Catholic Culture Dedication
Catholic Culture Dedication

By Dr. James Papandrea

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Showing most recent 10 items by this author.

4.10 The Heresies — Rebaptism and the Donatists

In the aftermath of the persecutions, controversies arose over the sacraments, which required clarification of the Church’s sacramental theology. The significance of these schisms cannot be overstated, since it is still true to this day that the practice of rebaptism is one of the most prevalent acts of schism against the universal Church, and one of the greatest barriers to unity.

4.9 Novatian: Part 2 (The Bad and the Ugly)

In this second part of a two-part series on Novatian of Rome, Dr. Papandrea discusses the flawed sacramental theology and ecclesiology of Novatian, which led to a schism that not only lasted for centuries, but created a new situation in which a faction could be orthodox with regard to the doctrine of the Trinity, yet not within the mainstream of the Church and her Tradition (i.e., Christian, but not Catholic).

4.8 Novatian: The Good, the Bad, & the Ugly, Pt 1 (The Good)

Novatian of Rome is an extremely important, but conflicted, character in the early Church. On the one hand, he clarified and helped define the orthodox doctrine of the Trinity, preparing the Church for the ecumenical councils. On the other hand, he was the central figure of a schism in a controversy over the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation. In this first part of a two-part series on Novatian, Dr. Papandrea discusses the positive contributions of Novatian.

4.7 The Heresies – Modalism: God as a Monad with Three Names

Modalism denies the distinctions between the three Persons of the Trinity, so that God is presented as, not a Trinity at all, but rather a monad with three names. Modalism can be expressed chronologically (the Father became incarnate as the Son) or functionally (the names describe activities like Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer), but either way, in modalism the Son IS the Father in disguise, which ultimately denies the real humanity of Jesus Christ and the reality of his passion.

4.6 The Heresies – The Enigma of Origen and Origenism

Whether Origen is considered a father of the Church, or a heretic, depends on whom you ask. But everyone agrees he may have been just a bit too smart for his own good. At best, he tried in vain to out-gnostic the gnostics, at worst, he was too influenced by gnosticism. The Fifth Ecumenical Council declared him a heretic. In this this episode, Dr. Papandrea gives evidence why Origen should not be considered a father of the Church, but should be considered a heretic, but in the end, you decide!

4.5 The Heresies – Gnosticism: Christ as Cosmic Mind

The heresy of docetism evolved into a complicated web of schools of mythology, which we lump together under the name of gnosticism. These all still denied the real humanity of Christ, though in two distinct ways. Docetic gnosticism continued the trend of seeing Christ as a phantom, with no real tangible body. “Hybrid” gnosticism made concessions to the accounts of a tangible body of Jesus, but called it an ethereal, or luminous, body - in other words, not a true material flesh and blood body.

4.4 The Heresies – Adoptionism: Christ as Anointed Prophet

In the third century, the heresy of the Ebionites evolved into a more general form of adoptionism, still denying the divinity of Christ, and now emphasizing his status as an anointed, but adopted, son of God, much like the kings and prophets of the Old Testament. Adoptionism is also known as “dynamic monarchianism,” in part for its claim that it was preserving the oneness (monarchy) of God by denying the divinity of Christ.

4.3 The Heresies – Docetics & Marcionites: Denying Christ’s Humanity

For the second heresy, Dr. Papandrea examines the opposite extreme from the first: these are the Docetics, including the most famous docetic teacher, Marcion and his followers. They concluded that Christ was a god, not necessarily any different from the many other gods or demigods in the Greco-Roman pantheon, but that he was not really a human.

4.2 The Heresies—Judaizers and Ebionites: Denying Christ’s Divinity

Is Jesus Christ God? Is he a man? Is he both? Spoiler alert: the mainstream Church answered with the both/and, but the factions on the fringes tended to choose one or the other. For our first heresy, we take a look at the Ebionites, and their New Testament-era predecessors, the so-called Judaizers. These concluded that Jesus Christ was a mere human. A human who became a prophet perhaps, but just a human.

4.1 The Heresies—Introduction to the Series

I am honored to be taking up The Way of the Fathers podcast where my good friend, Mike Aquilina, left off. In season 4 of The Way of the Fathers, we’ll be looking at the heresies of the early Church, and how the Church fathers confronted and refuted them.

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