Interested in a quick introduction to some of the theological controversies of the early church?
Below we have a few videos featuring Southwestern President Paige Patterson that summarize some of the important Christological debates of the early church. Each video was filmed on location, which gives viewers a glimpse of the context for these disputes.
The City and Council of Nicaea
In this video, Patterson introduces the famous council of Nicaea (325 A.D.) and the important creed fashioned at that gathering that defines the relationship of the Father, Son, and Spirit. He mentions the teaching of Arius that sparked the meeting and emphasizes the importance of the final agreement that the Son is “of the same substance,” or homoousious, with the Father.
This video is filmed in front of a mosque on the original site where the council was held:
The City of Nyssa and the Cappadocians
In the aftermath of Nicaea, the church continued to debate the person of Christ and especially the relationship between his deity and humanity. In these two videos, Patterson introduces some of these discussions, with particular attention to the Christological controversies of the fourth century that involved the church father Gregory of Nyssa.
Gregory of Nyssa, his older brother Basil of Caesarea, and Gregory of Nazianzus are known collectively as the Cappadocian Fathers and famous for their vigorous defense of traditional Christology. While Gregory served as Bishop of Nyssa, he composed several works defending the complete deity and humanity of Christ. Ultimately, his arguments, along with similar conclusions drawn by others, led to the formulation of the definition of Chalcedon (451 A.D.) that articulates the two natures in the one person of Christ.
In this video, Patterson describes the controversies from the ruins of the great city library of Nyssa:
Then, in this video Patterson gives more background of Gregory’s life from the ruins of an ancient amphitheater in Nyssa: