In the dogmatic controversies during the early centuries of Christianity, some heretics denied the distinction of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit in the Trinity. Modalists denied any differences and they took their model from the monarchy in the Roman Empire, being singular. The other group of Monarchians, “the Adoptionists,” claimed that Jesus was a mere man born of a virgin according to the counsel of the Father. After he had lived a life common to all men and had become preeminently religious, he received at His baptism “the Christ” in the form of a dove.
This gift enabled Him to manifest miraculous powers, which He had not shown before, and after His death He was “adopted” into the Godhead. Jesus was therefore entirely human, though controlled by the Spirit. He was to be revered as the greatest of all the prophets, but whether He was to be worshiped “as God” was questionable. The Fathers of the Church such as Hippolytus of Rome, Tertullian, and Epiphanius of Salamis combated both heresies.