The term “canon” is used to describe the books that are divinely inspired and therefore belong in the Bible. The difficulty in determining the biblical canon is that the Bible does not give us a list of the books that belong in the Bible. Determining the canon was a process conducted first by Jewish rabbis and scholars and later by early Christians. Ultimately, it was God who decided what books belonged in the biblical canon. A book of Scripture belonged in the canon from the moment God inspired its writing. It was simply a matter of God’s convincing His human followers which books should be included in the Bible.
For the New Testament, the process of the recognition and collection began in the first centuries of the Christian church. Very early on, some of the New Testament books were being recognized. Paul considered Luke’s writings to be as authoritative as the Old Testament (1 Timothy 5:18; see also Deuteronomy 25:4 and Luke 10:7). Peter recognized Paul’s writings as Scripture (2 Peter 3:15-16). Some of the books of the New Testament were being circulated among the churches (Colossians 4:16; 1 Thessalonians 5:27). Clement of Rome mentioned at least eight New Testament books (A.D. 95). Ignatius of Antioch acknowledged about seven books (A.D. 115). Polycarp, a disciple of John the apostle, acknowledged 15 books (A.D. 108). Later, Irenaeus mentioned 21 books (A.D. 185). Hippolytus recognized 22 books (A.D. 170-235). The New Testament books receiving the most controversy were Hebrews, James, 2 Peter, 2 John, and 3 John.
The first “canon” was the Muratorian Canon, which was compiled in AD 170. The Muratorian Canon included all of the New Testament books except Hebrews, James, and 3 John. In AD 363, the Council of Laodicea stated that only the Old Testament (along with one book of the Apocrypha) and 26 books of the New Testament (everything but Revelation) were canonical and to be read in the churches. The Council of Hippo (AD 393) and the Council of Carthage (AD 397) also affirmed the same 27 books as authoritative.
The councils followed something similar to the following principles to determine whether a New Testament book was truly inspired by the Holy Spirit: 1) Was the author an apostle or have a close connection with an apostle? 2) Is the book being accepted by the body of Christ at large? 3) Did the book contain consistency of doctrine and orthodox teaching? 4) Did the book bear evidence of high moral and spiritual values that would reflect a work of the Holy Spirit? Again, it is crucial to remember that the church did not determine the canon. No early church council decided on the canon. It was God, and God alone, who determined which books belonged in the Bible. It was simply a matter of God’s imparting to His followers what He had already decided. The human process of collecting the books of the Bible was flawed, but God, in His sovereignty, and despite our ignorance and stubbornness, brought the early church to the recognition of the books He had inspired.

A Long Time in Coming
The first list of “canonical” books that names the same twenty-seven writings found in our New Testament appears in the Easter letter of Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandria, Egypt, in 367 C.E. He names them in a different order, to be sure. Even so, the first list that agrees with ours was a long time in coming.
By the time of Athanasius, or shortly before, the church had reached an informal consensus about most of the writings to be included in the “New” Testament. In fact, agreement on much of the list had been reached more than a century earlier. The process of forming a canon had begun even earlier.
The Canon of the New Testament was completed when the last authoritative book was given to any church by the apostles, and that was when John wrote the Apocalypse, about A.D. 98. Whether the church of Ephesus, however, had a completed Canon when it received the Apocalypse, or not, would depend on whether there was any epistle, say that of Jude, which had not yet reached it with authenticating proof of its apostolicity. There is room for historical investigation here. Certainly the whole Canon was not universally received by the churches till somewhat later. The Latin church of the second and third centuries did not quite know what to do with the Epistle to the Hebrews. The Syrian churches for some centuries may have lacked the lesser of the Catholic Epistles and Revelation. But from the time of Ireanaeus down, the church at large had the whole Canon as we now possess it. And though a section of the church may not yet have been satisfied of the apostolicity of a certain book or of certain books; and though afterwards doubts may have arisen in sections of the church as to the apostolicity of certain books (as e. g. of Revelation): yet in no case was it more than a respectable minority of the church which was slow in receiving, or which came afterward to doubt, the credentials of any of the books that then as now constituted the Canon of the New Testament accepted by the church at large. And in every case the principle on which a book was accepted, or doubts against it laid aside, was the historical tradition of apostolicity.

The canon of the New Testament is the set of books Christians regard as divinely inspired and constituting the New Testament of the Christian Bible. For most, it is an agreed-upon list of twenty-seven books that includes the Canonical Gospels, Acts, letters of the Apostles, and Revelation. The books of the canon of the New Testament were written mostly in the first century and finished by the year 150 AD.
For the Orthodox, the recognition of these writings as authoritative was formalized in the Second Council of Trullan of 692, although it was nearly universally accepted in the mid 300s.[1] The Catholic Church made dogmatic definition upon its Biblical canon at the Council of Trent of 1546, reaffirming the Canons of Florence of 1442 and North African Councils (Hippo and Carthage) of 393-419.[2][3] For the Church of England, it was made dogmatic on the Thirty-Nine Articles of 1563; for Calvinism, on the Westminster Confession of Faith of 1647.

Ackroyd, PR; Evans, CF, eds. (1970), The Cambridge History of the Bible, 1, Cambridge
University Press.
Bauckham, Richard (2006), Jesus and the Eyewitnesses, Cambridge: Eerdmans.
BeDuhn, Jason (2013), The First New Testament. Marcion’s Scriptural Canon, Polebridge
Bourgel, Jonathan, “Do the Synoptic Narratives of the Passion Contain a Stratum Composed in
Judea on the Eve of the Great Revolt?”, NTS 58 (2012), 503-21, (French).
Brakke, David (1994), “Canon Formation and Social Conflict in Fourth Century Egypt:
Athanasius of Alexandria’s Thirty Ninth Festal Letter”, Harvard Theological Review, 87: 395–419.
Bruce, FF (1988), The Canon of Scripture, Intervarsity Press.
de Jonge, HJ (2003), “The New Testament Canon”, in de Jonge, HJ; Auwers, JM, The Biblical
Canons, Leuven University Press
Ferguson, Everett (2002), “Factors leading to the Selection and Closure of the New Testament
Canon”, in McDonald, LM; Sanders, JA, The Canon Debate, Hendrickson.
Gamble, Harry (1985), The New Testament Canon. Its Making and Meaning, Fortress Press.
Kruger, Michael (2012), Canon Revisited. Establishing the Origins and Authority of the New
Testament Books, Crossway.
Kruger, Michael (2013), The Question of Canon. Challenging the Status Quo in the New
Testament Debate, InterVarsity Press.


