Constantine 272-336AD And Nicaean Bishops Take The Bait
Like Blind Dogs In A Butcher's Shop
By Cohen G. Reckart, Pastor
Many have asked what Constantine stood to gain by his assembling the Bishops at Nicaea. He certainly was not a "Christian." He rejected even the trinity baptism until the year of his death in 336 AD. While the Bishops thought he was a champion of Christianity that God had raised up, Constantine had an ulterior motive. He had the bright idea that peace and security within his empire was tied directly to religious tolerance and unity. His view of history was that religion was the root cause of social unrest, wars, and revolutions.
His genius worked well by using the oppressed Christians to win his war against Maxentius. With the war won, he would now secure his empire with a plan to unite all religious beliefs into one philosophical system, until all in one way or another understood their chief God to be the same God of other religions. This plan is revealed in a letter sent to Bishop Alexander of Egypt and to Arius, over their dispute concerning the trinity. The letter was preserved by Eusebius. I shall here quote only one portion:
"I had proposed to lead back to a single form the ideas which all people conceive of the Deity; for I feel strongly that if I could induce men to unite on that subject, the conduct of public affairs would be considerably eased" (23).
You may imagine his delight when 316 of 318 Bishops at Nicaea, adopted the trinity system of Plato and the Jewish Cabalist, to describe the trinity godhead system of the Christians. Babylonian gnosticsim was the catalyst that would keep his empire secured at the grass-roots level. By dividing up his empire into diocese, and placing Bishops over these regions, he could secure the enforcement of his decrees through the Church. This was State and Church united to control the people through the Church. Later, the Catholics saw the effectiveness of this scheme and when opportunity offered, controlled the State so that the Church could rule the people through government. This brought on the Dark Ages, and mass killing of tens of thousands who would not accept either the Greek Catholic Church or the Roman Catholic Church. Many of these who were slaughtered were Apostolics, who are identified by various names, but held to Acts 2:38, One God, and the Lord's Passover on the evening after the 14th of Abib/Nisan ended.
Up to the time of Nicaea, there had been no official union of Christianity and paganism, concerning God and any philosophical similarities between the religions. Now, with the trinity dispute, Constantine saw his opportunity and was happy to oblige Bishop Alexander and Athanasius, to adopt Plato's "divine unity" concept of pantheism, as the re-interpretation of the Godhead.
Grinning like a cheshire cat, it was decreed by Constantine, after private meetings with officials of the Eusebius and Athanasius groups, that the Father and the Son were Homoousios [of one essence or nature, that is like the Plato trinity], and thus, that the Father and the Son were "Spirit" and "God" from all eternity, in the same sense as Greek pantheism was alleged by Plato to be the revelation of "one essence and nature" of all things. The term "begotten" was interpreted to mean "proceed from" in the sense of emanation of the Father's Word [Logos], Thought, Reason, or Intelligence (24). That is, the Son was of the Father and proceeded from the head of the Father's own person, not made by the Father of materials or substance apart from his own being.
The Greeks had a myth that Zeus had eaten his wife Metis and that Athena was birthed of Metis from his head (25). Here we can see the concept of Platonism and the idea of emanating god from god from the head. Also of importance, is to notice that the idea of birthing a god from a god was well accepted and embedded in Greek culture. So when the trinitarian theory came that God the Father birthed a Son out of his head [logos, thought, reason, intelligence, lordship, God of God, light of light], there was centuries of this belief already embedded in the Greek mind. It was an easy switch to apply the Zeus, Metis, Athena, myth to the unbegotten begotten Son and the Holy Ghost, proceeding from the head of the Father. Greek Orthodoxy is then seen to be in part, the pagan orthodoxy of Zeus Christianized. Praxeas and other Oneness Monarchians rejected this pagan intrusion upon the revelation of God in Christ. Apostolics well reject it today as foreign to Scripture and the teachings of the Apostles.
