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Home » Forum » Early Christianity » Early Chistianity 101 - Biased, inaccurate and incomplete
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Name: cmpadres  •  Title: Early Chistianity 101 - Biased, inaccurate and incomplete  •  Date posted: 02/27/07 18:12
Q: Wow, I find it scary that such a professionally developed website for a "documentary" by some reportedly educated people, could present such a biased, inaccurate, and incomplete history or presentation of what "Early Christianity" was. Well you definitely see the Jewish beliefs of the Director/writer of the movie this site was built for showing through. PLEASE any of you who have come to this site curious as myself, if you want a history of early christianity, this is not the site to get it.

I am pretty open minded, and am more than willing to listen to other people's points of view and consider any evidence they present, but I do expect them to present it in a fair and accurate manner. Until I saw this website, I planned on watching the documentary, I even made an appointment in my palm pilot, but it is now obvious to me that it will not just be a presentation of the discovery of the tomb and of a interpretation of those findings with the directors evidence backing his theory, but that it will be presented in a biased manner which puts into question its validity as a true documentary. I now see this as less of an attempt to present evidence and a point of view on that evidence, and more of an attempt to discredit Christianity and to do it by misrepresenting information and presenting incomplete information that will lead viewers to believe the directors point of view, and I am deeply offended by those deceptive tactics.

If anyone wants a history of early christianity, DO NOT read this site, rather do the research yourself because this site is presenting only a partial history, and from the VERY LIMITED information this site provides, would further lead readers to discredit christianity.

One place I recommend for this history is to look to the Orthodox Christians. These are the Christians that trace their history person by person in a direct successorship back to the apostles of Jesus. Only Orthodox Christians and Catholics have this direct lineage. Notice how the web site's history didn't mention either of these groups, but only mentioned more marginalized sects of christianity that developed. 
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Name: Gina  •  Date: 02/27/07 18:22
A: I can see why some of these "marginalized" sects would be mentioned. I for one had never heard of the Freemasons or Gnostics. Do you know anything about the Orthodox lineage? Would you mind sharing? 
Name: Tara  •  Date: 02/27/07 18:27
A: "Only Orthodox Christians and Catholics have this direct lineage."

AND YOU THINK THIS SITE IS BIASED...PLEASE!

The fact that the heading states Early Christianity 101 I think makes it pretty clear that these are a BASIC overview, and since it is a site about the movie I think it fits to have articles based on the theories based on the movie.

I have read tons on ealry christianity, and I feel the whole site depicts it. In fact the only problem I have is that the whole site should be underthe heading should be called early christianity.

Do you even know who the early christians are, and how farback they date. You say the word lineage, go ahead research it ...but don't stop where it suits you research far back and I am sure you will squirm! 
Name: cmpadres  •  Date: 02/27/07 18:36
A: Another comment... Sorry to go on and on...

One thing people need to know and understand: Christianity is defined by its Dogmatic beliefs. (One God, Jesus, etc...) Beyond that all people (Christian or not) have cultural traditions. When this website presents modern day christianity as a "Fusion" of paganism, judaism, greek thought and mystical religions, this is again not accurate. Some of the cultural aspects of how Christianity is practiced had ties/similarities to other beliefs, IT IS NOT WHAT CHRISTIANITY IS! These are cultural things. For example, during Christmas, many Christians decorate a Christams tree. This is a cultural practice that some have related back to a pagan tradition. But Christmas is not about the tree, Christmas is a day celebrating the birth of Jesus, not a tree, not a sleigh and Reindeer, etc. These cultural things did not even exist in the Early days of Christianity but as the pagans, mystics, etc converted to Christianity, they brought their culture with them, hence where we are today... 
Name: cmpadres  •  Date: 02/27/07 18:44
A: Regarding this being a BASIC overview of early chrisitanity:

If I gave you the BASICS of how a light bulb works, and not talked about electricity, or talked about the basics of a rainbow in the sky, and not mentioned either rain or sunlight. would you call that even a basic description of those items. How can they talk about a basic history of chrisitanity and not talk about the core followers of christianity at the time.. the Aposltes? 
Name: cmpadres  •  Date: 02/27/07 18:46
A: RE: A: "Only Orthodox Christians and Catholics have this direct lineage." AND YOU THINK THIS SITE IS BIASED...PLEASE!

In the realm of all the various Christian followings there are today. These are the only ones that can substantiate that claim. I truly welcome you to prove me wrong. 
Name: cmpadres  •  Date: 02/27/07 19:09
A: RE: Do you even know who the early christians are, and how farback they date.

a: Yes I do! They were Matthew ,Mark, Luke, John and the people in the Churches they established, the Corinthians, the Ephesians, the Phillipians, the Colossians.... Have you ever read the Bible? 
Name: NormaPorter  •  Date: 02/27/07 19:20
A: Christians for the most part have no clue that Easter is not a christian holiday, it is greek and it is a holiday to celebrate fertility. Why they associate it with the resurrection is beyond me, christmas is centered around a lit up tree and presents, there-go another pagan holiday in the mix, so where is the real christian holidays? I have many friends that claim to be Christian, but have never read the bible, do not go to church, have no clue and wander around blind. Do your homework, read the bible, go to the library and look up the formation of the christian church, you will be shocked at what you find. 
Name: Gina  •  Date: 02/27/07 20:10
A: RE: How can they talk about a basic history of chrisitanity and not talk about the core followers of christianity at the time.. the Aposltes?


I believe there is an article on the Apostles.... 
Name: cmpadres  •  Date: 02/27/07 20:33
A: I agree with you Norma, too many Christians are walking around blind and uneducated. (I cannot exclude myself as I still have much to learn as well.) Exactly what you are saying is why I follow the Orthodox Church. We don't celebrate "Easter", for us the day is called the "Feast of the Resurrection" of Christ and is a celebration solely focused on the resurrection of Christ (no bunnies involved). We don't celebrate Christmas (trees and reindeer and such) we celebrate the Feast of the Nativity, etc...

When you say to research the formation of the Christian Church, I think you need to be more specific. Many of the Christian churches today are formed and changed/reformed all the time. i.e. the Protestant Churches stemming from the protestant reformation. And yes, some that claim to be Christian churches, have interesting foundations and histories! It seems that a new "Christian" church appears daily as each pastor develops his personal opinions and insights.

But the original Christian faith was founded by Christ Himself. Coptic (Egyptian) Orthodox church for example was founded by Christ Himself and fostered and spread by his Apostle St. Mark. Orthodoxy (also by definition) prides itself as being unchanged from Christ's times, and if one ever attends a sunday Liturgy at one of the Coptic Orthodox churches it will be seen in everything they do. There are no drums, guitars or people clapping and jumping around and dancing, the liturgies are performed as they always have for thousands of years. Orthodoxy's core belief is that since Christ was perfect, who are we to change from what He established. And who better to learn from and follow than his immediate eye-witnesses the apostles who were entrusted by Christ to spead the Word. In Orthodoxy if a Priest is to interpret or teach or pass on anything, it is always checked for continuity with the Church's historical interpretations , to ensure that there is continuity and that what is being taught does not in any way conflict with or change what was has always been taught in the church. By this very strict process we can be confident that the Orthodox church today has its firm foundations in the direct teachings of Christ and his Apostles. 
Name: ollypop  •  Date: 02/28/07 16:08
A: The first centuries of Christianity formed many small communities throughout the roman empire. These small communities where begun by different Apostles and and the teachings they gave on Christ.
Since the majority of early churches were begun in Asia Minor and had been taught by a majority of the Apostles it became the focus of what became the Church as we know it. Any other Gospels other than the four we have today as well as the letters from Paul ( A Roman citizen) were consider blasphemous despite coming from the teachings of the other Apostles who I assume you hold in high regard. Appolonius created the Bible as we know it and while I read the Bible daily I have also informed myself of the many sides of Chrisitianity. 
Name: MWAnderson  •  Date: 02/28/07 18:28
A: I think the concept to keep in mind [for those of us who are of a more secular POV] is one that has to do with the very nature of faith in general, and Christianity specifically:

Christians are by no means a single like-minded body, and each Christian aligns him/herself with either the brand of Christianity they prefer [or speaks to them, if you prefer], or one that they've grown up with [which I think is probably the most commom situation].

