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In the Name of God بسم الله

Who Were The Arian Christians?

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The "Arian heresy" was a popular heresy in the early church. It was named hence, by its opponents I might add, for a presbyter of Alexandria of (possibly) Libyan descent who refused to admit that "the Son" or Jesus Christ (as) had no beginning and coeternal AND consubstantial (of the same essence/being) as God the Father. He believed, in his own words, that:

"If the Father begat the Son, he that was begotten had a beginning of existence: and from this it is evident, that there was a time when the Son was not. It therefore necessarily follows, that he had his substance from nothing".

Arius continued to propagate this teaching for two generations under the Bishop of Alexandria, Alexander. This was criticized by some bishops and presbyters of the "Homoousian" school of thought which had come to dominate the church in Alexandria and the papacy, that the Son and Father were of the same substance and being thus co-eternal (As long as the Father has existed, so has the Son, as two persons of the same being) Arius countered this by asserting that only the Father was eternal, saying the Father was so ineffable and transcendent that no being, not even the Son could share in the substance of his eternal being. Eventually, though Alexander was originally lenient with Arius, as his teachings spread, disunity in the church of Egypt between his supporters and detractors led Alexander to excommunicate and banish Arius. Arius eventually made his way with his supporters to Palestine where he found theological support among a number of local bishops and their congregations. From here, the "Heteroousian" teachings of various began to spread throughout the Eastern provinces of the Roman Empire. Arius and his supporters began to appeal to the Pope Alexander to revoke his decision to not allow them into communion on grounds that historians of the controversy as exampled in these few surviving letters penned by Arius and/or his supporters:

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A Letter to Bishop Eusebius of Nicomedia, from Arius:

To that most beloved man of God, the faithful and orthodox Eusebius, from Arius, unjustly persecuted by father Alexander because of the all-conquering truth which you, Eusebius, also are defending!

Since my father Ammonius is going to Nicomedia, it seemed reasonable and proper to greet you through him, remembering at the same time the innate love and affection which you have for the brothers on account of God and his Christ, because the bishop [Alexander] is severely ravaging and persecuting us and moving against us with every evil. Thus he drives us out of every city like godless men, since we will not agree with his public statements: that there was “always a God, always a Son;” “as soon as the Father, so soon the Son [existed];” “with the Father co-exists the Son unbegotten, ever-begotten, begotten without begetting;” “God neither precedes the Son in aspect or in a moment of time;” “always a God, always a Son, the Son being from God himself.”

Since Eusebius, your brother in Caesarea, and Theodotus, and Paulinus, and Athanasius, and Gregory, and Aetius and all those in the East say that God pre-exists the Son without a beginning, they have been condemned, except for Philogonius and Hellenicus and Macarius, unlearned heretics some of whom say that the Son was “spewed out”, others that he was an “emanation”, still others that he was “jointly unbegotten.”

We are not able to listen to these kinds of impieties, even if the heretics threaten us with ten thousand deaths. But what do we say and think and what have we previously taught and do we presently teach? — that the Son is not unbegotten, nor a part of an unbegotten entity in any way, nor from anything in existence, but that he is subsisting in will and intention before time and before the ages, full <of grace and truth,> God, the only-begotten, unchangeable.

Before he was begotten, or created, or defined, or established, he did not exist. For he was not unbegotten. But we are persecuted because we have said the Son has a beginning but God has no beginning. We are persecuted because of that and for saying he came from non-being. But we said this since he is not a portion of God nor of anything in existence. That is why we are persecuted; you know the rest.

I pray that you fare well in the Lord, remembering our tribulations, fellow-Lucianist, truly-called Eusebius [i.e. the pious one].

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Arius and other clergy's letter to the Bishop of Alexander explaining their cause and appealing to him:

The Priests and Deacons to Our Blessed Father and Bishop, Alexander; greetings in the Lord.

