Arianism is a Christological concept which asserts
the belief that
Jesus Christ is the
Son of God
Son of God who was begotten by God
Father at a point in time, is distinct from the
Father and is
therefore subordinate to the Father. Arian teachings were first
Arius (c. AD 256–336), a Christian presbyter in
Alexandria, Egypt. The teachings of
Arius and his supporters were
opposed to the theological views held by
regarding the nature of the
Trinity and the nature of Christ. The
Arian concept of Christ is based on the belief that the
Son of God
Son of God did
not always exist but was begotten by God the Father.
There was a dispute between two interpretations (
Homoousianism) based upon the theological orthodoxy of the time, and
both of them attempted to solve its theological dilemmas. So there
were, initially, two equally orthodox interpretations which initiated
a conflict in order to attract adepts and define the new orthodoxy.
Homoousianism was formally affirmed by the first two Ecumenical
Councils. The Ecumenical
First Council of Nicaea
First Council of Nicaea of 325 deemed
Arianism to be a heresy. All mainstream branches of Christianity
Arianism to be heterodox and heretical.
According to Everett Ferguson, "The great majority of Christians had
no clear views about the nature of the
Trinity and they did not
understand what was at stake in the issues that surrounded it." At
First Synod of Tyre in 335,
Arius was exonerated.
Constantine the Great
Constantine the Great was baptized by the Arian bishop
Nicomedia. After the deaths of both
Arius and Constantine, Arius
was again anathemised and pronounced a heretic again at the Ecumenical
First Council of Constantinople
First Council of Constantinople of 381. The Roman Emperors
Constantius II (337–361) and
Valens (364–378) were Arians or
Semi-Arians, as was the first King of Italy,
Odoacer (433?–493), and
Lombards were also Arians or
Semi-Arians until the 7th century.
Arianism is also used to refer to other nontrinitarian theological
systems of the 4th century, which regarded
Jesus Christ—the Son of
God, the Logos—as either a begotten being (as in
Arianism proper and
Anomoeanism) or as neither uncreated nor created in the sense other
beings are created (as in Semi-Arianism).
3 Homoian Arianism
4 Struggles with orthodoxy
4.1 First Council of Nicaea
4.2 Aftermath of Nicaea
4.3 Council of Constantinople
5 Among medieval Germanic tribes
6 From the 5th to the 7th century
7 From the 16th to the 19th century
8.1 Jehovah's Witnesses
9 See also
11 Further reading
12 External links
Arius and Arian controversy
Arius had been a pupil of
Lucian of Antioch
Lucian of Antioch at Lucian's private
academy in Antioch and inherited from him a modified form of the
teachings of Paul of Samosata. He taught that
God the Father
God the Father and
Son of God
Son of God did not always exist together eternally. Arians
taught that the Logos was a divine being begotten by God the Father
before the creation of the world, made him a medium through whom
everything else was created, and that the
Son of God
Son of God is subordinate to
God the Father. A verse from Proverbs was also used: "The Lord
created me at the beginning of his work" (Proverbs. Therefore,
the Son was rather the very first and the most perfect of God's
creatures, and he was made "God" only by the Father's permission and
Arianism arose in the late 3rd century and persisted
throughout most of the 4th century. It involved most church
members—from simple believers, priests, and monks to bishops,
emperors, and members of Rome's imperial family. Two Roman emperors,
Constantius II and Valens, became Arians or Semi-Arians, as did
prominent Gothic, Vandal, and Lombard warlords both before and after
the fall of the Western Roman Empire. Such a deep controversy within
the Church during this period of its development could not have
materialized without significant historical influences providing a
basis for the Arian doctrines. Of the roughly three hundred
bishops in attendance at the Council of Nicea, two bishops did not
Nicene Creed that condemned Arianism. Emperor Constantine
also ordered a penalty of death for those who refused to surrender the
"In addition, if any writing composed by
Arius should be found, it
should be handed over to the flames, so that not only will the
wickedness of his teaching be obliterated, but nothing will be left
even to remind anyone of him. And I hereby make a public order, that
if someone should be discovered to have hidden a writing composed by
Arius, and not to have immediately brought it forward and destroyed it
by fire, his penalty shall be death. As soon as he is discovered in
this offence, he shall be submitted for capital punishment. ... "
— Edict by
Emperor Constantine against the Arians
Arius actually taught, and why, is a formidable
task, both because little of his own work survives except in
quotations selected for polemical purposes by his opponents, and also
because there is no certainty about what theological and philosophical
traditions formed his thought.
Arians do not believe in the traditional doctrine of the Trinity.
