Re: Another heresy

From: George Murphy <>
Date: Sat Dec 10 2005 - 18:15:45 EST

Yes, & you can find similar language from many of the great theologians (as well as many not so great) down through history. As one of my seminary profs pointed out, many theologians seem to have thought that the 8th Commandment (9th for most Protestants) doesn't apply to theological debate. It does. & that commandment does not just forbid lying in the elementary sense but also requires us to "put the best construction on everything," as Luther put it in the Small Catechism. (Unfortunately Luther himself didn't always observe this in theological polemic.) Theological error should be called what it is (& of course on the issues in question Athanasius was right & Arius wrong), but that is no excuse for personal ridicule, namecalling, attribution of the worst motives possible, &c. Insinuations that a person's Christian faith is defective or lacking because he or she doesn't agree with one on a peripheral religious matter is also included here.


  ----- Original Message -----
  From: Janice Matchett
  To: Vernon Jenkins ; ; Carol or John Burgeson
  Sent: Saturday, December 10, 2005 5:50 PM
  Subject: Re: Another heresy

  At 05:13 PM 12/10/2005, Vernon Jenkins wrote:

    robust argument should not be interpreted as incivility, impertinence or personal malice. ASA, surely, is a forum for grown-ups - and one in which plain speaking is encouraged.

  Picture this: What if Athanasius was on this list. No doubt even he would be called, "unChristian" and offensive to some here:
    "Arius himself has copied the weak and effeminate character of Sotades, writing the 'Thalia'. He has emulated the dancing of Herodias, dancing about and jesting in his slanders against the Savior. The result is that those who fall into heresy are perverted in mind, act foolishly, and exchange the name of the Lord of glory for 'the likeness of the image of mortal man'. Thus, instead of Christians they are called Arians and have this mark of impiety. (Ag. Ar. 1:2)

    "How can non-Christians be Christians? Rather, they are Ario-maniacs! How are those who have shaken of the apostolic faith part of the Catholic Church? They are inventors of new evils; they have abandoned the words of Holy Scripture, calling Arius's 'Thalia' a new wisdom. They state this in fairness, for they are announcing a new heresy. Therefore anyone may have cause to wonder that although many individuals have written many works and the greatest number of homilies on the Old and New Testaments, a 'Thalia' is discovered in none of them. It is found not among the serious Greeks but only among those who sing such things with their drink, clapping and joking so that others may laugh. The 'marvelous' Arius copied nothing stately, not knowing the things of serious individuals. He stole the greatest number of things from other heresies and emulated the jests of Sotades alone. What was more fitting for him to do, wishing to dance against the Savior, than indicate in loose and dissolute songs his wretched words of impiety? As Wisdom says, 'A man is known from the utterance of his word.' Thus from Arius's words the unmanly character of his soul and the perdition of his thought should be known. (Ag. Ar. 1:4)

    "But after this, as a successor of the devil's reckless haste, Arius wrote in his 'Thalia', "The Father is invisible even to the Son, and the Word is able neither to see nor to know perfectly and accurately his Father." . These are the words this impious fellow spoke. He said that the Son is distinct in himself and that in all respects he does not share in the Father. These are parts of the fables Arius written down in a laughable document. (Ag. Ar. 1:6)

    "Who, hearing such things and the melody of the 'Thalia', does not justly hate Arius's jesting about such things as if he were on a stage? . And who, reading his words one after another, does not see his impiety as the serpent's error into which that clever snake misled the woman? Who is not astonished at such blasphemies? As the prophet said, 'heaven was astounded, and the earth shuddered at the transgression of the law.' . Will not all human nature be struck speechless at Arius's blasphemies and shut its ears and close its eyes, so that it would be able neither to hear such things nor to see him who wrote these things? (Ag. Ar. 1:7)

    ". is it not worthy to obliterate and expunge both the other words and the Arian 'Thalia' as an image of evil, filled with every impiety in which anyone falling 'does not know that giants perish with her and assemble at the trap of hell'? . They profess the patronage of friends and the fear of Constantius, so that those who join them through hypocrisy and promise will not see the filth of the heresy. Is not this heresy worthy of hate for this very reason? (Ag. Ar. 1:10)

    "It is necessary that the nature of the image be of such a kind, such as is its Father, even if the Arians, being blind, would see neither the image nor anything else . Deprived of the thoughts of their hearts, rather than of their derangements, they take refuge again and again in the literal sense of the Holy Scriptures, but they fail, in their usual way, to understand even that." (Ag. Ar. 1:52)

    "If a decision was made by the bishops, what concern had the emperor with it? Or if it was but a threat of the emperor, what need then was there of the designated bishops? When in the world was such a thing ever before heard of? When did a decision of the Church receive its authority from the emperor? Or rather, when was his decree even recognized? (The Monks History of Arian Impiety, 52)

    "What hell has vomited the statement that the Body born of Mary is coessential with the Godhead of the Word?, or that the Word has been changed into flesh, bones, hair, and the whole body, and altered from its own nature? Or who ever heard in a Church, or even from Christians, that the Lord wore a body putatively, not in nature; or who ever went so far in impiety as to say and hold, that this Godhead, which is coessential with the Father, was circumcised and became imperfect instead of perfect; and that what hung upon the tree was not the body, but the very creative Essence and Wisdom? Or who that hears that the Word transformed himself a passible body, not of Mary, but of his own essence, could call him who said this a Christian? Or who devised this abominable impiety, for it to enter even his imagination, and for him to say that to pronounce the Lord's body to be of Mary is to hold a tetrad instead of a Triad in the Godhead?-those who think thus, saying that the body of the Savior which he put on from Mary, is of the essence of the Triad. Or whence again have certain vomited an impiety as great as those already mentioned, saying, namely, that the body is not newer than the Godhead of the Word, but was coeternal with it always, since it was compounded of the essence of Wisdom? Or how did men called Christians venture even to doubt whether the Lord, who proceeded from Mary, while Son of God in essence and nature, is of the seed of David according to the flesh, and of the flesh of Saint Mary? (Epistle to Epictetus, 9)

  ~ Janice :)
Received on Sat Dec 10 18:19:05 2005

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