The Prophet Muhammad ﷺstated that the Christians
were divided into 72 sects, all of them are in the Hellfire except for 1 sect. The
saved sect of the Nazarenes (Nasara) were those followers of Jesus of Nazareth who
did not deify him and remained under the obedience of the Mosaic law. Apart from
them, all other offshoots and sects of Christianity which developed after the death
of Jesus deviated from his gospel and are therefore doomed to the hellfire.
In this entry, I shall outline some of those sects and briefly summarize their particular
doctrines. Hopefully the reader will be able to see the utter foolishness of Christian
theology and the kind of strange theological controversies which erupted among
them resulting in their factionalism:
1. Ebionism – They regarded Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah while
rejecting his divinity and insisted on the necessity of following Jewish law
and rites, and that Joseph is the natural father of Jesus and that Mary and
Joseph conceived Jesus in the way that all parents conceive children.
2. Helvidianism – Antidicomarians (lit. ‘opponents of Mary’).
Helvidius author of a work written prior to 383 against the belief in the
perpetual virginity of Mary taught that Mary was a virgin at Christ’s birth,
but after the birth of Christ, she and Joseph engaged in marital relations and
conceived a number of children.
3. Valentinianism – taught that Holy Spirit deposited the Christ
Child in her womb and that Mary was the a surrogate mother, but not truly
Christ’s genetic mother. Valentinian the Gnostic (d. 180?) taught that the Son
of God passed through Mary like water through a straw.
4. Collyridianism – early Christian heretical movement in
pre-Islamic Arabia, from the Greek word κολλυρις meaning “bread roll” since adherents offered
quasi-Eucharistic bread sacrifice to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Heresy that holds
that Mary is a divine goddess worthy of the worship of adoration. Their
strongest opponent, Epiphanius of Salamis, who wrote about them in his Panarion
of about 375.
5. Nestorianism – a Christological doctrine advanced by Nestorius
(386–450) that emphasizes a distinction between the human and divine natures of
the divine person, Jesus. A form of dyophysitism. Nestorianism holds that
Christ had two loosely united natures, divine and human: “the Word, which is
eternal, and the Flesh, which is not, came together in a hypostatic union,
‘Jesus Christ’, Jesus thus being both fully man and God, of two ousia
‘substance’ but of one prosopon ‘person’.
6. Anomoeanism – In 4th century, followers of Aëtius and
Eunomius believe that Jesus Christ was not of the same nature (consubstantial)
as God the Father nor was of like nature (homoiousian), as maintained by the
semi-Arians, but rather ‘different’ and ‘dissimilar’. The Word had not only a
different substance but also a will different from that of the Father. Also Heteroousianism.
7. Homoiousianism – 4th-century theological party which held that
God the Son was of a similar, but not identical, substance or essence to God
the Father. Proponents of this view included Eustathius of Sebaste and George
of Laodicea. The Son is “like in substance” but not necessarily to be
identified with the essence of the Father.
8. Homoeanism – the Son is similar to God the Father, without
reference to substance or essence. The father is so incomparable and ineffably
transcendent that even the ideas of likeness, similarity or identity in
substance or essence with the subordinate Son and Holy Spirit are heretical and
not justified by the Gospels. They held that the Father is like the Son in some
sense but that even to speak of ousia is impertinent speculation. The Acacians,
also known as the Homoeans, a sect which first emerged into distinctness as an
ecclesiastical party some time before the convocation of the joint synods of
Rimini and Seleucia Isauria in 359. The sect owed its name and political
importance to Acacius, Bishop of Caesarea.
9. Sabellianism (also known as modalism, modalistic
monarchianism, or modal monarchism) from Sabellius, who was a
theologian and priest from the 3rd century is the nontrinitarian or
anti-Trinitarian belief that the Heavenly Father, Resurrected Son, and Holy
Spirit are three different modes or aspects of one monadic God, as perceived by
the believer, rather than three distinct persons within the Godhead—that there
are no real or substantial differences among the three, such that there is no
substantial identity for the Spirit or the Son. Known as patripassianism
(from Latin patri- father and passio suffering), because the
teaching required that since the God the Father had become directly incarnate
in Christ, that God literally sacrificed Himself on the Cross.
10. Adoptionism – The first known exponent of Adoptionism in the 2nd
century is Theodotus of Byzantium. Also known as dynamic monarchianism denies
the eternal pre-existence of Christ, and although it explicitly affirms his
deity subsequent to events in his life. A nontrinitarian theological doctrine
which holds that Jesus was adopted as the Son of God at his baptism, his
resurrection, or his ascension.
11. Subordinationism – asserts that the Son and the Holy Spirit are
subordinate to God the Father in nature and being.
12. Macedonianism – Founded by Macedonius a Greek bishop of
Constantinople from 342 up to 346, they denied the Godhood of the Holy Ghost,
hence the Greek name Pneumatomachi or 'Combators against the Spirit'.
