Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Laodicea - Canon 8

Persons converted from the heresy of those who are called Phrygians, even should they be among those reputed by them as clergymen, and even should they be called the very chiefest, are with all care to be both instructed and baptized by the bishops and presbyters of the Church.

Phrygians (or Montanists) were adherents to the teaching of Montanus of Phrygia.  The decision of whether or not to accept those leaving this sect was difficult inasmuch that on one side Tertullian had defended them as within the norm of catholic Christianity, while Basil of Caesarea maintained they had baptized followers into Father, Son, Montanus, and Priscilla.1  In addition they had been accused of Sabellianism (i.e., modalism).  Montanus' fringe, ascetic practice set him apart from the majority of the church espousing celibacy for Christians and teaching that manifestations of the Holy Spirit were still active.  Having two prophetesses, Maximilla and Prisca (or Priscilla) giving utterances to believers he drew followers with a combination of the miraculous and austere living.  The church rightfully demonstrated that the ecstatic utterances by these "prophetesses" were not in accord with the normal working of the Holy Spirit.

As a result of the many questions, concerns, and outright incorrect teaching, those coming out needed to be taught and baptized regardless of their position in the former sect.

1 NPNF2-14, 128.

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