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Heresy of the Day #8: Montanism

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Heresy: Montanism

Montanism is a heresy that was denounced by the 2nd-century Church after its founder, Montanus, began a movement that he referred to as “New Prophecy.” The movement largely consisted of the belief that the Holy Spirit granted direct, divine revelation which manifested itself in “ecstatic utterances.”

The adherents of the movement, which the Church anathematized, were seen largely by the orthodox believers as false prophets and apostles.

The Montanists believed themselves to be inspired by the Holy Spirit, therefore they believed that their utterances were equivalent with the revelations recorded in Scripture essentially denying the final authority of the Scripture.

Interestingly, we see a strikingly similar movement in the Church today in the charismatic movement. The charismatic movement also holds to the notion that individuals, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, can receive direct revelation from God apart from the Scriptures. Much of what we see in today’s charismatic movement is identical to that of the Montanists, including the ecstatic utterances (babbling, gibberish), direct revelation, and uncontrollable movements which appear to be more of along the lines of demon possession than anything from God.

Key Tenets of Montanism

  • The continuation of the apostolic sign gifts
  • Trinitarianism was optional (also prevalent in today’s Pentecostal movement)
  • Dreams and visions reported
  • Denial of the sufficiency of Scripture
  • Focus more on Holy Spirit than on Christ

Modern-Day Proponents of Montanism

Today’s charismatic and Pentecostal movements are is strikingly similar to that of the early Montanist movement. The key tenets are nearly identical in every aspect. As the Scriptures tell us in Ecclesiastes, there is nothing new under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9). The modern movement is just a repackaging of the same old heresy.

Many of today’s popular proponents include:

While this is not an exhaustive list by any means–the number of modern-day Montanists is staggering–it is a good start and lists a number of them that we have covered at Reformation Charlotte extensively.

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