As illustrated above, any indvidual Christian's POV on this issue, and on general doctrine/dogma, may differ widely from what those outside of CHristianity perceive as "typical," as well as what other Christians from another denomination/sect/flavor may accept as the norm.

It has been my personal experience that the more fundamentalist/dogmatic a particular sect is, the less widely the average adherent is versed on early Christianity and the actual formative process of becoming a full-fledged religion. I think that's why you'll see time after time quite forceful opinions of the origins of Christianity that do not match other Christian's beliefs or what is known historically about the formative process.

And while I don't know, nor am I connected to anyone that's responsible for this film and/or book, I think a little common sense should be applied where the idea of this effort producing "huge profits":

Jame Cameron is a VERY successful Director/producer in the film world, and I think it's obvious from his recent projects {Ghosts of the Abyss} and his major feature film successes {Terminator, Terminator 2, TITANIC}, that he isn't likely to make nearly as much profit from this as a from feature film {remember, this will be airing on cable TV this coming Sunday}, so I really have my doubts about this being an exploitive venture for the sake of profit.

I welcome this as an opportunity to debate this subject. It is my hope that once the heated discussion has died down, Christians and anyone else interested in this subject can have a more open exchange of ideas about Jesus & all that has progressed in his wake. 
Name: ollypop  •  Date: 02/28/07 20:24
A: MWAnderson,,

Couldn't of said it better myself!

THNX 
Name: chrisandlisad  •  Date: 03/01/07 3:25
A: The Early Christians are the best eyewitnesses we have to the life and doctrine that Jesus passed on to his disciples. All over the world, there is a movement among many to return to the very simple faith and teaching of the first Christians. For any interested in further study, many of us belong to a Yahoo group devoted to discussing the teachings of the early church, what they reveal to us about the New Testament, and what does it mean for us today. We invite you to join us. The website is:
www.earlychristianstoday.com
which will then take you to the discussion group. Hope to see you there. 
Name: osirius608  •  Date: 03/01/07 19:31
A: MWAnderson, Tara, and NormaPorter raise very valid points...and here's mine...CHRISTMAS to celebrate the birth of Christ? IMPOSSIBLE!!!! Anyone who lives in a desert area would NOT be out at night in winter...too friggin cold out there! (I know...been in the desert at night in December with thermal gear that didn't help AT ALL! Ever hear of hypothermia?! Just bcause the term for it is recent, doesn't mean it didn't exist until then!). Secondly, the true North Star doesn't show in the skies over the Middle East until MARCH!!!!! 
Name: archaeologist992000  •  Date: 03/04/07 16:36
A: A many of you already know, early Christianity, is referred to as the Jesus Movement until the first Church was founded by Paul. Until the founding of teh first Christian Ministry by Paul at Antioch, there were several versions of Christianity in the very early period and until there was the main Gospels were written and compiled. This early period of Xhristianity has many sources usually referred to Collectively as Q (short for the German word Quelle (the well)). Some of the parts of Q have been verified by the findings of the Nag Hamadi Scrolls, the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Aprocypha's, etc... that have popped up thorughout history. The existence of these alternate texts to the main 4 Gospels could be seen as cultural and religious bifurcation points for establishing the different Christian Churches. As well as alternate resources that have yet to be discovered. In some of these texts are obvious references to family members of Jesus, Jesus being married, Jesus being homosexual, etc... These were all merely different takes from a time period when information took decades to travel around and take effect. So, if you can show that Jesus' lost tomb is now located, why not? There is no circumstance in any text or even the bible that shows anythign to the contrary. We know more about earlier religious leaders and have specific information on the birth and death places of Buddha, Muhammad, Zoroaster, Plato, Aristotle, etc... Why should we not assume that this isn't the tomb... 
Name: whitewolfsong71  •  Date: 03/04/07 17:06
A: I used to beleive in what The Discovery Channel was doing, with the documentary and science they showed. But now they have taken the truth out of context. When Jesus was buried, the Romans posted guards at His tomb to prevent anyone from moving the body. THAT IS IN HISTORICAL FILES OF THE TIME AS WELL AS THE BIBLE. You are just trying to make your own theories fit into what you think you have dicovered. You may have found the family tomb, but Mary did not remain a virgin once Jesus was born, and Jesus had six brothers as well as sisters. Jesus wasn't even put in a coffin of any type. They wrapped Him in a cloth and placed him in the tomb, and annoited the body with herbs and oils, as was the custom. Jesus rose from the dead before His body could be put into a coffin. Get your facts straight before you put something like this together. Your program could keep many who are not yet saved from ever getting saved, because they will see this and assume that the true Christians are lying to them. Their souls will be on your hands. 
Name: whitewolfsong71  •  Date: 03/04/07 17:20
A: Resurrection Sunday, or as most call Easter, is based on the Jewish holiday of Lent. That is why it is never the same Sunday. We based on when Lent starts. The Last Supper was during Lent and that is how the early Christians decided to remember it. The fact that the Pegan holiday was brought into play, was that some of the Pegans were converted and their celebration of Spring and worship of the goddess Eastara fell so close to the death and Resurrection of Christ that the early Christians decided to call their celebration Easter to avoid persectution. It was just their way of hiding the real celebration and the name unfortunately stuck. 
Name: whitewolfsong71  •  Date: 03/04/07 17:43
A: osirius608 , for your information, the north star was not the star of the Bible that the wise men followed. And unless you really read the Bible, you wouldn't know that the reason Harid wanted all males killed that were under the age of two, was because the star had shown for two years before thw Wise men arrived in Bethleham. And that they had traveled FROM the east, not to the east. that is a long way to travel in just a few days. The fact is that the shepard's were the first to arrive because they kept watch over their flocks BY NIGHT. They knew how to deal with the cold of a dessert night. They didn't have pins to put their flocks in, instead a group of them would take turns staying up and watching over them. That way if any strayed they could rouse the others and go after them. 
Name: KRS  •  Date: 03/05/07 3:54
A: Archeologist 99200 has it a bit wrong, I'm afraid. His entire supposition is common, but there is actually no direct evidence to support it. The Nag hammadi texts don't support the existence of Q, since the few texts included in the gospel of Thomas are more probably derived from the canonical gospels (due to the form they are in), through an intermediary, and the clearly gnostic elements within the text, and the dead Sea Scrolls don't have any support for the existence of such documents.

Actually, I'm surprised the idea of Q still exists; when the documentary hypothesis first came about, the gospels were dated by the theological leftto the second century, and so the theological left had to explain how first century material was formed into the gospel. However, as time went on, even they had to admit that a date after the first century was extremely unlikely.

Theological conservatives date the synoptics (Matt., Mark, and Luke) to between AD 50-60 with Luke being last and John to about AD 80. The theological left dates the synoptics to AD 80 and John to around AD 90.

Incidentally, Easter is actually derived from the early Christian practice of the passover, and the date is based on the passover, not on a Greek feast. Christmas is a third or fourht century element. 
Name: KRS  •  Date: 03/05/07 6:11
A: In addition, the gnostics are not an early Christian group, probably developing until after AD 80 (the first reference to a specifically gnostic belief/practice is 1 John, dated to around AD 85) - and even this is often discussed as a proto-gnostic group. Most of the other passages in the NT used to argue for an earlier Gnostic movement are due to traits shared by the gnostics and the proto-Ebionite sect.

The Ebionites are probably the theological descendants of the group Paul argued against in Galatians, and whose teachings were repudiated at the council of Jerusalem in AD 49 (Acts 15). They are often associated with a work known as the gospel according to the Hebrews, though they also were known for an intense hatred for Paul, but for some reason, they didn't use his name, they tended to refer to him under the name Simon Magnus (after the Simon of Acts 8:9ff).

One real problem is that they present the material in the article as established fact is that. Some of them are areas that are debated by scholars, some are theories that actually became popular after they were abandoned by scholars. 
Name: Gerri  •  Date: 03/05/07 6:29
A: True - the best place to learn about the history of Christianity is The Testament (aka the "old" testament").

