Montanism - New Prophecy
Followers of the New Prophecy called themselves spiritales ("spiritual people") in contrast to their opponents whom they termed psychici ("carnal, natural people").
The more things change....
Differences between Montanism and Orthodox Christianity
The beliefs of Montanism contrasted with Orthodox Christianity in the following ways:
The belief that the prophecies of the Montanists superseded and fulfilled the doctrines proclaimed by the Apostles.
The encouragement of ecstatic prophesying, contrasting with the more sober and disciplined approach to theology dominant in Orthodox Christianity at the time and since.
The view that Christians who fell from grace could not be redeemed, in contrast to the Orthodox Christian view that contrition could lead to a sinner's restoration to the church.
The prophets of Montanism did not speak as messengers of God:
"Thus saith the Lord," but rather described themselves as possessed by God, and spoke in his person. "I am the Father, the Word, and the Paraclete," said Montanus (Didymus, De Trinitate, III, xli); This possession by a spirit, which spoke while the prophet was incapable of resisting, is described by the spirit of Montanus: "Behold the man is like a lyre, and I art like the plectrum. The man sleeps, and I am awake" (Epiphanius, "Panarion", xlviii, 4).
A stronger emphasis on the avoidance of sin and on church discipline than in Orthodox Christianity. They emphasized chastity, including forbidding remarriage.
Some of the Montanists were also "Quartodeciman" ("fourteeners"), adhering to the celebration of Pascha on the Hebrew calendar date of 14 Nisan, regardless of what day of the week it landed on. The Orthodox held that Pascha should be commemorated on the Sunday following 14 Nisan. (Trevett 1996:202)
Jerome and other church leaders claimed that the Montanists of their own day held the belief that the Trinity consisted of only a single person, similar to Sabellianism, as opposed to the Orthodox view that the Trinity is one God of three persons which Tertullian also had held.
There were some who were indeed modalistic monarchians (Sabellians) and some that were closer to the Trinitarian doctrine. It is reported that these modalists baptized mentioning the name of Jesus Christ as opposed to mentioning the Trinity. Most of the later Montanists were of the modalistic camp.
Yes, the old is new again. Arianism popped up with the JWs, and there is definitely a rise in Gnosticism, Docetism, Montanism, Sabellianism and a whole bunch of other heresies.
The tragic thing is that while the many modern adherents do not even realize their heresy, Christianity outside of Catholicism is being fractured beyond recognition.
But fortunately, the Holy Spirit is on the move again. I see great things happening even while so much is crumbling.
Pax et Bonum,
"There are some in the Church, who not only do not do what is good, but even persecute it, and hate in others what they neglect to do themselves. The sin of these men is not that of infirmity or ignorance, but deliberate willful sin." — Pope St. Gregory the Great (AD 540-604)