The Controversies about Christ: Arius and Alexander

As I mentioned in the last post, in my debate this past Friday at the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, I was trying to sketch out how it was that the early Christians came to think that Christ was God.   I decided in the debate *not* to start at the beginning, for example, with the teachings of Jesus, his understandings of himself, the views of his disciples and so on.  Instead, in order to set up a key contrast, I started at the end (well, one of the ends) of the Christological conflicts and discussions of Christianity’s first three hundred years, the conflict specifically between the famous Christian teacher of Alexandria Egypt, Arius, and his bishop, Alexander. It was this controversy that led to the famous Council of Nicaea, called by the emperor Constantine (who had converted to Christianity just thirteen years earlier) in the year 325 CE.   The controversy is widely misunderstood by people today, who frequently hear completely erroneous things about it – for example, that Arius thought that Christ was human, not [...]