A few days ago we covered 10 Heresies related to the birth of Christ at Christmas.
To follow up, here are 6 Historical Heresies about the Blessed Virgin Mary:
- Ebionism teaches that Joseph is the natural father of Jesus and that Mary and Joseph conceived Jesus in the way that all parents conceive children.. Ebionism was an early Jewish Christian movement that taught that Jesus was merely a mortal man with two human parents who reached the highest state of human sanctity and thereby received the honorific title of “son of God.” Many liberal Protestant pastors and teachers now hold to this view.
- Helvidianism. Helvidias taught that Mary was a virgin at Christ’s birth, but after the birth of Christ, she and Saint Joseph engaged in marital relations and conceived a number of children. While the early Protestant Reformers affirmed the perpetual virginity of Mary, most subsequent Protestants hold the view of Helvidias.
- Valentinianism taught that Holy Spirit deposited the Christ Child in her womb and that Mary was the a surrogate mother, but not truly Christ’s genetic mother. Valentinian the Gnostic (d. 160) taught that the Son of God passed through Mary like water through a straw. The Apostle Paul refutes this when he writes, “God sent His Son, made of a woman.”
- Collyridianism is the heresy that holds that Mary is a divine goddess worthy of the worship of adoration. The heresy was popular in pre-Islamic Arabia (AD 300s-500s) and it is likely the reason that the Arabic Quran wrongly assumes that the Christian Trinity is God, Jesus, Mary. The heresy’s name of Collyridianism comes from the Greek word κολλυρις meaning “bread roll” since adherents offered quasi-Eucharistic bread sacrifice to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
- Nestorianism teaches that Jesus is two “persons.” The archbishop Nestorius (yes, not all archbishops are orthodox) denied that Mary was the “Theotokos” or “Bearer of God” by saying that she was the mother only of the “human Jesus” and not the “divine Jesus.” On the contrary, the Catholic Church teaches that Christ is one person with two natures: divine nature and human nature. Hence Mary is the mother of the divine Person who is the Son of God. Logically, she is the Mother of He who is God the Son. She is the Mother of God, though not the Mother of the divine essence of the Trinity.
- Iconoclasm teaches that images are idolatrous. Iconoclasm condemns images of Christ, Mary, and the saints. On the contrary, the Catholic Church defends the use of Christian (not pagan) images since Christ became visible through the incarnation.
Do you want to learn more about Catholic Theology and how to share and defend it? We have teaching modules on Heresies and the Mariology (study of the Blessed Virgin Mary). If so, please join the New Saint Thomas Institute. Enrollment for 2015 is open for a limited time: newsaintthomas.com.