The parables of Jesus are found in the three synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) and the Gospel of Thomas. But we shall be looking at the parable of jesus to the gospel of mark. New Testament scholars believe that Mark’s gospel was used as a source by both Matthew and Luke, so their versions of each parable can be usefully compared to the Markan version to see their editing [or redaction] of the Markan source (though it also possible that they had access to another source in addition to Mark). But New Testament scholars also recognize that all of the parables were shaped prior to Mark by years of oral transmission among followers of Jesus and communities of the earliest church — from Aramaic-speaking communities of Galilee into the Greek-speaking world/s of the Mediterranean, where early Christian apostles preached the gospel message they had heard.
Jesus goes to the lake, stands on a boat, and relates many of his parables. The first Mark relates is the Parable of the Sower, speaking of himself as a farmer and his seed as his word. Much of the seed comes to no account but “Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, multiplying thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times.” (4:8) His disciples (students) don’t understand why he is teaching in parables or even what the meaning of the parables are. Mark flashes forward to later, after the crowds have left and Jesus tells them “The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the outside everything is said in parables so that, ‘they may be ever seeing but never perceiving, and ever hearing but never understanding; otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!'” (4:11-12), with Jesus quoting Isaiah 6:9-10. Early Christians used this passage from Isaiah “…to explain the lack of a positive response to Jesus and his followers from their fellow Jews.” (Miller 21) He rebukes them for not understanding him, and explains his meaning, and that those who accept his word, i.e. his teaching are the ones who will produce the large “crop”. This is also found in Luke 8:4-15 and Matthew 13:1-23. It is also saying 9 of the Gospel of Thomas.
Jesus then speaks of a lamp on a stand, that one does not put it under concealment but lets it shine. He says, “For whatever is hidden is meant to be disclosed, and whatever is concealed is meant to be brought out into the open. If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear,” (4:22-23) the last sentence being, judging from all available texts, a favorite saying of Jesus. This is also in Luke 11:33 and perhaps in Matthew 10:26-27. “‘Consider carefully what you hear,’ he continued. ‘With the measure you use, it will be measured to you—and even more. Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him.'” (4:24-25) The Scholars Version translates these verses like such: “…The standard you apply will be the standard applied to you, and then some. In fact, to those who have, more will be given, and from those who don’t have, even what they do have will be taken away!” Mark 4:25 also occurs in the Parable of the Talents (Matt 25:29, Luke 19:26) and Matt 13:12, Luke 8:18, Thomas 41. Mark 4:24 also occurs in Matt 7:2 and Luke 6:38.
There is then the parable of the Growing Seed and the Parable of the Mustard Seed, each showing analogies with nature and small beginnings yielding much more in the end. They are both explanations of the nature of the kingdom of God. In the Seed Growing Secretly Jesus used the metaphor of a man planting a seed and then paying it no mind until “As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.” (29) This is partially in Thomas 21 The mustard seed, says Jesus, is like the kingdom of God because it starts out as the smallest seed and yet “…becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds of the air can perch in its shade.” (32) This is in Matthew 13:31-32 and Luke 13:18-19. It is also saying 20 of Thomas.
• Mark 4:1–20, Matthew 13:3–23, Luke 8:5–15, Thomas 9
• Mark 4:26-29 [unique to Mark]
• Mark 4:30-32, Matthew 13:31-32, Luke 13:18-19, Thomas 20
• Mark 12:1-11, Matthew 21:33-46, Luke 20:9-18, Thomas 65
• Mark 13:28-32, Matthew 24:32-36, Luke 21:29-33
• Mark 13:33-37, Matthew 24:42, Luke 12:35-48, Thomas 21, 103

The parables of Jesus embody much of his fundamental teaching. They are quite simple, memorable stories, often with humble imagery, each with a single message. Jesus, for example, likened the Kingdom of God to yeast (an image usually meant as corruption) or a mustard seed. Like his aphorisms, Jesus’ parables were often surprising and paradoxical. The parable of the good Samaritan, for example, turned expectations on their head with the despised Samaritan proving to be the wounded man’s neighbor. The parables were simple and memorable enough to survive in an oral tradition before being written down years after Jesus’ death.
Most Bible scholars say that Jesus parables appear only in the three synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke). However, if we broaden our view a bit, it seems that Jesus’ three-part story about the sheep, gate, and shepherd in John 10 can also be considered a parable especially as it chronologically falls right after the related parable of the lost sheep in Matthew 18:12-14.

• France, R. T., The Gospel of Mark : a commentary on the Greek text; The New International Greek Testament Commentary, Eerdmans (c) 2002, ISBN 0-8028-2446-3; pages 220, 226, 241
• Mark 4 NIV Accessed 24 October 2005
• Miller, Robert J.-Editor, The Complete Gospels Polebridge Press, 1994 ISBN 0-06-065587-9
• Complete Gospels, Robert J. Miller editor, 1992, translation note to Mark 4:35-41: “…Mark calls this lake the sea, using a word (thalassa) that most Greek writers reserve for the much larger Mediterranean (Luke uses the more proper term for a lake, limne, in Luke 5:1; 8:22-23, 33.