The history of Christianity is well documented in a great documentary called "From Jesus to Chirst" - available for sale on PBS. It's a 4 part (2 hrs each) history of the evolution of Christianity - from - yes folks - JUDAISM. ....to Greek Orthodox - to Roman Catholic - to all other brands of Protestant much much later.

I know this is a tough one to grasp - but Jesus was Jewish - not Chirstian.....and his sabbath was Fri at sundown to Sat at sundown - not Sunday (the chosen Roman/Pagan day to worship Ra - the Sun god - later awared to Jesus).

While the film has dramatic effect - the FACTS remain that 9 bone boxes were found in a tomb - and each person's name in the tomb had the same name as those in Jesus's family and that STATISTICALLY speaking - there's a 1 in 30,000 chance that it's NOT his tomb. Those are the facts - but hey - get on the "common name" bandwagon with the rest of the poor souls who are SO confliced about how their priests have been perpetuating the evaporating bone phenomenon for centuries.

PS - your last paragraph is historically inaccurate. The orthodox and Roman Catholics were polytheists that were converted to Judaism - with Christ as central monotheistic figure - while maintaining and integrating their own beliefs. 
Name: KRS  •  Date: 03/05/07 7:47
A: Actually, your last statement is your conclusion, it is not an established fact. considering the early date for the Christian gospels, the corroborating data in Tacitus, Suetonius and the Talmud, this conclusion is difficult to make stand on its face. Paul states that Peter and James did not disagree with him on his doctrinal teachings about Christ (Galatians Chapter 2). There is no evidence (only supposition) that the gospel accounts are not historically accurate.

Again, there are major problems with the names listed. Jesus did not have a brother named Yose, the identification they make is on the basis of a texutal error. They are also relying on a document that is of extremely questionable historic value, the gospel according to Hebrews.

I've done better than a PBS special, I've done a lot of first hand work with the New Testament, more than most Christians have. It has passed every test where there is some objective means for evaluation - you can believe what you want, but you can't argue that its established fact.

As for the PS, I've worked with a lot of first century history works, they tend to disagree with you there, or at least the objective ones do (I've read one work which agreed with you slightly). 
Name: KRS  •  Date: 03/05/07 7:48
A: Err, make that the gospel of Philip, not the gospel of the Hebrews (of which we have no copies). Sorry, its getting late. 
Name: KRS  •  Date: 03/05/07 8:06
A: Before I go to bed, let me make sure I am clear on the statistical argument. If all the names listed are in common, they might have a case, as I'm a New Testament scholar rather than a mathmatician I won't debate that. However, two of the names they are citing are misidentifications.

The evidence they cite to support the idea that Mariame is Mary Magdalene is extremely flimsy, otherwise, they have no means of identifying that particular ossuary with Mary.

Jesus also did not have a brother named Yose, this is a scribal error, that happened to make it into a lot of early English versions.

Therefore, they don't have a match on four ossuaries related to the family of Jesus, they have a match on two to family members, so their statistical argument is no longer valid. 
Name: steveh0607  •  Date: 03/05/07 11:53
A: Orthodox Christianity did not drop out of the sky fully formed. Rather, it developed over the course of four or five centuries culminating with the classical creeds.

The early Jerusalem congregation of the Jesus movement, lead by his brother James, was indeed a jewish sect having nothing in common with the later Orthodox Christian beliefs. If this were not the case then Paul would not have had such seemingly constant arguments with the "Pillars" as he called James, Peter, and John.

Early Christianity needs to have much much more light shed on it. 
Name: KRS  •  Date: 03/05/07 14:41
A: Stephen,

again, this is highly debatable; your arguing that your conclusions (which seem idealogically driven in part) are proven facts. What you are quoting are theories. The New Testament documents were all written within the first century. We have copies of the Bible that go back to the second century and there is no indication of wholesale editing of the type your theory requires. 
Name: KRS  •  Date: 03/05/07 14:45
A: Stephen,

You need to read what Paul himself wrote about the pillars, he states that they did not disagree with his doctrine (Gal 2:1-10), and there are no other first or second century forces that indicate he did. The conclusions to the contrary are based on a logical development (usually based in the Hegelian Dialectic) but there has been no hard evidence to independantly establish these conclusions. 
Name: steveh0607  •  Date: 03/06/07 0:05
A: KRS,

The jewish practices of the Jerusalem congregation speaks volumes of what they thought of Paul. Paul is an apologist for his own ideas of Jesus, which by his own admission did not come from man but from god himself. 
Name: Jack D Viau  •  Date: 03/07/07 5:12
A: Jesus did not cling to faith in God as would a struggling soul at war with the universe and at death grips with a hostile and sinful world; he did not resort to faith merely as a consolation in the midst of difficulties or as a comfort in threatened despair;
faith was not just an illusory compensation for the unpleasant realities and the sorrows of living. In the very face of all the natural difficulties and the temporal contradictions of mortal existence, he experienced the tranquillity of supreme and unquestioned trust in God and felt the tremendous thrill of living, by faith, in the very presence of the heavenly Father. And this triumphant faith was a living experience of actual spirit attainment.
Jesus' great contribution to the values of human experience was not that he revealed so many new ideas about the Father in heaven, but rather that he so magnificently and humanly demonstrated a new and higher type of living faith in God.
Never on all the worlds of this universe, in the life of any one mortal, did God ever become such a living reality as in the human experience of Jesus of Nazareth.
Jesus' devotion to the Father's will and the service of man was even more than mortal decision and human determination; it was a wholehearted consecration of himself to such an unreserved bestowal of love. No matter how great the fact of the his sovereignty , you must not take the human Jesus away from men.
The Master has ascended on high as a man, as well as God; he belongs to men; men belong to him. How unfortunate that religion itself should be so misinterpreted as to take the human Jesus away from struggling mortals! Let not the discussions of the humanity or the divinity of the Christ obscure the saving truth that Jesus of Nazareth was a religious man who, by faith, achieved the knowing and the doing of the will of God; he was the most truly religious man who has ever lived on the Planet.
The time is ripe to witness the figurative resurrection of the human Jesus from his burial tomb amidst the theological traditions and the religious dogmas of nineteen centuries. Jesus of Nazareth must not be longer sacrificed to even the splendid concept of the glorified Christ. What a transcendent service if, through this revelation, the Son of Man should be recovered from the tomb of traditional theology and be presented as the living Jesus to the church that bears his name, and to all other religions!
Surely the Christian fellowship of believers will not hesitate to make such adjustments of faith and of practices of living as will enable it to "follow after" the Master in the demonstration of his real life of religious devotion to the doing of his Father's will and of consecration to the unselfish service of man.
Do professed Christians fear the exposure of a self-sufficient and unconsecrated fellowship of social respectability and selfish economic maladjustment?
Does institutional Christianity fear the possible jeopardy, or even the overthrow, of traditional ecclesiastical authority if the Jesus of Galilee is reinstated in the minds and souls of mortal men as the ideal of personal religious living? Indeed, the social readjustments, the economic transformations, the moral rejuvenations, and the religious revisions of Christian civilization would be drastic and revolutionary if the living religion of Jesus should suddenly supplant the theologic religion about Jesus.

At the time of the writing of the New Testament, the authors not only most profoundly believed in the divinity of the risen Christ, but they also devotedly and sincerely believed in his immediate return to earth to consummate the heavenly kingdom. This strong faith in the Lord's immediate return had much to do with the tendency to omit from the record those references which portrayed the purely human experiences and attributes of the Master. The whole Christian movement tended away from the human picture of Jesus of Nazareth toward the exaltation of the risen Christ, the glorified and soon-returning Lord Jesus Christ. 
Name: KRS  •  Date: 03/07/07 9:07
A: Steve,

Actually, it doesn't say anything about what they thought of Paul. Paul never suggested that Jewish Christians should abandon the law, Paul argued that gentiles Christians should not be required to live under the law. That is why he circumcised his student that was the son of a Jewish woman and a Greek man (Timothy) but did not circumcise his Greek student (Titus). The council of Jerusalem (Acts 15) seems to have agreed with him on that point, which seems to be when the Jewish portion of the Church split. 
Name: lightwoman  •  Date: 03/09/07 21:49
A: Jack wrote: "No matter how great the fact of the his sovereignty , you must not take the human Jesus away from men.
The Master has ascended on high as a man, as well as God; he belongs to men; men belong to him. How unfortunate that religion itself should be so misinterpreted as to take the human Jesus away from struggling mortals! "

Jack, I have read many of your posts, and have to say I agree whole heartedly with you. I quote the above statement because at first I thought, whoa, I disagree with this! but then as I read further, I realized your thoughts are in alignment with mine.

