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Theological, Doctrinal, and Spiritual Musing - and whatever other else is on my mind when I notice that I haven't posted in a while.
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Daniel of Doulogos Name:Daniel
Home: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
About Me: I used to believe that evolution was reasonable, that homosexuality was genetic, and that people became Christians because they couldn't deal with the 'reality' that this life was all there was. I used to believe, that if there was a heaven - I could get there by being good - and I used to think I was more or less a good person. I was wrong on all counts. One day I finally had my eyes opened and I saw that I was not going to go to heaven, but that I was certainly going to suffer the wrath of God for all my sin. I saw myself as a treasonous rebel at heart - I hated God for creating me just to send me to Hell - and I was wretched beyond my own comprehension. Into this spiritual vacuum Jesus Christ came and he opened my understanding - delivering me from God's wrath into God's grace. I was "saved" as an adult, and now my life is hid in Christ. I am by no means sinless, but by God's grace I am a repenting believer - a born again Christian.
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Daniel's posts are almost always pastoral and God centered. I appreciate and am challenged by them frequently. He has a great sense of humor as well.
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His posts are either funny or challenging. He is very friendly and nice.
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[He has] good posts, both the serious like this one, and the humorous like yesterday. [He is] the reason that I have restrained myself from making Canadian jokes in my posts.
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Daniel, nicely done and much more original than Frank the Turk.
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There are some people who are smart, deep, or funny. There are not very many people that are all 3. Daniel is one of those people. His opinion, insight and humor have kept me coming back to his blog since I first visited earlier this year.
- Carla Rolfe
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Thursday, October 19, 2006
A Bit of History - Part -II-
Did everyone have a fishbowl in their head in the early days??The didn't have any chalk.

It must have been an hundred and twenty degrees in the shade, the bugs were buzzing all around, why had the Emperor insisted on continuing this work? Yet here they were, pouring out bag after bag of good grain onto the ground in lines - marking out the layout for a city that the Emperor ordained to be built.

Speaking to himself he mused, "Oh, Deinocrates, what have you got yourself into now?" Did he come all the way from Rhodes to be the chief architect for this project that was being written out in grain? Were not flocks of birds already descending upon their first works? Yet the Emperor continued to point, and Deinocrates and his crew continued to pour out the lines of grain (bag after bag) - and in this way the general layout for the new city was given.

It was going to be a great port city - the gateway between the Grecian empire and the fertile Nile valley. Here, at the mouth of that great river, they would build a city and name if for their emperor - Alexandria. The seers and omen-mongers regarded the feast that the flocks were making of the grain with mixed speculation. Some felt it was a good omen, but others a bad. Few would have guessed that where this fertile valley opened unto the sea a grand tomb would eventually be the final resting place of this great Emperor - not to mention a tourist attraction for centuries to come.

By the time Ammonius lifted a son in his arms, the famous Lighthouse on the small isle of Pharos in the harbor at Alexandria - one of seven wonders of the ancient world - was already hundreds of years old.

The child grew into a man described by his opponents as tall and lean, with a distinguished appearance and polished address. Women actually doted on him, or so his opponents charged - charmed by his elegant manners, and moved by his manifest asceticism. Men also were impressed by this young man who exuded an aura of intellectual superiority.

The young man was trained in the ministry by an extremely influential theologue named Lucian who had become the head of a local theological school in Alexandria. Lucian believed and taught that Christ was a created being who subsequently created everything else. This teaching was passed along to the young man, whom history tells us was named Arius.

In the year 313, at the age of about 57, the same year in which the edict of Milan was given (legislating tolerance towards Christianity) Arius became the presbyter of the district of Baucalis in Alexandria, The overseer for that diocese was named Achillas.

It was an interesting time for Christianity. Because of persecution, the faith had spread far and fast - and not everyone had the luxury of a full canon, and fewer still had the luxury of time to study it. Furthermore, information - even theological information - wasn't exactly moving quickly through the known world. For two generations in Alexandria Christ was being preached as the greatest of God's creations - and that sort of baggage can really take root in a place after two generations of being preached unopposed!