The letter of Arian Auxentius regarding the Arian missionary
Ulfilas gives a picture of Arian beliefs. Arian Ulfilas, who was
ordained a bishop by Arian
Eusebius of Nicomedia and returned to his
people to work as a missionary, believed: God, the Father,
("unbegotten" God; Almighty God) always existing and who is the only
true God (John 17:3). The Son of God,
Jesus Christ, ("only-begotten
God" John 1:18; Mighty God Isaiah 9:6) begotten before time began
(Proverbs 8:22–29; Revelation 3:14; Colossians 1:15) and who is
Lord/Master (1 Cor 8:6). The
Holy Spirit (the illuminating and
sanctifying power, who is neither
God the Father
God the Father nor Lord/Master.
First Corinthians 8:5–8:6 was cited as proof text:
Indeed, even though there may be so-called gods in heaven or on
earth—as in fact there are many gods and many lords/masters—yet
for us there is one God (Gk. theos – θεός), the Father, from
whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord/Master (kyrios
Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and
through whom we exist.
The creed of Arian
Ulfilas (c. 311 – 383), which concludes a letter
praising him written by Auxentius, distinguishes God the Father
("unbegotten"), who is the only true God from Son of God
("only-begotten"), who is Lord/Master; and the Holy Spirit, the
illuminating and sanctifying power, who is neither
God the Father
God the Father nor
I, Ulfila, bishop and confessor, have always so believed, and in this,
the one true faith, I make the journey to my Lord; I believe in only
one God the Father, the unbegotten and invisible, and in his
only-begotten son, our Lord/Master and God, the designer and maker of
all creation, having none other like him. Therefore, there is one God
of all, who is also God of our God; and in one Holy Spirit, the
illuminating and sanctifying power, as Christ said after his
resurrection to his apostles: "And behold, I send the promise of my
Father upon you; but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be
clothed with power from on high" (Luke 24:49) and again "But ye shall
receive power, when the Holy Ghost is come upon you" (Acts 1:8);
Neither God nor Lord/Master, but the faithful minister of Christ; not
equal, but subject and obedient in all things to the Son. And I
believe the Son to be subject and obedient in all things to God the
A letter from
Arius (c. 250–336) to the Arian
Eusebius of Nicomedia
(died 341) succinctly states the core beliefs of the Arians:
Some of them say that the Son is an eructation, others that he is a
production, others that he is also unbegotten. These are impieties to
which we cannot listen, even though the heretics threaten us with a
thousand deaths. But we say and believe and have taught, and do teach,
that the Son is not unbegotten, nor in any way part of the unbegotten;
and that he does not derive his subsistence from any matter; but that
by his own will and counsel he has subsisted before time and before
ages as perfect as God, only begotten and unchangeable, and that
before he was begotten, or created, or purposed, or established, he
was not. For he was not unbegotten. We are persecuted because we say
that the Son has a beginning but that God is without beginning.
— Theodoret: Arius's Letter to
Eusebius of Nicomedia, translated
Heresy and Authority in Medieval Europe, p. 41
According to Bart Ehrman, the dispute between
Arianism was about:
has the Son always existed next to the
Father or was the Son begotten
at a certain time in eternity past?
is the Son equal to the
Father or subordinated to the Father?
for Constantine it was minor theological claptrap that stood in the
way of uniting the Empire, but for the theologians it was of huge
Arianism had several different variants, including
Homoian Arianism. Homoian
Arianism is associated with Akakius and
Arianism avoided the use of the word ousia to
describe the relation of
Father to Son, and described these as "like"
each other. Hanson lists twelve creeds that reflect the Homoian
The Second Sirmian Creed of 357
The Creed of Nice (Constantinople) 360
The creed put forward by Akakius at Seleucia, 359
The Rule of Faith of Ulfilas
The creed uttered by
Ulfilas on his deathbed, 383
The creed attributed to Eudoxius
The Creed of Auxentius of Milan, 364
The Creed of Germinius professed in correspondence with
Palladius' rule of faith
Three credal statements found in fragments, subordinating the Son to
Struggles with orthodoxy
First Council of Nicaea
Constantine burning Arian books, illustration from a compendium of
canon law, c. 825.
Arius was denounced by a synod at
Alexandria for teaching a
heterodox view of the relationship of
Jesus to God the Father. Because
Arius and his followers had great influence in the schools of
Alexandria—counterparts to modern universities or seminaries—their
theological views spread, especially in the eastern Mediterranean.
By 325, the controversy had become significant enough that the Emperor
Constantine called an assembly of bishops, the First Council of
Nicaea, which condemned Arius's doctrine and formulated the original
Nicene Creed of 325. The Nicene Creed's central term, used to
describe the relationship between the
Father and the Son, is
Homoousios (Ancient Greek: ὁμοούσιος), or Consubstantiality,
meaning "of the same substance" or "of one being". (The Athanasian
Creed is less often used but is a more overtly anti-Arian statement on
The focus of the Council of Nicaea was the nature of the Son of God
and his precise relationship to God the Father. (see Paul of Samosata
and the Synods of Antioch).