Here are two likeness trying to explain the birthing from the Father of the Son. 1.) The Father is the spring, and the Son is the river that flows from the paternal source. 2.) The sun is the Father and the beam that sends forth the light is the Son (26). In each of these, there is no agreement that they are the same in essence and nature, thus poor examples to explain how the Father and the Son are the same, God of God; light of light. The analogies would of necessity produce a spring from a spring, and a sun from a sun, if they are to be a picture of the equal essence and nature of the three persons of the godhead, as described in the Nicene Creed:
"God of God, light of light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of the same substance with the Father" (27).
"The Son of God, according to Scripture, comes from an intellectual region [the head of the Father]: he is the Word or utterance of God" (28).
From the same book we find: "During the first two centuries Trinitarian errors were not yet fully developed, but they were weighty, so a very simple formula of faith was enough" (29).
The second decree of Nicaea adopted by the Greek Orthodox Churches concerned the celebration of the Lord's annual Passover Memorial held anciently on the Jewish Passover. Because the New Testament Church celebrated it on the evening ending the 14th of Nisan they were called Quartodecimans by their antagonist. The Eastern Churches held a Synod in Smyrna under Polycarp and chose to continue the practice of the Lord's Passover according to the custom of Saint John and the other Apostles with whom Polycarp said he celebrated the Feast. Polycarp issued a letter to Bishop Anicetus of Rome, that the Eastern Churches would not change from the ancient and primitive practice of the Church. This controversy continued when Polycrates, Bishop of Ephesus, and the Eastern Churches were admonished by Bishop Victor of Rome, to cease the annual practice of the Lord's Passover or be excommunicated and anathematized.
The famous letter of Polycrates to Bishop Victor demonstrates the refusal to surrender ancient practice and custom to the authority of Rome. The Council of Nicaea determined against these ancient champions of the Faith, and decreed that the Lord's Passover should not be kept at the same time the "wicked people [Jews] (30)" held their Passover [this was antisemitism for an unjust reason]. It is no secret that Jew-hating, was the reason behind the prohibition. No other reason is given for the ban of the Lord's Passover on the Jewish Passover except the issue of Jewish hatred. The Nicaea Council decreed that the Lord's Passover should be moved from its correct day and celebrated on Easter Sunday morning, when a Mass would be celebrated for the resurrection.
The third decree adopted by the Greek Orthodox Church was concerning baptism. There were numerous methods or modes then practiced. Some baptized by immersion, some by pouring, some by sprinkling. Some baptized three times forward, repeating at each dipping the words Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Some were baptized backward with the same formula. Some were baptized once forward while repeating all three titles. Some were baptized once backward while repeating all three titles. Some were baptized by pouring of water upon the scalp while repeating the three titles. Some were baptized by sprinkling three times, once each for the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.
These were all trinity baptisms and the divisions among the trinitarians own ranks. While all these modes were practiced, the issues of Baptism at Nicaea concerned whether or not the baptisms performed by heretics once by immersion in the name of Jesus Christ, or in any of the above trinitarian modes were valid. Cyprian, Bishop of Carthage had already opposed accepting baptisms performed by heretics, both if they were in the name of Jesus Christ or done the three-fold dipping and in the three-fold titles. Augustine and Tertullian also opposed the validity of these baptisms by alleged heretics. However, later, Tertullian himself joined the Montanist and repudiated his belief that the Montanist must be re-baptized.
Behind these remonstrances concerning baptism, was the real anger against the ancient practice of baptism in the name of Jesus Christ, as practiced by the twelve Apostles beginning in Acts 2:38. Cyprian and other Nico-Latins rejected this ancient baptism as being heretical and contrary to the three-fold dipping and titles as practiced by those who followed the Nico-Latin trinitarian formula. Pope Stephen, refused to be intimidated by Cyprian and accepted that the Acts 2:38 baptism was an ancient valid formula for water baptism (31). This controversy continued to Nicaea.
