Christological Heresies?


Can you name and describe some of the Christological errors/heresies (including the Trinity) that plagued the church? Also include a section on Pelagianism and Semi-Pelagianism. I've been to several sites to research some of them but their explanations are long and tedious and often go off-topic - especially the Catholic websites. I desire something substantial, yet very, very concise. Thank you.


Thank you for your question. As you are already aware, Christology concerns the doctrine of Christ. There were numerous heresies that the church dealt with in regards to his Person. The church in many instances struggled to crystallize who Christ actually is (note the use of the present, not past tense). At the Councils of Nicaea (325), Constantinople (381), Ephesus (431), and Chalcedon (451) the most fundamental Christian doctrines concerning Christ and the Trinity were finally defined, defended, and declared.

Specific to Christology, at the Council of Chalcedon (AD 451) some in the church endorsed the Cyrillian concept of hypostatic union. It essentially states that the human and divine natures of the Person of Christ co-exist, yet each remains distinct subsequent to the Incarnation, complete, and unaltered. However, this did not end all the controversies. Some today even challenge this holy ground.

As you requested, I've included the sections on Pelagianism and Semi-Pelagianism, though they actually may fit better under a different category; being errors concerning the "power" of Christ and his Cross vs. the Christological errors which are errors concerning the "person" of Christ,.

Some of the heresies are:

What is Adoptionism?
What is Albigenses?
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?
What is the meaning of the word cult?

Answer by Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr.

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