The traditional beliefs and practices of African people include various traditional religions. Generally, these traditions are oral rather than scriptural, include belief in a supreme creator, belief in spirits, veneration of ancestors, use of magic, and traditional medicine. The role of humanity is generally seen as one of harmonizing nature with the supernatural. The three stages involve in studying African traditional religion can be outline and explain below;
1. Belief in Impersonal (Mystical) Power(s)
What is the influence and impact of this dominant religious belief in impersonal and mystical powers upon the whole of traditional African life? The Bible and Christian theology have to address this foundational and dominant influence and impact upon the traditional African life.
The belief in the impersonal (mystical) power is dominant and pervasive in traditional African religious thought. The whole of creation, nature and all things and objects are consumed with this impersonal power. This impersonal power is what Edwin Smith called mysterium tremendum. This same power has been given various names, such as, mana, life force, vital force, life essence and dynamism.
In African beliefs, the source of this impersonal or (mystical) mysterious power is not always known, but it is usually attributed to the activities of higher “mysterious” powers, whether personal or impersonal that either generates or deposits such powers in things or objects. The potency, efficacy and the durability of such “inhabited” impersonal powers varies from object to object. Some objects are said to be inherently more power induced or “imputed” than others, that is, they are more naturally endowed with powers than others are.
The manifestation and the use of the impersonal powers are related to the practices of medicine men and women, diviners and seers who use natural objects, plants and animals for medicine, magic, charms and amulets. Some specialists belief that mysterious powers imbedded in things or objects can be extracted for specific uses. Mystical and mysterious powers can be transmitted through certain object media or by pure spiritual means. Mystical powers can be sent to specific destinations for an intended good or evil. Mystical powers can be contagious by contact with objects carrying or mediating such powers.
The impersonal powers can be used for both good and evil. The life of a traditional African with this belief in the impersonal powers is at the mercy of the benevolent or wicked users of the mystical powers at their disposal. This belief is very much reflected in the traditional religious practices and behaviour.
As stated earlier, the belief in the impersonal (mystical) powers is dominant and pervasive among traditional Africans. This belief has a theological basis. Christianity must recognise and study the theological basis of the traditional African belief in the existence of mystical and mysterious forces. The religious and social role and function of this belief must be thoroughly studied and understood. The application of the Bible and the Christian Gospel to this very religious belief must address it at its foundations and roots:
1) What do traditional Africans feel about the pervasive and dominant presence of the mystical and mysterious powers and forces? The Bible and the Gospel of Christ must address this traditional religious core value and its dominant influence upon man in traditional Africa. A Biblical and Christian theology has to be formulated and developed so as to address the traditional theology of mystical and impersonal powers.
2) What is the nature of this traditional belief in the mystical, mysterious powers and forces and its total influence and impact upon the total man in traditional Africa? How do we apply the Bible and the Gospel of Christ to the nature of this belief and to the nature of its impact or influence upon man in traditional Africa?
3) What are the religious practices and behaviour that do accompany, support and reinforce (a) this belief and (b) feelings generated by this belief? How do we study and apply the Bible and the Gospel of Christ to all the various practices, attitudes, rituals, rites and ceremonies that traditional Africa has fundamentally developed from this belief?
Our theological approach must go beyond matching Biblical texts with specific traditional beliefs to addressing the theological, philosophical, moral and ethical bases and foundations of these beliefs. We must lay the axe at the root. Religious beliefs, feelings, practice and behaviour have roots and bases. The traditional conception of mystical and mysterious powers has deep theological roots.
When Christian categories are introduced, such as: the power of the blood of Christ; the power of Christ; the power of the Holy Spirit; the power of God; the power of prayer in the name of Jesus, how are these powers understood theologically by man in traditional Africa? The traditional theology of power and forces is what should be addressed by the Bible. When a belief in the potency of mystical and mysterious powers and forces are condemned as demonic, man in traditional Africa needs to know why such things are demonic. They seem to work and he sees and experiences their power, potency and efficacy. A mere reference to a Bible verse may not be enough to dissuade and convince him to do and believe otherwise.
His religious beliefs and practices are structured within the framework of his traditional religious worldview. They must be addressed at the root, at their theological basis and worldview. What is that theological foundation of the belief in the mystical and mysterious powers and forces and its accompanied feelings, practices and behaviour? This is what a Christian theologian must find out. The African needs more than just a Bible verse, he needs a Christian worldview which contains such. He needs to know why he should believe differently. The “why” is contained within the Biblical and Christian foundations.
2. Belief in Spirit Beings
What is the influence and impact of this dominant religious belief in spirit beings upon the whole of traditional African life? The Bible and Christian theology have to address this dominant influence and impact upon the traditional African life.
Traditional African concepts of reality and destiny are deeply rooted in the spirit world. The activities and the actions of the spirit beings govern all social and spiritual phenomena. The spirit world can be divided into two broad categories: (1) non-human spirits and (2) the spirits of the dead. Non-human spirits are regarded in hierarchical order in accordance with their kind and importance, depending upon their power and the role they play in the ontological order in the spirit world (Oji, 1988:17).
First in the hierarchy is the Creator, then the deities, object-embodied spirits, ancestors’ spirits and other miscellaneous spirits that are non-human, comprising both good or harmless spirits and evil spirits. Man stands between this array of spiritual hosts in the spirit world and the world of nature (Ikenga-Metuh, 1987:125-144).
What Constitutes the Spirit World?
What constitutes the spirit world is summarised below in the words of Kato (1975:36-41):
1) The whole world is full of spirits;
2) the abode of spirits are numerous, such as the silk cotton tree, baobab tree, sycamore tree, burial grounds and other places;
3) the spirits are classified into two categories, the bad ones and the good ones;
4) a firm belief in reincarnation;
5) a belief in and practice of exorcism or spirit possession;
6) a belief in life after death, future reward and future punishment;
7) evil spirits are always associated with Satan (Kato, 1975:36-41);
8) spirit possession.
In defining the religious worldview of Africa, Mbiti stresses the fact that the spirit world of the African people is very densely populated with spirit beings, spirits and the living-dead or the spirits of the ancestors (Mbiti, 1969:75). The spirit world is the most pervasive worldview. Contained within it are the spirits, the ancestors and the Supreme Being or God (Ikenga-Metuh, 1987:103-179).
There is a very close relationship between the spirit beings and the mystical or impersonal powers and forces described in the previous section. This realm of the supernatural operates mystical power, magic, witchcraft, sorcery and many others. The spirit world or the realm of the supernatural is, in a sense, a battleground of spirits and powers that use their mystical powers to influence the course of human life. These mystical powers can be designated as positive or negative, good or evil, which may bring blessings or curses.
If man only knew how to master and control the realm of the supernatural, the world would be a much happier place. Belief in the mystical powers as described already, the spirit beings behind them and the human quest to control or influence them had produced a variety of specialists such as medicinemen, rainmakers, mediums, diviners, sorcerers, magicians and witches. Superstitions, totems, taboos and rituals grew out of such beliefs.
For safety and protection in a world dominated by the spirit beings and powers, one needs a spiritual compass for guidance and practical efforts for control, protection and security through religious rites, reverence to ancestors, symbolic totems and regulative taboos, rituals, superstitions, customs and specialists. For guidance and protection in life, one needs some, if not all, of these.
As we have already observed, in the African traditional religious thought, spirits are believed to dwell or inhabit certain trees, rocks or mountains, caves, rivers, lakes, forests, animals, human beings, the skies, the ground and other cites, carved or moulded objects, charms, amulets.
The spirit beings are usually divided into two categories: (1) the spirits of the dead elders (the ancestors) and (2) the non-human spirit beings. The ancestors are close to the humans and serve as their custodians. All spirit beings are endowed with certain powers and they apply these powers upon the humans for their good or for their harm. Because the spirit beings are malicious, capricious and sometimes benevolent, man must be wise in his dealings with the spirit beings. They can easily be angered, provoked or injured by the humans and so man requires tack and wisdom in dealing with them. In dealing with both the impersonal (mystical) powers and the spirit beings, man needs human specialists who have gained experience and access to these two types of mysteries to help them live a successful life and acquire good human well-being. These spirit beings can be “manipulated” to serve the humans or vice versa.
This belief, just as in the case of the previous one, has a theological basis. Christianity must recognise and study this very theological basis of the traditional African belief in the existence of spirit beings. The religious and social role and function of this belief in the spirits must be thoroughly studied and understood.
3. Belief in Many Divinities
What is the influence and impact of the dominant religious belief in the divinities upon the whole of traditional African life? The Bible and Christian theology have to address this dominant influence and impact upon the traditional African life.
African traditional religions in some parts of Africa, have had an elaborate pantheon of divinities. But there are exceptions to this general observation, especially in Southern Africa and some parts of West Africa. Some African ethnic groups do not seem to have divinities, while some were known to have no special shrines or worship places designated to the divinities or to the Supreme Being. However, the Yoruba of Nigeria are known for having several hundreds of divinities.
African scholars for the past three decades, have changed certain perspectives and even the definition of African divinities (Idowu, 1962; Mbiti, 1975). Some African scholars no longer accept the term polytheism (worship of many gods). They prefer the term “divinities” or “deities” to “gods”. The debate on whether African “divinities” were worshipped as “gods” or whether they were only “intermediaries” or “mediators” is inconclusive. Some have argued that “Africans do not worship their divinities nor their ancestors, but God”. In this argument, a view is being held that sacrifices, offerings and prayers offered, are not directed to the divinities or the ancestors, as ends in themselves, but are directed ultimately to God. We have no intention of discussing this debate here, but simply to mention it in passing.
African divinities are many and each has its specific area of influence and control. Some of these divinities were originally mythological figures in some African legends and primordial histories and cosmologies, while some were tribal heroes or heroines. Divinities covering different aspects of life, society and community were usually established, such as divinities of the sea or the waters, rain, thunder, fertility, health or sickness, planting or harvest, tribal, clan or family deities. African divinities took the forms of mountains, rivers, forests, the mother earth, the sun, the moon, the stars, and ancestors. The plurality of the divinities with their varying powers, influence, hierarchy, territoriality, even within one ethnic group or community, says a lot about the African religions, worship, beliefs and practices. This leaves an open door for religious accommodation, tolerance, assimilation and adaptation within the traditional religious thought. The traditional African understanding and the interpretation of Christianity have deep roots in these fundamental beliefs of the African traditional religions. This belief, just as in the case of the previous one, has a theological basis – the plurality of divinities (polytheism).
With the introduction of Christianity or other religions, such as Islam, this belief with its worldview may have an added feature and it is henotheism, the worship of one god without denying the existence of other gods. There is a possibility that the Christian God who has been introduced, can be worshipped along with other gods. The theological basis of this traditional belief allows it to take place without creating any serious theological crisis in the traditional religion. Plurality of gods or divinities permits plurality of beliefs, practices, feelings and behaviour in one religion. This belief also gives room for accommodation, adaptation and domestication of new gods or divinities into the old religion. Other gods or divinities and divergent views and practices can be tolerated without confusion. All these are possible because of the theological foundation of this belief in many gods and also in the hierarchy of gods or divinities.
Foundational Religious Practices
Religious beliefs do beget corresponding religious practices and religious behaviour. The five inter-related and integrated religious beliefs examined in the previous sections have established the theological basis of the traditional religious system. These beliefs have in consequence influenced the development of the corresponding religious practices, which we are going to describe very briefly. The traditional religious system is informed and motivated by these religious beliefs and their corresponding practices, behaviour and feelings.
The foundational religious practices in the traditional religions are: (1) the practices of establishing links, relationship and close ties with the cosmic mysterious, mystical and spirit powers and forces; (2) the practices involving various religious and social rites, rituals (sacrifices and offerings) and ceremonies; (3) the practices of establishing various spiritual and mystical communications with the spirit world and spirit beings and (4) the religious and social practices of relating to the various activities of the traditional African specialists.
Discussions in this section will be very brief. Ideas in this section are culled from Steyne (1992) and Gehman (1989). Various religious practices are described covering a wide range of religious and social interests. Our primary goal for doing this is to enable us to identify and define the theological foundations of the traditional religious practices and behaviour. This establishes the theological foundations for defining and interpreting traditional religious practices and religious behaviour.
In this section and in other places, we are not going to differentiate between what is strictly religious from what is strictly social or what are prohibitions and abominations or taboos from what are acceptable social and religious norms, practices and behaviour. Both the good and evil are found in the traditional religious worldview.

