Skip to content

Reformed theology is Nestorian

December 18, 2010

St. Cyril of Alexandria

When I left the reformed church, it was under the realization that reformers had no answers to the claims that reformed theology is in fact Nestorian.  I demanded answers, seeing that I trusted these peoples opinions, and only ad hominems were their best arguments.

I still entertain a reformed paradigm, only to see what possible angles they could possibly take against such accusations as Nestorianism, but just as Eastern Orthodoxy claims, if anyone was to truly profess the Trinity and the Incarnation without contradicting it, they would in fact be Eastern Orthodox.

Nestorianism is simply this, the profession that Christ incarnate is in fact two personal subjects (two persons).

Reformed theology claims to profess that Christ is one divine Person and two natures (divine/human) but their soteriological views contradict this premise most definitely.  It is an easy refutation to show that their conclusion about salvation do not flow from their statement of Orthodox Christology.

Nestorius was of similar convictions as the reformed. He did not think he professed two personal subjects in the Christ incarnate, nor did he run around saying he believed as much, but his faulty view of Mary led to this ultimate heresy.

Reformers are starting to figure this out, and either jumping ship like me, or admitting to being a supporter of Nestorius. The only reason reformers deny that they are Nestorians, is because it is a bad word to be linked to. If the term “Nestorianism” was not so bad, they would place statues of the man out front of their churches in a heart beat.

My friend Jacob came across this very notion when John Calvin writes in his commentaries on Mathew 24:46:

“For we know that in Christ the two natures were united into one person in such a manner that each retained its own properties; and more especially  the Divine nature was in a state of repose, and did not at all exert itself, whenever it was necessary that the human nature should act separately, according to what was peculiar to itself, in discharging the office of Mediator.”

So here is John Calvin saying that the divine nature and the human nature can act separately. That is Nestorianism.  It is the person who wills, not the nature.  The Father sends the Son…..etc.   Nestorius said just this when he called Mary “Christokos” and separated the human nature of Christ from the divine.

Reformers also do this in their view of the bread and wine.  Do not reformers profess that Christ’s flesh is in heaven, and His divine nature is dwelling among them in the sacraments? Sure they do, that again is Nestorian. You cannot separate the two natures in Christ incarnate ever, this is why St. Cyril argued the real flesh and blood in the bread and wine against Nestorius, because you cannot separate the two.

Reformed theology professes this everywhere.  Reformed theology profess that Christ was damned by the Father. This clearly is Nestorian in the fact that they must answer the question of who in fact is in hell? Is it the Son incarnate? If so, how is that even a possibility when understanding triadology?  Is not hell in reformed theology a separation from God? How can the Son be separated from the Father? That is pagan.  So that is not a possibility. So, is it then Christ, who is cut of from the Son? That is Nestorian, and profession two personal subjects in the Christ incarnate.

This is why Servetus was so eager to have a sit down conversation with Calvin, because Servetus was correct. With John Calvin’s theological assumptions, there is no way he could profess the Trinity.

Here are some good links to further this basic statement of mine.

Heresy of Calvinism part 1 and part 2

Debate with James White’s website apologist



From → Uncategorized

  1. I never thought about Servetus that way. I guess Servetus saw the dialectic quite clearly. You need to read through (the parts tahat are available) Farrell’s *God, History, and Dialectic.* Only about 500 (!) pages of the 1200 are online for free. It has probably the best discussions on Gregory Nazianzus I have ever seen.

    (awesome background on your blog. How did you do that?)

  2. You also said something quite clearly, but it needs to be noted carefully: it is the person who *wills,* but will is an attribute of nature, not person (which you already knew). Sometimes that question comes up.

    Daniel Jones has an essay on Maximus and Free Will. Did I send that to you?

    • castleman711 permalink

      Thanks for the comment Jacob.

      I do not recall anything written by Daniel Jones, but please send it my way.

      “it is the person who *wills,* but will is an attribute of nature, not person”

      Right, sometimes when I writing all of this out, I forget that part, even though it will save me the trouble of having to answer it. Will is property of nature, and if it weren’t, there would be multiple wills in the Godhead.

      As for the link you put above, I am reading it right now. Thank you for all of your help these past few months, I can truly say that most of what I have read and listened to, was sent to me by you. Thanks again.

      As for the background question. When you get a theme on wordpress (I assume you are a wordpress blogger) it will highlight what you are able to edit on different themes. It should say “custom background” look up different themes, and then upload a saved photo to your background. Let me know if you need anymore help with that.


