2007 Archive Edition - See the Archive Notice on the Project Homepage for more information.
Monarchianism, a belief originating in the second century, emphasized the unity of the Godhead or the oneness of divine rule. This belief denied the Trinity and was a reaction to suggestions of divine plurality made by Gnostics and others. Mainly two varieties existed. Modalist Monarchianism, the most common form, proposed that the Father, Son, and Spirit were just modes of the same being. This form is also known as Sabellianism (after a Roman cleric, Sabellius), and Patripassianism, meaning the Father suffers. The second type, Adoptionist or Dynamic Monarchianism, stated that Jesus was not always God; he was a human until being "adopted" or filled to a unique degree by the Spirit of God. Monarchianism in one form or another caused problems for the Church mostly in the third century although it emerged at later times. Its appearance marks beginning of theological tension between East and West.
Elise M. Bender
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