The Counsel of Niceae Was Nothing More Than A Political Agenda!


#1

I was talking with my brother recently about the differences between Catholics and Protestant and why I converted to the Catholic Church. I explained that the Catholic Church is the only Church you can trace back to the Apostles when all of a sudden a gentleman in my office suddenly appeared and said that there are two churches you can trace back, Catholic and Mormon. To make a long story short, he proceeded to say that the counsel of Nicaea was nothing more than a political agenda and that if you were to study the individuals involved you would see why. Now I know that there was a response to this as I had heard this same question on the Catholic radio but unfortunately I was unable to remember what it was.

Can someone please help me and direct me to the proper information on this subject or let me know where I can find the correct response to this question. It has bothered me ever since he approached me with this.

Thank you and God Bless


#2

I’d start with asking him politely, what was the agenda (since its so clear, he should be able to identify it).

The “agenda”, in effect, was to clarify what the church believed. They’d had to deal in the recent (only a few centuries) past with several conflicts on church doctrines (what was Jesus’ nature, was Mary Theotokos, and many other). Hence, the Niceaen Council was called (rather agressively by Constantine, I’m told) to clarify these issues.

It’s all part of that “One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic” thing. You know, one faith, one teaching, etc. It’s hard to claim that when everybody is teaching things because of their own interpretations and such. Sort of reminds me of the way some churches act today.

The laugher is where does he get his information about the Mormon Church? Never mind, I wouldn’t even want to hear his answer on that!

NotWorthy


#3

I think NotWorthy’s answer is a good answer. I want to add that the newest way to criticize us, is to call the Church Counsels for political agendas!

I am not always clever at answer such idiotic criticism because the strategy the protesants sometimes use to attac us is fired at us as bullets in a row. Before we have fineshed to answer one question, the next comes. Sometimes it seems as they are not interested to learn about our faith.

I try to remember Jesus’ words: “Servants are not greater than their master.” If they persecuted me, they will persecute you; …" (Jn 15:20).


#4

[quote=NotWorthy]I’d start with asking him politely, what was the agenda (since its so clear, he should be able to identify it).

The “agenda”, in effect, was to clarify what the church believed. They’d had to deal in the recent (only a few centuries) past with several conflicts on church doctrines (what was Jesus’ nature, was Mary Theotokos, and many other). Hence, the Niceaen Council was called (rather agressively by Constantine, I’m told) to clarify these issues.

It’s all part of that “One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic” thing. You know, one faith, one teaching, etc. It’s hard to claim that when everybody is teaching things because of their own interpretations and such. Sort of reminds me of the way some churches act today.

The laugher is where does he get his information about the Mormon Church? Never mind, I wouldn’t even want to hear his answer on that!

NotWorthy
[/quote]

I’m thinking your time line of councils needs a little work here…
Theotokos 431AD … Ephesus

Arianism (Nicea) 325AD (also 381AD in Constantinople dealt with arianism)

nature of Christ …Chalcedon 451AD

Nicea was first.


#5

[quote=Disciple of God]I was talking with my brother recently about the differences between Catholics and Protestant and why I converted to the Catholic Church. I explained that the Catholic Church is the only Church you can trace back to the Apostles when all of a sudden a gentleman in my office suddenly appeared and said that there are two churches you can trace back, Catholic and Mormon. To make a long story short, he proceeded to say that the counsel of Nicaea was nothing more than a political agenda and that if you were to study the individuals involved you would see why. Now I know that there was a response to this as I had heard this same question on the Catholic radio but unfortunately I was unable to remember what it was.

Can someone please help me and direct me to the proper information on this subject or let me know where I can find the correct response to this question. It has bothered me ever since he approached me with this.

Thank you and God Bless
[/quote]

**(1) Regarding the Mormon Church in Bibilcal Times: ** I would ask him to prove it. You cannot trace the Mormon religion further back than the 1830s with J. Smith. There is no historical evidence of the Mormon Church in existence prior to that time. There’s no biblical evidence of the Mormon Church. There’s no archeological evidence of the civilization they claim existed in North America. There’s no evidence of the migration of jewish people to North America. There’s no evidence of Mormon temple rituals prior to the mid-1800s.

