Christian Cyclopedia

About the Cyclopedia


View that developed esp. in the 2d and 3d c.; stressed that God is a single being, thereby trying to preserve monotheism and unity (monarchy) of the Godhead. Two divergent views arose:

A. Dynamic Monarchianism. Christ is a mere man (though conceived by the Holy Spirit and born in a wonderful way of the Virgin Mary) whom God endowed with His power (Gk. dynamis). See also Adoptionism.

1. Alogi (in Asia Minor ca. 170). Denied that Jesus was the Logos,* hence rejected the Gospel and Epistles of John; also rejected Rv as chiliastic.

2. Theodotians. Followers of Theodotus* the Fuller; 2 of his followers, a certain Asclepiodotus (apparently a Gk.) and Theodotus* the Money Changer, tried unsuccessfully to found their own ch. at Rome.

3. Artemonites. Followers of Artemon (Artemas; 3d c.), who taught at Rome and was excommunicated by Zephyrinus.* Sometimes classified with Modalistic Monarchians.

4. Paul* of Samosata. Held that Jesus was “from hence,” and that the Logos worked in Him “from above.”

B. Modalistic Monarchianism. View that Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are not 3 persons but 3 modes or forms of God's activity; God revealed Himself as Father in the work of creation, as Son in the work of redemption (Patripassianism*), and as the Holy Spirit in the work of sanctification.

1. Noetus.*

2. Calixtus I (Callistus). Bp. Rome ca. 217–ca. 223.

3. Beryllus (3d c.). Bp. Bos(t)ra (Busra), ca. 70 mi. S of Damascus, ca. 230–244. Refuted in disputation by Origen* 238/244. Sometimes classified with Dynamic Monarchians.

4. Praxeas.*

5. Epigonus (fl. ca. AD 200). Disciple of Noetus*; founded a sect at Rome later headed by Sabellius.

6. Sabellius.* Modalistic Monarchianism as developed under him is known as Sabellianism: God, the absolute monad, reveals Himself successively in 3 prosopa (Gk. “faces”), each representing the entire monad (Father: Creator and Lawgiver; Son: Redeemer; Holy Spirit: Lifegiver). Opposed by Dionysius* of Alexandria.

See also Unitarianism.

K. G. A. v. Harnack, History of Dogma, tr. N. Buchanan et al. (London, 1894–99); J. N. D. Kelly, Early Christian Doctrines, 2d ed. (New York, 1960); F. Loofs, Leitfaden zum Studium der Dogmengeschichte, 4th rev. ed. (Halle, 1906); R. Seeberg, Text-book of the History of Doctrines, tr. C. E. Hay (Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1952).

Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
©Concordia Publishing House, 2000, All rights Reserved. Reproduced with Permission

Internet Version Produced by
The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod

Original Editions ©Copyright 1954, 1975, 2000
Concordia Publishing House
All rights reserved.

Content Reproduced with Permission

Stay Connected! Join the LCMS Network:

Contact Us Online
(Staff Switchboard)
(Church Info Center)
1333 S Kirkwood Rd
Saint Louis, MO 63122-7226 | Directions


Featured Publication

The Lutheran Witness

LCMS Communications

Interpreting the contemporary world from a Lutheran Christian perspective.
Visit TLW Online