Talk:Christian theological controversy

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I think this article is not really about Christian theological controversy in the general sense, but really about what it calls "discernmentalists". How can it focus on today's disputes about charismatic gifts when there are issues like the role of women in ministry, of gays in ministry and in the church at large, and even the virginity of Mary and the real resurrection of Jesus Christ still being disputed?

It also labels some positions in the list as "key RCC doctrines" when in some cases they are caricatures of doctrines, in others they are not full doctrines at all but merely commonly held beliefs among laymen. It also ignores the Eastern Orthodox Church, or the fact that the RCC and EOC were the same church for the first 1,000 years when many of these "doctrines" were promulgated.

The only question I have is whether to submit this to Votes for Deletion, or move it to discernmentalism or discernment ministries, where the idiosyncratic views of these "discernmentalists" can be properly labeled as such. Wesley 16:30, 16 Aug 2004 (UTC)

I removed some of the heavier POV information about Discernmentalists. I think that there is still a problem in how they are portrayed but it's better than it was before (previously it was basically calling them errant Christians and belittling their beliefs and arguments). Patrick Swanson 13:03 2005/02/06

This article does need more work, but it has the potential to become a useful page. I sorted the lists of pre and post-reformation controversies for ease of reading (they were in no particular order as far as I could tell). TrickyApron 19:02, 12 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Refer not to "time of Jesus Christ" but to "Time of Jesus" or something.

Proposed tasks for achieving NPOV and improving the article in general[edit]

It is my belief that this article is getting closer to NPOV. However, the article still needs improvement. Here are some ideas:

  • Expanding the intro paragraph, and rewriting it to include a link to Christian theology in the first sentence.
  • Cutting down, rewriting, or removing the paragraphs in the "Background" section that deal with translational difficulties. Many of the disputes listed in the article (especially the early heresies) have nothing to do with the difficulties inherent in translation.
  • Making sure that the treatment of Discernmentalism is NPOV.
  • Tightening the discussion of modern disputes. In particular, the description of the dispute over sexual orientation appears to create a balance between the two sides of the issue, but (IMO) actually goes farther in describing the negative effects of opposition to gay rights than it goes in describing those of support for gay rights.
  • Considering renaming the page. I think that something like Controversy in Christian theology would be better title for this article, in part because it would sound better, but primarily because I think that it would fit current unofficial naming conventions better. At present, it seems to me that the article on "Christian foo" describes either the view of foo in the Christian religion (such as Christian love) or the way individual Christians have treated foo (such as Christian art). However, "theological controversy" is not an element of the Christian religion in the way that something like love is (in fact, it describes arguments over treatments of such elements), and, unlike art, is not the sort of thing that involves individual Christians. I realize that my reasoning could be tighter, but I think there's something to what I'm saying here. NatusRoma 30 June 2005 06:28 (UTC)

Dear Sir the people or person who wrote the article are not only ignorant of facts but not well read of church history. Yes the RCC and the EOC churches were one and then in 1054 AD the Roman Catholic Church went its own way and started to teach heretical doctrines and then it spawned its heretical daughters the Protestant reformation if any one take time to study church history, the Eastern Orthodox church teach the same and is one in the same as the early Church. This is confirmed by church history, the Bible and oral and apostolic tradition. It is the ones who are in a lie, the Protestants who have the gaul to point fingers at the Eastern Orthodox and call us heretics. User:JOSEPHGODLESKI

I just retyped it and removed the uppercase lettering. Given the typing of the user's name I suspect rather than being rude, he has a penchant for typing in caps. Storm Rider (talk) 22:38, 23 June 2006 (UTC)
  • I have much respect for Eastern Orthodoxy despite being a heretic in your eyes. (I'm Catholic) However typing in all caps is deemed "shouting." It's rude and childish. I'll look through the article and see if I can manage any changes. T. Anthony

The person who left this message in caps should please consider removing it from this page as it is only an imflammatory response. I am an Eastern Orthodox Theologian and I have not seen the level of prejudice that you seem to see. If there is some area that should be addressed or changed please note it in a professional way. This is an encyclopedia not a forum for debate. JWPhil

Some editing[edit]

I'm not entirely sure how to make it all work. However some of the statements on Christian Science and Mormonism struck me as basically just insults so I changed them a bit. Also Scientism does not link to Christian Science as far as I know so I took that out. Scientism I believe is more like a religion of science or science becoming like a religion or life-philosophy to a person. Correct?

