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Heresy of the Day #11: Socinianism

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Heresy: Socinianism

While featuring several heresies, Socinianism most significantly denies not only the deity, but the eternality and preexistence of Christ altogether.

This group of heterodox beliefs is named for the uncle and nephew team of Lelio and Fausto Sozzini who lived during the 16th and 17th centuries.

Socinians held that the Christ did not exist at all until conceived as the man Jesus of Nazareth. Interestingly, they did however generally believe in the virgin birth.

Socinianism was universally denounced by all Roman and Reformed churches.

Key tenets of Socinianism include:

  • The denial of the preexistence and eternal nature of Jesus Christ and hence of necessity, His Godhood as well.
  • Socinians also believed that Adam and Eve, though real people, were created mortal and would have died of natural causes even without falling into sin.
  • Seemingly related to the previous belief was also the denial of the doctrine of original sin.
  • Socinians also propounded an early form of open theism wherein God’s foreknowledge could not extend beyond logically necessary truths. That is, entities such as human volition could not be foreknown to God because that would eliminate human free will.

Modern-Day Proponents of Socinianism:

  • Socinianism generally is not widely represented in modern heresies with the exceptions being that broadly socinian Christology can be found among fringe groups like the Church of God General Conference, the Church of the Blessed Hope, with the most well known being the Christadelphians.
  • However, some have attributed Socinianism to evolutionists like Tim Keller mainly due to his disregard for the biblical teaching of a literal Adam and Eve.
         

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