The philosophical foundations as earlier stated do have a profound influence on the religious beliefs, practices and behaviour. As we have observed, the traditional African hardly distinguishes “between the spiritual and the physical modes of existence”. This very conception in the traditional worldview is very important to our understanding of the African traditional beliefs and teachings about the spirit world, especially the unity between the spiritual and the material. This social fact is very important to our understanding and interpretation of the traditional religions and cultures.
This study has revealed to us the nature and the heart of the African traditional religions, especially its religious beliefs and practices. The theological foundations of the belief in these gods, divinities and spirits have been made evident. From this background, a theology of Christian spirituality is required as means of addressing adequately the roots of this traditional religious belief in the spirit beings. The influence and impact of this traditional belief upon the religious practices and behaviour of traditional Africans must be carefully studied and addressed by a Christian theology. A Christian theology must address the significance of the spiritual beings, powers and forces that lie behind the traditional religions (Eph. 6).

• Information presented here was gleaned from World Eras Encyclopaedia, Volume 10, edited by Pierre-Damien Mvuyekure (New York: Thomson-Gale, 2003), in particular pp. 275–314.
• Baldick, J (1997) Black God: The Afroasiatic Roots of the Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Religions. New York: Syracuse University Press.
• Doumbia, A. & Doumbia, N (2004) The Way of the Elders: West African Spirituality & Tradition. Saint Paul, MN: Llewellyn Publications.
• Ehret, Christopher, (2002) The Civilizations of Africa: a History to 1800. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia.
• Ehret, Christopher, An African Classical Age: Eastern and Southern Africa in World History, 1000 B.C. to A.D. 400, page 159, University of Virginia Press, ISBN 0-8139-2057-4
• Karade, B (1994) The Handbook of Yoruba Religious Concepts. York Beach, MA: Samuel Weiser Inc.
• P’Bitek, Okot. African Religions and Western Scholarship. Kampala: East African Literature Bureau, 1970.
• Princeton Online, History of Africa
• Wiredu, Kwasi Toward Decolonizing African Philosophy And Religion in African Studies Quarterly, The Online Journal for African Studies, Volume 1, Issue 4, 1998


The role of the united nations in contemporary world politics and evolve in today’s world over time. it can be viewed from different angles or perspective. UN key role in these aspects is better illustrated by efforts to solve the nuclear problems of Iran and North Korea which the world body’s nuclear watchdog, IAEA is overseeing. The war on terror is equally among UN tasks and is working on ways and means of countering the modern-day scourge. Nobody can dispute UN huge contribution to efforts at tackling social-economic humanitarian and cultural problems facing human-beings. Finally, UN is the place where the fight to promote human rights and other liberties is being spear-headed.
Before the creation of the UN, man was unable to think up a more effective instrument of maintaining global peace and security. UN headquarters in New York is the venue where ways of settling the conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan, the Middle East, Sudan and several other places are discussed. UN personnel are participating in 15 peace keeping missions, out of which Russia is involved in ten. UN plays a leading role in disarmament and in the regime of nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

