Jesus Christ Is Lord

That every knee should bow and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father!

Posts Tagged ‘adoptionism’

O Magnum Mysterium 3: Word of the Father Now in Flesh Appearing

Posted by Job on January 1, 2008

From Sharper Iron. Read Part 1 and Part 2.

If Jesus Christ were not truly and perfectly God, He could not be our mediator. If Jesus Christ were not truly and perfectly human, He could not be our mediator. This much, Scripture makes clear. Our problem is that we have absolutely no experience with divine-human beings other than Jesus Christ. He is absolutely unique, the only one of His kind. For that reason, Christians have struggled to find words to express just who Jesus is.

With the Athanasian Creed we affirm that, as to their deity, the Father and Son are equally glorious, eternal, uncreated, incomprehensible, and almighty. Yet they are not two Gods, but one. So we confess. Nevertheless, we also confess that we do not comprehend what we affirm. While the relationship of the Father to the Son involves no logical contradiction, it is inexplicable and impenetrable to the human mind. It rises above reason. We do not understand how such a thing can be.

Already bewildered, we then encounter the full humanity of the Son. Here we discover a person who, as to His deity, is coequal, coeternal, and consubstantial with God the Father, but who, without ceasing to be fully God, also becomes fully human. We are asked to believe that a person who is equal with God is also one of us.

Not everyone agrees. Often, people reject what they cannot explain. Worse yet, they modify the truth to fit some human explanation. So they have done with the person of Christ. Some have denied His full deity. Ebionites saw Jesus as a good man, a teacher, and a prophet who kept the law. Arians explained Jesus as God’s first creation, so highly exalted above others that He could be called “a god,” but who was still not properly “God.” Adoptionists (Dynamic Monarchians) understood Jesus as a human who was elevated to divine status by some act of God.

Some have denied the distinction of the Son from the Father. The Sabellians (Modalistic Monarchians) affirmed that Father, Son, and Holy Spirit were simply three modes in which God presented Himself and not actual personal distinctions. As the same man might appear as husband to his wife, as teacher to his students, and as peer to his fellows, God presented Himself at one time as Father, at another as Son, and at another as Holy Spirit. Ultimately, however, the Trinity is a mask, and God is one and only one person.

Others have denied Jesus’ complete humanity. Docetists believed that the human body of Jesus was a mere phantom projected by the divine Christ. Apollinarians taught that Jesus possessed a human body and soul, but that the place of the rational, human spirit was taken by the divine Logos (in other words, Christ was 3/3 divine but only 2/3 human). Eutychians affirmed complete divine and human natures but saw the human nature as so recessive as to be almost completely overwhelmed by the divine—rather like a drop of honey in an ocean of water. Still others have rejected the integrity of the person of Jesus Christ. Cerinthians believed that the divine Christ descended upon the human Jesus, only to abandon Him before the cross. Nestorians affirmed the full deity and full humanity of Christ but divided those two natures into two distinct persons, joined rather like Siamese twins.

The equal and opposite reaction was for others to affirm the unity of the person by denying the distinctiveness of the natures. Monophysites collapsed the divinity and humanity of Christ into a single nature. In principle this nature was supposed to be both divine and human, but in practice the divine so overwhelmed the human that Monophysitism became a reaffirmation of Eutychianism. A more subtle form of denying the distinction between the natures is Monothelitism, which denies that Jesus had a human will. De facto, this belief is a denial of the completeness of the human nature of Jesus.

These are not merely ancient heresies. They have had a tendency to reappear throughout church history. The Jehovah’s Witnesses are unreconstructed Arians. Mormonism applies Adoptionist principles, not only to Christ, but to all humanity. Many liberals have regarded Jesus simply as a human teacher or prophet, and contemporary biblical scholarship is witnessing a resurgence of interest in Gnostic understandings of Christ. Modalistic Monarchianism shows up in the teachings both of Witness Lee and of the so-called “Jesus Only Movement,” represented by the United Pentecostal Church. The Coptic Orthodox Church still defends Monophysitism and condemns the Council of Chalcedon as “divisive.”

Our understanding of the person of Christ has been hammered out in opposition to these heresies. Each new heretical theory forced Christians to return to the Scriptures in order to test the theory against the text. At each new controversy, Christians erected a new barrier against heresy. They were forced to say, “Scripture teaches this but not that. We may say it this way but not that way.” This process resulted in the adoption of several public summary statements, each of which was more specific than the one that preceded it.

At the end of the day, here is what we must affirm. If Jesus Christ were not true God, He could not be our savior. If Jesus Christ were not true human, He could not be our savior. If Jesus Christ were not one person, he could not be our savior. If the person of Christ were divided, then He could not be our savior. If the natures were combined or transmuted, then He could not be our savior. All of this belief is summarized and elaborated in the formula of Chalcedon.

