Love ‘Em Or Hate ‘Em: Christian Sect Leaders Through The Ages

“We have no creed by Christ,” so many people say – and it’s true that Jesus is the author and perfecter of our faith, but what did he actually do? Was he just a prophet? Was he the son of God? Was he actually God? A man? A spirit? And what is the good news the Apostles were to proclaim?

Throughout the centuries, Christianity has seen many sects, some denominations recognized as Christians by other groups, and some heretics viewed as preaching false good news. Here’s a very simplified list of teachers, teachings, and their descendants.

Simon Magus

We read about Simon Magus in Acts 8. He was a magician who converted to Christianity at the preaching of Philip, and was not ordained as a leader by the laying on of hands by Peter and John. He attempted to pay the Apostles for this gift and was condemned. According to church tradition and writings by the Church Fathers (including Origen, Justin Martyr and Irenaeus), Simon would go on to found the gnostic churches that claimed God was trying to reunite with his wife Wisdom and only descended as Jesus (and others) to find her, with the material world being evil created by rebellious angels, and the true light was the hidden teachings which offered ascent to the spirits of man but not their bodies.

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