World politics and the role of the United Nations has come under heavy criticisms in modern times. Despite substantial change in the world in the 1990s connected with the disintegration of the Soviet Union and collapse of the bipolar world, the UN still plays a very significant role.
By the end of the 20th century there was observed a certain decline of the UN role, which was evidenced by the NATO operation in Kosovo undertaken without a Security Council auhtorization, the war in Iraq launched by the US in 2003 despite an obvious discord on the issue even inside the NATO (France and Germany were against the military operation). The year 2003 can be regarded as a “culmination” of the unipolar world system.
The situation started to change when the United States started to get bogged down in the war in Iraq, and popular protest began to grow inside the US. In 2008 a sub-prime crisis broke down in the US, which further grew into a world economic crisis. By the end of the presidential term of George Bush Jr. the international reputation of the country was severely undermined. All this in addition to the emerging crisis lead to the victory of Barak Obama in the presidential election, and to a sufficiently radical change in foreign policy: the Americans began to rely more on the principles of international consensus and to refrain from unilateral actions.
Paradoxically, the world economic crisis resulted in a sharp increase of the UN role, as, in fact, the Security Council was the only negotiation platform where the world leading nations could discuss current state of international affairs. The crisis also entailed a considerable growth of the role of G20 which was commissioned to remodel the global financial system. At the same time, it became entirely obvious that the US, even with the use of its power and economic potential, would be unable to uphold their dominant position in the world all by itself. With the onset of the world financial crisis the unipolar world model was buried once and for all. The process went along with the arrival to the international foreground of the countries with considerable financial resources, vast territory and population.

What is going on in contemporary world
Contemporary world is facing alot of challenges in the present era about no country is secure from the disasters as Arab spring has taken around it many countries , Cold war between China and America , Oil diplomacy ,Natural disasters as well as bilateral relations in so many countries are also not so good as it should be like amid Pak India , North and South Korea , Sudan south Sodan and there alot of other examples you all know better

What is role of UN in these matters : As described above you can imagine the role of United nations Organization in this world . As far as i am seeing the role of UN Organizations i think this is just made for taking funds from whole world and controlling the under developing , developing and third world countries and nothing else .
Why it has failures : Because of its weak constitution and hegemony of ” Mafia ” or Super powers which , just for their own interests are playing with other countries so i shall suggest that countries should focus on regional organizations in which they own are dominant instead of UN .

How UN should work : just follow its objective irrespective of influence of any super power and think tank country .
How it is possible : just make its own resources for collecting money and making some amendments in its constitution

Practical implementation of the US policy in the later 1990s and early 2000s showed that the United States was not so much focused on common interests of the world community as on their own interests. America was openly turning back to political realism, which compromised it in its capacity of the world hegemon. The establishment of BRIC, an association of states whose national interests differ greatly from the US national interests, undermines the rhetoric of the American leadership which permanently appeals to the opinion of the world community.
As before, the world community shares the values of democracy and free market. However, as the world economic crisis showed, a conflict materializes at a lower level and stems from the structure of national interests of major states. Nevertheless, Western countries in that number cannot claim the right to speak on behalf of the world community. The world community short of internal unity desperately needs a negotiating platform, which can continue to be successfully provided by the United Nations.


