Heretics and False Teachers Lie

Then they will say, “We have no king
    because we did not revere the Lord.
But even if we had a king,
    what could he do for us?”
They make many promises,
    take false oaths
    and make agreements;
therefore lawsuits spring up
    like poisonous weeds in a plowed field.
The people who live in Samaria fear
    for the calf-idol of Beth Aven.
Its people will mourn over it,
    and so will its idolatrous priests,
those who had rejoiced over its splendor,
    because it is taken from them into exile.!

  • Hosea 10:3-5

”Eusebius … supported the heretic Arius and was provisionally excommunicated at the Council of Antioch, early in 325. At the great Council of Nicea, later that year, he had the opportunity to rehabilitate himself, which he did. But this was at the price of signing the Creed of Nicea, which he was able to do only with great anguish and not a little duplicity. His letter to his church at Caesarea survives, in which he hastily explains his actions, lest rumours should precede him. He justifies his signature of the creed with an interpretation of it which blatantly empties it of its intended meaning. But Eusebius’s theological shortcomings should not be allowed to obscure his achievement as a historian. His History of the Church was not particularly well written, but it laid a foundation for the history of the early Church on which others built. In the following century Socrates, Sozomen and Theodoret wrote sequels to Eusebius’s History.”

  • Tony Lane, A Concise History of Christian Thought

Eusebius Pamphilus or Eusebius of Caesarea (260?-339) was bishop of Caesarea.  He was taught by Pamphilus and added his name upon the death of his teacher in honor of him.  Pamphilus was a student of Origen.  As I wrote last week, each time we get another generation removed from the apostles, we get a little further from the truth.

Constantine the Great, having converted to Christianity and making Christianity the religion of the Roman Empire, saw that there was a wide diversity in what Christians believed in their churches.  He established the Council of Nicea, from which we get the Nicene Creed:

We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen.
We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father; through him all things were made. For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven, was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary and became truly human. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered death and was buried. On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures; he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end.
We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified, who has spoken through the prophets. We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church. We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.

  • Nicene Creed, The Book of Confessions (PCUSA)

Constantine’s goal was to state the basic concept of the Christian faith and have all churches taught that.  In so doing, the heresies that were cropping up could be judged lacking at best or absolute abominations.  In all Constantine’s faults, his goal to unify the church around belief and faith is a noble quest.

We started with trying to meld Greek philosophy with Christianity.  Then, although Gnosticism was heresy, there were elements of Gnosticism that were not overtly heretical.  Then we have a leading bishop who basically says to blindly follow the bishops, but from Origen to Pamphilus to Eusebius we go further and further from true teaching to heresy.

It seems that the same argument existed in the third and fourth century that exists today.  The secular world honors intellect.  They think that the Christian faith is foolishness.  They have never experienced God’s Grace, thus it makes no sense.  Christians then are the unthinking ones.

It is too easy to think that you can bridge the gulf between intellectual and spiritual by accepting some of the intellectual thought.  While attracting those who do not know nor understand the spiritual, you place your foundation on sand instead of the solid foundation of God’s Word.

The truth about who the thinkers really are is that when you experience the invisible God, your mind is opened to greater understanding than those who never “see” it.  But, to the leaders of the church, they try to bridge the gap between both sides, and by the time of Eusebius, you see open defiance.  Eusebius is excommunicated.  He gives false testimony to get back into the church’s good graces.  And then he explains to his followers in Caesarea how he redefined this and that from the Nicene Creed so that he was true to his heresy and tricked the church leaders.

But what do you expect.  He was a false teacher.  He taught falsehood.  Oddly, in one quote, he praised Constantine, almost to the point of worshipping him, but it was the Council of Nicea that forced Eusebius to falsely denounce his heresy, the Council established by Constantine to get rid of the heresies such as that taught by Eusebius.

And while Eusebius is mentioned in this history book, he is more noted as a historian.  Even the author stated that he was a poor writer of history.  He was probably a poor writer of history due to his own battle against orthodox thought.  Histories are usually written with a slight bias.  The modern histories seem to remove the word “slight” in that any thought of God or forgiveness is off limits in the historical world.

If you like these Tuesday morning essays about philosophy and other “heavy topics,” but you think you missed a few, you can use this LINK. I have set up a page off the home page for links to these Tuesday morning posts. I will continue to modify the page as I add more.

Soli Deo Gloria.  Only to God be the Glory.

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