The problem is one of perception, in that most people see themselves as "sinful" struggling mortals or human beings. Their perception fails to go beyond what our physical being can sense on this physical planet Earth. Mankind had forgotten our true nature, who we really were (many still forget even today, because our fleshy bodies deceive us!) I believe Jesus came - as God/Christ-consciousness in the body of a real flesh and blood man - to remind us WHO WE ARE and our relationship to God/Source/All That Is. He taught us that we are SPIRIT having a temporary physical experience, and the physical body is an illusion, the clothing we spirits wear while on Earth. The body is dust and can back to dust - our true being is Spirit, and that is what continues to live on beyond death. To bring the Kingdom of God to Earth, one had to go within and transform - or "repent" - change one's way of thinking, and when one truly begins to see that one is Spirit experiencing an illusion of separateness from God/All That Is in a physical body, then one experiences a transformation or "rebirth" in Spirit. That is what salvation is all about. Raising one's consciousness to "right thinking" (the opposite of "sin" which is wrong thinking, not aligned with Spirit) to experience the Kingdom of God from the inside out, while one is still walking the Earth in one's physical "clothing." Salvation, via discovering the Kingdom within, is here and NOW when you realize you are SPIRIT, a beautiful and unique extension or projection of God into flesh (just as Jesus was!), yet ONE, always connected with God and All That Is. How beautiful is that, and REAL??? WE are all - as Spirit - created in the likeness of God/Source/Spirit.

Jesus considered himself not just our teacher, but our brother, and (quoting Psalms) reminded us "Ye are gods!" and that we are all sons and daughters of God. In other words, we had forgotten that we ourselves are divine princes and princesses of Heaven. When Jesus referred to the I AM, the Christ was speaking thru him in a much deeper, esoteric context, I believe, saying that each one of us is an I AM as part of the greater I AM THAT I AM, and we ALL as eternal Spirit have existed as part of God/All That Is "before Abraham." Yes, there is deep, vaster meaning beneath the literal words, but that is the purpose of spirituality, to glean the message hidden behind very limited words! And Jesus (or I should say, the Christ speaking thru him) spoke cryptically because what he was saying would be considered blasphemous by traditional beliefs, and he also knew people perceive at differing levels of comprehension, hence teaching in parables.

Jack wrote: "Do professed Christians fear the exposure of a self-sufficient and unconsecrated fellowship of social respectability and selfish economic maladjustment?
Does institutional Christianity fear the possible jeopardy, or even the overthrow, of traditional ecclesiastical authority if the Jesus of Galilee is reinstated in the minds and souls of mortal men as the ideal of personal religious living? Indeed, the social readjustments, the economic transformations, the moral rejuvenations, and the religious revisions of Christian civilization would be drastic and revolutionary if the living religion of Jesus should suddenly supplant the theologic religion about Jesus. "

Hear, hear (if you have the ears to hear...)!!! [raucous applause!] The message of the LIVING JESUS who embodied the Christ-Consciousness/Spirit is the most relevant, important MESSAGE to carry away from this whole experience. Thank you, Jack!!

I wish to all the blessings of higher consciousness in the hope that all divine-human beings on the planet will transform from within and attain Christ-consciousness (which Jesus/the Christ taught we can all do, as he did, and more!). And this is what I believe entails the "second coming" - of Christ-consciousness to all humankind. An allusion the coming of Christ into each human heart, one at a time, which ultimately transform the Earth into a new Earth or paradise - the state in which we existed before we forgot who we were - SPIRIT, ONE WITH GOD and All That Is in this and any universe.

Peace to all, blessings, Love and light! 
Name: Panluna  •  Date: 03/10/07 18:33
A: For more information and links i found Wikipedia to be very helpful. 
Name: Krystyna  •  Date: 03/13/07 15:31
A: you should add to that list: many mistakes made. I went & read several of the pages on this website & they made many mistakes regarding dates. I don't mean small mistakes...I mean mistakes like: saying Constantine the great started his rule in 306 B.C.E. That's BEFORE common era...that's the old B.C. That would have made Constantine over 600 years old when he died! Constantine started his rule in 306 C.E....COMMON ERA....aka A.D. aka Anno Domini...latin for "in the year of our Lord". Personally, I have a HARD TIME taking a website seriously that can't even get stuff as simple as that straight. I mean..if they can make such basic mistakes in dating...what other mistakes are they making in presenting & evaluating information? Folks should be asking themselves this question. 
Name: lady andromeda  •  Date: 03/14/07 5:52
A: Steve, The best book I have found on James the Just vs. Paul is entitled James the brother of Jesus by Robert Eisenman. An excellent book on James. He also covers alot concerning the sects during that time which include: Essene, Naasenes, Nazoreans, Sabeans, Ebionites, and Elkasites. Most of these were called "the daily bathers". James was one. John the Baptist was as well. Also a man named Banus who the Historian Josephus lived and traveled with for about 3 years was as well. A few of these proto sects a little later seemed to evolve into a Gnostic group that we now find in Iraq and Iran called- MANDAEANS. If you get a chance, check them out. They have a VERY unique version of John the Baptist, Jesus, and a woman named "Miryai". 
Name: lady andromeda  •  Date: 03/14/07 6:56
A: Here is an excellent website on ELKASITES and ESSENES:

http://essenes.net/elkasites.html 
Name: lady andromeda  •  Date: 03/14/07 7:07
A: Epiphanius (367-404) A Christian Church father writes of a pre-Christian sect, the Nasareans who he distinguishes from the Christian Nazoraeans.

In fact: Epiphanius (Adversus Haereses XXIX:6) Says that there were "Nasoraeans amongst the Jews before the time of Christ".

They were actually abit earlier than the Ebionites. 
Name: roy  •  Date: 03/22/07 17:49
A: Early christians
You may find some interesting topics from this lead from christians perspective
bible.ca/indexHistory.htm 
Name: lady andromeda  •  Date: 03/23/07 3:12
A: Thanks roy! I especially like the info from the Early Church Fathers. I added the website to my favorite reference info. [smile] 
Name: roy  •  Date: 04/02/07 23:48
A: Records of bible were not kept in order and deliberately distorted. However muslims believe the original is kept by God and it is true that it was given to Jesus.

Mohammad’s teaching were unlike any other books, memorized by hundreds of muslims systematicaly and diligently. The simple words of him Hadiths were forbidden to be written or recorded in order prevent mess up with revelations.

There are too many proofs that Bible was edited, added many false claims, manupulated according to politics, finally diverted from its true path. Muslims hadiths books were similar in their destiny. They were overly biased, lies alleged to Mohammad (sas) added, religion overburdened with unnecessary hardships, bigotry, bidat (added ruling, principles).

They took their toll to the extent that, they claimed Mohammad, as the imam of all prophets, for whom the earth was created for. In one hadith they claim he went several times between God and Moses to reduce repetition of prayer in a day from 50 times down to five times. It was claimed on some occasions inspired by christian faith, God had shank (God forbid! Never).

Early Christian belief was too much different than todays versions. I put down the historic events and different sects of Christians, some still in effect today, which have been very close to Muslim version of religion. It shows only one truth that God has sent several prophets, prescribing same religion at basic concepts ,ie.. pray one God only, give charity, not kill or commit adultry, etc.. I hope this will give a secular insight to our beliefs.

Roy’s script: Please bear in mind that the notes were written according to Biblical names, here Jesus was referred as son instead of prophet, many times. (it is misleading attribute as the true meaning should be God slave and Messenger according to muslim faith.)

NONTRINITARIANISM

Nontrinitarianism is any of various Christian beliefs that reject the doctrine that God is three distinct persons in one being, (the Trinity).

