Starting a thread to discuss this instead of dropping it into another thread with a slightly different message. I didn’t want to hijack the thread.
Am I incorrect in thinking that the Church absolutely creates new doctrine over time?
For example, the dogmatic understanding of the Trinity was undefined in part until the Council of Nicaea. This is so because we agree it was observed differently by different Christian groups that, prior to Nicaea, had absolutely zero reason to think their views were officially heretical. Sure, Roman and Byzantine Catholics may have disagreed with you, but when was polite disagreement new? Especially between Roman and Byzantine Catholics? Between the rites, even now there’s a cooled and passive disagreement over what kind of bread the Eucharist should be served with that has roots in the 4th century, if I’m not mistaken! :shrug:
When the newly, authoritative rulings on the Trinity was set forth by ecumenical councils, any “Christians” who would not submit to the new definition were deemed anathema.
That is undeniably the creation of new doctrine! Regardless of how widely an idea is held before canonization, differing views are implicitly tolerated until canonization occurs and differing views must then be snuffed out. That fact makes the canonized concept a new thing as it pertains to official canon. It simply was not canonical beforehand. It’s elevation was new. It had an actual date you could refer to! Thus a doctrine was born.
For example, prior to the first four ecumenical councils, you could be a Nestorian or Arian or Pelagian and still claim you were part of the Universal Church; literally hundreds of thousands did. After the councils, you could not. Why? A new doctrine was in place. This was not a matter of discipline. This was doctrine!
This is the point - it appears that the Church absolutely creates new doctrine. It’s super rare, but it totally happens. There may be folks who come in and say “That’s the way it always was everywhere, it was only formally defined” and that’s fine. But statements like that are really displays of confirmation bias on the part of the faction that “won”.
Because if there were sufficiently large communities that were alienated by the advent of the new official doctrine, schism reared its head. Like the creation of the Oriental Orthodox Communion after they rejected the innovations “that were always and universally taught” at Chalcedon. They represent groups that felt the new doctrinal definitions were not so common and universal. These churches survive today as the Copts, Armenians, Ethiopians, Syriacs and a few others.
Shoot, the greatest of schisms is the division between Roman Catholics and the Eastern Orthodox, who superficially agree on the primacy of the Pope, they just disagree on what has “always and universally been taught” on what that primacy actually means.
To the outside observer, or someone recently arrived to the faith, these events (and a whole lotta others) look unambiguously like doctrinal expansion and development over time. There was an observable time before, and an equally observable time after where identifiable changes occurred (like at Chalcedon). How is it not the result of doctrinal innovation? :shrug: