Gnostics (1st & 2nd c.)
Believed matter to be evil and as a consequence denied the incarnation. Jesus only appeared to be a man. Believed in many divine beings called Aeons, who mediated between God and man, the lowest of which was Jesus Christ who had contact with man. Some thought the God of the Old Testament was evil because he created matter, and was different from the New Testament God who was the God of Jesus Christ and good.
Montanism (late 2nd c.)
Rejected those who denied Jesus during times of persecution. Didn’t think anyone who was less than pure should be in the Church. Some told believers to abstain from marriage and dissolve those already contracted.
Sabellianism (early 3rd c.)
The Father, Son and Holy Spirit were not distinct persons but three offices of one person. The Trinity only exists in relation to man not in objective reality.
Arianism (4th c.)
Denied Jesus’ eternal existence. He was a creature and not God.
Macedonians (4th c.)
Claimed that the Holy Spirit was only a force and not a distinct member of the Trinity. The Old Testament God was a God of wrath whereas the New Testament God was a God of love.
Manichaeism (4th & 5th c.)
Believed that Jesus only appeared to be a man. Matter was evil. Some believed Mani to be the Comforter.
Pelagianism (4th and 5th c.)
Did not believe that we needed the grace of God. Man could make himself acceptable to God.
Nestorians (5th c.)
Divided Christ into two persons – one human and one divine. Mary only bore Christ’s human nature in her womb. They emphasized the human at the expense of the divine.
Monophysites (5th c.)
Christ had only one nature. Two natures mingled into one making him neither fully God nor fully man.
Monothelite (6th c.)
Christ had only one will and that was divine. He had two natures but one will. He acted as God only. His divine nature made decisions and the human nature carried them out.
Marcionites (6th c.)
The world is governed on the one hand by a good God, which is the “spiritual principle”, and on the other hand by an evil God who is sovereign over matter. In Jesus, the good God assumed a phantom body. The Old Testament God was harsh while the New Testament God was good. The first was the creator of the world and the second the father of Jesus.
Iconoclasts (7th & 8th c.)
Albegensians (11th c.)
Our spirit was created by God and was good, but an evil God created our body. The spirit must be freed from the body. Having children was a great evil because it entailed imprisoning another spirit in the flesh. Marriage was forbidden but fornication was okay.
Matter was evil, and the spirit was good. Marriage was sin.