The notion of the Trinity is not of particular importance to most nontrinitarians. Persons and groups espousing this position generally do not refer to themselves affirmatively by the term, although some nontrinitarian groups such as the Unitarians have adopted a name that bespeaks of their belief in God as subsisting in a theological or cosmic unity. Modern nontrinitarian groups views differ widely on the nature of God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit.

Various nontrinitarian views, such as Arianism, existed alongside what is now considered mainstream Christianity before the Trinity was formally defined as doctrine in AD 325. Nontrinitarianism was very rare for hundreds of years. It surfaced again in the Gnosticism of the Cathars and in the Enlightenment and Restorationism.

Forms of Nontrinitarianism
ALL NONTRINITARIANS ARGUE THAT THE DOCTRINE OF THE EARLIEST FORM OF THE CHURCH WAS NOT TRINITARIAN. Typically, nontrinitarians explain that the Church was altered as a direct and indirect consequence of the edicts of Constantine the Great, which resulted in toleration of the Christian religion, and the eventual adoption of Trinitarian Christianity as the official religion of the Roman Empire. Because it was at this time of a dramatic shift in Christianity's status that the doctrine of the Trinity attained its definitive development, nontrinitarians typically find the development of the doctrine questionable. It is in this light that the Nicene Creed is seen by nontrinitarians as an essentially political document, resulting from the subordination of Church to State interests by the leaders of Catholic Church, so that the Church became, in their view, an extension of the Roman Empire.
Although Nontrinitarian beliefs of a great variety continued to multiply, and among some people (such as the Lombards in the West) it was dominant for hundreds of years afterward, the Trinitarians now had the immense power of the Empire behind them. NONTRINITARIANS TYPICALLY ARGUE THAT THE PRIMITIVE BELIEFS OF THE CHURCH WERE SYSTEMATICALLY SUPPRESSED (EVEN TO THE POINT OF DEATH), AND THAT THE HISTORICAL RECORD, PERHAPS ALSO INCLUDING THE SCRIPTURES OF THE NEW TESTAMENT, WAS ALTERED AS A CONSEQUENCE.
Nontrinitarian followers of Jesus fall into roughly four different groups.
• Some believe that Jesus is not God, instead believing that he was a messenger from God, or Prophet, or the perfect created human. This is the view espoused by modern day Unitarianism and ancient sects such as the Ebionites. A specific form of Nontrinitarianism is Arianism, which had become the dominant view in some regions in the time of the Roman Empire. Arianism taught the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit but held that the Son was not co-eternal with the Father. However, Arians did not consider worship of Jesus as wrong.[citation needed] Another early form of Nontrinarianism was Monarchianism.
• Others believe that the one God who revealed himself in the Old Testament as Jehovah revealed himself in his Son, Jesus Christ. This is a doctrine known originally as Sabellianism or modalism, although it is explained somewhat differently in the churches which hold these beliefs today. Examples of such churches today are Oneness Pentecostals and the New Church.
• Several denominations within Mormonism (including the largest, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) accept the divinity of Jesus, but believe the three persons of the Trinity to be separate. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints specifically holds that the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are three separate and distinct individuals (D&C 130:22), but can and do act together in perfect unity as a single monotheistic entity (the "Godhead") for the common purpose of saving mankind, Jesus Christ having received divine investiture of authority from Heavenly Father in the pre-existence.
• Several denominations within the Sabbatarian Church of God and certain groups within Seventh-day Adventism accept the divinity of the Father and Jesus the Son, but do not teach that the Holy Spirit is a Being. The Living Church of God, for example, teaches, "The Holy Spirit is the very essence, the mind, life and power of God. It is not a Being. The Spirit is inherent in the Father and the Son, and emanates from Them throughout the entire universe". This view has historically been termed Semi-Arianism or Binitarianism.


kingdomready.org/topics/god.php
[ GOD IS 1 NOT 3 ]

Only the Father, Yahweh, is God. Jesus is the Son of God, His only begotten Son, the Messiah. The Bible emphatically and repeatedly sets forth Yahweh's supremacy and exclusivity. There are no other gods besides Him. God is all powerful, everywhere present, immortal, invisible, and all knowing. He did not become a man, His word (reason, intent, plan, self-expression) did. Jesus is the perfect human who always did what God wanted done and always spoke what God wanted said. In fact, it was Jesus who said that the Father is the only one who is truly God (John 17.3). Paul likewise confessed belief in a single deity when he said, "Yet, for us there is but one God, the Father...and one Lord, Jesus Christ..." (1 Corinthians 8.6). Below are resources that aim to describe what the Bible teaches not the philosophies of men.

Origins and basis for Nontrinitarianism
Nontrinitarians claim the roots of their position go back farther than those of their counterpart Trinitarians. The biblical basis for each side of the issue is debated chiefly on the question of the divinity of Jesus. Nontrinitarians note that in deference to God, Jesus rejected even being called "good", that he disavowed omniscience as the Son,[1] and that he referred to ascending unto "my Father, and to your Father; and to my God, and to your God", and that he said "the Father is the only true God." Additionally, Jesus quoted Deuteronomy 6:4 when saying in Mark 12:29 "The most important one (commandment)," answered Jesus, "is this: 'Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one."
Siding with nontrinitarians, scholars investigating the historical Jesus often assert that Jesus taught neither his own equality with God nor the Trinity (see, for example, the Jesus Seminar). Jesus Seminar is a research team of about 135 New Testament scholars founded in 1985 by the late Robert Funk and John Dominic Crossan under the auspices of the Westar Institute.[1][2] The seminar's purpose is to use historical methods to determine what Jesus, as a historical figure, may or may not have said or done. In addition, the seminar popularizes research into the historical Jesus. The public is welcome to attend the twice-yearly meetings. They produced new translations of the New Testament plus the Gospel of Thomas to use as textual sources. They published their results in three reports The Five Gospels (1993),[3] The Acts of Jesus (1998),[4] and The Gospel of Jesus (1999).[5] They also run a series of lectures and workshops in various U.S. cities.
The text of the Nicene Creed and the Trinity state that the three are "coequal". This is the term actually used in the Doctrine. One might consider co-owners of a business as being equal owners but with different roles to play in operating the business. But nontrinitarians point to a very important statement by Jesus that contradicts the use of the term equal or "coequal". It is a simple passage where Jesus stated his explicit subordinance to the Father: "for my Father is Greater than I(John 14:28)."
In addition, the Trinity and the Nicene Creed were doctrines established over 300 years after the time of Christ on Earth as a result of conflict within the early Church. It is curious to note that Jesus had forewarned the reader in Matthew "beware the doctrines of men".
Some nontrinitarians accept that Scripture teaches Christ is divine in some sense, and the son of God, but deny the personality of the Holy Spirit.

