Donatism and monothelitism divide Christians. Questions for Discussion: Lesson 18A- “Chapter 16 “Fallout from the Conflict Continues” from  The Story of Christian Theology by Roger E. Olson

1. The British monk Pelagius was at the center of a controversy in the west prior to  Chalcedon that evolved and mutated into a related form among his moderate sympathizers called Semi-Pelagianism. How would you summarize the tenets of this moderate form in contrast to full-blown Pelagianism?

2. Donatism arose in North Africa challenging orthodoxy. What were the Donatists demanding?

3. Cyril is described by Olson as the “great dead hero” of a movement that also had a living hero Severus. In the case of Cyril’s communicatio idiomatum, these schismatics promoted this concept and sought to reinterpret Chalcedon to be compatible with their incarnational theology. What was this movement and can you summarize their main doctrine?

4. How was the Council of Chalcedon a success from Olson’s point of view? How did it fail?

5. When it is said that the classical interpretation of Chalcedon became increasingly dyophysite, what is meant?

6. We learn that Leontius of Byzantium argued that there are three ways in which any two beings or realities may be united. What are they?

7.What was Leontius’ proposed solution for the theological issue he was addressing (see Q. 6)? Was it a theologically satisfactory doctrine?

8. What was monothelitism intended to accomplish in the seventh century? Was it successful?

See Lesson 18B for Correlated Readings:

Definition of the Union of the Divine and Human Natures in the Person of Christ; The Council of Chalcedon, 451 A.D., Act V

Bible Verses for Reflection


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