Augustine was born on November 13, 354. He was a pagan who studied many doctrines/faiths before converting to Christianity. As a result, much of his educational focus was on the interpretation of Scriptures and Christian beliefs. Although he became a believer in Christian principles, his writings, “Letters of Saint Augustine”, strongly support that his ultimate faith was based on the intense study of Scriptures and other authors’ writings on religious matters. Augustine was a strong advocate of critical thinking skills that was referred to as “skeptical philosophy” (Kirwan, C. 1999, p.16). In his letters, he critically “tore apart” analysis of Scriptures by others that were not fully supported by logical thinking. “The theology and philosophy of the medieval schoolmen and the creator of medieval universities were rooted in Augustinian ideas of the relation between faith and reason” (Chadwick, 1986, p. 1).
Language translation skills were important because books and their knowledge were not accessible unless they could be translated. “I cannot marvel enough that anything should still be in Hebrew texts which has escaped so many learned scholars” (Leinenweber, 1992, p. 41). “They disturb me more who have made the translations more recently, and who have said to have a better grasp of the style and syntax of Hebrew words and phrases” (Leinenweber, 1992, p. 41).
Augustine was a teacher of rhetoric and a great admirer of Cicero, acknowledging him as “the greatest master of Roman eloquence.” (Leinenweber, 1992, p. 222). Because written works were still rather limited during this time, spoken communication of knowledge was very important.
Augustine was a strong advocate that the written and spoken word were powerful skills worth learning. He enjoyed “playful debates” with students and friends. “This kind of intellectual gamesmanship is said to have been very popular among African Christians” (Leinenweber, 1992, p. 11). However, he strongly critiqued other learned writers or speakers.
Augustine, Love, and True Education
But Augustine brings something else to the intellectual endeavor which can help us think about an explicitly Christian understanding of the nature and meaning of education. Augustine, in De Trinitate and elsewhere, can argue that one must love what one knows. That is, the intellectual endeavor, the quest for knowledge, is not simply about the downloading of data. Rather, the intellectual endeavor is always—and without fail—related to one’s “loves,” or to the state of one’s heart. Thus, for Augustine the act of knowing is related to loving in that we really cannot know what we do not love. Thinking in Pauline and eschatological terms, we might say that one cannot know what one does not love, for it is only when we love something that we can begin to grasp what something is really like.[14] Put differently, it is only when we love something or someone that we can begin to get a glimpse of who or what someone really is. Like the parent listening to a child clunk out notes on the piano, while the stranger hears only a discordant combination of notes, the parent hears—even within the combination of wrong notes, bad rhythm, and off-timing—what the child is really capable of, or at least what the parent hopes the child is capable of. That is, the parent—in a sense—has an eschatological vision of what might be, and in some cases, what might really be the case one day. For Augustine, only in love are we able to see—and hence know—what something is really like, or at least of what someone or something is ultimately capable of being—or becoming.
The contributions of St. Augustine to education are enormous and be seen to have had great impact on the society. Some of the contributions can be discussed below;
Augustine and Teaching
To be a teacher in the context of this struggle was, for Augustine, an act of love. Indeed, he advised teachers to “Imitate the good, bear with the evil, love all” (1952, p. 87). This love was required, for he knew the hardships of study, and the active resistance of the young to learning. He also considered language to be as much a hindrance as a help to learning. The mind, he said, moves faster than the words the teacher utters, and the words do not adequately express what the teacher intends. Additionally, the student hears the words in his own way, and attends not only to the words, but also to the teacher’s tone of voice and other nonverbal signs, thus often misunderstanding the meaning of the teacher. The teacher, thus, must welcome students’ questions even when they interrupt his speech. He must listen to his students and converse with them, and question them on their motives as well as their understanding. He saw education as a process of posing problems and seeking answers through conversation. Further, he saw teaching as mere preparation for understanding, which he considered an illumination of the “the teacher within,” who is Christ.
Augustine, then, thought teachers should adapt their teaching to their students, whom he distinguished into three kinds: those well educated in the liberal arts, those who had studied with inferior teachers of rhetoric and who thought they understood things they did not actually understand, and those who were uneducated. The teacher needs to begin with all students by questioning them about what they know. When teaching well-educated students, Augustine cautioned teachers not to repeat for them what they already knew, but to move them along quickly to material they had not yet mastered. When teaching the superficially educated student, the teacher needed to insist upon the difference between having words and having understanding. These students needed to learn docility and to develop the kind of humility that was not overly critical of minor errors in the speech of others. With regard to the uneducated student, Augustine encouraged the teacher to be simple, clear, direct, and patient. This kind of teaching required much repetition, and could induce boredom in the teacher, but Augustine thought this boredom would be overcome by a sympathy with the student according to which, “they, as it were, speak in us what they hear, while we, after a fashion, learn in them what we teach” (1952, p.41). This kind of sympathy induces joy in the teacher and joy in the student.
All three of these kinds of teaching are to be done in what Augustine called the restrained style. This style requires the teacher not to overload the student with too much material, but to stay on one theme at a time, to reveal to the student what is hidden from him, to solve difficulties, and to anticipate other questions that might arise. Teachers also should be able from time to time to speak in what he called the mixed style–using elaborate yet well-balanced phrases and rhythms–for the purpose of delighting their students and attracting them to the beauty of the material. Teachers should also be able to speak in the grand style, which aims at moving students to action. What makes the grand style unique is not its verbal elaborations, but the fact that it comes from the heart–from emotion and passion–thus moving students to obey God and use his creation to arrive at full enjoyment of God. This hoped-for response is wholly consistent with what is probably the most famous quotation from Augustine’s autobiography, The Confessions: “You arouse us so that praising you may bring us joy, because you have made us and drawn us to yourself, and our heart is unquiet until it rests in you” (1997b, p. 3).
Of the two great traditions in liberal education, the oratorical and the philosophical, Augustine is distinctly an orator. He believed more in imparting the truth to students than in supporting the individual student’s quest for truth. He used the dialogical mode as one who knows the truth, unlike the Greek philosopher Socrates, who used dialogue as one who does not know anything. He thus established a Christian philosophy, which has influenced scholars and educators throughout the history of the West.
Augustine directly influenced the Roman statesman and writer Cassiodorus and the Spanish prelate and scholar Isidore of Seville who, in the sixth and seventh centuries, established the seven liberal arts as a way of enriching the study of the Scriptures. The Anglo-Saxon scholar and headmaster Alcuin, in the eighth century, used Augustine’s works on Christian teaching as textbooks. The Italian philosopher and religious leader Thomas Aquinas’s attempt in the thirteenth century at synthesizing Aristotle and Christian faith may be understood as an extension of the work of Augustine, as can the Christian humanism of the Dutch scholar Erasmus in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.
In the first decade of the new millennium, Augustine’s use of psychological autobiography speaks directly to those educators who view introspection and empathy as critical features in the life of a teacher. His awareness of the centrality of personal and political struggle in human existence, and of the educative and healing power of human dialogue still speaks to the condition of many teachers and educators.
While valuing reason as the one thing that sets human above all creation (Credo ut intelligam. “I believe in order to understand.”)he nonetheless emphasized the primacy of faith. Understanding follows faith, he believed. But this did not lessen the need to use reason, especially to avoid over reliance on the sense perceptions. Reed and Prevost summarized six educational principles from Augustine’s writings:
• The teacher should help the student experience God
• The teacher should take into account the unique characteristics of each student and relate to the students as unique individuals
• Christian education should include the study of Plato, for most Christian doctrines were contained in his writings
• Teachers must recognize the image of God in persons as their rational nature, thus it is to be used as a tool to relate them to God
• Teachers should distrust the senses as a means to knowledge and use reason instead
• In the tension between faith and reason, faith must predominate.

In Augustine’s view, the teacher was key to effective, formative education. He argued that the teacher’s attitude would determine the student’s enthusiasm for learning, and that good teaching skills were critical. In fact, he argued that it was better not to teach than to teach ineffectively and with a poor attitude. As an educational thinker, Augustine transcended his generation to make an enduring contribution. His impact continues to be felt today.

Burrell, D. (2001). The World Book Encyclopedia, vol.1. Chicago: World Book, Inc. O’Donnell, J. (date unknown). Augustine the African. Retrieved on 09/29/01 from http;//ccat.sas.upenn.edu/jod/twayne/aug1.html

Colleran, J. (1964). St Augustine The Greatness of the Soul and The Teacher. Westminster: The Newman Press

Chadwick, H. (1986). Augustine. Oxford: Oxford University Press

Kirwan, C. (1999). Augustine. London: Routledge

Leinenweber, J. (1992). Letters of Saint Augustine. Tarrytown: Triumph Books

Walsh, G., Zema, D., Monahan, G. & Honan, D. (1953). Saint Augustine City of God. Garden City: Image Books


Congregationalism speaks of a form of church government. “Episcopal” church government is rule by bishops, “presbyterian” church government is rule by elders, and “congregational” church government is rule by the congregation. Episcopal government usually includes a hierarchy over the local church, and presbyterian government sometimes does as well. Congregational government nearly always avoids such hierarchy, maintaining that the local church is answerable directly to God, not some man or organization. Congregational government is found in many Baptist and non-denominational churches.
In addition to those churches which practice a congregational form of government, there are also those which call themselves Congregational Churches. Most of these are affiliated with the United Church of Christ, the National Association of Congregational Christian Churches, or the Conservative Congregational Christian Conference. These groups share a common history which is traced to the New England Puritans.
In 1648, the Massachusetts Bay Colony Puritans drew up the Cambridge Platform as a means of protecting their assemblies from interference by unfriendly authorities in England and to formulate a common church polity based on Scripture. While formally still a part of the Church of England, these Puritans were unwilling to conform to the corruptions in the forms of worship and government that they saw in the church. Stepping outside the authority of the mother church, the Platform declared that “a company of professed believers ecclesiastically confederate” is a church, with or without officers. This clearly separated them from all forms of hierarchical church government.
The Congregational churches eventually merged with the Christian churches, which had separated from the Methodists, Baptists, and Presbyterians in the late 1700s and early 1800s. This new group maintained the congregational form of government, and with the strong emphasis on the autonomy of the local church, tolerance of doctrinal variations was essential.

