Scholar and Protestant John De Soyres’ 1878 summary of Montanist beliefs

Soyres, John De. Montanism and the Primitive Church: A Study in the Ecclesiastical History of the Second Century. Cambridge: Deighton, Bell, 1878. 107-08. Web. 27 Oct. 2014. <>.

We conclude then, as follows, as to the origin and character of Montanism :

I. That it was neither the individual theory propounded by a man, nor the reflection of any past manifestation, whether Jewish or Heathen; but a simple reaction towards the primitive simplicity of Christianity, with a claim to the fulfilment of distinct promises from Christ to His Spiritual Church.

II. That a certain Montanus existed, and gave his name to the party; and that he, together with certain companions, claimed to have received revelations from the Holy Spirit.

III. That these revelations contained nothing contrary to the Catholic Faith, as found in the Scriptures; and that this fact is certified by Epiphanius and other fathers of the Church.

IV. That the belief in the Paraclete, and in the Persons and Work of the Father and the Son, was that commonly held; and that the individual views of Tertullian may be regarded as substantially identical with those of his party.

V. That the expectation of a speedy coming of the Lord, to be followed by a physical Millennium, and the reign of the Saints on earth, was common to the Montanists with many persons (like Justin Martyr) of unquestioned
piety and orthodoxy.

VI. That the Montanists received the Sacraments of Baptism and of the Lord’s Supper, with the same belief in their nature and efficacy, and with the same rites, as the Catholic Church.

VII. That the accusations which malignity or erediility brought against them of celebrating revolting mysteries are supported by no evidence, are totally contrary to known facts and the statements of the earliest witnesses, and only confer a stigma upon the Avriters who disgraced themselves by repeating them.

VIII. That, although women were admitted to prophesy and to communicate visions, they were allowed to exercise no ministerial function, nor was any innovation in ritual or in the form of Divine Service introduced.

IX. That the spiritual claims of the Montanists, and their belief in a speedy end of the world, encouraged a system of asceticism, not in harmony with the full liberty of the Gospel, as proclaimed by St Paul, but still in no way repugnant to the commands of Scripture, or the custom of the Church.

X. That certain fasts, either entire or partial, were enjoined; but that no supererogatory merit was believed to be gained thereby.

XI. That second marriage was condemned as contrary to the original dispensation of God, as well as to the injunctions of the Paraclete, but that (although celibacy was recommended to those able, as conducive to advantage) the rite of marriage in itself was never discredited.

XII. That while sin after baptism (and even a repeated lapse) was freely absolvable by God’s boundless grace and mercy, it was inexpedient for the ministers of the Church to declare absolution in the case of serious crimes, lest their repetition should follow.

XIII. That martyrdom was the highest privilege and glory to which a Christian could aspire: but yet that it did not confer merit unless proceeding from faith and a conviction that it was God’s will.

XIV. That the Visible Church of Christ included all who, upon repentance and acceptance of the Rule of Faith, had been baptized; but that the Spiritual Church comprised those alone who accepted the higher teachings of the Paraclete, by the mouth of His prophets, and that each one of these belonged to the order of spiritual priesthood.

Seth has written 21 articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>