History of the Trinity, Part 7

History of the Doctrine Concerning the Nature of God

In the Early Centuries of Christianity

Part 7

The Monarchian split


(y 190 a.d., the logos-Christology doctrine had made enough of an Impact upon the Christian world, to influence some, who were otherwise Monarchians, to believe that Christ was only a man until he was anointed at his baptism. This later theory was called “dynamic Monarchianism.”)

The first dynamic monarchian of prominence was the odotus. He came To Rome about 190 a.d. and there taught that Jesus was a man, born of the virgin, of holy life, upon whom the divine Christ (or the Holy Spirit) descended at his baptism.

Much more numerous (and much earlier) than the dynamic monarchians were the modalistic monarchians who made an appeal to the many that in the presence of heathen polytheism, the unity of god seemed a prime article of the Christian faith.

Cyprian coined for these modalistic monarchians the nickname”patripassians” (the teaching that the father suffered, along with the Son on the cross). The first prominent advocate of patripassianism was Praxeas (190 a.d.). True, he would not be understood as speaking directly of a suffering (pati) of the father, but only of a sympathy (copati). He conceived the relation of the father to the son as like That of the spirit to the flesh. [11]

(The controversy regarding patripassianism seems somewhat obscured at this late date. Cyprian and others claimed these modalists were Patripassians); sabellius denied that he was a patripassian. [16] (schaff admits that the patripassians did not mean a real suffering but Only a sympathy. Would any trinitarian claim that god the father had No sympathy with his own son as he hung upon the cross? The modalists Never used the term of themselves.)