Arius taught that
Jesus Christ was
divine/holy and was sent to earth for the salvation of mankind but
Jesus Christ was not equal to
God the Father
God the Father (infinite,
primordial origin) in rank and that
God the Father
God the Father and the Son of God
were not equal to the
Holy Spirit (power of God the Father). Under
Arianism, Christ was instead not consubstantial with God the
Father since both the
Father and the Son under
Arius were made of
"like" essence or being (see homoiousia) but not of the same essence
or being (see homoousia).
In the Arian view,
God the Father
God the Father is a Deity and is divine and the Son
of God is not a Deity but divine (I, the LORD, am Deity alone. Isaiah
God the Father
God the Father sent
Jesus to earth for salvation of mankind
Ousia is essence or being, in Eastern Christianity, and
is the aspect of God that is completely incomprehensible to mankind
and human perception. It is all that subsists by itself and which has
not its being in another,
God the Father
God the Father and God the Son and God
Holy Spirit all being uncreated.
According to the teaching of Arius, the pre-existent Logos and thus
Jesus Christ was a begotten being; only the Son was
directly begotten by God the Father, before ages, but was of a
distinct, though similar, essence or substance from the Creator. His
opponents argued that this would make
Jesus less than God and that
this was heretical. Much of the distinction between the differing
factions was over the phrasing that Christ expressed in the New
Testament to express submission to God the Father. The theological
term for this submission is kenosis. This Ecumenical council declared
Jesus Christ was a distinct being of God in existence or reality
(hypostasis), which the Latin fathers translated as persona.
God in essence, being, and/or nature (ousia), which the Latin fathers
translated as substantia.
Constantine is believed to have exiled those who refused to accept the
Arius himself, the deacon Euzoios, and the Libyan
bishops Theonas of Marmarica and Secundus of Ptolemais—and also the
bishops who signed the creed but refused to join in condemnation of
Eusebius of Nicomedia and Theognis of Nicaea. The Emperor also
ordered all copies of the Thalia, the book in which
expressed his teachings, to be burned. However, there is no evidence
that his son and ultimate successor, Constantius II, who was a
Semi-Arian Christian, was exiled.
Although he was committed to maintaining what the church had defined
at Nicaea, Constantine was also bent on pacifying the situation and
eventually became more lenient toward those condemned and exiled at
the council. First he allowed
Eusebius of Nicomedia, who was a
protégé of his sister, and Theognis to return once they had signed
an ambiguous statement of faith. The two, and other friends of Arius,
worked for Arius's rehabilitation.
First Synod of Tyre in AD 335, they brought accusations against
Athanasius, now bishop of Alexandria, the primary opponent of Arius.
After this, Constantine had Athanasius banished since he considered
him an impediment to reconciliation. In the same year, the
Jerusalem under Constantine's direction readmitted
Arius to communion
in AD 336.
Arius died on the way to this event in Constantinople. Some
scholars suggest that
Arius may have been poisoned by his
Eusebius and Theognis remained in the Emperor's favor,
and when Constantine, who had been a catechumen much of his adult
life, accepted baptism on his deathbed, it was from
Jacob Burckhardt wrote of the Council:
It is one of the most intolerable spectacles in all history to see the
Church, barely saved from persecution...wholly consumed in strenuous
conflict over the relations of the three Persons of the Trinity.
Oriental rigidity and Greek sophistry, equally represented in the
episcopal thrones, tormented themselves and the letter of Scripture to
produce some symbol which would make the incomprehensible
comprehensible and to give general validity to some expression of the
idea. From homoousios and homoiousios ("equal" and "similar") the
conflict proceeded through a hundred metamorphoses and several hundred
years and split the Eastern Church into sects.... A host of other
interests, in part very worldly, attached themselves to the conflict
and were concealed in it, so that it assumes the aspect of a merely
hypocritical pretext. For the sake of this quarrel the Church made
itself inwardly hollow; for the sake of orthodox dogma it suffered the
inward man to be famished, and, itself demoralized, it completely
forfeited its higher moral effect upon the individual.
Aftermath of Nicaea
The Council of Nicaea did not end the controversy, as many bishops of
the Eastern provinces disputed the homoousios, the central term of the
Nicene creed, as it had been used by Paul of Samosata, who had
advocated a monarchianist Christology. Both the man and his teaching,
including the term homoousios, had been condemned by the Synods of
Antioch in 269.
Hence, after Constantine's death in 337, open dispute resumed again.
Constantine's son Constantius II, who had become Emperor of the
eastern part of the Empire, actually encouraged the Arians and set out
to reverse the Nicene creed. His advisor in these affairs was Eusebius
of Nicomedia, who had already at the Council of Nicea been the head of
the Arian party, who also was made bishop of Constantinople.
Constantius used his power to exile bishops adhering to the Nicene
creed, especially St Athanasius of Alexandria, who fled to Rome. In
355 Constantius became the sole Emperor and extended his pro-Arian
policy toward the western provinces, frequently using force to push
through his creed, even exiling
Pope Liberius and installing Antipope
Council of Sirmium in 357 was the high point of Arianism.
