Skip to comments.First Council of Nicaea
Posted on 10/31/2010 5:56:46 PM PDT by restornu
There seem to be a number of legends about the First Council of Nicaea (325AD) in circulation on the internet, presented as fact. Some people seem to think that the council, which was the first council of all the Bishops of the Christian Church, either invented the New Testament, or edited it to remove references to reincarnation (or whatever) or burned large numbers of heretical works, or whatever. These are in error. This page documents the problem and provides links to all the ancient source material in order to allow everyone to check the truth for themselves.
Here's my first example, from usenet:
> In tracing the origin of the Bible, one is led to AD 325, when > Constantine the Great called the First Council of Nicaea, composed of > 300 religious leaders. Three centuries after Jesus lived, this council > was given the task of separating divinely inspired writings from those > of questionable origin. > The actual compilation of the Bible was an incredibly complicated > project that involved churchmen of many varying beliefs, in an > atmosphere of dissension, jealousy, intolerance, persecution and > bigotry. > At this time, the question of the divinity of Jesus had split the > church into two factions. Constantine offered to make the little-known > Christian sect the official state religion if the Christians would > settle their differences. Apparently, he didn't particularly care what > they believed in as long as they agreed upon a belief. By compiling a > book of sacred writings, Constantine thought that the book would give > authority to the new church.
Here's a second version of the same idea:
> The references in the Christian religion of reincarnation, I am told, > were removed by the Council of Nicea. (See Note A)
Here's a third version of this idea:
> Also, we do know that there were many books of supposed prophets > floating around up until 312 CE when the Council of Nicea decided > which books were scripture and which ones were burned. Thanks to > the notorious habit of early Christian leaders of destroying > books/scrolls, we may never know what doctrine existed before the > Council of Nicea.
And another even more extreme example:
Author: Laulak Siddique <firstname.lastname@example.org> Date: 2000/12/06 Forum: alt.religion.islam In article <USiX5.email@example.com>, "Laulak Siddique" <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
And another (I'm not making any of these up):
Subject: Re: Snipper continues trying to shift the burden of proof to the atheists From: "St. Clarence" <email@example.com> Date: 2001/01/07 Newsgroups: alt.atheism,alt.agnosticism,alt.christnet.atheism,alt.christnet.calvinist ...
of the misinformation
at the moment is the Da Vinci code:
A new version of the story (June 2001), which also includes a very confused version of the 'Secret Mark' theory of Morton Smith (not 480, obviously):
Dave Crisp <...> wrote in message news:<firstname.lastname@example.org>...
> There are one or two places where there is evidence of which is 'right', > the most famous example perhaps being the account of the raising of Lazarus > which was removed from Mark on the instructions of the Council of Nicea as > it hat overtones of a 'mystery cult'.
[source queried - answer:] > If you could give me a couple of days, I could probably dig out the entire > text, which was contained in a letter sent in 480 by the Bishop of > Alexandria to one of his underlings; who was involved it trying to stamp > out a group of 'Heretics' who were still using the original version.
Newsgroups: soc.culture.jewish, (etc) Date: 1996/05/08 > The Roman Catholic Church created the canon of Christian > scripture at the Council of Nicea, at the same time that they determined > the doctrine of Trinity (through the assasination of a few of the voting > bishops, by one vote). (See Note D)
And the legend reappears in the Da Vinci Code.
These all sound individually quite confident and authoritative. But how do we find out if they are true? The answer must be to assemble all the primary data; any documents issued by the council, and any ancient accounts of its proceedings.
Documents Issued by the Council
The 318 bishops issued a creed (Symbolum), 20 canons, and a letter to the church of Alexandria. An English translation of these is available from http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/3801.htm
Ancient Accounts of the Council
I admit that I was a little stumped as to what these might be. However I searched the internet. I also went through Quasten's Patrology looking for any references, and drew up a table of references from that.
From http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11044a.htm :
The adhesion [to the creed] was general and enthusiastic. All the bishops save five declared themselves ready to subscribe to this formula, convince that it contained the ancient faith of the Apostolic Church. The opponents were soon reduced to two, Theonas of Marmarica and Secundus of Ptolemais, who were exiled and anathematized. Arius and his writings were also branded with anathema, his books were cast into the fire, and he was exiled to Illyria.
But the accounts of Eusebius, Socrates, Sozomen, Theodoret, and Rufinus may be considered as very important sources of historical information, as well as some data preserved by St. Athanasius, and a history of the Council of Nicaea written in Greek in the fifth century by Gelasius of Cyzicus.
Other information about the council is available from the church historians, which also detail action taken by the Emperor Constantine to enforce uniformity after the council. (The works of many of the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers are available online at http://www.tertullian.org/fathers2) I have these references for accounts of the council, all of which I have read (see Note C):
[The following authors do not mention the council at all, although I checked them in case they might: Zosimus, The New History(Byzantina Australensia 2, tr. Ronald T. Ridley, 1982); Aurelius Victor, De Caesaribus (ed. H.W.Bird, 1994, Liverpool University Press); Eutropius, Breviarum (ed. H.W.Bird, 1993, Liverpool University Press)]
From all of which we learn that the council made a ruling on the date of Easter and condemned the views of Arius. After the council, Constantine ordered the burning of the works of Arius and his sympathisers, and the exile of himself and his supporters, and followed this later in his reign by action against Christian schismatics and gnostic heretics.
From these there appears almost no evidence that the council of Nicaea made any pronouncements on which books go in the Bible, with the ambivalent exception of Jerome, or about the destruction of heretical writings, or reincarnation. However it did condemn Arius and his teachings, and the Emperor Constantine did take the usual Late Roman steps to ensure conformity afterwards. However these were not put into effect; and Arianism made an almost immediate comeback. Even Arius was recalled by Constantine.
1. Those who wish to check further may wish to consult the standard reference collection (in Latin) of all the known documentation of councils of every kind:
Mansi, J.D., Sacrorum Concilium Nova et Amplissima Collectio, 31 volumes, 1759-98. Reprinted and continued 1899-1927. Not checked.
This includes not merely general councils but local ones also.
2. Hefele, C. and Leclerq, H., Histoire des conciles, I, Paris 1907. Not checked
3. Barnes, T.D., Constantine and Eusebius, Harvard 1981. This does discuss the council of Nicaea. Checked.
4. Tanner, Norman P., SJ, ed., Decrees of the Ecumenical Councils, (London: Sheed and Ward; Washington. D.C: Georgetown University Press. 1990). 2 vols. v. 1. Nicaea I to Lateran V -- v. 2. Trent to Vatican II. -includes the documents in the original Greek and/or Latin text, a reproduction of Conciliorum oecumenicorum decreta, and English translations. Checked.
Here is a short bibliography of useful material assembled by the author of the Medieval Source book:
Denzinger, Heinrich, ed., Enchiridion Symbolorum Definitionem et Declarationum de Rebus Fidei et Morum. Editio 37. (Friburgi Brisgoviae :
Herder, 1991) -often cited as just "Denzinger" this includes both conciliar and papal pronouncements. The new edition is easier to use than older
For conciliar decrees in particular see:-
Conciliorum oecumenicorum decreta, ed. Josepho Alberigo et al, 3rd edition, (Bologna: Istituto per le scienze religiose, 1973) -this covers all Ecumenical councils including Vatican II. The older 1962 edition is useful for the councils before this.
Some libraries may not have [Tanner] yet, in which case the much older Schroeder edition may be used:-
Disciplinary Decrees of the General Councils: Text, Translation, and Commentary, by Rev. H. J. Schroeder, O.P., (St. Louis, Mo.: London: B. Herder, 1937) -this gives the Greek and Latin texts and should be available in any Catholic university library, but may be a little hard to find elsewhere.
An easily available, and trustworthy, English translation of the various canons and decrees of the first seven councils usually called "ecumenical",
along with the full texts of a number of other important early councils is available in:-
Henry R. Percival, ed., The Seven Ecumenical Councils of the Undivided Church, their canons and dogmatic decrees, together with the canons of all the local synods which have received ecumenical acceptance, in Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers 2nd Series, Vol. XIV, general editor Philip Schaff, (Edinburgh: T&T Clark; Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, repr. 1988) -despite its long title and citation this book is easily available at a very reasonable $24.95, sometimes less. (And is online at http://www.tertullian.org/fathers2).
The following councils' documents are included:-
1. Nicea I 325AD
Neocaesarea c. 315AD
Antioch in Encaenis 341AD
2. Constantinople I 381AD
3. Ephesus 431AD
-- these three only accepted by the "monophysite" churches
4. Chalcedon 451AD
-- these four accepted by Anglicans [?]
5. Constantinople II 553AD
6. Constantinople III 680-681AD
*Council in Trullo/Quinisext 692AD
-This supplies canons missing from the 5th and 6th councils. Its decrees were accepted at the 7th, and form the basis of Orthodox canon law. Not strictly an "ecumenical" or "local" council.
Sardica 343 or 344AD
Code of African Church/Carthage 419AD
[Canons received by Quinsext and Ratified by Nicea II] Canon 2 of the Quinsext also accepted disciplinary rulings of a number of fathers - these also are printed.
7. Nicea II 787AD
Note A. This idea may derive from some confused statements in Shirley MacLaine, Out on a Limb, Elm Tree Books, London (1983), ISBN p-241-11106-6. Unfortunately the book seems to be a fictionalised autobiography, so all the personae are more or less fictional, as a note on the frontispiece makes clear. (MacLaine is apparently a New Age propagandist). The book is without any footnotes, index or bibliography. Quotations are typed from the original.
"So, are you religious, Kevin?" I asked.
He choked involuntarily on his tea. "Are you kidding? What church would have me? I'm treading on their territory. I say folks have God inside them. The Church says it has God inside of it. There's a phrase in the Bible which states that one should never countenance spiritual entities other than God. Most Christians go by that. But then the Bible says nothing about reincarnation either and it's quite well known that the Council of Nicea voted to strike the teaching of reincarnation from the Bible."
"How do you know that?" I asked.
"Well, most serious metaphysical students of the Bible know that. The Council of Nicea altered many of the interpretations of the Bible. The man Jesus studied for eighteen years in India before he returned to Jerusalem. He was studying the teaching of Buddha and became an adept yogi himself. He obviously had complete control over his body and understood that the body was only the house for a soul. Each soul has many mansions. Christ taught that a person's behavior would determine future events--as karma, as the Hindus say. What one sows, so shall he reap."
I didn't question these rather sweeping assumptions. I offered Kevin a cookie. He seemed to like sugar. He ate it in two bites. (p.182. 'I' is MacLaine's persona - 'Kevin' is a medium).
And another later on:
"... He said that when Christ returned to Israel he taught what he had learned from the Indian masters, that is, the theory of reincarnation.
"But David," I said, "why aren't these teachings recorded in the Bible?"
"They are," he said. "The theory of reincarnation is recorded in the Bible. But the proper interpretations were struck from it during an Ecumenical Council meeting of the Catholic Church in Constantinople sometime around 553 A.D., called the Council of Nicea. The Council members voted to strike those teachings from the Bible in order to solidify Church control.
"The Church needed to be the sole authority where the destiny of man was concerned, but Christ taught that every human being was responsible for his or her own destiny -- now and future. Christ said there was only one judge--God--and he was very opposed to the formation of a church of any kind, or any other kind of ceremonial religion that might enslave man's free will or his struggle for truth."
This confirmed what Kevin had said, but it seemed logical that anyone heavily into reincarnation would have read about that famous Council.
The sun began to set behind the waves now, sweeping a pink-purple slash across the clouds above the Pacific. (pp.236-7. 'David' is another persona, identified earlier only as 'a painter and a poet').
The occasion referred to here is clearly not the First Ecumenical Council - the First Council of Nicaea - but the Fifth Ecumenical Council (the Second Council of Constantinople). This council condemned the propositions known as Origenism, and with them the pagan idea of the transmigration of souls (not reincarnation), which some writers had picked up as a technical idea from Greek philosophy without realising all the implications. The idea that the bible was edited to remove the idea in 553 is not consistent with the extensive manuscript evidence for the text (including complete codices) from the 3rd century onwards.
It would seem reasonable to propose that a hazy recollection of these passages lies at the root of this legend.
Note B. I have managed to trace the source of this strange idea a bit further, to Voltaire, in fact. In his Dictionnaire Philosophique, in the section Conciles, we find what must be the original. (The work is online - here is a link to the page on Councils). The idea is repeated in each of the three sections of this article, of which these are extracts:
Section I ...
"Heureusement, pour remplacer leurs signatures et conserver le nombre mystérieux de trois cent dix-huit, on imagina de mettre le livre où étaient ces actes divisés par sessions, sur le tombeau de Chrysante et de Misonius, qui étaient morts pendant la tenue du concile; on y passa la nuit en oraison, et le lendemain il se trouva que ces deux évêques avaient signé(59).
"Ce fut par un expédient à peu près semblable que les Pères du même concile firent la distinction des livres authentiques de lÉcriture davec les apocryphes(60): les ayant placés tous pêle-mêle sur lautel, les apocryphes tombèrent deux-mêmes par terre.(etc)
Note_59 Nicéphore, livre VIII, chapitre xxiii. Baronius et Aurelius Peruginus sur lannée 325. (Voltaire.)
Note_60 Conciles de Labbé, tome I, page 84. (Voltaire.)
Section II ...
"En 325, grand concile dans la ville de Nicée, convoqué par Constantin. La formule de la décision est: « Nous croyons Jésus consubstantiel au Père, Dieu de Dieu, lumière de lumière, engendré et non fait. Nous croyons aussi au Saint-Esprit(65). »
"Il est dit dans le supplément, appelé appendix, que les Pères du concile, voulant distinguer les livres canoniques des apocryphes, les mirent tous sur lautel, et que les apocryphes tombèrent par terre deux-mêmes.(etc)
Note_65 Voyez larticle Arianisme. (Voltaire.)
(70)Tous les conciles sont infaillibles, sans doute: car ils sont composés dhommes.
Il est impossible que jamais les passions, les intrigues, lesprit de dispute, la haine, la jalousie, le préjugé, lignorance, règnent dans ces assemblées.
Mais pourquoi, dira-t-on, tant de conciles ont-ils été opposés les uns aux autres? Cest pour exercer notre foi; ils ont tous eu raison chacun dans leur temps.
On ne croit aujourdhui, chez les catholiques romains, quaux conciles approuvés dans le Vatican; et on ne croit, chez les catholiques grecs, quà ceux approuvés dans Constantinople. Les protestants se moquent des uns et des autres; ainsi tout le monde doit être content.
Nous ne parlerons ici que des grands conciles; les petits nen valent pas la peine.
