Heresies. Statements about God that are, how shall we say… Wrong. A major issue in the early Church as Christianity was still trying to make sense of the reality of a Triune God, many heresies have persisted even to today. They take different forms and go by different names, but their reality is the same.
In this video, I present five of the most common heresies of ancient times and look at how they remain among us today.
After watching this video, you might, as one commenter indicated, think that this is nothing more than theological candy; getting into the technicalities of theological issues are mental gymnastics that have nothing to do with our actual lives, and when we find ourselves in tragedy, with struggles, or facing life’s issues, none of it matters.
It is a common response, I would say, to many forms of art and education. Look to the most recent tragedy at the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris and you will find people saying, “why is money being spent on this when people are hungry?” There is a false dichotomy set before people that they may have the basic necessities of life OR they may have thought provoking, transcending art that fills their soul, but the cannot have both. The truth is that we should be funding and caring about both of these issues.
With theology, it is same. People can care about more than one thing at a time. One can at the same time be in a tragic situation with immediate emotional needs and still care about being precise about how we speak of God; one can at the same time care for the poor and still insist that liturgy matters. To say that the two are in any way mutually exclusive or that it is a waste of time to care about one when we face another problem is a false construction.
But it’s even more than that. Not only can we care about two things at once, I think that the two things ultimately lead to one another. Honestly, what could be more important, in the midst of a tragedy, than knowing who God truly is? That is not an exercise of mental gymnastics in which we engage esoteric topics for our own amusement. Knowing who God truly is might be the very thing that gets us through the tragedy. These questions are not escapes, but offer very answers we need.
As a final note, I would like to point out an issue of sloppy language in this video that does not accurately present what I meant to say. In the video, I state that monophosytism is the “official stance of six current eastern Orthodox Churches.” I did not mean to refer to the Churches of “Eastern Orthodoxy” but rather the eastern Churches in general (sloppy language.) The Churches in question are actually among Oriental Orthodoxy (technically speaking, “eastern” and “oriental” mean the same thing). Further, I did not mean to imply that these Churches, today, are considered heretical, only that monophysitism is. Over the centuries, the stance of these Churches has become refined and they have resolved many, if not all, of the theological problems. Today, they would not consider themselves monophysite, but “miaphysite.”
I apologize for the mistake, and I thank you for understanding.