  3. reyjacobs permalink

    Calvinist theology is docetic: due to ‘original sin’ Christ could not take ‘our’ flesh but had to take some ‘better’ flesh. Not that Roman Catholic theology avoids the same conclusion. I’m not even sure that ‘Orthodox’ does either. The virgin birth doctrine seems to require some docetism: Jesus isn’t a real man like you and me, no he was “born of a spotless stainless virgin.” This renders Tertullian’s argument against Marcion rather silly. When to combat Marcion’s docetism Tertullian objected that if God thought birth was too disgusting and messy then he might think people are too messy and disgusting too since we are all born in the way Marcion despises. Yet what Tertullian failed to remember is we are all also CONCEIVED in the way Marcion despises!!!! If God needed to condescend to our messyness in order to save us, and this is why he was born at all, then he also needed to condescend to our messyness in how he got into the womb, and thus it was necessary for Christ to be conceived by sexual union of Joseph and Mary. So goes Tertullian’s logic when taken to its ultimate level. To have Jesus take on a flesh different from ours; or be born of a “spotless stainless virgin”; is to make a docetic Christ — only a Christ conceived by sexual union can be said to have taken on ‘our’ flesh. And by the theory of Hebrews, if he hasn’t taken on ‘our’ flesh he cannot save ‘us’. Christianity has to answer to this. (OT type Deist tending toward Judaism here if you haven’t figured that out)

  4. Fr. John W. Morris permalink

    The Eastern Orthodox Church does not believe in the Western doctrine of original sin. We believe in what Orthodox theologians call ancestral sin. That means that we inherit the consequences of the sin of Adam and Eve, but not the guilt. Those consequences include death, corruption and a tendency to sin. We do not believe in total depravity or inherited guilt. We also believe that despite the fact that we all sin, nothing can the image of God in which we are all created.One important aspect of the Image of God is free will. Nor do we believe in the Roman Catholic doctrine of the Immaculate Conception. Instead, we believe that Christ assumed and perfected fallen humanity which he received from the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Virgin Birth has nothing to do with original sin, but is from the fact that God the Father is really the Father of Mary’s son. That means that Jesus Christ was God from the moment of his conception. In Christ God the Son did indeed take on our fallen flesh. St. Gregory Naziansus wrote, “That which is not assumed is not saved.” Had Christ not assumed and healed fallen humanity, our fallen humanity is not saved. Thus Christ assumed fallen human nature from Mary and the divine nature by being begotten of God the Fathern. The two natures of Christ, Divine and human are united in one person. The human nature was deified by its union with the divine nature. Calvin’s Christology is Nestorian because he denies the deificaion of the human nature of Christ. We are saved not only by the Cross, but by the entire life of Christ through which God assumed all aspects of human nature. As St. Athanasius wrote, “God became man so that man could become God.” Without a proper and Orthodox understanding of the Incarnation, it is not possible to have an orthodox understanding of salvation.

  5. infanttheology permalink

    Appreciated your intersesting take here. I linked to this post in part II of a series I did on Christology. I also used the Calvin quote you provided here. The post uses the question “Why are there no Lutheran Baptists?” as a jumping off pt. to get into Christological issues, why I think the EO and Lutherans share to some degree.

    If you are interested, here is part III:


  6. Eric Castleman permalink

    Thanks for the comment. Sorry it has taken me so long to reply, but I haven’t logged on in awhile. I will check out your post.

  7. Just an FYI, the reformed understanding of the Lords Super is not as u stated. Calvin said that Christ isn’t present in the elements, he is at the right hand of God. Rather, as we or take of the elements, we “spiritually” partake of Christ, that is, the Spirit lifts US up to heaven to eat of Christs flesh and blood.

  8. “Nestorianism is simply this, the profession that Christ incarnate is in fact two personal subjects (two persons)”

    Wrong, Nesotrius himself and the official statement of of the Eastern Church contradict this, they do not Believe Jess was two Persons. You don’t get to define his Theology for him because you want to keep treating Mary as a Goddess.

    Now I highly doubt Nestorius believed the same thing as Calvanism in regards to Salvation since his mentor Theodore wrote explicitly against Augustine.

    Nestorian being a bad word shows a Western Bias in how we view Church History. Nestorians spread The Gospel all over Asia before 1000 AD while never having the benefit of being a state government. And in countless countries through the Era were persecuted, in persecutions that make what Rome did look mild.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. The Real reason there are no “Lutheran Baptists”: Martin Luther’s 500 year battle vs. Protestant liberalism? (part II of III) | theology like a child
  2. Anonymous
  3. Nestorianism in Light of Modern Christian Apologetics | Calling Christians

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: