Early Christian Schisms – Before Imperium – Extra History – #1


We are going to start this off in a way that we’ve never started off an Extra History before; with a disclaimer. These next few episodes are designed to help
modern students get a handle on one of the most confusing and yet most important
parts of Roman history. The topics discussed in these episodes are vital
to understanding the Roman mind; to understanding why Rome fell and how the Western world made the transition from the Classical Era to the Medieval one. We’re going to try and make this as engaging as we can, but it is going to involve a lot of nitty-gritty detail about doctrinal disputes. To a modern mind, these disputes
may seem inconsequential, but they tore empires apart, and turned father against son
back in the waning days of Rome. Even in our episodes about Justinian, we found
that the lack of ability to easily reference things like the Monophysite Schism or the difference between Arían Christianity and Orthodox Christianity, impacted how thoroughly we could tell the story. So, hopefully, we could rectify that today. So let’s dive in to the Docetic Schism,
Judaizing Christianity, and Gnosticism. Before we can discuss
the struggles that changed empires, we have to discuss the struggles that determined
what form of Christianity the Empire of Rome would come to accept. And, for that, our story begins
on the baked plains of Asia Minor. It’s difficult sometimes for us in the present day to think of Christianity as something not yet solidified. It’s hard to imagine it without the New Testament. It’s harder still to think of it, not as a religion of its own, but rather an offshoot of Judaism. And yet, out here on the plains of Asia Minor, in the 1st and 2nd century CE, that’s the issue that many early Christians wrestled with. I mean, were they still Jewish? Could only Jews be Christians? Did Christ overthrow the Mosaic Law or was he simply a continuation of it? And on the answer to this question hangs everything. Why? Circumcision. I know, it’s funny, but the fate of Western society really did hang on circumcision because, you see, the Judaizing Christians, the Christians who wanted
to follow the Mosaic Law strictly, wanted everybody to be circumcised. And, in an age before anesthetic, when you’re asking grown men to have their foreskin
cut off as the entry fee for joining your religion, you’re just not gonna get as many takers. And this is why Paul rails against circumcision
in the Book of Galatians. He, like many of those we now consider Church Fathers, knew that, for the religion to really grow,
for it to really be a force, they would have to convert the Gentiles;
the people of the Roman Empire. And the only way to do that was to abandon
some of the Jewish practices those people would find the hardest to accept. And as this viewpoint won over more practitioners, the Judaizing forces began to be squeezed out
of what we consider mainstream Christianity, eventually leading to further attempts
to distance the two religions like declaring Sunday as a holy day instead of Saturday. But, for us, the important part is that, without the fateful decision to break
from Jewish tradition — a decision which split the Church and whose consequences in terms of fracturing
the early Christian community are written into the Bible itself — without that decision, Rome probably would never have become a Christian state, changing history forever. But even as the Judaizing forces were waning, there was another question that tore
early Christian society in two. This question was on the nature of Christ. Was he a man? Was he a spirit? What was his relationship to God? And this would turn into one of those
knock-down, drag-out questions with bishops calling other Christians “Antichrists”
and “worse than pagans” because of their views on it. In fact, this question is gonna come up over,
and over, and over again in this series because this question, which eventually morphs
into questions about the Trinity, sits at the root of so many conflicts in the Church. But let’s start here, in the early 2nd century, still in the plains of Asia Minor. A bishop called Ignatius is arrested. He’s going to be taken to Rome; sentenced to die in the Colosseum for his faith. But along the road to Rome, he writes to his followers, time and again, with a warning. Not a warning against the Romans; he seems almost eager to meet his fate. No, a warning against other Christians — Christians who do not see Christ the way he does, Christians that inhabit his very city: Antioch — Docetists. Docetists believed that Christ was a being of pure spirit; that he didn’t actually exist in human form;
that he only seemed to us to exist. For, after all, didn’t it denigrate the Christ to claim
that he’d ever been part of our sinful race? But that sat very, very poorly with some other Christians. If you’ve ever wondered why John, in the Epistles, continuosly talks about the importance of believing in Christ, quote, “in the flesh;” if you’ve wondered why that phrase comes up
over and over again, it’s actually a dig at these guys. When he says, “Every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God, and this is that spirit of antichrist.” Reading that today, it might seem like he’s aiming that condemnation at pagans or non-Christians, but he’s actually taking a shot at the Docetists. Why? Because what happens when you make Christ
a being of pure spirit? What becomes of his sacrifice? A spirit can’t suffer. Without that, where’s the pathos?
Where’s the actual sacrifice of His death? And what becomes of the resurrection? A spirit can’t die, so what does it mean for it to be “resurrected?” Can our sins even be forgiven without sacrifice? Can we be reborn if the Christ was not? And these were all important questions
in a time of persecution and death. When simply being known as a Christian
might mean execution, you needed something to hold on to, which brings us back to Ignatius,
and what’s going on in Rome. As Ignatius was off to do his last dance with the lions, he was thinking a lot about martyrdom, and he wrote to his followers about how glad he was
to truly follow Christ, even in this. And martyrdom was a powerful symbol; it gave strength to the community
to endure persecution, and it impressed those not yet of the Faith. It helped to win over Romans and became an ingrained part of the understanding of Christianity. But to have the symbolic power of martyrdom and the very relatable, very sympathetic,
very human sacrifice of Christ, the Christian Church had to purge itself
of yet another group of people who called themselves “Christians” — the Docetists — and eventually reinforce these ideas with things like transubstantiation; the consumption of the body
and the blood of Christ in Communion. But with this culling of the Church, the stage is now set. With the inclusion of the gentiles, and the rejection
of a doctrine which sees Jesus as pure spirit, Christianity is set to grow. As Imperial order falls apart
during the third century crisis, and the state can no longer provide
food for the poor or care for the sick, the Church steps in. Converts from all walks of life,
but especially the impoverished, begin to join the Faith. These do seem like the “End Times”
of which the Christians preach; to many in the Empire, it seemed like a time
of divine reckoning for humanities sins. But then, as the 3rd century begins to close,
order is restored to the world. Aurelian puts the pieces of the Empire back together, and Diocletian and Maximian solidify those gains. And, with this restabilizing of the Empire, comes some of the harshest crackdowns on the Christian faith. But then, the miraculous — or highly calculated — happened. In 312 CE, a civil war rocks the Empire. At the deciding battle
— the Battle of the Milvian Bridge — one of the leaders, Constantine, had a vision. It told him to have his men paint the letters “chi-rho,” the first two letters in Greek of the word “Christ,”
on their shields; and if this was done, he would conquer. It was done, and he won the day and became
master of the Roman Empire. Now, whether you buy the vision story whole-hog or accept some of it as a later bit of revisionism
that’s come down to us is up to you. But what we do know for certain is that, after this battle, Constantine began to repeal the laws banning Christians and even began to support them. This was a sea-change. Even with its rapid growth
during the turbulent years of the 3rd century, Christians only comprised 10% of the Roman Empire. Within 40 years, they would make up over half of it But before that, there’s a rocky road ahead. Join us next time as we finally get to the heresies
that shook the Empire. Oh, and, uh, for those of you who know the history here and are wondering about some of the things
I’ve not mentioned, expect James to talk more about Constantine’s faith
in the “Lies” episode after we’re done. See you next time!

