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There is no doubt that the most prominently accepted view of the nature of Christ is Trinitarianism, but I'm curious to know what other christologies would make the "top ten" of the most prominent christologies in all of Christendom. What to the majority of people believe that reject the Trinity?

If someone could put together a list of the top ten, supported by estimated number of adherents and affiliations that would be superb.

  • Hmm. Interesting question. I wonder if there even are 10 non-trinitarian ones these days. – curiousdannii Sep 24 '14 at 22:55
  • Top however many then. I'd be interested to hear about any abandoned christiologies as well. – Maynard Sep 24 '14 at 23:48
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    Check out my answer to this question on some understandings of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit rejected by the signers of the Second Helvetic Confession. – Matt Gutting Sep 25 '14 at 15:34
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    Fyi, Trinitarianism can be subdivided into (at least three) distinct Christologies as well - the Council of Chalcedon addressed a major issue on this front and this resulted in a major schism - did you wish to ignore that side of things or modify your question to make such nuance more explicitly on-topic? – bruised reed Sep 26 '14 at 1:51
  • @bruisedreed, by all means, please include the schisms of trinitarianism as well. – Maynard Sep 26 '14 at 17:07
10

Unitarian Subordinationism - Sometimes simply called "Subordinationism," it is thought that this view may have actually been the dominant view of the Eastern Fathers until the Arian controversy. (Including Origen, Eusebius and other famous thinkers). In this view, Jesus is seen as co-eternal and co-creator alongside the Father. One may even say He is "consubstantial." However, He is either seen still as being lower than the Father in His nature or at least eternally dependent on the Father for all things. The Spirit, likewise, is either dependent on the Father or on the Father and Son from eternity and at least functionally subordinate to the Son if not in His nature. There are many Bible verses which the early Fathers used to support this position. It seems to be the closest view to Trinitarianism which is not a full blown Trinitarian viewpoint.

Arianism- The belief that Jesus was the first creation of the Father and pre-existed all other things. He is said, however, to have had a beginning in this Christology. Usually He is seen as the highest ranking angel (as in JW theology) or simply in a category all His own which is higher than angels but lower than the Father. The Holy Spirit is usually relegated to be simply "the power of God in action" or something else described in a very similar manner, and not seen as a personal manifestation of God.

Tritheism - The belief that there are simply 3 gods; Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. They are not personal manifestations of the One God, but are as separate as 3 people would be. However, they are seen as united in purpose. This is seen in Mormon theology although it is very possible to believe in a tritheism which is very dissimilar from Mormonism.

Humanitarian Unitarianism - This view is very broad. The underlying denominator to this view is that Jesus was only a human being. No more, no less. Some versions of this are Adoptionism (Jesus was "adopted" as the Son of God, at His baptism perhaps), or just something along the lines of "Socinianism" (Jesus is just a human who had a special relationship with God). Whatever the details are, the key is that Jesus is ultimately seen to be only a man.

It is also worthy to note that there are many different kinds of Trinitarianism. Many Trinitarians were considered heretics later on down the line after Nicaea. Usually the reason for this was that even though they believed Jesus/The Holy Spirit were God, they denied that He had a human and divine nature (monophysitism) or they said that He was 2 persons with 2 natures (Nestorianism), or even still they denied in some way that He was 100% God and 100% man (Apollinarianism). Today, the two largest groups of Trinitarians in the west are "Latin Trinitarians" and "Social Trinitarians." The Orthodox church of the East adheres to a Trinitarianism which is described as the "monarchy of the Father" view.

I'm sorry I know you asked for 10 but I really can't think of any more prominent Christologies.

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    Welcome to the site. Great answer. It's nice to see a new user answer so academically. The community here does strive for that, so please do come back and answer more just like this. I did edit out the disclaimer part at the end. For purposes of this site, any group that self identifies as Christian is Christian. Whether they are hell bound or whatever is off-topic, unless a question specifically scopes this in the form "Do [christian group, such as Catholics] believe that [other christian group] are going to hell?" – 3961 Sep 25 '14 at 20:31
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    Please see What this site is about and How this site is different. to help you learn how the community here approaches the topic Christianity. – 3961 Sep 25 '14 at 20:32
  • Mormons are not tritheists, that would imply that they worship three gods. Mormons only worship one God; God the Father. Mormon christology is mormonism, it doesn't fully identify with anything else but itself. – ShemSeger Sep 26 '14 at 15:23
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    I don't suppose that Tritheism necessarily means the worship of 3 gods. Rather, it is the belief in 3. Mormonism is a specific kind of tritheism with which other tritheists could vary a great deal. Technically speaking, we could say that some Mormons believe in an endless chain of gods, but only worship 2 (the Father and Son) or 3 (Father, Son and Holy Spirit). "We worship God our Eternal Father and the risen Lord Jesus Christ" -Gordon B. Hinckley (15th prophet of Mormons) – Aaron Sep 26 '14 at 21:55
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Approximately 97% of Christians belong to Trinitarian denominations, so it's a reasonable view that there are no other prominent Christologies at all. However let's ignore that argument, and consider the most prominent ones after excluding Trinitarianism.

Most of them are associated with specific denominations. For example the Latter-Day Saints and the Jehovah's Witnesses have their own distinctive Christologies, and both have around 15 million adherents. Oneness Pentecostals account for another 15 million or so. After that the numbers drop sharply, with Unitarians and Christadelpians probably having fewer than a million adherents each.

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    Chalcedonian - non-Chalcedonian marks a split in Christologies as well (amongst Trinitariansim, but distinct enough to warrant separate entries in the list). – bruised reed Sep 25 '14 at 20:40
  • The question is looking for Christologies apart from Trinitarianism. – DJClayworth Sep 25 '14 at 22:31
  • I will comment on the OP as well, but the Christology was distinct enough to cause a schism - surely that is significant enough information to include in an answer? – bruised reed Sep 26 '14 at 1:48

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