Believer or Doubting Thomas?

“To rediscover the content of the faith that is professed, celebrated, lived and prayed, and to reflect on the act of faith, is a task that every believer must make his own, especially in the course of this year.” -Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, Porta Fidei (n. 9)


Jesus was concerned with the truth.  He was especially strong in His rejection of the teachings of the Pharisees.  He often rebuked them for neglecting God’s deeper truths while observing the external rituals of tradition.  In Matthew 23: 1-35, He give a long critique of the Pharisees.  He rejects them for failing to practice what they preached.  Jesus never tolerated anything that contradicted His own Gospel.

After Pentecost, the Church criticized false teaching and morals just as Jesus did.  Sts. Paul, James, Peter, John, and Jude had to vigorously reproof those who taught false content of faith and morals.  These false teachers threatened the very core of the Faith; so the saints had to address these falsehoods strongly and publicly.

Heresies in the Early Church

Now, we are going to look up some passages that deal with false teachings and heretical groups in the early Church.  As we read each passage, determine what errors are contained in each variant form of Christianity.  If there is a motive for those that taught error, write those down, too.  Here’s an example:

Galatians 1: 6-9; 2: 4-5  The False Teaching:  that circumcision was a necessary prerequisite for salvation.  Motive: the Judaizers preach circumcision in order to avoid persecution by their Jewish kinsmen.

Here are the other verses:  (2 Corinthians 11: 1-6, 12-15) (Philippians 3: 2-11, 17-21) (1 Timothy 1: 3-7, 18-20) (Hebrews 6: 1-6) (2 Peter 2: 1-3: 4) (1 John 2: 18-25; 4: 1-6)

The early Church considered true and correct doctrine an important component of authentic faith in Jesus Christ.

Other Heresies

In the second century, Gnosticism arose.  Gnostics believed that the material world (and their bodies) were created by a wicked deity in the Old Testament while God the Father created a spiritual world.  Gnostics also rejected apostolic tradition and the New Testament.

Another false teaching was that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are not 3 persons in one God, but three modes of one divine person as he relates to the world and the humans in it.

Arianism held that Jesus Christ is not divine.

Monophysitism taught that Jesus had only one divine nature without a human soul so that he wasn’t truly human.

Nestorianism taught that Jesus was 2 separate persons; one human and one divine.

To preserve the orthodoxy of the faith, the bishops met in Synods and councils to confront the false doctrines of the day.  (more about this on Wednesday.)

MC900436065Our Meditation:  Reread the Baptismal Promises from Easter Sunday.  How can we show that we truly mean our “I do’s?”

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Filed under Catholic, Christian, Easter, Faith, Gospel, Holy Spirit, Jesus, New Testament

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