Even the Arians Prayed to Christ

I’ve been brushing up on my knowledge of early church history with the help of Jaroslav Pelikan’s The Emergence of the Catholic Tradition.  In chapter 4, he tackles the Arian controversy.  As is well-known, the Arians denied the divinity of Christ.  They maintained that he was merely a creature and therefore subordinate to the Father.  Interestingly, the Arians failed to carry through with the logical consequences of their view.  Together with the orthodox in the church, they continued to pray to Christ.  Says Pelikan, “The Arians found prayer to the Logos an unavoidable element of Christian worship” (Pelikan, 199).  The Arians continued to worship Christ, even praying to him, all the while arguing that he was less than God.  There was an inconsistency between their dogmatic principle and liturgical practice.  However, Pelikan also notes that some of the Arians may have revised the Gloria Patri in an effort to be more consistent.  The orthodox form of the Gloria Patria, “Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit…”  The Arian revision read, “Glory be to the Father through the Son in the Holy Spirit…”

About Wes Bredenhof

Pastor of the Free Reformed Church, Launceston, Tasmania. View all posts by Wes Bredenhof

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