The Seventh Arian Confession (Second Sirmium Confession) held that
both homoousios (of one substance) and homoiousios (of similar
substance) were unbiblical and that the
Father is greater than the
Son. (This confession was later known as the Blasphemy of Sirmium.)
But since many persons are disturbed by questions concerning what is
called in Latin substantia, but in Greek ousia, that is, to make it
understood more exactly, as to 'coessential,' or what is called,
'like-in-essence,' there ought to be no mention of any of these at
all, nor exposition of them in the Church, for this reason and for
this consideration, that in divine Scripture nothing is written about
them, and that they are above men's knowledge and above men's
As debates raged in an attempt to come up with a new formula, three
camps evolved among the opponents of the Nicene creed. The first group
mainly opposed the Nicene terminology and preferred the term
homoiousios (alike in substance) to the Nicene homoousios, while they
Arius and his teaching and accepted the equality and
coeternality of the persons of the Trinity. Because of this centrist
position, and despite their rejection of Arius, they were called
"semi-Arians" by their opponents. The second group also avoided
invoking the name of Arius, but in large part followed Arius'
teachings and, in another attempted compromise wording, described the
Son as being like (homoios) the Father. A third group explicitly
Arius and described the Son as unlike (anhomoios) the
Father. Constantius wavered in his support between the first and the
second party, while harshly persecuting the third.
Epiphanius of Salamis
Epiphanius of Salamis labelled the party of
Basil of Ancyra in 358
"Semi-Arianism". This is considered unfair by Kelly who states that
some members of the group were virtually orthodox from the start but
disliked the adjective homoousios while others had moved in that
direction after the out-and-out Arians had come into the open.
The debates among these groups resulted in numerous synods, among them
Council of Sardica in 343, the
Council of Sirmium in 358 and the
Council of Rimini and Seleucia in 359, and no fewer than
fourteen further creed formulas between 340 and 360, leading the pagan
Ammianus Marcellinus to comment sarcastically: "The highways
were covered with galloping bishops." None of these attempts were
acceptable to the defenders of Nicene orthodoxy: writing about the
latter councils, Saint
Jerome remarked that the world "awoke with a
groan to find itself Arian."
After Constantius' death in 361, his successor Julian, a devotee of
Rome's pagan gods, declared that he would no longer attempt to favor
one church faction over another, and allowed all exiled bishops to
return; this resulted in further increasing dissension among Nicene
Christians. The Emperor Valens, however, revived Constantius' policy
and supported the "Homoian" party, exiling bishops and often using
force. During this persecution many bishops were exiled to the other
ends of the Empire, (e.g.,
St Hilary of Poitiers
St Hilary of Poitiers to the Eastern
provinces). These contacts and the common plight subsequently led to a
rapprochement between the Western supporters of the
Nicene creed and
the homoousios and the Eastern semi-Arians.
Council of Constantinople
Main article: Theodosius I
It was not until the co-reigns of
Gratian and Theodosius that Arianism
was effectively wiped out among the ruling class and elite of the
Eastern Empire. Theodosius' wife St Flacilla was instrumental in his
campaign to end Arianism.
Valens died in the Battle of Adrianople in
378 and was succeeded by Theodosius I, who adhered to the Nicene
creed. This allowed for settling the dispute.
Two days after Theodosius arrived in Constantinople, 24 November 380,
he expelled the
Homoiousian bishop, Demophilus of Constantinople, and
surrendered the churches of that city to Gregory Nazianzus, the leader
of the rather small Nicene community there, an act which provoked
rioting. Theodosius had just been baptized, by bishop Acholius of
Thessalonica, during a severe illness, as was common in the early
Christian world. In February he and
Gratian had published an edict
that all their subjects should profess the faith of the bishops of
Alexandria (i.e., the Nicene faith), or be handed over for
punishment for not doing so.
Although much of the church hierarchy in the East had opposed the
Nicene creed in the decades leading up to Theodosius' accession, he
managed to achieve unity on the basis of the Nicene creed. In 381, at
Ecumenical Council in Constantinople, a group of mainly
Eastern bishops assembled and accepted the
Nicene Creed of 381,
which was supplemented in regard to the Holy Spirit, as well as some
other changes: see Comparison between Creed of 325 and Creed of 381.
This is generally considered the end of the dispute about the Trinity
and the end of
Arianism among the Roman, non-Germanic peoples.
Among medieval Germanic tribes
Gothic Christianity and Germanic Christianity
The ceiling mosaic of the Arian Baptistry.
During the time of Arianism's flowering in Constantinople, the Gothic
Ulfilas (later the subject of the letter of Auxentius cited
above) was sent as a missionary to the Gothic tribes across the
Danube, a mission favored for political reasons by emperor Constantius
II. Ulfilas' initial success in converting this Germanic people to an
Arian form of
Christianity was strengthened by later events. When the
Germanic peoples entered the provinces of the
Western Roman Empire
Western Roman Empire and
began founding their own kingdoms there, most had been Arian
Christians for more than a century.