100 thoughts on “Early Christian Schisms – Before Imperium – Extra History – #1”

  1. Wow. Going back and watching old videos of yours really shows how much you guys have improved. Keep it up!!

  2. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.

  3. What I never understand to this day about Christian and Muslims is their apparent disregard for Jews. I mean, arent their religions essentially evolved from Judaism??

  4. Cutting off an important part of the human body is uterly silly and cruel. Good thing science has enlightened world enough that people are rightfully pushing back against it. Sadly though that practice still goes on includin on young girls in some regions of the world. Female genital mutilation in the name of superstition when it's really instutionalized sexism. To control women. Horrific. Let's work on further eradicating that practice.

    Great segment

  5. This video shows one thing about religion: it is never about some eternal truth or values, but just about accumulating the most power.

  6. Dude, thanks a lot! For me, this was one of a kind among all the other sources when it comes to clarifying and explaining about early church history in animated features. Again, thank you!

  7. Paul was a Roman agent who first killed christians then gave up and began copying the movement. The bible itself tells a story of James the brother of jesus recalling Paul to the mother assembly in Jerusalem because and has his beard cut off as punishment for writing that his word was the ultimate and final word of God shortly there after the farrasies aka the priest class of Israel or Palestine as it was called in the 1st century bc arranged to have James killed. Then the people of Jerusalem were pissed and Rose up in Insurrection against their Roman occupiers that Insurrection was put down and everyone in the mother is simply was crucified Paul received a trial because he was a Roman citizen that left him as the only person with any connection to the mother is simply to leave the new church
    Since it's quite clear that Paul did not me the spirit of Jesus on the road to Damascus because Spirits aren't real then we can only surmise that you made it up and the only reason he would make it up is because he wanted to be able to claim that he had a direct line of communication to what people would one day consider the son of God as in the child of God rather than the Jewish term Son of God which is term that refers root refers to every Jewish person everyone is a something to God according to a Jewish person Jesus being Son of God did not make him special but to non-jewish people living in Antiquity hearing the term Son of God let people to believe he was of God's loin which is where the confusion comes in

  8. Religions are a fascinating thing. One comes as a response to another. Christianity as a response to Judaism and Buddhism to Hinduism. Its a fascinating study not just the religions but how they changed and shaped societies.