Main Points of Dissent
1. The Trinity as being irrational
Criticism of the doctrine includes the argument that its "mystery" is essentially an inherent irrationality, where the persons of God are claimed to share completely a single divine substance, the "being of God", and yet not partake of each others' identity. It is also pointed out that many polytheistic pre-Christian religions arranged many of their gods in trinities, and that this doctrine may been promoted by Church leaders to make Christendom more acceptable to surrounding cultures.
2. Possible lack of Scriptural support
The New Catholic Encyclopedia, for example, says, "The doctrine of the Holy Trinity is not taught [explicitly] in the [Old Testament]"[14], "The formulation 'one God in three Persons' was not solidly established [by a council]...prior to the end of the 4th century"[15], and The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia adds, "The doctrine is not explicitly taught in the New Testament". The question, however, of why such a supposedly central doctrine to the Christian faith would never have been explicitly stated in scripture or taught in detail by Jesus himself was sufficiently important to 16th century historical figures such as Michael Servetus as to lead them to argue the question. The Geneva City Council, in accord with the judgment of the cantons of Zόrich, Bern, Basel, and Schaffhausen, condemned Servetus to be burned at the stake for this, and for his opposition to infant baptism.
3. Divinity of Jesus
For some, debate over the biblical basis of the doctrine tends to revolve chiefly over the question of the deity of Jesus (see Christology). Those who reject the divinity of Jesus argue among other things that Jesus rejected being called so little as good in deference to God (versus "the Father") , disavowed omniscience as the Son, "learned obedience" , and referred to ascending unto "my Father, and to your Father; and to my God, and to your God" .
They also dispute that "Elohim" denotes plurality, noting that this name in nearly all circumstances takes a singular verb and arguing that where it seems to suggest plurality, Hebrew grammar still indicates against it. They also point to statements by Jesus such as his declaration that the Father was greater than he or that he was not omniscient, in his statement that of a final day and hour not even he knew, but the Father , and to Jesus' being called the firstborn of creation and 'the beginning of God's creation,' which argues against his being eternal.
In Theological Studies #26 (1965) p.545-73, Does the NT call Jesus God?, Raymond E. Brown wrote that there are "texts that seem to imply that the title God was not used for Jesus" and are "negative evidence which is often somewhat neglected in Catholic treatments of the subject."
Trinitarians, and some non-Trinitarians such as the Modalists who also hold to the divinity of Jesus Christ, claim that these statements are based on the fact that Jesus existed as the Son of God in human flesh. Thus he is both God and man, who became "lower than the angels, for our sake" and who was tempted as humans are tempted, but did not sin .
Some Nontrinitarians counter the belief that the Son was limited only during his earthly life (Trinitarians believe, instead, that Christ retains full human nature even after his resurrection), by citing ("the head of Christ [is] God" [KJV]), written after Jesus had returned to Heaven, thus placing him still in an inferior relation to the Father. Additionally, they claim that Jesus became exalted after ascension to Heaven, and regarding Jesus as a distinct personality in Heaven, all after his ascension.
4. Possible un-Biblical terminology
Christian Unitarians, Restorationists, and others question the doctrine of the Trinity because it relies on non-Biblical terminology. The term "Trinity" is not found in scripture and the number three is never associated with God in any sense other than within the Comma Johanneum. Detractors hold that the only number ascribed to God in the Bible is One and that the Trinity, literally meaning three-in-one, ascribes a threeness to God that is not Biblical.
5. Many scriptural citations lack the Holy Spirit
It is also argued that the vast majority of scriptures that Trinitarians offer in support of their beliefs refer to the Father and to Jesus, but not to the Holy Spirit. This suggests that the concept of the trinity was not well-established in the early Christian community.
6. Whether it is truly monotheistic or not
The teaching is also pivotal to inter-religious disagreements with two of the other major faiths, Judaism and Islam; the former reject Jesus' divine mission entirely, the latter accepts Jesus as a human prophet just like Muhammad but rejects altogether the deity of Jesus. Many within Judaism and Islam also accuse Christian Trinitarians of practicing polytheism, of believing in three gods rather than just one. Islam holds that because Allah is unique and absolute (the concept of tawhid) the Trinity is impossible and has even been condemned as polytheistic. This is emphasized in the Qur'an which states "He (Allah) does not beget, nor is He begotten, And (there is) none like Him." (Qur'an, 112:3-4)
Scriptural texts cited as implying opposition
Among Bible verses cited by opponents of Trinitarianism are those that claim there is only one God, the Father. Other verses state that Jesus Christ was a man. Trinitarians explain these apparent contradictions by reference to the mystery and paradox of the Trinity itself. This is a partial list of verses implying opposition to Trinitarianism:

One God
• Matthew 4:10: "Jesus said to him, 'Away from me, Satan! For it is written: "Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only."'"
• John 17:3: "Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent."
• 1Corinthians 8:5-6: "For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as indeed there are many "gods" and many "lords"), yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live."
• 1Timothy 2:5: "For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus"

The Son is subordinate to the Father
• Mark 13:32:"No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father."
• John 5:19: "Jesus gave them this answer: "I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does."
• John 14:28: "You heard me say, 'I am going away and I am coming back to you.' If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I."
• John 17:20-23: "My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me."
• Colossians 1:15: "He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation."
• 1stCorinthians 15:24-28: "Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. For he "has put everything under his feet." Now when it says that "everything" has been put under him, it is clear that this does not include God himself, who put everything under Christ. When he has done this, then the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him, so that God may be all in all."
Jesus is not the old testament God
• John 2:16: And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father's house an house of merchandise.
• Acts 3:13: The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus; whom ye delivered up...
• John 20:17: Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and [to] my God, and your God.
• Daniel 7:13: I saw in the night visions, and, behold, [one] like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him.
• Psalms 110:1: Jehovah saith unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, Until I make thine enemies thy footstool.
Ontological Differences Between "God" and Jesus
• John 17:1-3 Jesus prays to God.
• Hebrews 2:17,18 Hebrews 3:2 Jesus has faith in God.
• Acts 3:13 Jesus is a servant of God.
• Mark 13:32 Revelation 1:1 Jesus does not know things God knows.
• John 4:22 Jesus worships God.
• Revelation 3:12 Jesus has one who is God to him.
• 1stCorinthians 15:28 Jesus is in subjection to God.
• 1stCorinthians 11:1 Jesus' head is God.
• Hebrews 5:7 Jesus has reverent submission, fear, of God.
• Acts 2:36 Jesus is given lordship by God.
• Acts 5:31 Jesus is exalted by God.
• Hebrews 5:10 Jesus is made high priest by God.
• Philippians 2:9 Jesus is given aurthority by God.
• Luke 1:32,33 Jesus is given kingship by God.
• Acts 10:42 Jesus is given judgment by God.
• Acts 2:24, Romans 10.9, 1 Cor 15:15 "God raised [Jesus] from the dead".
• Mark 16:19, Luke 22:69, Acts 2:33, Romans 8:34 Jesus is at the right hand of God.
• 1 Tim 2:5 Jesus is the one human mediator between the one God and man.
• 1 Cor 15:24-28 God put everything, except Himself, under Jesus.

Alternate views to the Trinity
There have been numerous other views of the relations of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit; the most prominent include:
• Arius believed that the Son was subordinate to the Father, firstborn of all Creation. However, the Son did have Divine status. This view is very close to that of Jehovah's Witnesses.
• Ebionites believed that the Son was subordinate to the Father and nothing more than a special human.
• Marcion believed that there were two Deities, one of Creation / Hebrew Bible and one of the New Testament.
• Modalism states that God has taken numerous forms in both the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament, and that God has manifested Himself in three primary modes in regards to the salvation of mankind.
• Swedenborgianism holds that the Trinity exists in One Person, the Lord God Jesus Christ. The Father, the Being or soul of God, was born into the world and put on a body from Mary.
• The Urantia Book teaches that God is the first "Uncaused Cause" who is a personality that is omniscient, omnipresent, transcendent, infinite, eternal and omnipotent, but He is also a person of the Original Trinity - "The Paradise Trinity" who are the "First Source and Center, Second Source and Center, and Third Source and Center" or otherwise described as "God, The Eternal Son, and The Divine Holy Spirit".
• The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, aka "Mormons," hold that the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are three separate and distinct individuals (Covenant 130:22), but can and do act together in perfect unity as a single monotheistic entity (the "Godhead") for the common purpose of saving mankind, Jesus Christ having received divine investiture of authority from Heavenly Father in the pre-existence.
• Docetism comes from the Greek: δοκηο (doceo), meaning "to seem." This view holds that Jesus only seemed to be human and only appeared to die.
• Adoptionism holds that Jesus was chosen on the event of his baptism to be anointed by the Holy Spirit and became divine upon resurrection.
• Rastafarians accept Haile Selassie I, the former (and last) emperor of Ethiopia, as Jah (the Rasta name for God incarnate, from a shortened form of Jehovah found in Psalms 68:4 in the King James Version of the Bible), and part of the Holy Trinity as the messiah promised to return in the Bible.
• Islam's Holy Book, the Quran, denounces the concept of Trinity (Qur'an 4:171, 5:72-73, 112:1-4), also in nonstandard forms, a Trinity composed of Father, Son and Mary (Qur'an 5:116). Inclusion of Mary in the presumed trinity may have been due to either a quasi-Christian sect known as the Collyridians in Arabia who apparently believed that Mary was divine, or use of the title "Mother of God" to refer to Mary.

