What is Albigenses?

Question
What is Albigenses?
Answer
Albigenses (or Catharsis) was a heresy existent during the Middle Ages. This church taught that there were two gods: the good god of light (usually thought to be Jesus) and the god of darkness and evil (usually associated with Satan). They considered the two gods as equal powers. At the Third Lateran Council of 1179, the Cathari Church was anathematized. Ultimately, Pope Innocent III (1198-1216) declared a Crusade against the Albigensian heresy.

Similar to Gnosticism (see below), they considered anything material as evil; including the body which they considered created by Satan. The soul was considered to be created by the good god. They considered that the good soul was imprisoned in the evil flesh. They understood that salvation was possible only through holy living and good works. They taught that Jesus only appeared to be a man. They denied the resurrection as it was associated with the body which was considered evil.

First, the body was not initially evil. It was created by God and was "very good" (Gen 1:31). It became an instrument of evil only in the Fall (Gen. 3). Jesus in his humanity was never evil (Hab 1:13; Tit 1:2; Jas 1:13); he is very God of very God (John 3:13; 6:33, 38, 62; 8:23; 16:28; Rom 8:3; Gal 4:4; 1 John 1:2), the eternal Creator of the universe (John 1:2-3; Col 1:16-17; Heb 1:2). See "Could Jesus Sin?" below.

Second, all mankind, except Christ is depraved (Rom 3:23). Salvation is only by grace through faith, and not of good works (Eph 2:8-10; Tit 3:5).

Third, to deny the resurrection of Jesus Christ is to deny the very foundation of Christianity itself. The Apostle Paul states, "And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins." (1 Cor 15:17). Every doctrine in Christianity is in some way associated with the resurrection. Ultimately to deny the truth of the resurrection is to call Jesus himself a liar (Matt 12:39-40; 16:21; John 10:17-18), therefore denying that he is God (Tit 1:2).

Despite all the heresies in the early church (among them, Adoptionism, Albigenses, Apollinarianism, Arianism, Docetism, Ebionism, Gnosticism, Kenosis, Marcionism, Modalism, Monarchianism, Monophysitism, Nestorianism, Patripassionism, Pelagianism, Semi-Pelagianism, Socinianism, Subordinationism, and Tritheism, etc.) the Word of God still abides (1 Pet 1:23). Amidst all these assaults against God and his church by numerous false religions, the church has grown stronger, not weaker. In many ways, the church should be thankful for the gift of opposition!

Related Topics:

Could Jesus Sin?
Christological Heresies?
What is Adoptionism?
What is Apollinarianism?
What is Arianism?
What is Docetism?
What is Ebionism?
What is Gnosticism?
What is Kenosis?
What is Marcionism?
What is Modalism?
What is Monarchianism?
What is Monophysitism?
What is Nestorianism?
What is Patripassionism?
What is Pelagianism?
What is Semi-Pelagianism?
What is Socinianism?
What is Subordinationism?
What is Tritheism?

Answer by Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr.

Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr., D.D., M.Div. is the Theological Editor at Third Millennium Ministries (IIIM).