  9. Ok so this is started to paint the history as to how my Roman Catholic primary and highschool constantly told stories of Christianity in any form being persecuted in Roman times, and to the point it didn't have a community to live and evolve to what we had today

    Now obviously, their version of events was immsenly abridged and focused almost entirely on martyrdom

    But I always wondered how we had Roman Catholic as our proud title, yet consistently were told stories of how the Romans were enemies

    I'm not religious by any means, I've just been raised with such stories from a very biased lens and not one that expands the history of how and why, or other branches and displays of power

    It's a very selective and censored version of history

  10. The resurrection, great cover story for a missing cadaver don't you think? ~ Well, don't you think? ~ Don't you? 😉

  11. 1:33 Only bigoted anti-Christian BIGOTS use the terms BCE and CE. As a result, I do NOT trust anything these BIGOTS say about Christianity.

  12. Incredible as it seems, for over twenty centuries the Orthodox Church has continued in her undiminished and unaltered faith and practice. Today her apostolic doctrine, worship, and structure remain intact. The Orthodox Church maintains that the Church is the living Body of Jesus Christ. Many of us are surprised to learn that for the first 1000 years of Christian history there was just one Church. It was in the eleventh century that a disastrous split occurred when the Church of Western Rome presumed supremacy over what was always loved and accepted by all other Orthodox (and still is) – the collegiate nature of the Church's leadership as those among equals. Books to read: Why Orthodoxy Is the True Faith. A lecture by A.I.Osipov; Way Apart: What is the Difference Between Orthodoxy and Western Confessions? by Metropolitan Anthony Khrapovitsky; The Spirit and Forms of Protestantism by Louis Bouyer; The Church, the Treasury of Salvation: by St. John of Kronstadt

  13. No groups of people have killed, brutalized and repressed one another more than Christians vs Christians. They're still at it.

  14. The usual misunderstanding of Judaizers. These were Jews that believed the new Gentile believers should become Jews to take part in the Messiah of the Jews. This conversion included circumcision. The apostles, however, realized that the Gentiles could be accepted by the Messiah as they were, Acts 10. This issue did not impact on Torah observance, which was the norm in the early fellowship of believers (29 times in Acts alone). If Torah was what was in question, these people would have been called Torahizers. Good video otherwise.

  15. Don’t forget when the Republicans split off from the Gnostics and advocated killing the neighbor with thy mighty gun! ‘Merika!!!

  16. This episode is a bit mixed on truthfulness.
    Paul's motivations is not the popularity of the faith, but the Truth of the Gospel.

    Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but what matters is the keeping of the commandments of God.
    1 Corinthians 7:19

    Circumcision is not required because we are saved by Grace not works.

    More specificity about the consumption of the body and the blood of Christ – Christians do not believe they are literally eating Christs body, or drinking his blood.

    The communion is a reminder and symbolic of the sacrifice Jesus Christ paid for the debt of the sin's of mankind.

    The literal belief in eating Christs body/blood was later added on by the Catholics and is not found anywhere in the Bible.

  17. Sounds like Cairo which apparently means the vanquisher in some ways, that sounds way cooler and more suitable to be written on the shields 😛

  18. Look at the book of Galatians. This are worldly arguments/thinking, that Paulus (and so all religous thinkings) did for quantity in conversion, for profane things.. Paulus was arguing for truth of the new covenant.

  19. Early Christianity explained with just man's understanding of history as opposed to the understanding God's Will through the Bible. Treat this video with many grains of salt.

  20. You forgot the 3rd mostly true question :did jesus add , continuate Judaism and remove the monopoly on God held by Jewish priest blocking the temple from gentiles?
    He didnt abolish anything that's harsh choice of words .

  21. I’ve heard the milvian bridge battle from kings and generals documentaries so yeah want to learn about that then head to there channel

  22. I just realised. Ignatius actually has a name button thing. The capital I was just a line though so it just looks like a stylised button

  23. Unfortunately, the first schism would not be this. It would be when the Christianity that most people think of split off from another kind of Christianity, which died off and didn't come back until the late 1880s

  24. I remember seeing a "family tree" of Christianity. I thought it was pretty funny and accurate, cause every time there was a issue, that denomination would split, except for Roman Catholicism. It made a note that after the Protestant split, whenever there was an issue in the Catholic Church, instead of splitting, there was reform. Good to see that last major schism taught them something.