Our faith from our forefathers, which also we learned from you, Blessed Father, is this: We acknowledge One God, alone unbegotten, alone everlasting, alone without beginning, alone true, alone having immortality, alone wise, alone good, alone sovereign, judge, governor, and provider of all, unalterable and unchangeable, just and good, God of the Law and the Prophets and the New Testament; who begat an only-begotten Son before time and the ages, through whom he made both the ages [Heb 1:2] and all that was made; who begot Him not in appearance, but in reality; and that he made him subsist at his own will, unalterable and unchangeable, the perfect creature (ktisma) of God, but not as one of the creatures; offspring, but not as one of the other things begotten;

Nor as Valentinus pronounced that the offspring of the Father was an emanation (probolē); nor as the Manicheans taught that the offspring was a one-in-essence-portion (meros homoousion) of the Father; nor as Sabellius, dividing the Monad, speaks of a Son-Father; nor as Hieracas speaks of one torch [lit] from another, or as a lamp divided into two; nor that he who existed before was later generated or created anew into a Son, as you yourself, O blessed father, have often condemned both in church services and in council meetings; but, as we say, he was created at the will of God, before time and before the ages, and came to life and being from the Father, and the glories which coexist in him are from the Father.

For when giving to him [the Son] the inheritance of all things [Heb 1:2], the Father did not deprive himself of what he has without beginning in himself; for he is the source of all things. Thus there are three subsisting realities (hypostaseis). And God, being the cause of all that happens, is absolutely alone without beginning; but the Son, begotten apart from time by the Father, and created (ktistheis) and founded before the ages, was not in existence before his generation, but was begotten apart from time before all things, and he alone came into existence (hypestē) from the Father. For he is neither eternal nor co-eternal nor co-unbegotten with the Father, nor does he have his being together with the Father, as some speak of relations, introducing two unbegotten beginnings. But God is before all things as monad and beginning of all. Therefore he is also before the Son, as we have learned also from your public preaching in the church.

Therefore he thus has his being from God; and glories, and life, and all things have been given over to him; in this way God is his beginning. For he is over him, as his God and being before him. But if the expressions from him [Rom. 11:36] and from the womb [Ps. 109:3 (LXX), 110:3 English] and I came from the Father, and I have come [John 16:28], are understood by some to mean that he is part of him [the Father], one in essence or as an emanation, then the Father is, according to them, compounded and divisible and alterable and material, and, as far as their belief goes, the incorporeal God endures a body.

I pray that you fare well in the Lord, blessed father.

-- Arius; the priests of Arius — Aethales, Achilles, Carpones, and Sarmatas; the deacons Euzoios, Lucius, Julius, Menas, Helladius, and Gaius; the bishops Secundas of the Pentapolis, Theonas of Libya, and Pistus whom the Arians [later] set up [as bishop] at Alexandria.

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Letter from Arius and his supporter Euzoius to Emperor Constantine after the First Council of Nicaea (which took place in AD 325), in which a number of Bishops were originally in support of Arius or had sympathized with him on many issues while not accepting all his ideas, concluding that the canon of the church of Christ was that the Father and Son were consubstantial, co-eternal, one being, two distinct persons. Arius left this council with his now smaller number of supporters (a handful of bishops and priests) to be exiled for not agreeing to the Creed. Other supporters and merely sympathizers with his plight who didn't exactly agree with him in all respects, however, signed the Nicene Creed but more so due to fear of reproach from Roman Emperor Constantine and others but would be responsible themselves for the spread of his ideas in the future and push to revoke his excommunication and condemnation. The letter to Constantine from Arius is as follows:

Arius and Euzoïus, to our most reverent and pious lord, Emperor Constantine.

In accord with the command of your devout piety, sovereign lord, we declare our faith, and in writing profess before God that we and our adherents believe as follows:

We believe in one God the Father Almighty, and in the Lord Jesus Christ his Son, who was begotten of him before all ages, God the Word through whom all things were made, both things in heaven and on earth; who descended, and became human, and suffered, and rose again, ascended into heaven, and will again come to judge the living and the dead.