Le premier est celui de Nicée. Il fut assemblé en 325 de lère vulgaire, après que Constantin eut écrit et envoyé par Ozius cette belle lettre au clergé un peu brouillon dAlexandrie: « Vous vous querellez pour un sujet bien mince. Ces subtilités sont indignes de gens raisonnables. » Il sagissait de savoir si Jésus était créé ou incréé. Cela ne touchait en rien la morale, qui est lessentiel. Que Jésus ait été dans le temps, ou avant le temps, il nen faut pas moins être homme de bien. Après beaucoup daltercations, il fut enfin décidé que le Fils était aussi ancien que le Père, et consubstantiel au Père. Cette décision ne sentend guère; mais elle nen est que plus sublime. Dix-sept évêques protestent contre larrêt, et une ancienne chronique dAlexandrie, conservée à Oxford, dit que deux mille prêtres protestèrent aussi; mais les prélats ne font pas grand cas des simples prêtres, qui sont dordinaire pauvres. Quoi quil en soit, il ne fut point du tout question de la Trinité dans ce premier concile. La formule porte: « Nous croyons Jésus consubstantiel au Père, Dieu de Dieu, lumière de lumière, engendré et non fait; nous croyons aussi au Saint-Esprit. » Le Saint-Esprit, il faut lavouer, fut traité bien cavalièrement.
Il est rapporté dans le supplément du concile de Nicée que les Pères étaient fort embarrassés pour savoir quels étaient les livres cryphes ou apocryphes de lAncien et du Nouveau Testament, les mirent tous pêle-mêle sur un autel; et les livres à rejeter tombèrent par terre. Cest dommage que cette belle recette soit perdue de nos jours. (etc)
Note_70 Ce fut dans lédition de 1767 du Dictionnaire philosophique que parut un article Conciles, composé de ce qui forme aujourdhui cette troisième section. (B.)
The substance of these is the same; "Il est rapporté dans le supplément du concile de Nicée que les Pères étaient fort embarrassés pour savoir quels étaient les livres cryphes ou apocryphes de lAncien et du Nouveau Testament, les mirent tous pêle-mêle sur un autel; et les livres à rejeter tombèrent par terre." -- "It is reported in the Supplement of the Council of Nicaea that the Fathers were very embarassed to learn that there were secret or apocryphal books of the Old and New Testament, putting them on a altar; and the books to be rejected threw themselves to the ground".
The source of this remarkable story is given as an appendix in Fr. Labbé's Conciles vol I, p. 84, which I gather first appeared ca. 1690. [It would be nice to place this online also].
The story preceding it in Section I rather gives the game away - that two bishops died, and the Fathers, not wishing to alter the miraculous number of 318, placed the creed for signature in their tombs overnight, whereupon miraculously their signatures were also added. None of this is in the primary material, and sounds rather like folklore of the middle ages, as indeed does the story about the apocrypha.
'Chinese whispers' no doubt accounts for the rather different tone of the two reports.
See also Note E, which discusses Voltaire's source.
By chance I came across this remark about Voltaire in the Collected Essays and Addresses of Augustine Birrell (London, 1922), vol. 1 p.49; "Voltaire, who knew Pope, asserts that he could not speak a word of French, and could hardly read it; but Voltaire was not a truthful man, and on one occasion told lies in an affidavit."
Note C. This page is a work in progress, although I had not intended it so when I originally wrote it on 26th August 2000. Some time later I obtained a copy of T.D.Barnes, Constantine and Eusebius, which made mention of other writers who are not in the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers collection and may have said something about Nicaea. These are difficult of access, often late or fragmentary. As I have obtained access to them, I have made it available. I add all the information I have, to assist recovering the data.
These are the additional possible references:
I have received an email pointing out that, since I have not been able to consult these works, it is untrue to say that I have read all the evidence that exists. Obviously this may be true - provided that these writers do in fact have anything to say! However as may be seen most of the references so far have been trivial or repetitive, and I really do not believe that we will find anything in these scraps, where the contemporary writers are silent. I would be delighted to have the opportunity to learn otherwise, of course.
Note D. This idea - that the bible contents were voted on at Nicaea - seems to be derived from the 18th century writer Thomas Paine. A series of statements on this subject -- apparently from his imagination -- appear in his work The Age of Reason. Of course it would be unfair to pillory a writer of the pre-scientific era, relying on memory of other mens' books while in prison.
It would seem that Paine is still remembered in the United States as a propagandist in their revolution. No doubt this accounts for the continued dissemination of the idea. The relevant section of his work is online here.
Note E. Andrew R. kindly sent me a further note on the origins of the legend:
Andrew Hunwick, in his critical edition of Ecce Homo by Baron D'Holbach (Mouton de Gruyter, 1995) seems to have made an exhaustive effort to unwind this tangled thread (pp. 48-49, footnote 25):
QUOTE: "The question of authentic and spurious gospels was not discussed at the first Nicene Council: the anecdote is fictitious. It occurs in the clandestine text La Religion chretienne analysée ('Christianity Analyzed', ascribed to Dumarsais, and published by Voltaire in an abridged form in the Recueil necessaire ('Essential Collection,' 1765), where the source is given as the Sanctissima concilia (1671-1672, Paris, vol II, pp 84-85) of Pierre Labbe (1607-1667), which purports to follow the Year 325 § 158 of the Annales ecclesiasti (1559-1607) of Baronius (1538-1607), though be it noted that Baronius, while recording the adoption of certain gospels, and the rejection of others as spurious, does not recount by what means the distinction was made.
Voltaire repeated the fictitious anecdote several times, giving Labbe as his source: see B. E. Schwarzbach, p. 329 & n. 81. Doubts had earlier been expressed, notably by Tillemont (see L. S. Le Nain de Tillemont, Memoires pour servir a l'histoire ecclesiastique ['Memoirs by way of church history', 1701-14, 2nd ed., Paris, Robustel - Arsenal 4° H.5547], vol VI, p .676.)