  25. "I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. I will set a father against his daughter, and a son against his mother. One's opponents will be of their own household for my sake."
    Who said that again?

  26. Rome fell due to oppulance and decadence which led to feelings of entitlement by the greedy Plutocrats who ran the Empire for Ceaser, while simultaneously continually scheming to overthrow the current Ceaser at the same time.

  27. WoW I never know about this. I now understand why Apostles write about Christ in the Flesh. Amazing

  28. Our teacher gave us a very hard video, but after I watch this I under stand every thing about Church Schism !

  29. Am I the only one who noticed that the Icon of "Arius" is actually an icon of ST. SPYRIDON, AN ANTI-ARIAN!

  30. Mistake St. Paul was Apostle and the Apostolic Fathers, not the Church Fathers, the fathers were a tad bit later. Ignatius of Lyon was a Church Father. There is a whole study of Patristics. Other fathers are Oregin, St. Cyril (creator of the Cyrilic [Russian] alphabet), St. Augustine of Hippo etc.

  31. 40,000 denominations and cults all producing conflicting and contradictory doctrines.
    The Truth That No Protestant Wants to Face ~

  32. dunno over there but here in europe everyone with a high school education knows that christianity is a judaism spinoff and so is islam. three profets, same god.

  33. As a Malaysian, i truly wonder how many Christians here or indeed, Christians in Asia have any clue about the history of their religion.

    Thanks for the awesome video, as always 🙂

  34. Can y'all do one about Jesus in the Historical Records? You know, outside the Gospels. Just curious what other history says.

  35. Orthodox, catholic, Arian, masonry, are all fake christian communities including the roman catholic church are all evil satanic agents, Real Christianity is to love your enemies and bless those who persecute you not yell or beat people or murder people

  36. I am usually a huge fan of these videos. With that said this video is stroll pretty good. It is anachronistic for sure. I think some causes and effects are misunderstood. I would be happy to share if it would be happy to say more if it would be received 🙂

  37. I couldn't help from reading the comments of some of the views especially the one who puts the age of the author of John at 18. The gospelJohn was written at least 90 years after jesus's . That John never met jesus and he was not one of the 12 apostles. Non of the gospel writers knew jesus and it it even questioned if any of the apostles could read or write. All if the writers of the new testament got their information about jesus second hand and three of the gospels are just copies . That's why the call all four gospels " according to Matthew , Mark, Luke and John. Most biblical scholars say that the four gospel writers didn't exit. It certain that someone wrote the gospels but it wasn't the four names that appear in the new testament.

  38. Transubstantiation is one of the dumbest doctrines. Since when does raw human flesh taste exactly like bread and blood taste exactly like wine?

  39. From less than 10% to over 50% in less than 40 years. Just goes to show you what's possible when you are given the power to persecute the competition. In fact the received narrative of the Christians being the ones who were persecuted really needs to be turned totally on its head. We have at least, a very one sided set of arguments from Saul of Tarsus regarding the internal struggles as to what is to be considered to be heresy. Just as well that we have this bloke who never actually met Jesus to set us all right on what he was actually about. I mean, if we are to simultaneously worship the "King of the Jews" and embrace all of their foundation myths as our own, while simultaneously rejecting their practices and condemning them for the "murder" of Jesus, at least we can be certain that his "sacrifice" was for something. Can't we? It's as clear as mud to me.

  40. I feel like Constantine gets too much credit for his relationship with Christianity. He was not the first emperor to favor Christians or to attend Christian services. Phillip the Arab was according to some ancient sources the first Christian Emperor. He was never baptized, but he did at least attend Mass on Easter and ask to share the Eucharist before being told he must sit with the penitents as the violence inherent in his office was incompatible with the teaching's of Christ.

    This was at a time when most Christians were strict pacifists. Some like Tertullian insisted that any Christian who served in any role in any army was an apostate who could never be forgiven. Most thought it was acceptable for a conscript to serve if their family would be punished otherwise, but that they should do all they can to avoid killing even if self defense in battle and that those who accepted a commission to become and officer and order others to kill was an apostate. Most insisted that no christian could ever take oaths to other gods to serve in the army, but that soldiers who swore oaths before converting could finish a term of service so long a they refuse to reenlist. Almost everyone agreed that no soldier could take communion until after leaving active duty and doing penance for at least a full year.

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