Arius was a nice guy. He was a heretic of the Fourth century. He was a charmer. He had the ability to twist the truth in many ways. He was well versed in music. One of his means of deceiving people was to take the popular tunes of the day and write words which espoused his heresies. The big heresy he tried to promote with his lyrics was that Jesus was not Divine. He twisted some Scripture passages to bring his point home, such as Jesus not knowing when He would return (Matthew 24:36.) Arius insisted, if He was God, He had to know everything. Therefore, He could not be God. Also the fact that Jesus died, God could not die. Therefore, Jesus was not Divine. Arius taught that Jesus was created, God’s first act of creation, but He was not God. Arius claimed Jesus was special; He was just not Divine. This goes against everything we have believed in from the beginning of the Church.
Arius cut quite a figure as he went about, the troubadour priest, singing catchy lyrics to tunes everyone had already been humming. He had a slick delivery. He would sing and then speak. He even accompanied himself with a musical instrument as he spoke. He was passionate! He was zealous! He was a pied piper. Before you knew it, his doctrines were being sung by priests, fishermen, storekeepers, and farmers; mothers were caroling these little ditties to their children on their knees; everyone was singing, but it wasn’t the Lord they were praising. It was Arius and his really great personality.
Because of his ability to charm people with his music and songs, many people believed what he was teaching. He was just so doggone nice. He had a way about him. He wasn’t really nice; he just let people think he was. This was how he was able to get them to believe him. He would use Scripture passages to back up his claims. They were words taken out of context, twisted to get the effect he wanted. At first, he was condemned by Constantine in the Council of Nicea. The Nicene Creed, which was adopted at that time, was basically written to denounce all the lies that Arius was spreading. The Creed that we proclaim every Sunday at Mass was because of Arius.
But Arius had such a great smile, and such a great way of charming people, you couldn’t stay mad at him for long. Even Constantine was fooled by him, and so three years later, Constantine began supporting Arianism, and pretty soon, his false doctrine was being accepted all over the Christian world. Bishops began going over to Arius’s side. He was so elegant, although they knew in their hearts that everything he said was against the Church, they just couldn’t believe that such a nice guy could say anything that was not true.
In our book Scandal of the Cross and its Triumph, we wrote: “Arius died a horrid death right after Constantine decreed that he be brought back into the Church. It took four hundred years to finally put down the heresy of Arianism. Some say it has never been put down. For 150 years, Arianism was the religion of the Teutonic, or Germanic people of Europe. Adolph Hitler adopted Arianism, only his was a twisted version of the heresy in which he was god. He completely outlawed Christianity, imprisoning, torturing and killing bishops, priests and religious who would not deny Christ. The Heil Hitler replaced the Heil Jesus and the Heil Maria. Hitler told people they were a master race, the Arian race. And the world did not know how deadly this title and philosophy could be. It is frightening when you contemplate how close Hitler came to dominating the whole world.”
Although Hitler was never considered a nice guy, like Arius, he had a compelling way about him. When he stood at the Brandenburg gate in Berlin, and gathered hundreds of thousands of people to listen to him, they were spellbound. When he pointed his fingers at the Jews, he blamed them for everything bad that had happened to the German people. The Germans needed someone to hate for their terrible condition, and Hitler gave them the Jews to hate. The people rose up and turned their anger against the Jews, and in favor of Adolph Hitler and his gang of misfits and miscreants. And you know how that turned out. There are those who say that Arianism is still among us today. There are some religions that claim that Jesus was not Divine. Then there are other takes on Arianism, those who have espoused the Hitler version where one man holds himself up as God, and the people are spellbound by him. He gathers evil people around him as in the Hitler gang. But because he is just so darned nice, because he has the ability to sway people with his smile and his rhetoric, we can’t recognize him for who he is. We must really beware of Greeks bearing gifts, and nice guys among us.
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