In fact the anecdote pre-dates Baronius by over six hundred years: it occurs in an anonymous Synodikon containing brief surveys of 158 Councils of the first nine centuries. Brought from Greece in the sixteenth century by Andreas Darmasius, this document was purchased and edited by the Lutheran theologian Johannes Pappus (1549-1610). It was subsequently reprinted, notably in the Bibliotheca graeca of Fabricius, the first edition of which was published in 1705-1707, and which D'Holbach may well have consulted. The anecdote may be found in Synodicon vetus section 34, 'Council of Nicaea' (Johannes Albert Fabricius, Biblioteca graeca [1790-1809, Hamburg: Bohn], Vol XII, pp. 370-371.)" -END QUOTE-
This is very interesting, although I have not as yet looked at these references. However, the Vetus Synodicon has been issued in a critical edition recently, with notes and English translation, based on manuscripts rather older than those written by the notorious trickster Darmarios:
John DUFFY & John PARKER (ed.), The Synodicon Vetus. Washington : Dumbarton Oaks, Center for Byzantine Studies (1979). Series: Dumbarton Oaks texts 5 / Corpus fontium historiae Byzantinae. Series Washingtonensis 15. ISBN 0884020886.
The Vetus Synodicon dates from after 887 AD, the latest events recorded in it. The work lists every ecclesiastical synod that has ever been held from the beginning, giving a chapter to each. Early material is derived from Eusebius, and then from other church historians. However the compiler adds small details not recorded by these historians -- the number of bishops attending synods, etc -- which the editors suggest he invented himself. Some of the synods are doubtful or imaginary. "In his zeal ... the writer was anything but a careful researcher, and although in places his sources or copyists may be at fault, he himself must be held responsible for most of those numerous errors which in the past have prevented scholars from treating the SV as a historical document above suspicion." (p. xv)
Here is the section on Nicaea, chapter 35 (p.29.)
35. The divine and sacred First Ecumenical Council of three hundred and eighteen God-inspired fathers was convened at Nicaea, metropolis of the province of Bithynia. Its presiding leaders were the presbyters Vito and Vicentius taking the place of Rome's Pope Sylvester and his successor Julius, Alexander of Alexandria, Macarius of Jerusalem, Eustathius of Antioch, the presbyter Alexander representing Metrophanes of Constantinople, Hosius the bishop of Cordoba, and Constantine the apostle among Christian emperors. This holy council attached the term "consubstantial" to the Holy Trinity, fixed the time of the divine and mystical Passover, and set forth the divinely inspired teaching of the Creed against all heretics, Arius, Sabellius, Photinus, Paul of Samosata, Manes, Valentinus, Marcion, and their followers. It condemned also Meletius of Thebais, along with those ordained by him, and Eusebius of Nicomedia. The canonical and apocryphal books it distinguished in the following manner: in the house of God the books were placed down by the holy altar; then the council asked the Lord in prayer that the inspired works be found on top and--as in fact happened--the spurious on the bottom.36
36 Since the story is related only by SV, it is not possible to know if it belongs to an older tradition or where our author might have come across it.
Note that 'Apocryphal' (a)pokru&fouj) and 'spurious' (kibde&louj) works in Eusebius HE do not mean heretical ones -- they refer to works which are orthodox but not part of the canon. The footnote tells us that the story is first recorded here, in the late 9th century. Is this perhaps the origin of the whole fairy-tale?
Other Councils following Nicia continued the work. God got His word through to us. The plan of salvation and God's nature are well laid out in His imperative and indicative work.
If you peruse the Free Republic religion forums you will notice a pattern by mormons. There's an anti-Christian group of mormons here that spends a great deal of their time attacking the Christian Church They also have a missionary force of 50,000 young men that go door to door attacking Christianity and claiming to be the true church.. Most of what they believe and try to push door to door is reguritated heresy that was condemned by the Christian Church more than a thousand years ago. Mormonism is decidedly not Christian.
They have a misguided, feelings-based obsession. You can witness many different tactics employed that you might find quite interesting. The straw man argument is a big favorite among mormons and is frequently preceded by cherry-picking quotes or other material. Frequently, you see this tactic employed when discussing the Trinity. After the "quotation" the attacker will misrepresent what has been said or what was meant and then attack their own interpretation.Later they will have the audacity to claim they were "only" quoting our own material.
They will of course insist ad nauseum that they are merely using Christian sources and are therefore innocent of any deceptive practice. Christians have no issue whatsoever having our scriptures quoted as long as it is presented fairly and accurately. This is rarely (if ever) done by mormons.
Another favorite is the "Pray and ask God if this is true tactic." This mormon tactic is to attempt to take you from the objective ground of truth in the Bible onto the subjective ground of feelings. Feelings are never the basis of truth. The reason they attempt this is simple... once you accept feelings as a basis of truth, they can get you to believe any bizzare thing their religion teaches (multiple gods, celestial sex and breeding gods, etc.).
After reading their posts, I invite you to seek the truth about whatever "issue" they seem to be "revealing" or "exposing". I promise that if you do so with honest intent, the "ahah" moments you will have will be many and frequent. You will start to recognize the tactics employed to cleverly twist and attack and will likely chuckle the more you see. In actuality, there's nothing new here. It's all been addressed many times before.
