Development of Doctrine in the Christian Church

1430 WordsJan 29, 20186 Pages
The very first example of the development of doctrine in the Christian Church was planted in late antiquity. In Alexandria, a minister named Arius gained notoriety around the mid-fourth century due to public criticism of his bishop, Alexander of Alexandria, and sparked what is now called the Arian Controversy . Lasting almost sixty years, this doctrinal conflict pervaded the early Christian Church and necessitated many ecumenical councils, including the Council of Nicaea in 325 which dealt primarily with Christology. In the legacy of this era, orthodoxy claims Arius as a heretic. Much work from this side of the argument lasts, a major one being Athanasius’ On the Incarnation. In his apologetic treatise, St. Athanasius, a student under the aforementioned Alexander of Alexandria, responds to Arian claims that the Son [Jesus], a created being, is demoted equal to man. However, not much more than three unquestionable letters of Arius remain arguably, completely untainted by his opponents providing a sense of Arius’ real thoughts. These are Arius’ letters to Eusebius of Nicomedia (318), to Alexander of Alexandria (320), and to Emperor Constantine (327) . In light of these letters as the primary expositions of Arius’ doctrine, one sees that Arius’ sincere attempts to unite traditional biblical language with radical philosophical ideas and techniques are understandably overlooked by his opponents. The Arian doctrine of denial of the divine status of Christ needs to be

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