We believe also in the Holy Spirit, and in the resurrection of the flesh, and in the life of the coming age, and in the kingdom of the heavens, and in one catholic church of God, extending from one end of the earth to the other.

This faith we have received from the holy gospels, in which the Lord says to his disciples: “Go and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” If we do not so believe and do not truly receive the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, as the whole catholic church and the holy Scriptures teach (in which we believe in every respect), may God judge us both now, and in the coming judgment.

Wherefore we (who have been consecrated to the ministry, and hold the faith and opinions of the church and of the holy Scriptures) encourage your piety, most devout emperor, that we may be reunited to our mother, the church, by your peace-loving and devoted piety, avoiding all superfluous questions and disputes. Then both we and the whole church will be at peace and will offer in common our accustomed prayers for your tranquil reign, and also for your whole family.

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In the subsequent years following the Nicene Creed, which layed the groundwork for modern Trinitarianism in its decree that the Father and Son were two personas of one being, Emperor Constantine, to combat the growing heresy associated with Arius, put forth this Imperial decree:

The great and victorious Constantine Augustus to the bishops and laity:

Since Arius is an imitator of the wicked and the ungodly, it is only right that he should suffer the same dishonor as they. Porphyry, who was hostile to anyone who feared God, composed a book which transgressed against our religion, and has found a suitable reward: namely that he has been disgraced from that time onward, his reputation is completely terrible, and his ungodly writings have been destroyed. In the same way it seems appropriate that Arius and those of like mind with Arius should from now on be called Porphyrians, so that their name is taken from those whose ways they have imitated.

In addition, if any writing composed by Arius should be found, it should be handed over to the flames, so that not only will the wickedness of his teaching be obliterated, but nothing will be left even to remind anyone of him. And I hereby make a public order, that if someone should be discovered to have hidden a writing composed by Arius, and not to have immediately brought it forward and destroyed it by fire, his penalty shall be death. As soon as he is discovered in this offense, he shall be submitted for capital punishment.

And in another hand:

God will watch over you, beloved brothers.

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Constantine ordered the burning of Arius' writings, such as his extensive poetic ode to his ideas known as the "Thalia" which only exists in fragments recorded by his opponent's today as well as, somewhat less explictly, any writings that might be of like mind with Arius'. However, over time, Constantine lightened his stance as the Eastern provinces had been leaning more towards Arius' ideas. To avoid a split in his Empire, Constantine allowed the return of some of Arius' supporters . He even went so far as to allow Arius to return to communion from his exile under his jurisdiction thanks to the influence of the returned Bishop and friend of Arius, Eusebius of Nicomedia. However, Arius died on his way to the communion ceremony in Constantinople that would allow him back into the Imperial Roman church officially, a coincidence that Trinitarian historians on saints attributes to divine petition by the Bishop Alexander of Constantinople to God, while Arian supporters and modern historians generally have attributed it to assassination.

Despite Arius' mysterious and untimely death, his influenced lived on as Emperor Constantine was himself baptised on his death bed by Arius' friend Eusebius of Nicomedia. Eusebius being a relative of the Imperial family, used his influence to try to create compromise between the followers of Arius' ideas and those who followed the Nicene Creed. This resulted, during the reign of Constantine's successor Constantius the 2nd, in a Roman Empire that allowed the supporters of Arius to return to their former clerical positions. Constantius II adopted what would later be seen as a "Semi-Arian" stance in which the Son and the Father were considered to be not of the "same substance" but of "like substance," which according to historians, was the compromising position that Arius and his friend Eusebius of Nicomedia had taken in order to be readmitted back into the church of Rome and bridge the gap created between themselves and the Nicaean Christians who promoted the consubstantiality of the Father and Son. In response to this arose a group of Christians in the Church of the Roman Empire who promoted the original views expressed by Arius but rejected his later confessions to compromise his ideas with the Nicene Creed that gave birth to "Semi-Arianism". They continued to promote that the Father and Son were respectively of two separate and distinct substances of each other, while also denying that Jesus was co-eternal with the Father and this continued until Trinitarianism regained its prominence after the Constantinian dynasty

