Who and when was the first to split from the Church?


I was arguing with a JW this morning and he said “was it only Catholics who were thrown to the lions?” His useless point aside, it made me wonder, what year and who were the first people to have a different view than the early Church?
Essentially being Christian but not Catholic.


Councils are a good indication of differences in theology. They tend to be caused by the Church having to establish the orthodox position when challenged on an article of faith. Nicea I took place in 325 AD and was called to deal with the Arian heresy.


There are a few instances recorded in the New Testament where people attempted to split or hold different beliefs than the Catholic Beliefs and still wanted to call themselves Christian. The Church answered their views with firm answers. Shortly after there were the Gnostics who claim a secret knowledge not known by the Church. They were quickly corrected by the Church. There were also the Corinthians who wanted things their way, Pope Clement, the third Pope after Peter quickly straightened them out. There were always people from the beginning that thought the Church was a Burger King and wanted it their way. The Church of Rome however always stepped in and made the necessary corrections.


Its more of a question of what makes you Christian? In the Corinthian Church most of the objections were to moral choices, as opposed to Christological questions. The major “heresys” start with Marcion and the Gnostics. Marcion believed in Diocetism meaning “Jesus was God in a man suit”. The Gnostics then believed in a “evil” creater God (Father) and a “good” redeemer God (Jesus). You also have to understand though at this time the Language hadn’t been created yet. The word Trinity didn’t come out till Tertullian 50 years later, he also laid the foundation for the dual natures of Christ. Yes, we can blame the Gnostics for being Heretics, but Marcion, Montanus, and the others didn’t have the language yet. Its like calling a first grader evil for not understanding the word Algebra.


Thanks for the replies. Could you tell me the years that these things took place?


I think that Judas was the first to leave.


Note the Council of Jerusalem in Acts 15 dealt with the Judaizers - those who belived one must become a Jew before becoming a Christian. .


It might help to point out the well-known Christian martyrs of the 1st and 2nd centuries, and they were all Catholic. First the Apostles, but also the first dozen or so bishops of Rome (clearly Catholic!), Ignatius of Antioch (show your friend his genuine letters to show definitively that he was clearly Catholic - try his epistle to the Romans and his epistle to the Smyrneans in particular), Polycarp and Justin Martyr.

I just found this page on Wikipedia that describes how and which of the Popes were martyred.


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