Only one Church traces its roots all the way back to Chirst - the Catholic Church.

**(2) Regarding the Nicene Council: ** Concluding that a Church council was just the result of a “political agenda” is the grown upequivalent of a 5 year old stamping his foot and saying “Nuh-uh!” Ask this person to establish some sort of argument supporting his apparent conclusion that Council was not legitimate. He won’t be able to do so.


#6

These are great ideas. I did think about asking him to give me evidence about it being “political” but because I was caught off guard, I didn’t think about. Thank you.


#7

Me thinks that your Mormon friend has being reading THAT novel (stage whisper: TDVC) when he says that this, particular council had a political agenda. It certainly did but not in the way he means. And yes, Constantine did get rather aggressive in calling it on. That was because he was the Emperor of what was still a fragile Empire licking its wounds from the civil war in which he had risen, victorious to claim the Emperorship.

To have the Christian Church squabbling and fighting; creating serious riots and threats to the State in cities such as Antioch, Alexandra, Athens, was not on. So he put the Bishops on a final warning; come together in Council and sort out this Arianism disorder or the State will do it for you.

As to Mormons being around at the time!!!

:rotfl:


#8

This is for catolics explanation to evangelicals, but perhaps you can get some ideas?

catholicbridge.com/evangelical/21_catholic_councils.htm


#9

I just wanted to say that I do not believe that the Catholic Church has any stand against politics. I mean unless I’m wrong the Catholic Church teaches that the Holy Spirit uses the political aspects of the human relations in Church Councils. So to the Morman I would say something like “God uses political situations to bring about his will when the bishops are acting with the Pope to consider Church teaching in Council.”


#10

[quote=Disciple of God] … To make a long story short, he proceeded to say that the counsel of Nicaea was nothing more than a political agenda …
[/quote]

What exactly does he mean by that? :confused:

Of course politics is involved in any human endeavor

That is what humans do……we’re gregarious and form hierarchical structures

But the say that it was the only issue is nonsense

Beware of folks who speak in absolutes

Don’t get on the defensive. If he wants to make broad generalizations it is on his head to prove them. Have him give specific examples. If you can show one non-political issue then his premise is shot down.

When did the word “politics” become a swear word?

It is the study of us the Polis the people


#11

To make a long story short, he proceeded to say that the counsel of Nicaea was nothing more than a political agenda and that if you were to study the individuals involved you would see why.

This is the deplorable bluffing tactic. Who the heck is going to go out, study the so-called individuals, just so we can make his case for him? Nobody. He needs to at least make an initial case with scholarly, peer-reviewed studies if he is going to try to get you to entertain this. Of course he is not going to do this, showing it for the triumphal, ideological bluster that it is.

Discussion advice: Never ask your opponent to do homework that you should be doing.

Scott


#12

Greetings to all!

I’ve been doing some research and some writing and in the process of “googling around” chanced upon this thread and felt it somewhat important to throw my two cents in the mix for your consideration.

One of the very best books that I know of to have been written on this subject was a book entitled THE CHURCH AND THE JEWS: THE BIBLICAL RELATIONSHIP by Dan Gruber.

As I recall, according to Gruber, the Counsel of Nicea was convened by Constantine to yes, consolidate the Church under his Governorship but also as a reaction to the Jewish Community. Not too much earlier, the Roman Empire had quashed the bloody Jewish Bar Kochba rebellion. During that time, the Jewish Christians ended their participation in the rebellion because the Rabbi Akiba had declared Simon Bar Kochba to be the Messiah, and the menim (Jewish Christians) knew otherwise. Nevertheless, the Bar Kochba Rebellion created a Roman disdain for the Jews.

Hence many of the decisions made at the Counsel of Nicea were a reaction to the Bar Kochba Rebellion. 1. No Jewish Christians were represented. 2. It was decided that Easter should replace Passover. 3. It was decided that Sunday should be called “the Lord’s day” and replace the Saturday Sabbath. These decrees were made in order that Constantine could state that what was now the official STATE religion would have no identity with “those nefarious Jews”.

The Counsel of Nicea was welcomed by the Church because it legitimized Christianity and put an end to persecution of the Church.

