Date of Award


Document Type

Honors Thesis (Colby Access Only)


Colby College. Religious Studies Dept.


Debra Campbell


Throughout the Christian story, Church doctrine and ecclesiology have been shrouded in controversy. From the Council of Nicea in 325, when are early Church fathers debated about the Trinity of Christ all the way to the modern day with Vatican II theological controversies have been important in the molding of Christian doctrine on the structure, role, and function of the Church. What makes those controversies different from the ones I treat in my thesis is that the previously mentioned controversies did not lead to schismatic divisions in the Church. The Donatist controversy and Luther's theological battle with Karlstadt were major movements that endangered the unity of the Church. These controversies propagated crucial writings and teachings in two major areas. The first area is the spiritual power and validity of the sacraments. Second is the role, function, and ecclesiology of the Church, with particular attention to the authority of the ministry. I want to demonstrate that these controversies refined the Church's thinking on sacramental issues such as baptism and Eucharist, as well as address the question of who has the power in the Church? And to what extent do they have the power to press reforms?


Donatism, Martin Luther, St. Augustine, Catholic Church, Church Reform, Schismatism