Eusebius of Nicomedia also baptised and initiated into the priesthood of his school of thought the Gothic bishop, Ulfilas, who would spread the teachings of Arius to the Gothic Germanic tribes, the Ostrogoths and the Visigoths, who would later establish it as their official religion and for next few centuries. Ulfilas' words have been recorded as thus:

I, Ulfila, bishop and confessor, have always so believed, and in this, the one true faith, I make the journey to my Lord; I believe in one God the Father, the only unbegotten and invisible, and in his only-begotten son, our Lord and God, the designer and maker of all creation, having none other like him (so that one alone among all beings is God the Father, who is also the God of our God); and in one Holy Spirit, the illuminating and sanctifying power, as Christ said after his resurrection to his apostles: "And behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you; but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be clothed with power from on high" (Luke 24:49) and again "But ye shall receive power, when the Holy Ghost is come upon you" (Acts 1:8); being neither God (the Father) nor our God (Christ), but the minister of Christ ... subject and obedient in all things to the Son; and the Son, subject and obedient in all things to God who is his Father ... (whom) he ordained in the Holy Spirit through his Christ.

As the turn of the millennium came closer, the schools of Christian thought that have now been dubbed, by their opponents if I might be so clear on the matter, as "Arian" Christianity (they didn't necessarily call themselves that, Arius himself called himself 'Lucianist' due to him feeling that what he believed was what was taught to him as the true apostolic tradition by St.Lucian of Antioch, a bishop known to have suspicious theological tendencies though still canonized to this day) the schools of these persuasions eventually disappeared with the coming centuries of the Rise of Islam and the re-establishment of the (Catholic) Western Roman Empire.

Edited by Saintly_Jinn23
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Modern day Unitarian churches owe much for their inspiration to the Arian Creed.

The Funny thing about the "Arian Creed" is:

The "Arians" and "Semi-Arians" didn't really call themselves that. They just called themselves Christians. It's just like the term "Gnostics" which was given to certain sects deemed heterodox. It wasn't like they called themselves that in the sectarian sense. "Arianism" was mainly a term used for them by their opponents. They just considered themselves to be "Christians" or "Catholics" and saw the budding Trinitarians as the heretics to what they had been taught, or at least felt they had been taught by their teachers. I think the reason the word "Arian" came to be used just for the Church to try to pass off the particular heresy as Arius' own invention, so as to make it seem "Oh, everyone thought the same way...until Arius came along," It is my distinct opinion that the Roman Catholic Church was by no means monolithic either in its ethics or theology at the time of Constantine the First's conversion. Rather, it seems plainly obvious that when Constantine and the Roman Empire sought to institute Christianity as a state religion that all these heretical idea that were already present in the churches kind of "came out of the woodwork," once all the churches in the Roman Empire were expected to come into one centralized communion. Arius and his supporters seem to not be centered on making Arius a leader or making a new name for themselves as "Arian Christians." Rather, from their writings, they seem focused on convincing their contemporaries in the church that they aren't heretics at all and that this is what they were taught by their predecessors within the very church that expelled them and staying within the communion. When this failed, it was then that they either converted to the Nicene Creed or seceded and set up churches independently, but even then they didn't take Arius as a namesake. Again, "Arian" just seems like a pejorative epithet created by these other sect's opponents to try to say that their teachings were not divine Christian tradition but just Arius' invention, which is not necessarily true. Arius' supporters were already teaching their ideas before Arius came along and many of his supporters did not necessarily agree with him 100% on all his ideas and even Arius himself, by the advice of some of his contemporaries, relented on some issues.

Also, the "Arians" such as Ulfilas seem to have believed that Jesus Christ (pbuh) was a second god.