The conflict in the 4th century AD had seen Arian and Nicene factions
struggling for control of the Church. In contrast, among the Arian
German kingdoms established in the collapsing Western Empire in the
5th century, there were entirely separate Arian and Nicene Churches
with parallel hierarchies, each serving different sets of believers.
The Germanic elites were Arians, and the Romance majority population
Most Germanic tribes were generally tolerant of the Nicene beliefs of
their subjects. However, the
Vandals tried for several decades to
force their Arian beliefs on their North African Nicene subjects,
exiling Nicene clergy, dissolving monasteries, and exercising heavy
pressure on non-conforming Nicene Christians.
Arian and Chalcedonian states in 495 AD
The apparent resurgence of
Arianism after Nicaea was more an
anti-Nicene reaction exploited by Arian sympathizers than a pro-Arian
development. By the end of the 4th century it had surrendered its
remaining ground to Trinitarianism. In western Europe, Arianism,
which had been taught by Ulfilas, the Arian missionary to the Germanic
tribes, was dominant among the Goths,
Lombards and Vandals. By the 8th
century it had ceased to be the tribes' mainstream belief as the
tribal rulers gradually came to adopt Nicene orthodoxy. This trend
began in 496 with
Clovis I of the Franks, then
Reccared I of the
Visigoths in 587 and
Aripert I of the
Lombards in 653.
Franks and the
Anglo-Saxons were unlike the other Germanic peoples
in that they entered the empire as pagans and converted to
Christianity directly, guided by their kings, Clovis
and Æthelberht of Kent. The remaining tribes – the
Vandals and the
Ostrogoths – did not convert as a people nor did they maintain
territorial cohesion. Having been militarily defeated by the armies of
Emperor Justinian I, the remnants were dispersed to the fringes of the
empire and became lost to history. The
Vandalic War of 533–534
dispersed the defeated Vandals. Following their final defeat at
Battle of Mons Lactarius
Battle of Mons Lactarius in 553, the
Ostrogoths went back north
and (re)settled in south Austria.
Once the Orthodox Trinitarians succeeded in defeating Arianism, they
censored any signs that the perceived heresy left behind. This mosaic
Basilica of Sant'Apollinare Nuovo
Basilica of Sant'Apollinare Nuovo in Ravenna has had images of the
Arian king, Theoderic, and his court removed. On some columns their
From the 5th to the 7th century
Much of south-eastern Europe and central Europe, including many of the
Vandals respectively, had embraced
Arianism (the Visigoths
converted to Arian
Christianity in 376), which led to
Arianism being a
religious factor in various wars in the Roman Empire. In the west,
Arianism survived in North Africa, in Hispania, and parts of
Italy until it was finally suppressed in the 6th and 7th centuries.
Grimwald, King of the
Lombards (662–671), and his young son and
Garibald (671), were the last Arian kings in Europe.
From the 16th to the 19th century
Protestant Reformation from 1517, it did not take long
for Arian and other non-trinitarian views to resurface. The first
recorded English antitrinitarian was John Assheton, who was forced to
Thomas Cranmer in 1548. At the
Anabaptist Council of
Venice 1550, the early Italian instigators of the Radical Reformation
committed to the views of Miguel
Servetus (burned alive by Calvin in
1553), and these were promulgated by
Giorgio Biandrata and others into
Poland and Transylvania.
The antitrinitarian wing of the Polish
Reformation separated from the
Calvinist ecclesia maior to form the ecclesia minor or Polish
Brethren. These were commonly referred to as "Arians" due to their
rejection of the Trinity, though in fact the Socinians, as they were
later known, went further than
Arius to the position of Photinus. The
epithet "Arian" was also applied to the early Unitarians such as John
Biddle though in denial of the pre-existence of Christ they were again
Socinians not Arians.
In 1683, when Anthony Ashley Cooper, 1st Earl of Shaftesbury, lay
dying in Amsterdam – driven into exile by his outspoken opposition
to King Charles II – he spoke to the minister Robert Ferguson, and
professed himself an Arian.
In the 18th century the "dominant trend" in Britain, particularly in
Latitudinarianism, was towards Arianism, with which the names of
Samuel Clarke, Benjamin Hoadly,
William Whiston and
Isaac Newton are
associated. To quote the Encyclopædia Britannica's article on
Arianism: "In modern times some Unitarians are virtually Arians in
that they are unwilling either to reduce Christ to a mere human being
or to attribute to him a divine nature identical with that of the
Father." However, their doctrines cannot be considered
representative of traditional Arian doctrines or vice versa.[citation
A similar view was held by the ancient anti-Nicene Pneumatomachi
(Greek: Πνευματομάχοι, "breath" or "spirit" and
"fighters", combining as "fighters against the spirit"), so called
because they opposed the deifying of the Nicene Holy Ghost. However,
Pneumatomachi were adherents of Macedonianism, and though their
beliefs were somewhat reminiscent of Arianism, they were distinct
enough to be distinguishably different.