The latest twist in the Mormon propaganda machine is to actually go to the links provided, but then they cherry pick what they want, then quote and straw man attack that. Clever. It almost appears that they are helping you, the seeker of truth out by doing some footwork for you. Not so much. Don't be insulted, look for yourself. It's not the haystack they want you to think.
Here's a few links to get your started from a Christian viewpoint. If you are a mormon and considering leaving the religion, as so many do, these links will be of great help.
Now you will likely notice all kinds of whining mormon posts pop up as usual. Sometimes it is claimed that these sites present a needle in a haystack. Far from it. But if you give up before you try you won't know will you?
Will you wear blinders too? Seek truth. Find out for yourself. Want to chat with someone on any topic? A few of these sites provide just that. So do your homework sincere seeker of truth. Listen and read from both "sides". Make up your own mind.
I witness to you of these truths and wish you the best, in the name of our Lord and [the real Biblical] Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
Special thanks to Paragon non-defender for providing the template for this post.
Oh goodness what are you yammering about...
this is report on history and your problem is what?
Okay, I tried to read it but it’s all over the place...what point are you trying to make??? ...magritte
The bishops were offered the facilities of the imperial post system - free travel and lodging to and from their episcopal sees to the meeting - to encourage as full an attendance as possible. Constantine formally opened the session.
The churches agreed to all celebrate Easter on the same day. The issue of how to establish the date of Easter was not settled until long afterwards however.
|Table of contents|
The first Council of Nicaea is conspicuous as the starting point for the great doctrinal controversies of the Church in the fourth and fifth centuries. Here a union between the ecclesiastical potency of the councils and the State was effected, vesting the deliberations of this body with imperial power. Earlier synods had been contented with protection against heretical doctrines; but the Council of Nice is characterized by the further step from a defensive position to positive decisions and minutely elaborated articles of faith.
In the Arian controversy lay a great obstacle to the realization of Constantine's idea of a universal empire which was to be attained by aid of uniformity of divine worship. Accordingly for the summer of 325 the bishops of all provinces were summoned to the first ecumenical council at Nicaea in Bithynia, a place easily accessible to the majority of the bishops, especially those of Asia, Syria, Palestine, Egypt, Greece, and Thrace.
The number of members can not be accurately stated; Athanasius counted 318, Eusebius only 250. As a matter of course, the oriental bishops formed the preponderating number; the first rank being held by the three archbishops Alexander of Alexandria, Eustathius of Antioch, and Macarius of Jerusalem, and by Eusebius of Nicomedia and Eusebius of Caesarea.
A special prominence attached to this council also because the persecutions had just ended, and it was to be assumed that nearly all of the assembled fathers had stood forth as witnesses of the faith.
The occident sent not more than five representatives in equal distribution from the provinces, Marcus of Calabria from Italy, Cecilian of Carthage from Africa, Hosius of Cordova from Spain, Nicasius of Dijon from Gaul, and Domnus of Stridon from the province of the Danube. These ecclesiastical dignitaries of course did not travel alone, but each one with his suite, so that Eusebius speaks of an almost innumerable host of accompanying priests, deacons, and acolytes.
Among the assistants it was Athanasius, a young deacon and companion of Bishop Alexander of Alexandria, who distinguished himself as the "most vigorous fighter against the Arians," and similarly Patriarch Alexander of Constantinople, a presbyter, as representative of his aged bishop.
The points to be discussed at the synod were:
At first the Arians and the orthodox showed an uncompromising front toward each other. The Arians entrusted the representation of their interests to Eusebius of Caesarea, whose scholarship and eloquence made a great impression upon the emperor. His reading of the confession of the Arians called forth a storm of resentment among the opponents; two minorities vividly interested in contrary opinions opposed each other, but between them yawned indifference. In their behalf, as well as for his own sake, Eusebius, after he had ceased to represent the Arians, appeared as a mediator; and in asserting that the chief aim to be pursued should be the establishment of the peace of the Church, he at the same time agreed with his exalted protector.
He presented a new formula, the baptismal symbol of his own congregation at Caesarea, by means of which the differing opinions might be reconciled. The emperor, who pursued the purely political intentions of a successful pacification, could desire no more welcome proposition and immediately confirmed it by making it his own. In this way he did not overpower the majority, but most probably met its wishes; for if the orthodox had really been able to count on a preponderating majority, even the predilection of the emperor would not have hindered them from setting up their own confession in the manner of that proposed by Bishop Alexander in his first circular letter.
But far from daring such an attempt, the majority (without resistance) complied, asserting their rights only in the form of amending clauses. While such modes of procedure are more characteristic of minorities than of majorities, their use by the latter does not necessarily debar victory, as indeed in this case it did not.
All propositions of the orthodox during the remainder of the controversy having been accepted, it is furthermore evident, first: that the Arians of conviction were in the minority; second: that the majority (or deciding body) did not possess, and hence did not assert, convictions of a dogmatic nature. These are, considered in a general way, the presuppositions of the world-important decisions of the Council of Nicaea.