Edited by Saintly_Jinn23
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Also, the "Arians" such as Ulfilas seem to have believed that Jesus Christ (pbuh) was a second god.

If you can believe that God never left heaven and study the OT and NT with that conviction you will see it. I'm sure John believed it as well as Paul.

Awesome job. I don't think I've seen that much on Arius and "Arianism" in one place before. Since his writings were destroyed the only info really comes from his enemies.

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If you can believe that God never left heaven and study the OT and NT with that conviction you will see it. I'm sure John believed it as well as Paul.

It's almost Marcionite, imho.

Awesome job. I don't think I've seen that much on Arius and "Arianism" in one place before. Since his writings were destroyed the only info really comes from his enemies.

Thank you, the Arians are especially interesting to me, considering my faith. However, they were far from what one might consider the original Christians if you ask me. But like I said, those who came to be dubbed the Arians and Semi-Arian by church histories I see no proof that they called themselves that. Again, I think it was an epithet aimed at labeling Arius as the one responsible for the schism. Actually, when you look at Arius and his supporters letter, what little survives of their writings, they appeal to the Pope and the Emperor on the grounds that what they learned was from St. Lucian in Antioch. Pope Alexander at the time even admitted that St. Lucian, despite his being canonized as a saint of the Catholic and Orthodox church today, had "heretical tendencies." Taking into account all the heresies from the late first century onward until the 5th and 6th century, it seems apparent to me that the canon of scripture and belief of the Christian religion was not set in stone. I think the Catholic and Orthodox histories like to try, I emphasize the word "try," to present it as being "This was what the church believed and then every once in awhile a heretic came along and took some people within the church with him."

Really though, I think its fairly obvious that from the get go, there were already other congregations of the Jesus movement that were establishing their own canons and teaching them and that even among the scholars of what would eventually become the Catholic church, there were plenty of things that they had not yet decided on universally as canon in the now united church that was expected to have an single centralized absolute doctrine for the whole Empire's state religion. The situation with Arius came up when Arius heard the words of Pope Alexander on the similarities of Christ and the Father and said "Wait, that's not what I was taught. Wasn't this what you were taught?" Since history is written by the victors, the church histories portrayed Arius as one who was responsible for the schism when from an impartial and objective point of view, the schism already seems present, just not talked about until the clergy realize they don't hold as many of the same opinions as they thought and are expected to be one united Imperial religious establishment.

Oh, BTW, here's one of the websites I used as a reference for this thread:

http://www.fourthcentury.com/

Edited by Saintly_Jinn23
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Thanks for the link. I've long forgotten the link now but I do remember reading that the belief was around before Arius.

I know people here think I'm unitarian but I'm more of a Pauline Christian than anything else. That's why "Arianism" is of interest to me.

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Thanks for the link. I've long forgotten the link now but I do remember reading that the belief was around before Arius.

I know people here think I'm unitarian but I'm more of a Pauline Christian than anything else. That's why "Arianism" is of interest to me.

Well, the figures of the "Arian" movement agreed more or less on the same scriptural canon. The Holy Bible found in Gothic language used by the Gothic Christians is really no different than any of the other Bibles used by their opponents.

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The Arians are no more Chrisitans than Ahmadiya's are Muslims. Please let Christians define Christianity, not Muslims or heretics.

History is written by the victors

The word "Christian" merely means a "follower of Christ" had the Arians won the debates and political conflicts with their Trinitarian counterparts, they would have been known as the "Orthodoxy" and since the Arians saw themselves, by their faith, as "Christians" the word "Christian" would also be generally associated with their school of thought.

Whether the Ahmadiya are considered Muslims by this or that group of Muslims is irrelevant to them as by their faith they are Muslims and Islam refers to their thought and that's all that matters for them.

