Modern Christianity is like Pick and Mix; you choose those beliefs off the shelf that suit you best. Like being in a supermarket of ideas, we can put our personal customised items in the trolley. We know what’s best for us and none of us needs a church and its ministers to tell us.
In this post I list some of the traditional alternatives to orthodox belief. Most of these could get you excommunicated by the pope, or worse, back in the day. No risk of being martyred today though – the church has put heresy on the back burner. So why not check out what Christian dissidents believed back in the earliest days of Christianity. Maybe you’ll find a heresy that suits you.
ADOPTIONISM Heresy put forward by Elipandus, Bishop of Toledo that Jesus was not the Son of God but only the Son adopted by God after his birth.
APOLLINARIANISM Heresy that denied Jesus had a human body and soul.
ARIANISM Heresy associated with Arius that the Son of God was not eternal but created by God the Father before the creation of the world.
BARDAISANISM Heresy associated with Bardaisan who held that Christ was docetic and that there was no resurrection of the body. He was a Manichaean.
BOGOMILISM Heresy that held that the world was created by the devil and that matter was evil.Consequently they believed that Christ was docetic. The Cathars subscribed to a form of Bogomilism.
DOCETISM Heresy that the sufferings , crucifixion, , and resurrection of Jesus Christ were only an illusion and not real.
DONATISM Heresy which held that former Christian apostates should not serve as ministers of the gospel even after they were readmitted to the fold.
EBIONITISM Heresy that Jesus Christ was only a man gifted with supernatural powers.
EUTICHIANISM Heresy associated with Eutyches who held a form of Monophysitism, the view that Christ had only one divine nature and that he was not a perfect god and perfect man at the same time.
JANSENISM heresy associated with Cornelius Jansen who held the predestinationist and deterministic view that divine grace was irresistible.
MANICHAEISM Heresy associated with Mani who held a dualist and gnostic view of the world in which matter was evil.
MARCIONITISM heresy associated with Marcion who held that the god of the Old testament was an evil god in contrast to the god of Jesus Christ in the New testament. he redacted the gospels by leaving out everything other than the 10 epistles of Paul and a truncated gospel of Luke.
MODALISM Heresy that the distinction between the persons in the godhead was not permanent.
MONARCHIANISM Heresy that denied the independent existence of the Son in the Godhead by stressing the unity of the Trinity.
MOPHYSITISM heresy similar to Eutychianism which held that Christ was God even after the Incarnation thus denying his humanity.
MONTANISM Heresy associated with Montanus who introduced Pentecostal gifts of the Spirit and visionary experience into the Christian church. He also preached the impending end of the world.
NESTORIANISM Heresy associated with Nestorius that the Virgin Mary was not the Mother of God but only the Mother of Christ and who emphasised more the humanity of Christ and not his divinity.
PATRIPASSIANISM The heresy that God the Father suffered just as much as God the Son.
PELAGIANISM Heresy associated with Pelagius who held that human beings can gain salvation through their own efforts, apart from divine grace. he also denied original sin.
SUBORDINATIONISM Heresy that held that the Son was inferior to the Father and that the Holy Spirit was subordinate to both.
Oldberg, D.S. ‘Heresies’ in ‘The Encyclopedia of Christian Civilisation’ vol 2 Wiley-Blackwell (2011) p.1117
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187: Christian Atrocities #6: The treatment of heretics