Polemics Term: Arian Snare
The “Arian Snare” (also known as Snarianism) is a term designed to explain the way that heretical and sub-christian sects often lure people to them, their meetings and their points of view by using engaging and compelling music. Often times, the music itself is not heretical or sub-Christian, but it is used as “bait” or “lure” to snare orthodox Christians into coming dangerously close to them.
The term Arian Snare derives from a post by polemicist, Brandon Hines, who explained that the sub-christian and heretical sect, the Arians, used compelling music to draw followers. Explaining the history of the Arian’s use of music, Hines writes…
One of the biggest heretics of Church History was a scholar in the 200s named Arius. Arius’s heresy was a denial of the divinity of Jesus. He taught that only the Father was God and that Jesus was merely a creation of God. This heresy was clear and is one of the most blatant examples of heresy throughout the entire history of heresy. Arius has been described as an Arch-Heretic and is an icon for historical false teachers. How was it, then, that Arius spread his doctrine if it was as clearly venomous as it is? Photius of Constantinople wrote, “Arius, after his secession from the church, composed several songs to be sung by sailors, and by millers, and by travellers along the high road, and others of the same kind, which he adapted to certain tunes, as he thought suitable in each separate case, and thus by degrees seduced the minds of the unlearned by the attractiveness of his songs to the adoption of his own impiety.” (Ecclesiastical History of Philostorgius, Epitome of Book 2, Chapter 2) As Photius recorded, many of those who were seduced by the Arian heresy were enchanted by the songs that were written by Arius’s pleasant-sounding music. Arius used music that people enjoyed singing and listening to in order to have his teaching spread like a blazing wildfire, burning up any poor soul who would dare approach it (source link).
It’s Common Use Today
Many of the most prominent heretical groups today use music as their primary draw, including the Word-Faith and highly immoral prosperity cult, Hillsong, and hyper-charismatic Montanist sect, Bethel Church Redding.
When you criticize the twisted theology of Hillsong Church and someone disagrees because they like their music, explain that they’ve been led astray by the “Arian Snare.”
By the way, Arians weren’t the only prominent sub-christian sect to use the “Arian Snare.” Montanists also heavily used music as a drawing point as well.