Words like "orthodoxy" are more or less subjective to whomever are the political champions and/or majority. Anyone who feels strongly enough that their religious beliefs are the right teachings can call themselves "Orthodox." According to Sunnis, I am "unorthodox" but by my faith I am "orthodox" as what I believe I believe to be the orthodox and right path, not the path that Sunnis believe to be the orthodox path and the only reason they are called "Orthodox" politically more often than my sect is because they are majority and dominate the political arena. Who generally gets called by the label of "Orthodox" depends on who can and continues to shout the loudest, not who shouts the most truth.

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History is written by the victors

The word "Christian" merely means a "follower of Christ" had the Arians won the debates and political conflicts with their Trinitarian counterparts, they would have been known as the "Orthodoxy" and since the Arians saw themselves, by their faith, as "Christians" the word "Christian" would also be generally associated with their school of thought.

Whether the Ahmadiya are considered Muslims by this or that group of Muslims is irrelevant to them as by their faith they are Muslims and Islam refers to their thought and that's all that matters for them.

Words like "orthodoxy" are more or less subjective to whomever are the political champions and/or majority. Anyone who feels strongly enough that their religious beliefs are the right teachings can call themselves "Orthodox." According to Sunnis, I am "unorthodox" but by my faith I am "orthodox" as what I believe I believe to be the orthodox and right path, not the path that Sunnis believe to be the orthodox path and the only reason they are called "Orthodox" politically more often than my sect is because they are majority and dominate the political arena. Who generally gets called by the label of "Orthodox" depends on who can and continues to shout the loudest, not who shouts the most truth.

So then you wouldn't find it reprehensible when revisionist, liberal scholars or people (albeit very conservative when it comes to examining their own understandings or religious tradition) insist that Christians can be defined by however way, method, or understanding they deem fit for their argument sake? Its fine for you to redefine orthodoxy for your sake, its fine for Muslims to interpret "Christianity" as anything but what Christians say Christianity is, but its not fine when Ahmadiya's call themselves Muslims, when Sunnis call Shia kaffir, or idolaters for venerating the Ahlulbayt? You think its fine, I think its unfair. No one says Chrisitan history is rosy, no one says Christian history isnt full of problems and sinful people (as if Christians didn't admit a doctrine of depravity from the very beginning) but its the epitome of hypocrisy when one insists that they can define Christianity even though its defined itself. And, btw if Christianity was written by the winners what did St. Luke win that made him write Luke-Acts? Under Roman rule, and oppression...oh, he might have been capitulating miracles, and asserting that Jesus is kyrious and not Cesar to just serve the Roman empire...

Further, you don't take into consideration the pattern set forth by the Apostles themselves, when the church gathered at Nicae it was already consistently following in the tradition set forth by the Apostles themselves (see Acts 15) but we wan't consider that tid bit...after all it doesn't fit into your paradigm, and history is written by the winners which is a terrible philosophy of history, after all if the Ahmadiya won, Ahmadiya would be true Islam, yet I thought we were trying to establish truth.

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So then you wouldn't find it reprehensible when revisionist, liberal scholars or people (albeit very conservative when it comes to examining their own understandings or religious tradition) insist that Christians can be defined by however way, method, or understanding they deem fit for their argument sake? Its fine for you to redefine orthodoxy for your sake, its fine for Muslims to interpret "Christianity" as anything but what Christians say Christianity is, but its not fine when Ahmadiya's call themselves Muslims, when Sunnis call Shia kaffir, or idolaters for venerating the Ahlulbayt? You think its fine, I think its unfair.

Your making generalizations, first of all. I don't care if the Ahmadiya call themselves Muslims, or the Sunnis, or really anyone else because it has no bearing on me and what I believe personally. Also, even if I might call somebody the name "Muslim" whom I don't believe is following the right form of it, my calling them "Muslim" is purely political. I'm not calling them Muslim because I believe they are following the right kind of Islam, and my calling them Muslim or them calling themselves Muslim does not affect my faith or what I consider to be "true Islam" in anyway so why get in such a tiff over it?Cause of public opinion? Like I really care.

