Nicene Christianity: Ecumenical Councils

Essay by taylfalCollege, UndergraduateA-, November 2014

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Taylor Falkowski

Professor Scharfe

Intro to Christian History and Th ought

9 September 2013

Nicene Christianity: Ecumenical Councils

In the early times of the fourth and fifth century there were many disputes over the identity of Christ and because of them four Ecumenical councils were held to confirm the true identity of Christ. The first of these meetings was the Council of Nicaea which was held in 325AD, followed by the Council of Constantinople in 381AD and later the Council of Chalcedon in 451AD ( L'Huillier 19, 106, 186 ). In these councils they discussed the different theories of Christ's identity in order to absolve heresy and come to the correct conclusion his person. During these councils they fought many heretical beliefs, one of their first opponents were Origen and his followers who believed in the holy trinity but stipulated that God the father is greater than Jesus the Son who in turn is greater that the Holy Spirit (Lane 23).

Origin took the idea of the holy trinity but developed it further to form a view he felt was correct. Following was Arius, who believed that Jesus was created by God and therefore not eternal because he had a beginning (Lane 28). Arius took the term "Begotten" used in John 1:14, 18 to mean 'created' which led him and his followers to see Jesus Christ as creature made by God and not as an eternal part of God (46). Other heretical stances that were addressed during these meetings included "Appollinarianism, which denied the full humanity of Christ; Nestorianism, which denied the union of the two natures; and Eutychianism, which denied the distinction of the two natures" (Kerr 75). As well as Macedonianism which held that the Holy Spirit is a creature (Lane 40). All of these beliefs stemmed from...