But for the partisans of Bishop Alexander the definitions were too vague; they rendered them more concise, and if the Nicene Creed be compared with its model, that of Caesarea, it seems to have originated in some omissions from the second article which was the only one in question. To these omissions corresponded three no less important additions:
The emperor was intent upon a decisive settlement of the question; at first he probably had no predilection for either of the conceptions of the two contending parties, but perceiving that the original propositions of Eusebius, which supposedly furthered peace, effected the very opposite, he may involuntarily have considered whether he could not reach his aim more quickly by seeking an agreement with the anti-Arians.
Undoubtedly there were not wanting attempts at personal mediation, in the first place on the part of Bishop Hosius of Cordova, one of the most decided Homoousians, and at the time of the council the confidant of the emperor in all affairs of the Church. He stands at the head of the lists of participants, and Athanasius ascribes to him the actual success of the symbol. But when it is considered that great men like Eustathius of Antioch, Alexander of Alexandria, Athanasius, and Marcellus of Ancyra belonged to the anti-Arian party, it does not seem strange that the Homoousians, in spite of being in the minority, gained the final victory.
Eusebius of Caesarea, in spite of his sympathies for Arius, accepted the decisions of the council, subscribing even the condemnatory clauses against Arius. The number of persons of prominence among the opponents was not so considerable; for after the debates, extending over four weeks, there were only two adherents of Arius who remained steadfast, Theonas of Marmarica in Libya, and Secundus of Ptolemais; of the three others upon whom Arius might have counted, Maria of Chalcedon finally subscribed the whole symbol, Eusebius of Nicomedia and Theognis of Nice at least its positive part, without the condemnatory clauses against Arius.
The emperor now actually fulfilled his threat, according to which everybody who refused to sign had to face exile. Arius, Theonas, Secundus, Eusebius of Nicomedia, and Theognis were excommunicated. The works of Arius were confiscated in order to be burnt. But it soon appeared that even force could not silence the disputes, and that under the pressure of such procedure the controversy on the equality of Christ with God assumed unthought-of dimensions; for the Council of Nicaea had done away with the indifference of the masses to theological distinctions.
The council assumed the task of regulating these differences in conformity with the usages of the other churches, because the dependence of some congregations on a Jewish peculiarity was offensive. The Council of Nicaea, however, did not declare the Alexandrine cycle of Easter as alone canonical, but gave the bishop of Alexandria the privilege of announcing annually the date of Easter to the Roman curia. Although the synod undertook the regulation of the dating of Easter, it contented itself with communicating its decision to the different dioceses, instead of establishing a canon; thus inviting opposition even on this point in due season.
Then began the proceedings against the Meletian schism, which, on account of the great popularity of the movement, took an extremely mild development and cost its founder only suspension from office, but no degradation.
Finally there followed the prescription of twenty canons or rules of discipline:
(1) prohibition of self-castration;
(2) establishment of a minimum term for catechizing;
(3) prohibition of the presence in the house of a cleric of females who might bring him under suspicion;
(4) consecration of a bishop in the presence of at least three provincial bishops and confirmation by the metropolitan;
(5) provision for two provincial synods to be held annually;
(6) exceptional position granted to Alexandria and Rome as episcopal sees;
(7) recognition of the honorary rights of the see of Jerusalem;
(8) provision for agreement with the Novatians;
(9-14) provision for mild procedure against the lapsed during the persecution under Licinius;
(15-16) prohibition of the removal of priests;
(17) prohibition of usury among the clergy;
(18) precedence of bishops and presbyters over deacons in taking the Eucharist;
On July 25, 325, the fathers of the council celebrated the emperor's twentieth anniversary and then dispersed. In his valedictory address the emperor again informed his hearers how averse he was to all dogmatic controversy, and in a circular letter he announced the accomplished unity of practise by the whole Church in the matter of the celebration of Easter.
But the illusion of victory did not last, the emperor experiencing stroke after stroke of disappointment and misfortune. The continuation of the synod in 327 questioned every result achieved in 325. Arius as well as the friends punished with him and the Meletians regained nearly all rights which they had lost.
Does this mean that you as a mormon are going to stop misrepresenting the events around Nicea.
Those Mormoms, they’re up to no good, I tell you. There’s one behind every true spreading untruths and blasphemy. Why, just now I heard my dogs barking and when I went to see what was going on, I found a Mormon in my pasture. Trying to sneak up on us. Probably would have murdered us all.
I had no idea that Mormons had people out acting as missionaries. What do these people look like? How can we spot them? Maybe that was them in my pasture? I sure am glad that we have folks like you out there looking out for us.
I only got as far as the part about eating swine. Why did christians start eating pig meat anyway?
That’s nuthin. you should see what the amish are up to.
Freep-mail me to get on or off my pro-life and Catholic List:
Please ping me to note-worthy Pro-Life or Catholic threads, or other threads of general interest.
Christians began to eat pig meat, because the purpose behind the Laws given to Moses by God was to teach people about the nature of who Jesus Christ should be when he came. Jesus Christ fulfilled the law by obeying it and living it. Because he fulfilled it, or covered its entire purpose with his very self being offered as the final sacrifice, we did not need to go by the important attributes of the ordinances given to Moses any longer, but instead of living by what was given to Moses, we rather live by partaking of the holy communion instead, because that is how we commemorate the sacrifice made my Jesus himself.