It also did much to change the Church. The kingdom of God became easily mistaken for Rome and, in essence, it came to be perceived as emanating from Rome. Hence, the result was a Post Millenial theology… i.e., the Church as an agent of the Empire, was the agent that would bring about the millenium. The Jewish Pre-millenial perspective was rejected because History no longer seemed to corroborate that.

Modern history, I believe, has encouraged a revival of premillenialism along with the notion that the Kingdom of God does and will, indeed, emanate from Jerusalem. Furthermore, there is, indeed, one “Catholic” church. It emanates from Jerusalem and the head of that Church is, in fact, Jesus… Messiah of the Jews who was proclaimed to be a “light unto the Gentiles”.

Blessings


#13

Do you have any other references about this version of what happened at the Council of Nicea, other than Gruber’s? Because that is a very different account of what happened from what I have read. The Council of Nicea was primarily about the Arian heresy. That’s why we have the Nicene Creed.


#14

Gruber doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Nicea I was convened in A.D. 325. The bar Kochba rebellion ended in A.D. 136, nearly two centuries before Constantine’s reign.

Constantine never proclaimed Christianity the official religion of the Empire.

Constantine ended persecution of Christians in A.D. 313 with the Edict of Milan.

– Mark L. Chance.


#15

You are right. Gruber didn’t say that. The dating was my recollection. The dating, however, does not negate the reputation of the Jewish community that pervaded the Roman Empire still largely as a consequence of the Bar Kochba rebellion.


#16

fp.thebeers.f9.co.uk/history.htm

For example. I’m sure there are other sources as well.


#17

Constantine never proclaimed Christianity the official religion of the Empire.

I would not know if Constantine made that an edict nevertheless, unless you could correct me, I do believe that during that time, Christianity did become the official religion of the state, nevertheless.

Constantine ended persecution of Christians in A.D. 313 with the Edict of Milan.

That is a worthwhile detail, however, in light of the case that I’ve presented, to be honest, I think it’s somewhat moot.

– Mark L. Chance.


#18

Because that is a very different account of what happened from what I have read. The Council of Nicea was primarily about the Arian heresy. That’s why we have the Nicene Creed.


#19

I haven’t figured out how to post replies on this blog, but I hope you sort this out.

re: the Nicene Creed… A cursory look at the Creed as it was written in 325, I would agree with everything except the last phrase. Any who would say that Jesus was created or could be changed is not condemned by the church but by God, whom I believe, is still probably more benevolent than that towards the fallible, limited man trying to grasp for an understanding of the nature of the trinity. The creed, itself, is valuable. Therefore I would not advocate throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

I would, however, draw your attention toward the last phrase of the Creed…But those who say: ‘There was a time when he was not;’ and ‘He was not before he was made;’ and ‘He was made out of nothing,’ or ‘He is of another substance’ or ‘essence,’ or ‘The Son of God is created,’ or ‘changeable,’ or ‘alterable’ — they are condemned by the holy catholic and apostolic Church.. The church neither has the right to exonerate or condemn anyone. That is the sole obligation of God. This reflects an arrogance which, I believe, pervaded the counsel.

The creed held generally accurate theology, but the counsel itself, carried cultural affectations that further alienated the Jewish community from their own Messiah for the next 1700 years.

It replaced the Passover with “Good Friday”, the feast of First Fruits with Easter and Sunday for the Saturday Sabbath. None of these holidays or festivals mean a hill of beans when it comes to salvation, however, it marked not only a political divide but a cultural divide between the Jews and their own Messiah.

And I would argue that if the church of today judges the Jewish community by virtue of its compliance with or rejection of these OUTWARD cultural manifestations of “faith”, the members of the church are guilty of snubbing their noses at the Apostle Paul who admonished the Church at Rome “not to boast against the natural branches (the Jews)” (Rom 11)


#20

That site’s not a source. It’s an amateurish collection of half-truths, outright falsehoods, and spelling errors.

Christianity did not become the Empire’s official religion until the reign of Theodosius circa A.D. 390.

Considering that your “case” rests on a consistently wrong presentation of historical facts, your use of the word “moot” is disengenuous at best. To wit:

That phrase is not part of the Creed.

The Council of Nicea did none of these things. Here’s a list of the canons from the council: newadvent.org/fathers/3801.htm.

– Mark L. Chance.


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