While the Congregational Christian Churches were growing, two other groups were formed that would eventually become part of the United Church of Christ. German settlers in Pennsylvania formed the Reformed Church in 1725, and many years later, German settlers in Missouri formed the Evangelical Church in 1841. These bodies merged in 1934 to become the Evangelical and Reformed Church.
Congregationalists accept the Bible as a sufficient rule in matters of faith and practice. They seek to base their doctrine, their conduct, and their church government, upon Scriptural foundations. What then is the content of Congregational faith and practice and how does it harmonize with the Bible?
As adherents to the historic Christian faith, Congregationalists subscribe to the tenets of the Apostles’ Creed. The congregational movement was inspired and shaped by the Protestant Reformation. As Protestants, Congregationalists have also subscribed to the traditional doctrinal statements and confessions that have defined Protestant Christianity. The great central text of Congregationalism is Matthew 18:18-20, in which Christ says to the early Church:

Truly, I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. Again, truly I tell you, if two of you agree on earth about anything you ask, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them. From this passage we draw several principles of faith which distinguish Congregationalists from many other Christian churches. These are:

THE DIRECT HEADSHIP OF CHRIST OVER THE LOCAL CHURCH is affirmed in Matthew 18:20. Even the smallest gathering of saints in a particular locality is blessed by the presence of Christ. The promise of Jesus that “where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them,” is an assurance that the worship, work and ministry of the local church does not depend on the authority of ‘any outside ecclesiastical councils, but is derived from Jesus himself. Christ is the guiding head over every local congregation.
THE COMPLETENESS OF THE LOCAL CHURCH is based upon Christ’s words to the Church; “Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” (Matt. 18:18) This means that God has given to the local Church every power necessary for its spiritual functions. The local Church does not need the authority or a pope or general council or any body external to itself in order to do the Lord’s work.

Congregationalism is that system of church organization which recognizes the equal rights of all believers, the independence and autonomy of the local church, and the association of the Churches through voluntary organizations devised for fellowship and cooperation. Self-government under God is the distinct witness of churches of the congregational order. It is worth remembering that the most popular polity in the United States is congregational. In practical terms, Autonomy means that a local Church is free from the dictates or decisions of outside ecclesiastical councils.
In the New Testament we find the Churches associated with one another as equals. The early Churches lived together in an atmosphere of mutual love, not in a relationship of dominance and submission. Congregationalists, following their example, have companied together in regional and national associations because they have wanted to, not because they have been forced to.

Any organization which claims to be congregational in polity will therefore have these four marks, clearly stated and visibly practiced:
1. It will specifically honor the Headship of Christ in each local gathered Church;
2. It will exalt the spiritual completeness of each local Church;
3. It will acknowledge, respect, and defend the autonomy of each local Church;
4. And it will recognize Christian fellowship, not ecclesiastical law, as the tie that binds our Churches together.

Today’s Congregational Church Christians trace their core religious beliefs back to the Pilgrims and Puritans who fled persecution from the corrupt, authoritarian Church of England of their time, as described by the church publication, The Art and Practice of the Congregational Way.
In the United States, the Congregational Church includes the United Church of Christ, the National Association of Congregational Christian Churches, and the Conservative Congregational Christian Conference. Each of these groups is an association of independent, autonomous individual churches.
Here are five key beliefs of Congregational Church Christians that set them apart from other Christians:
1. The importance of self-governance of the local church congregation gives the church its name. Local congregational churches recognize no higher outside authority or governing body such as most denominations have.
Decisions of doctrine and practice are not handed down to the church from outside, but rather originate from within. Because of this belief in congregational autonomy, specific doctrines can vary widely, from theologically conservative to liberal and Unitarian.
2. Congregational Church Christians believe in the spiritual equality and priesthood of all believers. In practice, this means they hold to the Bible and belief in Jesus, but individual members have “the full liberty of conscience in interpreting the Gospel,” according to The Art and Practice of the Congregational Way. Church members are trusted to interpret the Bible and apply it as they best understand it, and the church embraces differences of interpretation. The elevation of the layperson in this way limits the authority of clergy within the church.
3. While the Congregational Church does not submit to outside governing bodies, it does encourage associations of individual congregations for the purpose of fellowship, encouragement, and cooperation in larger ministries. Local churches are represented at association meetings by their chosen delegates.
4. Church membership is based on a voluntary covenant by which members believe they are bound together with Christ alone as the head of the local church. Within this covenant context, members believe they help to form the body of Christ in the world. The details of these covenants are determined specifically by the congregation and may vary from one church to another.
5. Congregational Church Christians believe in democratic and representative decision-making within the church. Member consent is required for decisions, and much of the work of the church is accomplished through various types of representative committees to ensure the membership is involved.

In summary, Congregational churches recognize the sovereignty of Christ over His Church and make that a touchstone of their faith. What some congregational churches fail to recognize is the duty that all believers have to correct and instruct one another. In 2 Thessalonians 3:6, the believers were commanded to withdraw themselves from “to keep away from every brother who is idle and does not live according to the teaching you received from us.” Likewise in 1 Timothy 6:3,5 (NKJV), we are told “If anyone teaches otherwise and does not consent to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which accords with godliness…from such withdraw yourself.” In Paul’s letter to the Galatians, we find repeated references to correcting or withdrawing from those who teach or practice falsehood (Galatians 2:5, 11; 4:16; 6:1). God’s design for believers is that we would be conformed to the image of His Son (Romans 8:29) and that our fellowship be based on a unity of faith and practice (Philippians 3:16).

Browne, Robert, A booke which sheweth the life and manners of all true Christians and howe unlike they are unto Turkes and Papistes, and heathen folke. 1582
“Pewforum: Christianity (2010)” (PDF). Retrieved 2014-05-14.
United Tabernacle Reformed Chapel
Victorian Heritage Database: Former Union Church: corner Orrong Road and King Street, Elsternwick (foundation stone laid 1889) [1]
Mojzes, Paul; Shenk, Gerald (1992). “Protestantism in Bulgaria and Yugoslavia Since 1945”. Protestantism and Politics in East Europe and Russia, Ramet, Sabrina Petra, ed., p. 209. Duke University Press. Retrieved 27 December 2012.
Mojzes, Paul; Shenk, Gerald (1992). “Protestantism in Bulgaria and Yugoslavia Since 1945”. Protestantism and Politics in East Europe and Russia, Ramet, Sabrina Petra, ed., p. 210. Duke University Press. Retrieved 27 December 2012.
Vassileva, Anastasia (August 8, 2008). “A history of protestantism in Bulgaria”. The Sofia Echo. Retrieved 27 December 2012.
American College of Sofia (2010). “History of American College of Sofia”. American College of Sofia. Retrieved 27 December 2012.