Iglesia ni Cristo
Iglesia ni Cristo is one of the largest groups that teaches a
similar doctrine, though they are really closer to Socinianism,
believing the Word in John 1:1 is God's plan of salvation, not Christ.
So Christ did not preexist.
The teachings of the first two ecumenical councils – which entirely
Arianism – are held by the Catholic Church, the Eastern
Orthodox Church, the Oriental Orthodox Churches, the Assyrian Church
of the East and all churches founded during the
Reformation in the
16th century or influenced by it (Lutheran, Reformed/Presbyterian, and
Anglican). Also, nearly all Protestant groups (such as Methodists,
Baptists, and most Pentecostals) entirely reject the teachings
associated with Arianism. Modern groups which currently appear to
embrace some of the principles of
Arianism include Unitarians and
Jehovah's Witnesses. Although the origins of their beliefs are not
necessarily attributed to the teachings of Arius, many of the core
beliefs of Unitarians and
Jehovah's Witnesses are entirely similar to
Jehovah's Witnesses are often referred to as "modern-day Arians" or
they are sometimes referred to as "Semi-Arians", usually by
their opponents. While there are some significant
similarities in theology and doctrine, the Witnesses differ from
Arians by saying that the Son can fully know the
Arius himself denied), and by their denial of personality to the
Holy Spirit. The original Arians also generally prayed directly to
Jesus, whereas the Witnesses pray to God, through
Jesus as a
The Church of God (7th day) - Salem Conference, a line of Sabbatarian
Adventists hold views similar to Arianism:[non-primary source
We believe in one true God who is the creator of all. He is
omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent. He sent his son to Earth to
be a sacrifice for our sins. He is a separate being from his son,
Holy Spirit is the power of God and not a separate being
with a separate consciousness. We do not believe in the teaching of
the Trinity, in which the Father, Son, and
Holy Spirit are three parts
of a single being who is God. We believe the
Father and the Son are
separate beings with separate consciousnesses and that the Holy Spirit
is not a conscious being but instead the power of God.
— FAQs – Does the Church of God (7th Day) believe in the
Other groups which oppose the belief in the
Trinity are not
The Iglesia ni Cristo, Christadelphians, Church of God General
Conference and other "Biblical Unitarians" are typically Socinian
in their Christology, not Arian.
There are also various
Binitarian churches, which basically believe
that God is two persons, the
Father and the Son, but they believe that
Holy Spirit is not a person. They include the Church of God
(Seventh Day) and its various offshoots, in particular the former
Radio Church of God, founded by Herbert W. Armstrong, renamed the
Worldwide Church of God, which after Armstrong's death converted to
Trinitarianism, causing many small breakaway churches to form, and
most of them remain loyal to the teachings of Armstrong, for example
the Restored Church of God, the United Church of God, the Philadelphia
Church of God, the Living Church of God, and many others. Other
Binitarian churches include the
Gospel Assemblies, a group of
Pentecostal denominations which believe that God adopted the name
Jesus, and the Church of
Jesus Christ (Bickertonite), an offshoot of
Mormonism, which believes that God is two personages, not two persons.
Binitarian churches generally believe that the
Father is greater than
the Son, a view somewhat similar to Arianism.
First Council of Nicea
^ "Arianism". Encyclopædia Britannica.
^ a b c d e "The Controversies about Christ:
Arius and Alexander –
Bart Ehrman Blog". ehrmanblog.org.
^ a b Ferguson, Everett (26 November 2013). Church History, Volume
One: From Christ to the Pre-Reformation: The Rise and Growth of the
Church in Its Cultural, Intellectual, and Political Context.
Zondervan. p. 267. ISBN 978-0-310-51657-6.
^ Ben Witherington III, The Living Word of God: Rethinking the
Theology of the Bible (Waco, TX: Baylor University Press, 2009),
^ Socrates of Constantinople, Church History, book 1, chapter 33.
Anthony F. Beavers, Chronology of the Arian Controversy.
^ a b Gonzalez, Justo (1984). The Story of
Christianity Vol.1. Harper
Collins. p. 176. ISBN 0-06-063315-8.
Eusebius of Nicomedia". Catholic Encyclopedia. Retrieved
^ "First Council of Constantinople, Canon 1". ccel.org.
^ Leighton Pullan, Early Christian Doctrine, Third Edition, Oxford
Church Text Books (New York: Edwin S. Gorham, 1905), p.87.
^ a b Ritchie, Mark S. "The Story of the Church – Part 2, Topics 2
& 3". The Story of the Church.
^ M'Clintock, John; James Strong. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological,
and Ecclesiastical Literature. 7. p. 45.
^ Francis Schüssler Fiorenza; John P. Galvin (1991). Systematic
theology: Roman Catholic perspectives. Fortress Press.
pp. 164–. ISBN 978-0-8006-2460-6. Retrieved 14 April
^ Kelly, J N D (29 March 1978). Early Christian Doctrine. Chapter 9.