Theory of pagan origin and influence
Nontrinitarian Christians have long contended that the doctrine of the Trinity is a prime example of Christian borrowing from pagan sources. According to this view, a simpler idea of God was lost very early in the history of the Church, through accommodation to pagan ideas, and the "incomprehensible" doctrine of the Trinity took its place. As evidence of this process, a comparison is often drawn between the Trinity and notions of a divine triad, found in pagan religions and Hinduism. Hinduism has a triad, i.e., Trimurti.
Some find a direct link between the doctrine of the Trinity, and the Egyptian theologians of Alexandria, for example. They suggest that Alexandrian theology, with its strong emphasis on the deity of Christ, was an intermediary between the Egyptian religious heritage and Christianity.
Nontrinitarians assert that Catholics must have recognized the pagan roots of the trinity, because the allegation of borrowing was raised by some disputants during the time that the Nicene doctrine was being formalized and adopted by the bishops. For example, in the 4th century Catholic Bishop Marcellus of Ancyra's writings, On the Holy Church,9 :
Such a late date for a key term of Nicene Christianity, and attributed to a Gnostic, they believe, lends credibility to the charge of pagan borrowing. Marcellus was rejected by the Catholic Church for teaching a form of Sabellianism.
The early apologists, including Justin Martyr, Tertullian and Irenaeus, frequently discussed the parallels and contrasts between Christianity and the pagan and syncretic religions, and answered charges of borrowing from paganism in their apologetical writings.

Hellenic influences on Christian thought
Advocates of the "Hellenic origins" argument consider it well supported by primary sources. They see these sources as tracing the influence of Philo on post-Apostolic Christian philosophers - many of them ex-pagan Hellenic philosophers - who then interpreted Scripture through the Neoplatonic filter of their original beliefs and subsequently incorporated those interpretations into their theology. The early synthesis between Hellenic philosophy and early Christianity was certainly made easier by the fact that so many of the earliest apologists (such as Athenagoras and Justin Martyr) were Greek converts themselves, whose original beliefs had consisted more of philosophy than religion.

Controversy over Nontrinitarianism's Status
Most nontrinitarians identify themselves as Christian. In this regard The Encyclopedia Britannica states, "To some Christians the doctrine of the Trinity appeared inconsistent with the unity of God....They therefore denied it, and accepted Jesus Christ, not as incarnate God, but as God's highest creature by Whom all else was created....[this] view in the early Church long contended with the orthodox doctrine."This view (nonrtinitarian) “in the early church”, still supported by some Christians, generates controversy among mainstream Christians. Most members of mainstream Christianity considered it heresy not to believe in the Trinity.
Although some denominations require their members to profess faith in the trinity, most mainline denominations have taken a "hands-off" policy on the subject of the trinity, realizing that since personal study and free thought have been encouraged for years, it is not surprising that some of the conclusions reached would be nontrinitarian. The recognition here is that the trinity is tool for pointing to a greater truth. In other words, Christianity has historically sought to look beyond its doctrines (see Apophasis) to the greater truth they are intended to address, IE God. It is not uncommon for a Methodist, Presbyterian, or Anglican to profess non-trinitarian views, even among the clergy. The response from the governing bodies of those denominations is usually neutral, so long as the disagreement is voiced in respect.

Nontrinitarian Christian groups

• American Unitarian Conference
• Arian Catholicism
• Arianism
• Bible Students
• Christadelphians
• Christian Conventions a non-denominational group which publishes no dogmatic positions, but which a majority of observers classify as non-Trinitarian
• Church of Christ, Scientist
• Church of God General Conference (Abrahamic Faith)
• Church of the Blessed Hope (Church of God of the Abrahamic Faith)
• Creation Seventh Day Adventism
• Doukhobors
• Higher Ground Online
• Jehovah's Witnesses
• Living Church of God
• Living Hope International Ministries
• Molokan
• Monarchianism
• New Church
• Oneness Pentecostals
• Polish Brethren
• Socinianism
• The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church; see also Mormon)
• The Way International
• Unification Church
• Unitarian Christians
• Unitarian Universalist Christian Fellowship
• Iglesia ni Cristo
• True Jesus Church


Nontrinitarian people

• Natalius, ~200
• Sabellius, ~220
• Paul of Samosata, 269
• Arius, 336
• Eusebius of Nicomedia, 341, baptized Constantine
• Constantius II, Byzantine Emperor, 361
• Antipope Felix II, 365
• Aλtius, 367
• Ulfilas, Apostle to the Goths, 383
• Priscillian, 385, considered first Christian to be executed for heresy
• Muhammad, 632, see also Isa
• Ludwig Haetzer, 1529
• Juan de Valdιs, 1541
• Michael Servetus, 1553, burned at the stake in Geneva under John Calvin
• Sebastian Castellio, 1563
• Ferenc Dαvid, 1579
• Fausto Paolo Sozzini, 1604
• John Biddle, 1662
• Thomas Aikenhead, 1697, last person to be hanged for blasphemy in Britain
• John Locke, 1704
• Isaac Newton, 1727
• William Whiston, 1752, expelled from University of Cambridge in 1710
• Jonathan Mayhew, 1766
• Emanuel Swedenborg, 1772
• Benjamin Franklin, 1790
• Joseph Priestley, 1804
• Joseph Smith, 1805
• Thomas Paine, 1809
• Thomas Jefferson, 1826
• James Madison, 1836
• William Ellery Channing, 1842
• Robert Hibbert, 1849
• John Thomas (Christadelphian), 1871
• Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1882
• Benjamin Wilson, 18??
• James Martineau, 1900
• Charles Taze Russell, 1916
• Neville Chamberlain, 1940
• William Branham, 1965
• Herbert W. Armstrong, 1986


UNİTARİANİSM
Unitarianism is the belief in the oneness of God opposed to the Christian doctrine of the Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in one God). Unitarians believe in the moral authority, but not the deity, of Jesus.

Unitarianism as a system of Christian thought and religious observance has its basis, as opposed to that of orthodox Trinitarianism, in the unipersonality of the Christian Godhead, i.e. in the idea that the Godhead exists in the person of the Father alone. Unitarians trace their history back to the Apostolic age, claim for their doctrine a prevalence during the ante-Nicene period. A small number of Unitarians claim a continuity through Arian communities and individual thinkers to the present time.

ARİANİSM
God the Father ("unbegotten"), always existing, was separate from the lesser Jesus Christ ("only-begotten"), born before time began and creator of the world. The Father, working through the Son, created the Holy Spirit, who was subservient to the Son as the Son was to the Father. The Father was seen as "the only true God."

Arianism refers to the theological positions made famous by the theologian Arius (c. 250-336 AD), who lived and taught in Alexandria, Egypt, in the early 4th century. The controversial teachings of Arius dealt with the relationship between God the Father and the person of Jesus Christ, a relationship known as the doctrine of the Trinity.

While Arianism continued to dominate for several decades even within the family of the Emperor, the Imperial nobility and higher ranking clergy, in the end it was Trinitarianism which prevailed theologically and politically in the Roman Empire at the end of the fourth century. Arianism, which had been taught by the Arian missionary Ulfilas to the Germanic tribes, was dominant for some centuries among several Germanic tribes in western Europe, especially Goths and Longobards, but ceased to be the mainstream belief by the 8th Century AD. Trinitarianism remained the dominant doctrine in all major branches of the Eastern and Western Church and within Protestantism, although there have been several anti-trinitarian movements, some of which acknowledge various similarities to classical Arianism.

ANOMOEAN

In 4th century Christianity, the Anomœans, also known as Anomeans, Heterousians, Aetians, or Eunomians, were a sect of Arians who asserted that Jesus Christ (the Son) was of a different nature and in no way like to that of God (the Father).

The word is from Greek α(ν)- 'not' and όμοίος 'similar' i.e. "different; dissimilar".

In the 4th century, this was the name by which the followers of Aλtius and Eunomius were distinguished; they not only denied the consubstantiality of Jesus but even asserted that he was of a nature different from that of God. This was in contradistinction to the semi-Arians, who indeed denied the consubstantiality of Jesus, but believed at the same time that he was like the Father.