Arianism is an ancient heresy which denies the divinity of Jesus Christ. Arianism is the idea that Jesus Christ is not equal to the Father by nature, but He is the first creation of God. The founder of Arianism was Arius who died in 336. His ideas would have a tremendous impact on the early Church by causing it to define orthodoxy with a number of creeds. However, his impact continues to this present day with such groups as the Jehovah’s Witnesses. As a result of their convictions, these modern-day Arians produce a number of Biblical arguments to support their contention that Jesus is not God. Though Arianism is false Biblically, its doctrines force the Church throughout all generations to define what she believes regarding the person and nature of Christ.
One of the greatest of the heretics in all of Church history was Arius of Alexandria. He lived from about AD 280 until 336 and had a profound influence upon the Church.Arius was a presbyter (member of the governing body) of the Alexandrian Church and he taught that doctrine must be completely reasonable to the human mind or it was not biblical. When human reason becomes the criterion for Biblical doctrine, limitations are placed upon God who is infinite and His Word via man’s finite mind. Therefore, if a certain doctrine is found to be unreasonable in Man’s understanding, it would follow that it would also be unscriptural.
The doctrine of Christ had already been responsible for considerable agitation of the Church. Before Arius came on the scene, heresy had already played a major role in forcing the Church to express definite views of doctrine. Beginning toward the end of the first century and especially into the second and third centuries, Gnosticism pressured the Church fathers into defining and defending some of the major doctrines of Christianity; particularly concerning Christology (the person, nature, and work of Christ).
The teachings of Arius in the fourth century had the same results. In fact, the greatest theological works and statements of faith produced in the early church were a direct result of answering heretics. So what was it in Arius’ doctrine of Christ that made it heresy?
Arius said: “We must either suppose two divine original essences, without beginning and independent of each other, we must substitute a dyarchy for a monarchy, or we must not shrink from asserting that the logos had a beginning of his existence – that there was when he was not (Albert Newman, A Manual of Church History, p. 326).
This action resulted in a schism of the Alexandrian Church which spread quickly throughout the rest of the Church. It eventually led to the Nicene Council where Athanasius, one of the greatest thinkers in Church history, championed Orthodoxy and the Nicene Creed was drafted.
This creed says in part, “We believe …in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, begotten from the Father, only begotten, that is from the substance of the Father… begotten not made, of one substance with the Father…” (Hoekema, The Four Major Cults, p. 328).
There is no doubt that the closing statement of the creed had Arius in mind as it reads:
“But as for those who say, there was when He was not, and, before being born He was not, and that He came into existence out of nothing, or who assert that the Son of God is from a different… substance, or is created, or is subject to alteration or change – these the Catholic [that is, Universal] Church anathematizes,” (Ibid).
A summary of the Arian view follows:
1. The son was created out of nothing; hence, he is different in essence from the Father; that he is Logos, Wisdom, Son of God, is only of grace. He is not so in himself.
2. There was, when he was not; i.e., he is a finite being.
3. He was created before everything else, and through him the universe was created and is administered.
4. In the historical Christ the human element is merely the material; the soul is the Logos. The historical Christ, therefore, had no human soul….
5. The Arians held, that although the incarnate Logos is finite, and hence not God, he is to be worshipped, as being unspeakably exalted above all other Creatures, the immediate Creator and Governor of the universe, and the Redeemer of man.
6. The Arians adhered to the Scriptures, and were willing to employ as their own any scriptural statements of doctrine. (A Manual for Church History, p. 327).
From the foregoing, who, then, would be the modern-day counterparts to Arius?
It is the organization which claims that Abel was the first of their number and then proceeds to claim the rest of the men of God mentioned in the Bible were ancestors to their organization.
Then, beginning with Jesus, they give the remaining line of their ancestors as follows:
“(1) Jesus to Paul, (2) Paul to Arius, (3) Arius to Waldo, (4) Waldo to Wycliff, (5) Wycliff to Luther, and (6) Luther to Charles Taze Russell (Gruss, ?Apostles of Denialo, p. 9).
Modern Arianism shares the ancient belief that Jesus was not (and thus is not) divine, but goes much further — reducing Jesus to “just a guy”. Influenced perhaps by Naturalism and Materialism, and thus uncomfortable with any supernatural elements, modern Arianism advocates that Jesus was a good and wise man, perhaps even a prophet, but certainly not divine.
It could be argued that such an extreme view has gone beyond heresy to apostasy, thus changing Arianism from a church problem to a mission problem. The views are so widely taught and embraced among liberal churches and seminaries, however, that it is probably unrealistic to dismiss them so easily.
Jehovah’s Witnesses are often referred to as “modern-day Arians” or sometimes “Semi-Arians”, usually by their opponents. While there are some significant similarities in theology and doctrine, the Witnesses differ from Arians by saying that the Son can fully know the Father (something Arius himself denied), and by their denial of personality to the Holy Spirit. Arius considered the Holy Spirit to be a person or a high-ranking angel, which had a beginning as a creature, whereas the Witnesses consider the Holy Spirit to be God’s “active force” or “energy”, which had no beginning, and is not an actual person. The original Arians also generally prayed directly to Jesus, whereas the Witnesses pray to God, through Jesus as a mediator.

Arianism did not simply influence several theologians in the early centuries of Christianity; its impact affected the emergence of Orthodoxy. Brown comments that Arianism gave “the church the first standard by which orthodoxy could be reliably measured.” The Arian controversy was the first controversy to be decided by an ecumenical council. This impact continues today with groups such as the Jehovah’s Witnesses who deny the deity of Christ. However, despite their best efforts, their arguments do not square with the Biblical evidence. Instead, their Jesus lacks the power to save. Metzger rightly points out the effects of the Witnesses view, “While he was on earth he was nothing more than a man, and therefore the atoning effect of his death can have no more significance that that of a perfect human being.” Further, “. . . if a sect’s basic orientation regarding Jesus Christ be errant, it must be seriously doubted whether the name ‘Christian’ can rightly be applied to such a system.” However, despite the negative evaluation the Christian “has the joyous confidence that his divine Lord’s mediatorial work is sufficient to bring into heaven itself not only 144,000, but a great multitude which no man can number.”

1. Alexandria, Athanasius of (2013). History of the Arians. London. ISBN 978-1-78336-206-6.
2.Alexandria, Athanasius of. “History of the Arians”. Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, Part V, Part VI, Part VII, Part VIII
3.Ayres, Lewis (2004). Nicaea and its Legacy: An Approach to Fourth-Century Trinitarian Theology. New York: Oxford University Press.
4.Belletini, Mark. Arius in the Mirror: The Alexandrian Dissent And How It Is Reflected in Modern Unitarian Universalist Practice and Discourse.
5.Roland Steinacher Guido M. Berndt, ed. (2014). Arianism. Roman Heresy and Barbarian Creed. vol.1. Farnham, UK: Ashgate.
6.Davidson, Ivor J. (2005). “A Public Faith”. Baker History of the Church. 2. ISBN 0-8010-1275-9.
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8.Kelly, J. N. D. (1978). Early Christian Doctrines. ISBN 0-06-064334-X.