It was at Nicaea that the Acts 2:38 formula of the twelve Apostles was abolished and the titles as found in Matthew 28:19 were decreed as the mode of the trinity-baptism. This was acceptable according to Bernard Piault, because the doctrine of the trinity begins with Matthew 28:19 (32). It was afterward taught that baptism should be done in the trinity titles by quoting "upon the authority of Jesus Christ, (33)" thus incorporating a semblance of Acts 2:38 into the trinity baptism without denying its ancient use [the Church of Christ adopted this Catholic explanation and doctrine]. With this theory of re-interpretation, the argument could be made that the trinity baptism into the titles was the ancient rite of the Church, but performed upon the authority of the name of Jesus Christ. It is said thus by many trinitarians: "Upon the command of Christ to baptize all nations in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, I now baptize you [candidates name] upon the authority of the name of the Lord Jesus Christ" (34).
We know this is doubly false, because the Apostles never baptized using the titles Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, and second, there were Churches throughout the first three centuries that baptized according to Acts 2:38 using the name of Jesus Christ with no reference to the titles at all in Matthew 28:19. In fact, these ancient Christians believed that Acts 2:38 fulfilled Matthew 28:19. It was a common belief that one must obey what was commanded in Matthew 28:19, not repeat it (35): That when a convert was baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, they had been baptized into the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. The decree of Nicaea was in effect the abolishment of the Acts 2:38 Apostolic formula and the enforcement of the titles in Matthew 28:19.
It is of extreme importance here to note, that those claiming "Orthodoxy" go back only to Nicaea for their authority on "Orthodoxy" [this includes Bible Answerman, Hank Hanagraph, and Family Radio's Harold Camping]. There is a three hundred year "dark hole" that these do not cross to go back to Jerusalem and the original Church and its doctrine. What was preached and practiced at Jerusalem was to be preached and practiced in all the world [Acts 1:8]. The true "Orthodox" Church was founded in Jerusalem, not Nicaea, Rome, or Constantinople. "Orthodoxy" that can not be traced to Jerusalem in matters of Faith and Practice, is false "Orthodoxy." True Orthodoxy [right opinion or doctrine] must come from Jesus Christ and the Apostles, not a majority vote at Councils, or by Imperial or Papal decrees. Jesus prayed that the world may believe upon him through the Apostles' word, not the words of Councils, Emperors, or Popes [John 17:20].
At issue between Rome and Constantinople remains to be the doctrine of the trinity. Rome holds that the Holy Ghost proceeds from the Father and the Son, and Constantinople holds that the Holy Ghost proceeds from the Father alone as equally did the Son. The Eastern Orthodox may rightly boast that the Holy Ghost was added to complete the trinity at the Council of Constantinople in 381 AD.
The Eastern Orthodox Church once held that the Father had two begotten unbegotten persons that proceed from him. They are eternally begotten and therefore with the Father from all eternity. The doctrine of the "Pneu-mato-machians," was that, in the doctrine of the trinity, God had two eternal begotten Sons. The Pneumatomachians [those who fight against the Spirit], were called such by the Latins. This was also called the "Macedonian Heresy," from Macedonius, Patriarch of the Greek Church in Constantinople (36), who professed this doctrine. The idea that the Father must have two sons if both the Son and the Holy Spirit proceeded from him, was no doubt borrowed from the argument Praxeas used against the trinitarians.
Praxeas was the most celebrated Black Bishop of all Church history, who stood for the Oneness of God. Praxeas accused the Nico-Latin trinitarians of teaching that there were two brothers in the trinity (37). "Besides, they [Macedonian Eastern Orthodox] pointed out, if the Holy Spirit were God, if he came from the Father as the Word did, then there would be two sons, and hence two brothers in the trinity." Such a Praxeas hypothesis if the trinity was true, was obviously unacceptable to the Nico-Latins, but they were unable to deal with the obvious conclusion of their trinity doctrine. To counter this Praxeas poking stick, the Latins assigned God the Holy Spirit, to the third position of rank, separated from the Father by the Son.
Praxeas drove the trinitarians nuts [their running to Greek mythology and philosophy proves it], and their only recourse was to begin teaching that God the Holy Spirit proceeded not from the Father alone but also from the Son.
