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Faustus Socinus (1539-1604), one of the founders of Socinianism.


Socinianism is a form of Nontrinitarianism, named for Laelius Socinus (died 1562 in Zürichmarker) and of his nephew Faustus Socinus (died 1604 in Polandmarker).

Origins

Socinianism was developed around the time of the Protestant Reformation. Lelio Sozzini was one of the founders of a religious society that had to operate secretly in order to avoid persecution. The Socinian sect became far more widespread after Faustus Socinus, Laelius Socinus's nephew, became a valued member. In 1574 the Socinians, who referred to themselves as Unitarians, issued a "Catechism of the Unitarians," in which they laid out their views of the nature and perfection of the Godhead, as well as other principles of their group.

The group became more widely known in Poland and began to prosper, opening colleges and publishing literature, until 1638, when the Socinians were banished from Poland by the Catholics. Until that time it was widely believed that Socinianism would become a dominant belief in Europe.

The Socinians congregated especially in Transylvania, in Polandmarker (see Polish brethren) and in the Netherlandsmarker (Mennonite). They were driven from their seat at Raków in 1643.

Beliefs

Socinian theology, as summarised in the Racovian Catechism, rejected the views of orthodox Christian theology on God's knowledge, on the Trinity and the divinity of Christ, and on soteriology.

The Socinians believed that God's omniscience was limited to what was a necessary truth in the future (what would definitely happen), and did not apply to what was a contingent truth (what might happen). They believed that, if God knew every possible future, human free will was impossible; and as such rejected the "hard" view of omniscience.

The Socinians held that Jesus Christ did not exist until he was conceived as a human being. This view differed from the orthodox view, which holds that Christ (the Logos) is God and therefore uncreated and eternal; it also differed from the Arian view, which held that Christ (the Logos) preexisted the human life of Jesus but nonetheless was a creature created by God.

Socinianism rejected the propitiatory view of atonement.

It has been asserted that Socinian theology was rooted in skepticism.

Offshoots of Socinians

Socinianism is considered to be an antecedent or early form of Unitarianism and the term 'socinian' is still used today to refer to the belief that Jesus did not preexist his life as a human.

Note: In Christianity, Socinianism is also called Psilanthropism, the presumed etymology of "psilanthropism" stems from the Greek psilo (merely, only) and anthropos (man, human being).

Psilanthropism was rejected by the ecumenical councils, especially in the First Council of Nicaea, which was convened to deal directly with this. Beliefs similar to those of Socinianism continue today in Christian groups such as the Christadelphians and the Church of the Blessed Hope.

See also



References

External links




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