The battle over the nature of Christ's relationship with God had been waging for fifty years already - Paul of Samosata had dared to say that Christ was of the same substance as God - and was deposed for saying as much. So when Arius concluded that the Logos and the Father were -not- the same substance, and that Christ was created, being "begotten" (reasoning that there must have been at least some point when God was not "the Father" - having been God alone, and only becomeing the Father after begetting the Son) - when Arius came to that conclusion, he was well supported in it in Alexandria.

The debate carried on, mostly through letters and what not - and when it became apparent that the issue would not resolve itself this way - Constantine stepped in and mandated that delegates convene together at Nicea to hash it all out once and for all. The empire was divided into 1800 "dioceses" - 1000 in the east, and 800 in the west. Each diocese was invited to send a single bishop/overseer to the council/synod, though no more than 320 showed up.

I should pause here for a moment. In the organization of the Roman Empire at this point, the provinces were increasingly subdivided making administration difficult. In order administrate these provinces with greater ease - a larger unit (the diocese) was created. The word comes to us from the Greek word dioikysis - which meant administration. This administerial division was later adopted by the Roman Catholic and mirrored the Roman civilian administration. That is to say that during this period, overseers were parochial (overseers of a parish or congregation), meaning that the artificial, political divisions did not represent an hierarchy of patriachs. There would have been many overseers in each diocese, and while individuals may have stood out as elders and godly men, I find nothing to suggest that those who came to represent their Roman diocese, did so with any ecclesiastical authority. It was only as emperical politics imposed themselves on the church that such distinctions imposed themselves on the church.

Because the division was political and not ecclesiastical - some delegates represented many churches and some fewer. Some were highly qualified, some less so. Yet eventually those that did show up, met, and heard the arguments, read the statements and various writings and teachings, and eventually agreed together that what Arius was teaching (that Christ was a created being) was not biblical, but in fact heretical.

Arius (and some of his supporters) were thereafter deposed and exiled to Illyricum. But that wasn't the end of it...

We call this same heresy taught by Arius, "Arianism" today. To defend against this heresy popping up again in the future - the Council drafted a "creed" (a statement of faith) that was intended to articulate what the council had determined to be "orthodox." This is how the creed read in 325 A.D.

We believe in one God, the Father Almighty,
creator of all things visible and invisible;
and in one Lord Jesus Christ,
the Son of God,
the only-begotten of his Father,
of the substance of the Father,
God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God,
begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father.
By whom all things were made,
both which be in heaven and in earth.
Who for us men and for our salvation
came down [from heaven] and was incarnate and was made man.
He suffered and the third day he rose again, and ascended into heaven.
And he shall come again to judge both the quick and the dead.
And [we believe] in the Holy Ghost.
And whosoever shall say that there was a time
when the Son of God was not, or
that before he was begotten he was not, or
that he was made of things that were not, or
that he is of a different substance or essence [from the Father] or
that he is a creature, or
subject to change or conversion
all that so say, the Catholic and Apostolic Church anathematizes them.

Just two years later, the whole thing erupted again.

Athanasius became the overseer at Alexander which if you will remember, had been following "Arianism" for the last couple of generations. Athanasius was no stranger to the debate, he had been a deacon in the church, and even had accompanied Arius to Nicene, But Athanasius was no Arian, he understood that Christ was the eternal Word through whom God created the world - that Christ in fact entered into the world He Himself created, in human form, for the purpose of leading men back into harmony with God. He was perhaps, the greatest opponent of Arianism in his day.

I don't want to get ahead of my self however, so I will stop there. I hope to discuss where modalism/Sabellianism came from some day; what it is, and how it played into this discourse... if I ever get back to this...


posted by Daniel @ 2:36 PM  
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