In this manner they hoped the riddle Praxeas exposed of two brothers in the trinity would go away. The Eastern Orthodox Greeks were not so easily intimidated and admitted by dogma, that indeed God the Father did have two sons. Appolinarius was a champion of this doctrine. At issue here, is how many begotten sons does God the Father have? The trinitarians have a count of three. Two eternal sons, namely God the Son and God the Holy Ghost, and the human Son of Mary called Jesus. Two questions this writer would propose, which he is sure Praxaes also presented is: "if there is only one begotten Son as found in the Scriptures, does this mean the Holy Ghost, "he the Spirit of Truth," is the Father? If the eternal unbegotten and uncreated Son is not the begotten Son created of Mary, then are there not three begotten Sons of God ...#1, God the Son, #2, God the Holy Ghost, and #3, the Son Jesus created in Mary's womb? At the Council in 381 AD, Appolinarianism, as the doctrine of two brothers in the trinity was called, was condemned. However, the doctrine persisted sub-theologically in the Greek Church, influencing the doctrine of the Filioque controversy with Rome to this very day. Trinitarians are reluctant to discuss the two-brother doctrine. But if the trinity doctrine is true, then the two brother doctrine is true. One validates the other or both are error.
(23) Will Durant, The Story Of Civilization, III, Caesar And Christ, p 659
(24) Bernard Piault, Twentieth Century Encyclopedia of Catholicism, What Is The Trinity, Vol. 17, p 128
(25) Will and Ariel Durant, The Story Of Civilization, Life Of Greece, p 182
(26) Ibid, p 102
(27) Hefele, The History Of The Church Councils, p 294
(28) Ibid , p 128
(29) Bernard Piault, Twentieth Century Encyclopedia of Catholicism, What Is The Trinity, Vol. 17, p 93
(30) Eusebius, Vita Const. III 18-20
(31) Hefele, History Of The Church Councils, p 109; Cf. Mattes, l.e. 603
(32) Bernard Piault, What Is The Trinity, Twentieth Century Encyclopedia of Catholicism, Vol. 17, p 89
(33) Ibid, p 90; "On the day of Pentecost St Peter had declared that baptism must be given in the name of Jesus Christ, that is, on his word and authority."
(34) This trinity baptism is performed in many so-called Oneness, Jesus Name Churches. Those baptized as such have been made Catholics. All must be baptized over without reference to the titles and in the name of Jesus Christ [Acts 2:38], alone. To change Father into "Lord" and Son into "Jesus" and Holy Ghost into "Christ" and arrive at a trinitarian formula of Lord Jesus Christ, as a reinterpretation of Matthew 28:19 IS NOT ACTS 2:38 BAPTISM. The word "Lord" is a title. Apostle Peter could have said "Lord Jesus Christ" in Acts 2:38 BUT HE DID NOT DO SO! The correct and only correct baptism mode is in the name of "Jesus Christ" as found in Acts 2:38. A reinterpretation of Matthew 28:19 is not Acts 2:38 baptism.
(35) Matthew 28:19 is a threefold command to be obeyed not to be repeated. For instance: Go ye, is a command to perform an action. To repeat "Go Ye" and not perform the act is not fulfilling the command. "Teach all nations," is a command to perform an action. To repeat, "teach all nations" and not do it is not fulfilling the command. Hence, "baptizing them in the name [singular]" is not to repeat the words Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, but to fulfill the command by using the one name of Jesus Christ, that is the one singular name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. The Apostles understanding this, baptized all converts in the name of Jesus Christ, knowing that no other name had been given for salvation [Acts 4:12].
(36) Bernard Piault, What Is The Trinity, Twentieth Century Encyclopedia of Catholicism, Vol. 17, p 110
Copyright Notice | Tribute | Introduction | The Eastern Greek Orthodox Church | Greek Claims of Orthodoxy
The Cabbalist Jewish Connection | Nicaea Where Truth Was Declared Illegal | Constantine Takes The Bait
Constantinople A Rival Religious Papacy | A Religion Of Works For Salvation
Things Greek Orthodoxy Must Admit | The Curse Of Nicaea Upon Constantine And His House
Additional Trinity Notes | Patripassianism | Gnosticism
Quotes Worthy Of Notice | True Orthodoxy
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