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Christianity / Orientations / Heresy /
Sabellianism


In Christianity, a sectarian doctrine (see heresy) promoting an ultimate definition of monotheism in the 3rd and 4th centuries.
Sabellianism, or Modal Monarchianism as it also can be called, defined God as a single unity; that the Heavenly Father, the Resurrected Son (Christ) and the Holy Spirit were different modes or aspects of the one, single God, as if they were "faces" or "masks". Hence these three were not distinct persons or representations. God was a monad, an indivisible unity, and as Father he had expressed himself in Creation; God as the Son he had expressed himself in redemption of man; and God as the Holy Spirit he had expressed himself in sanctification.
In effect, Sabellianism claims that it was God himself who died on the cross. From this element in the doctrine, has another name been derived: Patripassianism.
Sabellianism points out that to God in the Bible, only the number One is ascribed. There is no mention of God being of the number Three.
Sabellianism was a rebellion against the Trinity, which often has been criticized as being a defection from Christian monotheism.
Sabellian doctrines would reoccur within Christianity up until modern times.
Information on Sabellianism is very uncertain, as the only surviving sources are from its opponents. Therefore, scholars judge the exact definitions of Sabellianism in a variety of ways.

History
Around 220: The ideas of Sabellianism is declared by Sabellius, who probably was a presbyter in Rome.
— Bishop of Rome, Calixtus, briefly expresses favourable reactions to the doctrines of Sabellius. He would change his mind, and turn against him.
250: Sabellianism emerges in Cyrenaica, representing an opposition to the influence of Bishop Dionysius of Alexandria.
Early 4th century: Arius accuses the bishop of Alexandria, Peter, of Sabellian sympathies.




By Tore Kjeilen