As for the specific references to this, “Christ is the end of the law” (Romans 10: 4), or “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law” (Galatians 3:13)
You’re talking in circles.
Why did Christians eat pork? Because the Kosher principle—which separated Israel from all other nations by what they ate—was no longer needed—Messiah had come, and was now sending them out to all nations, NOT calling God’s people any longer to be separated in how they ate....
Not to mention Peter was commanded in a vision to eat “unclean” meat of all kinds (as a methaphor and more, for opening the Church to Gentiles). (Acts 10:9-16)
And throughout the Gospels, the principle that food doesn’t defile us, sinful speech does...was a principle Jesus taught, and the Gospel authors interpreted as “calling all food clean.” (see Mark 7:19)
Thank you for the additional references, Analog
“Oh goodness what are you yammering about...”
This month’s Mormon Word is “YAMMERING”.
All members should use this word to be critical
of anyone who points out the failings of our
doctrine, or to reveal the schemes of members
to be critical of Christian groups.
You have your orders,
Chief Mormon Priest
I agree! It is a freakish mormon doctrine that
attempts to continually smear the Christian Church.
Thank you for pointing it out.
“I sure am glad that we have folks like you out there looking out for us.”
Still murmuring I see...
Bookmark for later.
Because Paul wanted some.
“Still murmuring I see...”
Mormon Member Instructions:
Note: you are all required to use the
exact language the leadership denotes:
This month it is “YAMMERING”
In addition, we would like to see
additional whining and describing
those who criticize us as “anti-mormon”
Describe their arguments as “murmuring”
and their arguments as “already addressed”.
Remember, once we have spoken, the
thinking is done! Your job is to
support your leadership and obey -
Special shout out to Restornu, who is
posting on the anti-mormon site, FreeRepublic.
She continues to post the official words
regularly, being an example for us all.
She yammers constantly. Just kidding. A bit
of mormon leader humor there!
Carry on members,
Mormonic High Priest
So, instead, you follow the works of another man, just like Mohammed of the mooselimbs, that wanted sex with children and many women and so he created a religion stating God gave him secrets to tell the world.
I’ll take the Bible at its word and not take the word of just another wackjob man looking to scam women and children into taking off their clothes. Next thing you know you will be tell us David Koresh of Waco really was Jesus Christ and we need to follow his words.
Mormons are not Christians. They are a religion to themselves. Christians follow Christ and the Bible. We don’t need Joseph Smith rewriting things to suit his earthly desires, just like Mad Mo did.
I find resty’s thread humorous. In one fell blow, she shatters lds arguements against Nicea and shows just what blathering idiots the morg apologists are.
It wasn't Mormons ...
Ping for later........
It seems to me then, that the ban on pork should only be a temporary thing. And that a ban on beef should be enforced when attempting to chritianize the hindus.
Why don’t you just sum it up in your own words, for those of us with short attention spans?
It wasn't Muslim missionaries...
Swine BBQ place marker
So, Resty, at first glance, you're taking stuff that was originally mentioned in Islam and Atheist forums? Is that right?
Secondly, is that a Muslim name...Laulak Siddique...posting in that Muslim forum...??
And if so, do they want their e-mail -- trumpeted nationwide by you? [I'll assume for the second that the second e-mail shown, a college student e-mail address, is probably no longer active given it was a 2001 reference]
Did you e-mail Siddique at Resty, to see if they would give you permission to do that?
And with the other one, KSchneid -- you want to at least double-check to make sure that e-mail is not active -- or if it is, you wanna see if you can snag permission before you blast their e-mail address world-wide?
Yes? No? You don't care?
(And if it's "You don't care"...let's see if you'll do unto others as you would want done for yourself by posting your own e-mail address on this thread)
Resty, was this the real reason you posted all of this stuff? So that you could slyly encourage us to get into a discussion on the pros and cons of self-castration?
Alright. I'll bite. I'll be the first to comment on it: I'm against it.
Resty, could you elaborate upon your position on this?
LOL Wish I had more time today ping!
and if they don’t escape, they may be headed for hell...
But first they’ll have to give up all their teeth...
OK...some of you may be against self-castration, but how do you feel about Lorena Bobbitt types of castration?
Resty...what about you? What's your theological position on this?
Resty, none of the links work. I was dying to know what the definition of a “heretic” is.
Would you believe that there are 6, 8-9 various accounts of Joseph Smith's 'vision' as well!
And that wasn't NEARLY as long ago as Nicea!
Would you believe that there are MORMONs who ACCEPT JS' words on things, with NO evidence at ALL???
"Mother; I have learned that PRESBYTERIANiusm is not true."
Burn THIS into your memory, Sister; for these HAteful and Bigoted ANTI-MORMONs will use it on you with a VENGENCE in the future!
--MormonDude(And we love them so much it HURTS!)
Does this mean that you as a mormon are going to stop misrepresenting the events around Nicea.
Is your GameBoy® broken?
The answer is found in your BIBLE.
The one source Paragon Defender does NOT link to.
I see that you and PD graduated together...
And THIUS; PD; is how you do it if you RFEALLY want folks to become educated.