Even if Christians try to define what being Muslim means as a way to criticize me, it doesn't have any bearing on me and what I believe if my reasoning is sound and true.

No one says Chrisitan history is rosy, no one says Christian history isnt full of problems and sinful people (as if Christians didn't admit a doctrine of depravity from the very beginning) but its the epitome of hypocrisy when one insists that they can define Christianity even though its defined itself. And, btw if Christianity was written by the winners what did St. Luke win that made him write Luke-Acts? Under Roman rule, and oppression...oh, he might have been capitulating miracles, and asserting that Jesus is kyrious and not Cesar to just serve the Roman empire...

Further, you don't take into consideration the pattern set forth by the Apostles themselves, when the church gathered at Nicae it was already consistently following in the tradition set forth by the Apostles themselves (see Acts 15) but we wan't consider that tid bit...after all it doesn't fit into your paradigm, and history is written by the winners which is a terrible philosophy of history, after all if the Ahmadiya won, Ahmadiya would be true Islam, yet I thought we were trying to establish truth.

The discussion is on the Arians' beliefs and why they believed what they did. As well as the fact that the Arians didn't really call themselves "Arians" and objected to the Nicaean council, or at least parts of it or the interpretation of it, due to a feeling that the early Trinitarians did not represent the Apostolic teaching but had deviated from it and become heretics. The question is not whether there was/is a chain of Apostolic authority, the question is WHO had it, because from the mid to late first century CE and onward til the name of, there was more than one sect that claimed to have the bear the true Apostolic authority and teachings from the immediate and/or best disciples of Christ (pbuh). You may say "Well, the Council of Nicaea expressed the true apostolic authority and teaching," and if you believe that to be true, go ahead and believe that. I'm not criticizing anyone for believing in what they truly feel is right. However, if I ask you "Why should I believe the Council of Nicaea over these people's teachings that contradict it?" you should be able to present some reasoning that isn't circular. For example, if you point out a verse in the Bible, you must explain to me why I should interpret the verse the way you interpret it (if the verse is not explicit in its meaning and can be or has historically been interpreted differently than you have interpreted it) or if the verse is explicit in its meaning, you must provide sound reasoning as to why I should believe the verse or the book it is in or the Bible, for that matter, is trustworthy and should be believed. Using circular reasoning such as "You should believe the Council of Nicaea represented the true Apostolic chain of authority because the Council of Nicaea says so" or "You should believe the Bible is true because it says so in the Bible" is not sufficient reasoning to prove your point. Anyone can do that with anything, doesn't make it right.

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I digress though that the discussion here is not on whether the so called "Arians" or "Semi-Arians" or the Trinitarians are correct so much as it is just a discussion on the fact that what exactly was the Christian Orthodoxy was not always very clear as some might think it was. Even from almost the very beginning there was much civil strife and religious debate over who/what Christ was, what he taught, and who bore the true authority to speak on the aforementioned matters. Even the New Testament (though I don't exactly trust wholly the authenticity of it) itself mentions this debate and arguing happening as early as the life of the Twelve Apostles immediately after Christ's ascension. The epistles attributed to Paul often debate against other supposed followers of Jesus or even those whom Paul claims to be in league with, such as St.Peter (as). I think to say that everyone in the world at this point in time in the early first millennium CE up until the mission of Muhammad (as) that called themselves "Christian" or a follower of Jesus (pbuh) did not necessarily believe the same thing and many of the groups outside of what would later be widely considered the "orthodoxy" were more influential than people think, sometimes even striking a bit of fear into those who would later be seen by many churches today as divinely guided saints. The idea that the Church was a single structure from the beginning that a heretic occasionally chipped a piece off of I think is fantasy just as much as the idea that there was no sectarian division immediately after Muhammad (as) and his death as some Islamic fundamentalists would like people to believe.

The truth is that other structures were being independently built at roughly the same time as the ones that are still standing today.

Edited by Saintly_Jinn23
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