13. Apollinarism or Apollinarianism – was a view proposed by
Apollinaris of Laodicea (died 390) that Jesus could not have had a human mind;
rather, Jesus had a human body and lower soul (the seat of the emotions) but a
14. Eutychianism – derived from the ideas of Eutyches of
Constantinople (c. 380 – c. 456). The human nature of Christ was overcome by
the divine, or that Christ had a human nature but it was unlike the rest of
humanity. One formulation is that Eutychianism stressed the unity of Christ's
nature to such an extent that Christ's divinity consumed his humanity as the
ocean consumes a drop of vinegar. Eutyches maintained that Christ was of two
natures but not in two natures: separate divine and human natures had united
and blended in such a manner that although Jesus was homoousian with the
Father, he was not homoousian with man.
15. Novatianism – an Early Christian sect devoted to Novatian.
Lapsed Christians, who had not maintained their confession of faith under
persecution, may not be received again into communion with the church. It held
a strict view that refused readmission to communion of Lapsi, those
baptized Christians who had denied their faith or performed the formalities of
a ritual sacrifice to the pagan gods, under the pressures of the persecution
sanctioned by Emperor Decius, in 250.
16. Donatism – Christian clergy are required to be faultless for
their ministrations to be effective and for the prayers and sacraments they
conduct to be valid. Rigorists, holding that the church must be a church of
"saints", not "sinners", and that sacraments, such as
baptism, administered by traditores were invalid.
17. Monophysitism – the Christological position that, after the
union of the divine and the human in the historical Incarnation, Jesus Christ,
as the incarnation of the eternal Son or Word (Logos) of God, had only a single
"nature" which was either divine or a synthesis of divine and human.
Jesus Christ, who is identical with the Son, is one person and one hypostasis
in one nature: divine.
18. Monothelitism or monotheletism – formally emerged in
Armenia and Syria in 629. Jesus Christ has two natures but only one will.
19. Miaphysitism sometimes called henophysitism – the person
of Jesus Christ, Divine nature and Human nature are united (μία, mia - "one" or
"unity") in a compound nature ("physis"), the two being
united without separation, without mixture, without confusion, and without
20. Docetism – the doctrine that the phenomenon of Christ, his
historical and bodily existence, and above all the human form of Jesus, was
mere semblance without any true reality. Jesus only seemed to be human, and
that his human form was an illusion.
21. Marcionism – was an Early Christian dualist belief system that
originated in the teachings of Marcion of Sinope at Rome around the year 144.
Jesus was the savior sent by God, and Paul the Apostle was his chief apostle,
but he rejected the Hebrew Bible and the God of Israel. Marcionists believed
that the wrathful Hebrew God was a separate and lower entity than the
all-forgiving God of the New Testament.
22. Paulicianism –Attributed to Constantine-Silvanus of Mananali (d.
c. 684). Variously described as adoptionist and dualist.
23. Arianism – is a Christological concept which asserts the belief
that Jesus Christ is the Son of God who was begotten by God the Father at a
point in time, is distinct from the Father and is therefore subordinate to the
Father. Arian teachings were first attributed to Arius (c. 256–336), a
Christian presbyter in Alexandria, Egypt. the Son of God did not always exist
but was begotten by God the Father.
24. Montanism – an early Christian movement of the late 2nd century,
later referred to by the name of its founder, Montanus, believing in new
revelations and ecstasies, unapproved by the wider Church. It was a prophetic
movement that called for a reliance on the spontaneity of the Holy Spirit
25. Bonosianism – Antidicomarian sect. Bonosus was a Bishop of
Sardica in the latter part of the fourth century, who taught against the
doctrine of the perpetual virginity of Mary. They affirmed the purely adoptive
divine filiation of Christ. However, they differed from the Adoptionists in
rejecting all natural sonship, whereas the Adoptionists, distinguishing in
Christ the God and the man, attributed to the former a natural, and to the
latter an adoptive sonship.
26. Jovinianism – Antidicomarian sect founded by Jovinian (c. 405).
27. Psilanthropism – understands Jesus to be human, the literal son
of human parents.
28. Manichaeism – Founded in 210–276 by Mani (claimed to be
29. Audianism – Anthropomorphism, a sect of Christians in the
fourth century in Syria and Scythia, named after their founder Audius, who took
literally the text of Genesis, i, 27, that God created mankind in his own
Now according to tradition, the Prophet Muhammad [peace be upon him & his family] said that the Christians were divided into 72 sects:
The Nazarenes were divided into seventy-two sects. Seventy-one are in the fire and one is in paradise.
[Sunan Ibn Maja #3992]
The Christians of antiquity were indeed divided into some seventy odd sects, though the Hadith can also be interpreted to mean that the Christians were divided into a large number of divisions, more so than the Jews before them, and similarly, the Umma of Prophet Muhammad [peace be upon him & his family] will be divided into 73 sects, meaning they will experience more divisions than both the Jews and the Christians. A large number of the remaining sects are essentially Gnostic groups, like the Ophites, Bardesanes, Sethians, Basiledes, Priscillians, Naassenes, and Nicolaites. Other heresies include the Euchites/Messalians, Pelagians, Semipelagians and Luciferians.