Monday, June 17

Two intersting things I wanted to note, the Montanist Movement and this site about cooking for loosers found via brown pau

The Montanist movement was a heresy that arose in the early church, around the second century. It was characterized by imitations of the spiritual gifts, i.e the charismata specifically. The heresy came from Phrygia and it bears looking into when answering the questions that surround the use of spiritual gifts today. For further reading:



  1. It should be noted that the main problem with the Montanists was not that they were prophesying, per se, but that they were prophesying in such a way that bordered on blasphemy.

    The [Montanist] prophets did not speak as messengers of God: “Thus saith the Lord,” but described themselves as possessed by God and spoke in His Person. “I am the Father, the Word, and the Paraclete,” said Montanus (Didymus, “De Trin.”, III, xli); and again: “I am the Lord God omnipotent, who have descended into to man”, and “neither an angel, nor an ambassador, but I, the Lord, the Father, am come” (Epiphanius, “Haer.”, xlviii, 11). And Maximilla said: “Hear not me, but hear Christ” (ibid.); and: “I am driven off from among the sheep like a wolf [that is, a false prophet–cf. Matt., vii, 15]; I am not a wolf, but I am speech, and spirit, and power.” This possession by a spirit, which spoke while the prophet was incapable of resisting, is described by the spirit of Montanus: “Behold the man is like a lyre, and I dart like the plectrum. The man sleeps, and I am awake” (Epiphanius, “Haer.”, xlviii, 4).
    It was urged that the phenomena were those of possession, not those of the Old Testament prophets, or of New Testament prophets like Silas, Agabus, and the daughters of Philip the Deacon; or of prophets recently known in Asia, Quadratus (Bishop of Athens) and Ammia, prophetess of Philadelphia, of whom the Montanist prophets boasted of being successors. To speak in the first person as the Father or the Paraclete appeared blasphemous. The older prophets had spoken “in the Spirit”, as mouthpieces of the Spirit, but to have no free will, to be helpless in a state of madness, was not consonant with the text: “The spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets.” Montanus declared: “The Lord hath sent me as the chooser, the revealer, the interpreter of this labor, this promise, and this covenant, being forced, willingly or unwillingly, to learn the gnosis of God.” The Montanists appealed to Gen., ii, 21: “The Lord sent an ecstasy [ektasin] upon Adam”; Ps. cxv, 2: “I said in my ecstasy”; Acts, x, 10: “There came upon him [Peter] an ecstasy”; but these texts proved neither that an ecstasy of excitement was proper to sanctity, nor that it was a right state in which to prophesy.


  2. Right. What interested me about he movement was the way the Charismatics of our day mirror many of the practices and beliefs considered heretical by those early church fathers.

  3. I can’t speak for charistmatic churches today, since I have had very little interaction with them, but it should be emphasised that the church never said that prophesies had ceased by the time of Montanus (or by any other specific time afterwards). There were debates about what role prophecy has in the church, but it was never said to have ceased altogether, so far as I can tell.