came upon him apart from the structure of the Church and brought on speaking in tongues and other charismatic behaviors. With this came a strong emphasis on the immanence of Christ's second coming.
Apollinarianism Wanting to preserve the two natures of Christ as expressed in the Nicene Creed, Apollinarius argued that Jesus was fully human in body and soul, but his mind was the divine Logos (Word). In essence, Jesus was God clothed in human flesh.
Nestorianism Trying to preserve the idea that Jesus Christ existed from the beginning, Nestorius argued that Mary could not be called "mother of God", as that implied she could give birth to one older than she. He preferred the term "mother of Christ."
Eutychianism Attempting to protect against an over-emphasis on the humanity of Christ, Eutyches argued that when the divine and human natures were joined, the divine absorbed the human--thus, he over-emphasized the divinity of Christ.
Pelagianism Pelagius argued that there is no point at which a person loses free will--contrary to the doctrine of original sin, one can always choose for God.