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Charles Buck Theological Dictionary


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A sect which sprung up about the year 171, in the reign of the emperor Marcus Aurelius. They were so called from their leader Montamus, a Phrygian by birth: whence they are sometimes called Phrygians and Cataphrygians. Montanes, it is said, embraced Christianity in hopes of rising to the dignities of the church. He pretended to inspiration; and gave out that the Holy Ghost had instructed him in several points which had not been revealed to the apostles. Priscilla and Maximilla, two enthusiastic women of Phrygia, presently became his disciples, and in a short time he had a great number of followers. The bishops of Asia, being assembled together, condemned his prophecies, and excommunicated those that dispersed them. Afterwards they wrote an account of what had passed to the western churches, where the pretended prophecies of Montanus and his followers were likewise condemned. The Montanists, finding themselves exposed to the censure of the whole church, formed a schism, and set up a distinct society under the direction of those who called themselves prophets.

Montanus, in conjunction with Priscilla and Maximilla, were at the head of the sect. These sectaries made no alteration in the creed. They only held that the Holy Spirit made Montanus his organ or delivering a more perfect form of discipline than what was delivered by his apostles. They refused communion for ever to those who were guilty of notorious crimes, and believed that the bishops had no authority to reconcile them. They held it unlawful to fly in time of persecution. They condemned second marriages, allowed the dissolution of marriage, and observed three lents.

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Bibliography Information
Buck, Charles. Entry for 'Montanists'. Charles Buck Theological Dictionary. 1802.

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