I'm worried about putting a link to the Gospel of Luke on the Purgatory portion. In fact I think I might delete that. Oddly the Catholic Encyclopedia doesn't mention the relevance, but the Douay-Rheims Catholic Bible clearly does. It highlights

And when thou goest with thy adversary to the prince, whilst thou art in the way, endeavour to be delivered from him: lest perhaps he draw thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the exacter, and the exacter cast thee into prison. I say to thee, thou shalt not go out thence, until thou pay the very last mite.

Which Catholics could interpret as a reference to a place where you are imprisoned until you pay "the very last mite." Sorry for any offense, but I'm mentioning it here as a prelude to deleting the link in the article.

I have concern over the general statement in this paragraph of the article: "Most present day controversy revolves around the Pentecostal/Charismatic movements, largely a product of the 20th century. Conservative Evangelical/Reformed theology typically teaches that the charismata, or "sign gifts" of the Holy Spirit, were only given to the early church, and died out permanently after that." First, it is doubtful that the charismata are the key controversy. More important and prevasive controversies include: 1. How to read the Bible and history. 2. How does the church relate to the world, particular world philosophy, politics, ideology, social thought, and ethics. When presented in this manner, they are not limited to a small segment of the world's Christian population. For example, in the two-thirds world, and first world centres in the southern hemisphere, Pentecostal Christian religion is huge. The controversy for us regarding them is how they relate to the larger Christian community. Their own controversies are about leadership and politics. Second, Evangelicals don't typically teach cessationalism, though some Reformed groups do. The charismata are now and important part of the evangelical experience. What is controversial is the recent introduction of these experiences in the last decade or so into mainstream, conservative churches due to influence from Third Wave charismatics.

Just some clarfifications. --Brenton Dickieson 10:53, 13 March 2006 (UTC)

I tend to agree with Brenton, there are more pressing issues of controversy than chrismata. This is certainly one area but it should not dominate the section. JWPhil

Discernment Ministries redirect[edit]

Discernment Ministries redirects here, though the intro sentence of Christian countercult movement mentions "discernment ministries" as an alternate term for that movement. Should that redirect be moved? CDC (talk) 22:43, 5 January 2006 (UTC)

It certainly sounds like it should. Wesley 14:25, 14 February 2006 (UTC)


Sometimes it is not possible to describe organisations only by how they describe themselves. For example someone just change the entry for LDS to "Believes in the restoration of the original church organization instituted by Christ.". This is not a good description for two reasons. 1) LDS beliefs encompass a huge amount more than that. Since this is about Christian controversies we should describe (in overview) how LDS differs from other Christians, which includes the Trinity, baptism of the dead, non-deity of Christ, polygamy etc. 2) The description I just quoted above describes a huge number of churches, none of them LDS (and with many different ideas of what constitutes the 'original organisation'.) The previous description was better than this, and I'm going to revert. DJ Clayworth 21:03, 11 April 2006 (UTC)

I might be wrong but perhaps we should keep the article to those issues affecting the orthodox Christian community. By this I mean those branches of Christianity that hold to the Nicene Creed, this being the one touch stone that we all hold in common and is effectively beyond controversy. As such faiths as Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses etc do not hold to this aggreement it might be better to include them in another article. This is my thinking.