San Francisco: HarperCollins. ISBN 978-0-06-064334-8.
^ Davis, Leo Donald (1983). The First Seven Ecumenical Councils
(325-787). Collegeville: Liturgical Press. pp. 52–54.
^ Hanson, R P C (2007). The Search for the Christian Doctrine of God.
Grand Rapids: Baker Academic. pp. 127–128.
^ Chadwick, Henry (July 1960). "Faith and Order at the Council of
Nicea". The Harvard Theological Review. 53 (3): 171–195.
doi:10.1017/S0017816000027000. JSTOR 1508399.
^ "Emperor Constantine's Edict against the Arians". fourthcentury.com.
23 January 2010. Archived from the original on 19 August 2011.
Retrieved 20 August 2011.
^ Richard Bauckham, “Review of Arius:
Heresy and Tradition by Rowan
Williams,” Themelios: Volume 14, No. 2, January/February 1989, 1989,
^ a b c "Newton's Arian beliefs". Scotland: School of Mathematics and
Statistics, University of St. Andrews.
^ a b "Auxentius on Wulfila: Translation by Jim Marchand".
^ "New American Standard Bible – John 1". Bible Hub.
^ Heather and Matthews.
Goths in the Fourth Century.
^ Hanson, R.P.C. (1988). The Search for the Christian Doctrine of God.
Edinburgh: T&T Clark. pp. 557–558.
^ Hanson, R.P.C. (1988). The Search for the Christian Doctrine of God.
Edinburgh: T&T Clark. pp. 558–559.
^ The Seven Ecumenical Councils, Christian Classics Ethereal
^ a b c d "The oneness of Essence, the Equality of Divinity, and the
Equality of Honor of God the Son with the God the Father." Orthodox
Dogmatic Theology: A Concise Exposition Protopresbyter Michael
Pomazansky pages 92–95
^ The Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church, SVS Press, 1997.
(ISBN 0-913836-31-1) James Clarkef & Co Ltd, 1991.
(ISBN 0-227-67919-9) V Lossky pg 50–51
^ Orthodox Dogmatic Theology: A Concise Exposition Protopresbyter
Michael Pomazansky pages 57 As quoted by John Damascene:
God is unoriginate, unending, eternal, constant, uncreated,
unchanging, unalterable, simple, incomplex, bodiless, invisible,
intangible, indescribable, without bounds, inaccessible to the mind,
uncontainable, incomprehensible, good, righteous, that Creator of all
creatures, the almighty Pantocrator.
^ a b Edward Gibbons "The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire",
Chapter 21, (1776–88), Jonathan Kirsch, "God Against the Gods: The
History of the War Between Monotheism and Polytheism", 2004, and
Charles Freeman, The Closing of the Western Mind: The Rise of Faith
and the Fall of Reason, 2002.
^ Burckhardt, Jacob (1852). The Age of Constantine the Great. Univ
California Press. pp. 312–313.
^ "Second Creed of Sirmium or "The Blasphemy of Sirmium"".
www.fourthcentury.com. Retrieved 2017-03-09.
^ Kelly J.N.D. Early Christian Doctrines A&G Black 1965, p. 249
^ "Sozomen's Church History VII.4". ccel.org.
^ The text of this version of the
Nicene creed is available at "The
Holy Creed Which the 150 Holy Fathers Set Forth, Which is Consonant
with the Holy and Great
Synod of Nice". ccel.org. Retrieved 27
^ Everett Ferguson, Church History: From Christ to Pre-Reformation,
vol. 1 (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2005), 200.
Arianism and Its Influence TodayAriusIdea That
Jesus Christ Is
Not Equal to the
Father By Nature". carm.org. Retrieved 23 October
^ Frassetto, Michael, Encyclopedia of barbarian Europe, (ABC-CLIO,
^ Procopius, Secret Histories, Chapter 11, 18
The inhibiting and paralyzing force of superstitious beliefs
penetrated to every department of life, and the most primary and
elementary activities of society were influenced. War, for example,
was not a simple matter of a test of strength and courage, but
supernatural matters had to be taken carefully into consideration.
When Clovis said of the
Goths in southern Gaul, "I take it hard that
these Arians should hold a part of the Gauls; let us go with God's aid
and conquer them and bring the land under our dominion", [note: see p.
45 (Book II:37)] he was not speaking in a hypocritical or arrogant
manner but in real accordance with the religious sentiment of the
time. What he meant was that the Goths, being heretics, were at once
enemies of the true God and inferior to the orthodox
Franks in their
supernatural backing. Considerations of duty, strategy, and
self-interest all reinforced one another in Clovis's mind. However, it
was not always the orthodox side that won. We hear of a battle fought
a few years before Gregory became bishop of Tours between king
Sigibert and the Huns, [note: Book IV:29] in which the
Huns "by the
use of magic arts caused various false appearances to arise before
their enemies and overcame them decisively." Medieval Study Guide to
Gregory of Tours
Gregory of Tours History of the Franks.