ARİANİSM İN THE EARLY MEDİEVAL GERMANİC KİNGDOMS
During the time of Arianism's flowering in Constantinople, the Gothic convert Ulfilas (later the subject of the letter of Auxentius cited above) was sent as a missionary to the Gothic barbarians across the Danube, a mission favored for political reasons by emperor Constantius II. Ulfilas' initial success in converting this Germanic people to an Arian form of Christianity was strengthened by later events. When the Germanic peoples entered the Roman Empire and founded successor-kingdoms in the western part, most had been Arian Christians for more than a century.

The conflict in the 4th century had seen Arian and Nicene factions struggling for control of the Church. In contrast, in the Arian German kingdoms established on the wreckage of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century, there were entirely separate Arian and Nicene Churches with parallel hierarchies, each serving different sets of believers. The Germanic elites were Arians, and the majority population Nicene.

The Franks were unique among the Germanic peoples in that they entered the empire as pagans and converted to Nicene Christianity directly.


"ARİAN" AS A POLEMİCAL EPITHET

Like the Arians, many groups have embraced the belief that Jesus is not the one God, but a separate being subordinate to the Father, and that Jesus at one time did not exist. Some of these profess, as the Arians did, that God made all things through the pre-existent Christ. Some profess that Jesus became divine, through exaltation, just as the Arians believed. Drawing a parallel between these groups and Arians can be useful for distinguishing a type of unbelief in the Trinity.

Those whose religious beliefs have been compared to or labeled as Arianism include:

*Unitarians, who believe that God is one as opposed to a Trinity, and many of whom believe in the moral authority, but not the deity, of Jesus. Arianism is considered to be an antecedent of Unitarian Universalism.

*Jehovah's Witnesses, who do have some similar beliefs to Arius, namely, that Jesus had a pre-human existence as the Logos. However, Arius viewed the Holy Spirit as a person, whereas Jehovah's Witnesses do not attribute personality to the spirit. Jehovah's Witnesses also, unlike Arians, deny belief in a disembodied soul after death, eternal punishment in hell for the unrepentantly wicked, and episcopacy.

*Christadelphians, along with the Church of the Blessed Hope, believe that Jesus' pre-natal existence was a conceptual Logos, rather than a literal Logos.

*Mormons, followers of the various churches of the Latter Day Saint movement, who believe in the unity in purpose of the Godhead but that Jesus is a divine being distinct from, and created by, God the Father, but similar in every other respect (thus roughly Homoiousian rather than Anomoean). Thus, Jesus is literally (spiritually) the Firstborn of the Father. Also in line with Arianism, Mormons believe that the pre-incarnate Jesus (the Logos of John 1) created the Earth under the direction of the Father. In fact, they go further than most on this point, equating the pre-existent Jesus with Jehovah, the God of the Old Testament (perhaps as a spokesman for the Father, for whom they reserve the Old Testament title Elohim). Although the LDS Church views the doctrinal schisms of the late Roman Empire as a sure sign of the Great Apostasy, they do not officially claim any allegiance to Arius.

*Muslims, who believe that Jesus (generally called Isa), was a Messenger and Prophet of the one God, but not himself divine.

*Michael Servetus, a Spanish scholar and Protestant reformer, is viewed by many Unitarians as a founding figure. In 1553, he was sentenced to death and burned at the stake by his fellow reformers, including John Calvin, for the heresy of Antitrinitarianism, a Christology that may seem similar in some ways to Arianism. However, Servetus rejected Arius's teaching on the Son being a creature created by the Father, and his theology was actually closer to Sabellianism.

*Unpublished writings by Isaac Newton indicate that he held anti-Trinitarian beliefs and regarded the worship of Jesus Christ as God to be idolatrous.[2] He did not publicize these views, which could have cost him his fellowship at Trinity College, Cambridge, and has been described by modern scholars as a secret Arian.[3]

*Spanish liberation theologian Juan Josι Tamayo was accused in 2003 of defending "a renewed version of the old Arian error" which is "incompatible with the Catholic faith", by the Spanish Bishops' Commission for the Doctrine of the Faith, because of his theological positions published in several of his books about the relationship between Jesus and God the Father. Tamayo has up to now rejected the Bishops' demand to stop writing on this issue.[4]
THE THEOLOGİAN JUAN JOSE TAMAYO, ADMONİSHED BY İTS İNCOMPATİBLE İDEAS "WİTH THE CATHOLİC FAİTH"
ABC MADRID.
His book "God and Jesus", written by the secretary of the Association of Theologians and Theologians Juan XXIII, Juan Jose Tamayo Acosta, when considering that their conclusions "are incompatible with the catholic doctrine".
Frontal rejection of the tradition of the Church in its cristolσgicas definitions, arbitrary selection - not justified of passages of the New Testament with the express abandonment of others and interpretation of such according to confused criteria that do not specify ". In the same way,negation of the divinity of Jesus Christ, presentation of Jesus like a mere man, negation of the historical and real character of the resurrection, and this one like fundamental data of the Christian faith ".


THE THEOLOGICAL DEBATES REOPEN AFTER COUNCIL OF NICEA.

The Council of Nicea had not ended the controversy, as many bishops of the Eastern provinces disputed the homoousios, the central term of the Nicene creed, as it had been used by Paul of Samosata, who had advocated a monarchianist Christology. Both the man and his teaching, including the term homoousios, had been condemned by the Synods of Antioch in 269.

Hence, after Constantine's death in 337, open dispute resumed again. Constantine's son Constantius II, who had become Emperor of the eastern part of the Empire, actually encouraged the Arians and set out to reverse the Nicene creed.

Constantius used his power to exile bishops adhering to the Nicene creed, especially Athanasius of Alexandria, who fled to Rome. In 355 Constantius became the sole Emperor and extended his pro-Arian policy toward the western provinces, frequently using force to push through his creed.

As debates raged in an attempt to come up with a new formula, three camps evolved among the opponents of the Nicene creed.

The first group mainly opposed the Nicene terminology and preferred the term homoiousios (alike in substance) to the Nicene homoousios, while they rejected Arius and his teaching and accepted the equality and coeternality of the persons of the Trinity.

The second group also avoided invoking the name of Arius, but in large part followed Arius' teachings and, in another attempted compromise wording, described the Son as being like (homoios) the Father.

A third group explicitly called upon Arius and described the Son as unlike (anhomoios) the Father. Constantius wavered in his support between the first and the second party, while harshly persecuting the third.

The debates between these groups resulted in numerous synods, among them the Council of Sardica in 343, the Council of Sirmium in 358 and the double Council of Rimini and Selecia in 359, and no less than fourteen further creed formulas between 340 and 360, leading the pagan observer Ammianus Marcellinus to comment sarcastically: "The highways were covered with galloping bishops." None of these attempts were acceptable to the defenders of Nicene orthodoxy: writing about the latter councils, Saint Jerome remarked that the world "awoke with a groan to find itself Arian."

After Constantius' death in 361, his successor Julian, a devotee of Rome's pagan gods, declared that he would no longer attempt to favor one church faction over another, and allowed all exiled bishops to return; this had the objective of further increasing dissension among Christians. The Emperor Valens, however, revived Constantius' policy and supported the "Homoian" party, exiling bishops and often using force.

Valens died in the Battle of Adrianople in 378 and was succeeded by Theodosius I, who adhered to the Nicene creed. This allowed for settling the dispute.

Two days after Theodosius arrived in Constantinople, November 24, 380, he expelled the Homoian bishop. Theodosius had just been baptized, by bishop Acholius of Thessalonica, during a severe illness, as was common in the early Christian world. In February he and Gratian published an edict that all their subjects should profess the faith of the bishops of Rome and Alexandria (i.e., the Nicene faith), or be handed over for punishment for not doing so.

In 381, at the Second Ecumenical Council in Constantinople, a group of mainly Eastern bishops assembled and accepted the Nicene Creed of 381, which was supplemented in regard to the Holy Spirit, as well as some other changes, see Comparison between Creed of 325 and Creed of 381. This is generally considered the end of the dispute about the Trinity and the end of Arianism among the Roman, non-Germanic peoples. 

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