DJ and JW, the title of the article is Christian theological controversy and not Orthodox Christian theological controversy. I would recommend changing the name. Also, you might consider using the term Historical Christianity. I would tread lightly in describing 1st century Christianity by anything but what is in the Bible. The baptism of the dead and polygamy were common during the time of Christ and even prior in regards to polygamy. The concept of the Trinity is a 4th century concept and has nothing to do with any proclamtion from the mouth of Jesus Christ. I think you see the sticky wicket you might be opening; Orthodoxy to whom? To the Chuch instituted by Christ or by Catholicism several hundred years latter? On WIKI we do not attempt to define who is right, but we report facts. DJ has been on a bit of a tear lately regarding Mormonism; it may be time to let it rest. However, if you insist on going down this path, let us be extra careful to keep personal beliefs out of it and stick to facts known, and facts supported by theologians of respective groups; regardless all Christians will be at the table and not just the ones who congregate at the same table. JW, as a theologian, and I suspect a disciple of Jesus Christ, I would ask you further to not attempt to define who are the sheep that reponsds to the Master's voice. None of us are capable of that, rather let His peace reside. Storm Rider (talk) 22:50, 23 June 2006 (UTC)

I think you incorrectly interpret my meaning. It is common and accepted among scholars and theologian to draw the sharp distinction at the Nicene Creed. This is perhaps the last point of complete agreement historically, I cannot see how that is open to arguement. As there was no set canon of scripture during the first 3 centuries it is difficult to use the Bible as criteria. Also you are incorrect in your statement that the doctrine of the trinity was a 4th century concept. It was clearly written of by Tertullian (c.212), Irenaeus (c.180) as well as Origen, Cyprian, Athenagoras etc. But I am not trying to insinuate that the LDS doctrines should not be represented, I am suggesting that they could be noted somewhere else. The suggestion of name change is very likely a good solution. JWPhil

It all depends on the theologian and the belief system. I am also familiar with the development of canon in the early historical Christian church and that it is as debatable today as it was then if it supports the doctrine of the Trinity. Further, I am familiar with the cited writings; however, I would submit that there was no thing such as "orthodoxy" at this point in history. There was a chorus of voices taking many different positions as I am sure you are aware. I would strongly recommend a change of title for the article becuase I really think the purpose of this article should be focused on the Historical churches controversies.
Also, you might want to start a home page for yourself. Some use it as a place to introduce themselves albeit some pages are quite opaque. There are a lot of articles where you could contribute. I hope to see you around. Storm Rider (talk) 00:57, 24 June 2006 (UTC)

Just stumbled onto this article. It seems that it needs a lot of work. Just as examples, there is no mention of Nestorianism, existentialist theologians, neo-liberals, post Vatican II catholic theologians, the inerrancy debate, postmodern theology, as well as several other major issues. The section on modern issues places way too much emphasis on the "discernmentalists" and their issues (some "discernmentalists" are themselves charismatic and criticize smaller divisions within the movement -- the article seems to ignore this) and ignore some very important issues such as the theology of hope, liberation theology, theonomy, the new perspective on Paul, postmodern theology, etc. etc. etc. To try to say this politely, this section especially needs a lot of work.--Loudguy 21:28, 29 July 2006 (UTC)

Merge with theology[edit]

I think this article should be merged into Christian theology. Doesn't seem to have enough substance to stand alone. PhatJew 11:03, 14 February 2006 (UTC)

I believe the article has some merit or at least the topic does, but it would benefit from some kind of coherent structure. Right now it reads like a list of beliefs, doctrines and heresies all jumbled together. The heresies should be taken out or moved to the heresy article if they are not already there and only the controversial doctrines should remain with a brief history and explanation of each. Also placing the arcticle in its proper chronological structure would be useful. JWPhil

Perhaps it should be converted to "List of Christian theological controversies" and the information not suitable to list be merged. I think the list itself is useful. Goldfritha 00:09, 31 July 2006 (UTC)
I think this article should merge with the article on Christian theology because all Christian theology has been hammered out in the heat of controversy. Furthermore, the "Present Day Distinctions" section fails to meet any standard of scholarliness for the reasons Loudguy and others who have written above mention and several more. I hope this does not sound too condescending, but it sounds like it was written by someone who has done all of his or her reading on the internet. The term "discernmentalist" is not in popular use and thus represents a pejorative term that violates NPOV. There are other points I could elaborate on. I strongly believe this section should be scrapped and remade when the two articles merge.--Will3935 23:21, 30 July 2006 (UTC)