— St Gregory of Tours
^ Roland Bainton, Hunted Heretic. The Life and Death of Michael
^ George Huntston Williams. The Radical Reformation, 3rd edition.
Volume 15 of Sixteenth Century Essays and Studies. Ann Arbor, MI:
Edwards Brothers, 1992
^ William Gibson, Robert G. Ingram Religious identities in Britain,
^ "Arianism." Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica 2007
Deluxe Edition. Chicago: Encyclopædia Britannica, 2007.
^ a b Wace, Henry; Piercy, William C., eds. Dictionary of Christian
Biography and Literature to the End of the Sixth Century (1911, third
edition) London: John Murray.
^ Institute for Metaphysical Studies—The Arian Christian Bible –
Metaphysical Institute, 2010. Page 209. Retrieved 10 June 2014.
^ Adam Bourque – Ten Things You Didn’t Know about Jehovah’s
Witnesses. Michigan Skeptics Association. Retrieved 10 June 2014.
^ Dorsett, Tommy. "Modern Day Arians: Who Are They?". Retrieved 2 May
Arius and the Nicene Creed". Retrieved 2 May 2012.
^ Young, Alexey. "Jehovah's Witnesses". Retrieved 2 May 2012.
^ "Should You Believe in the Trinity?". Awake!: 12–13. August 2013.
Retrieved 2 November 2014.
^ "FAQs". Churchofgod-7thday.org. Retrieved 18 September 2013.
^ Bienvenido Santiago "Is
Jesus Christ Called 'God' in John 1:1?" in
God's Message magazine July–September 1995
^ Pearce F. Jesus: God the Son or Son of God? CMPA
^ Anthony Buzzard and Charles Hunting The Doctrine of the Trinity:
Christianity's Self-Inflicted Wound
Alexandria, Athanasius of (2013). History of the Arians. London.
Alexandria, Athanasius of. "History of the Arians". Missing or
empty url= (help) Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, Part V, Part
VI, Part VII, Part VIII
Ayres, Lewis (2004). Nicaea and its Legacy: An Approach to
Fourth-Century Trinitarian Theology. New York: Oxford University
Arius in the Mirror: The Alexandrian Dissent And How
It Is Reflected in Modern Unitarian Universalist Practice and
Roland Steinacher Guido M. Berndt, ed. (2014). Arianism. Roman Heresy
and Barbarian Creed. vol.1. Farnham, UK: Ashgate.
Davidson, Ivor J. (2005). "A Public Faith". Baker History of the
Church. 2. ISBN 0-8010-1275-9.
Hanson, R. P. C. (1988). The Search for the Christian Doctrine of God:
The Arian Controversy 318–381. T & T Clark.
Kelly, J. N. D. (1978). Early Christian Doctrines.
Newman, John Henry (1833). "Arians of the Fourth Century".
Parvis, Sarah (2006). Marcellus of Ancyra And the Lost Years of the
Arian Controversy 325–345. New York: Oxford University Press.
Documents of the Arian Controversy (in German). Berlin and New York:
Walter De Gruyter. 2007.
Rodriguez, Eliseo. The Doctrine of the
Trinity is Dead: The Original
Gospel (Lost Fundamental Doctrines). vol. 1.
Rusch, William C. (1980). The Trinitarian Controversy. Sources of
Early Christian Thought. ISBN 0-8006-1410-0.
Schaff, Philip. Theological Controversies and the Development of
Orthodoxy: The History of the Christian Church. vols. III and
Williams, Rowan (2001). Arius:
Heresy and Tradition (revised ed.).
Brennecke, Hanns Christof (1999), "Arianism", in Fahlbusch, Erwin,
Encyclopedia of Christianity, 1, Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans,
pp. 121–122, ISBN 0-8028-2413-7
Documents of the Early Arian Controversy Chronological survey of the
English translations of all extant letters relating to early Arianism
A map of early sympathizers with Arius
Barry, William (1913). "Arianism". Catholic Encyclopedia.
Jewish Encyclopedia: Arianism
Arianism (page 1) (page 2) (page 3)
"Arianism". The American Cyclopædia. 1879.
The Arians of the fourth century by John Henry "Cardinal" Newman in
Concise Summary of the Arian Controversy
Beliefs condemned as heretical by the Catholic Church
Arianism (Anomoeanism, Semi-Arianism)
Gnosticism (Manichaeism, Paulicianism, Priscillianism, Naassenes,
Ophites, Sethianism, Valentinianism)
Protestantism (Arminianism, Calvinism, Lutheranism)
Community of the Lady of All Nations
History of Christianity
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Paul the Apostle
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Fall of Constantinople
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Vatican I and II
Diet of Worms
Book of Concord
Three Forms of Unity
First Great Awakening
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