In the 4th and 5th centuries, the core heretical ideas arose that reappeared occasionally until the Middle Ages that only a chosen few had the special and full knowledge necessary for salvation (gnosis). It was the Christian authorities that defined such doctrine. Now just who were the Christian authorities? It was the Roman Empire in its embracing of the Christianity for political purposes that were the authorities. Wow! What do we see today in the entire world? Is it not the government leadership in each country telling its citizenry what is their religion, when and even if they can hold worship services and then telling us who and how many in what circumstances can we attend any services? The playbook from the beginning of time crafted by satanic followers is alive and well today.
Gnostics believed that they were purer than all others. Some even held that the material world needed to be completely rejected, leading the heresy of Docetism (Jesus, being pure divinity, only appeared to be human – docere “to seem”) because matter (earth elements) would have tainted Him. This idea closely relates to the Law of Dualism. However, instead of interpreting this Law correctly, the Manichees contended there was a good god who created the spirit realm and a bad God who created matter, which had to be rejected for salvation. Dualism appeared again in the 12th century at the heart of the Albigensian or Cathari heretical movement.
The Law of Duality. Basically, the definition here is in everything there is an opposite - good vs. evil, love vs. hate, light vs. darkness, healthy vs. unhealthy, prosperity vs. poor, abundant vs. lack, etc. etc. When Adam and Eve ate the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge and opened their minds to this knowledge of good and evil, they immediately understood that they now live in a world of duality. We have within us both the good and evil. Good is the soul of God given to us in this physical body and evil being the EGO created by our mind! Through our free will of choice, we can either live a life of EGO or a life in-Spirit. It is only when we are in-Spirit are we able to use the attributes of our Source to co-create our Life experiences.
Also, in the 4th century, a major theological heresy called Arianism emerged from a priest of Alexandria who taught that Jesus was fully human without any divinity. This started a number of other heresies. Adoptionism held that the Father adopted the human Jesus as God's Son and raised him nearly to divinity. Modalistic Monarchianism contended that God was always one, but never three--in turn, Father and then Son and then Holy Spirit. Others held that Jesus was created by the Father and therefore not co-eternal and co-equal to the Father, which Arius captured in his statement about Jesus, "There was a time when he was not."
All these debates plus others were settled by the Church's first four general councils (Nicaea I in 325, Constantinople I in 381, Ephesus in 431, Chalcedon in 451) set the creed and declared all other statements heretical. However, these general councils, while seemingly solving theological issues, only cause other issues to raise their ugly head.
Soon after the last general council the first of many schisms occurred. The first was the split of the Greek east and the Latin west. The basis of the split was largely over matter of the papal (Pope) authority and liturgical differences. The Latins held that the primary role of the bishop, going all the way back to Peter, meant total supremacy over all other bishops (Anitoch, Alexandria, Jerusalem and Constantinople). The Greeks rejected this contending that the collectively whole (the five locations) held the Church’s executive authority together made and carried out the decision that were made in the collegial general council. There were also the following differences.
Discipline (married or celibate clergy);
Liturgy (leavened or unleavened bread);
Doctrine (whether the Spirit proceeded from the Father alone or from the Father and Son, the latter described by the Latin word filioque).
Many other differences continued to rise for centuries until the unfortunate moment in 1054 AD when east and west excommunicated the other-an excommunication mutually lifted in 1965 by Pope Paul VI and Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras I. Wow! It took 900 years to begin to reconcile differences of the church. Amazing!
In 1378 AD, and continuing through 1417 AD, the second major schism took placed called the Great Western Schism. Three rival papacies complete with three colleges of cardinals competed for power over the church. From 1378 to 1409, there were two Popes – one in Rome and the other in Avignon. History shows that there had been antipopes (multiple Popes located in different areas) before, but in 1378 it was the first time in history that the same College of Cardinals gathered in conclave and elected one man and then months later, repudiated their choice and chose another. The split was compounded in 1409 when a council at Pisa designed to resolve the split only made it worse with the addition of a third claimant. The Schism was resolved at the Council of Constance, convened in 1414.
There was a third major schism that happened in 1520 when the papal at that time excommunicated Martin Luther. It wasn’t long after that that we find not only Lutherans, but Calvinists and other Protestant churches throughout Europe and then the rest of the world, which split the unified Latin west for the first time in a millennium and a half. What we find is religion at its best. When a group of people do not fear God in all things then they allow their EGO to take charge and things go only one way – wrong.