Nothing is more important to Christianity than the incarnation of Jesus Christ. A false step here can lead us to deny the gospel and plunge us into apostasy. We learn about the old heresies so that we may confront the new ones. We confront the new ones so that we may keep the gospel pure. We aim for precision in our understanding of Jesus Christ so that we may trust Him and worship Him as He is, rather than worshiping a false Jesus whom we have manufactured in our own idolatrous hearts.

In one sense, we are indebted to the heretics. Everything that we need to know about Jesus Christ is in the text of Scripture. If we had not been challenged by the heretics, however, we never would have studied the Scriptures as they deserved to be studied. We never would have noticed the depth and texture and richness of the biblical teaching concerning the incarnation. The heretics have forced us to discover exactly what Scripture says and what it forbids us to say.

We cannot explain the incarnation. We cannot fully comprehend the notion of a theanthropic person. But we can learn to be precise in saying who He is and who He is not. We can know Him. We can trust Him. We can love Him. We can worship Him. Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing: O come, let us adore Him, Christ the Lord.

Christmas Carols Christina Rossetti (1830-1894)

Lo! Newborn Jesus
Soft and weak and small,
Wrapped in baby’s bands
By His Mother’s hands,
Lord God of all.

Lord God of Mary,
Whom His Lips caress
While He rocks to rest
On her milky breast
In helplessness.

Lord God of shepherds
Flocking through the cold.
Flocking through the dark
To the only Ark,
The only Fold.

Lord God of all things
Be they near or far,
Be they high or low;
Lord of storm and snow,
Angel and star.

Lord God of all men,—
My Lord and my God!
Thou who lovest me,
Keep me close to Thee
By staff and rod.

Lo! newborn Jesus
Loving great and small,
Love’s free Sacrifice,
Opening Arms and Eyes
To one and all.

This essay is by Dr. Kevin T. Bauder, president of Central Baptist Theological Seminary (Plymouth, MN).

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Posted in apostasy, blasphemy, Christianity, false doctrine, false teaching, heresy, jehovah's witness, Jehovah's witnesses, Jesus Christ, Jesus Only, modalism, Mormon, mormonism, Moshiach, oneness pentecostal, oneness pentecostalism, watchtower tract, Y'shua Hamashiach, Y'shua Hamashiach Moshiach, Yeshua Hamashiach | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Kenneth Copeland Video: Jesus Christ Had To Be Born Again

Posted by Job on December 15, 2007

This heresy that Kenneth Copeland, Fred Price, Joyce Meyer, Creflo Dollar, (all of whom just happen to be under investigation by Senator Charles Grassley, who incidentally supports Mitt Romney) and other famous Word of Faith teachers, Jesus Christ being born again, is called adoptionism, that Jesus Christ progressed to godhood. Mormons, if you might recall, have a very aggressive version of this doctrine that was rejected by the church in 268 AD when Paul of Samosata introduced it out of his belief that Jesus Christ could not have incarnated as flesh because of the dominant Greek pagan (Plato) doctrine in the culture of the time that spirit was good and matter was evil, and so the two cannot mix. Interestingly enough, that is the same reason why Roman Catholics claim that “Virgin” Mary had to have been immaculately conceived and never sinned … that Jesus Christ could not have been carried by the womb of a woman born in sin. That, incidentally, was the same position of Paul of Samosata.

Back to Mormonism, since Copeland, Price, Meyer, Dollar, and many others – in addition to claiming to be “little gods” through their perversion Psalm 82:6 of out of context (I am grateful for Bob George of Realanswers.net answering my email regarding this question back when I was still a Word of Faither), all that is required is to claim that God the Father also was a man who became God and the concept of pre – existence, which was given to us by Origen (who fans of Joseph Smith the prophet with 33 wives, some of them already married to other men, lived long after the time that the church supposedly fell into complete apostasy and took the teachings on pre – existence with it).

Courtesy of The Heresy Hunter.

From Crackle: Kenneth Copeland Jesus Christ Had To Be Born Again

Posted in apostasy, blasphemy, charismatic, false doctrine, false preacher, false preachers, false prophet, false religion, false teachers, false teaching, heresy, Jesus Christ, Kenneth Copeland, Mormon, mormonism, prosperity doctrine, Word of Faith | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

How The Oneness Pentecostal Jesus Only Doctrine Was Originally Justified

Posted by Job on December 1, 2007

Background information: my wife reports that while driving recently she was listening to a local religious call – in show on a gospel radio station. A caller, a recently saved fellow, told the pastor answering questions that he had just started attending a church whose pastor told him that he needed to be baptized in the name of Jesus only. He said that he related that information to his wife, who told him that he had to be baptized in the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. The call – in show pastor told the fellow that he should not listen to his wife, but rather the pastor, that he should be baptized in the name of Jesus only. This pastor then asserted “the Name Father, Son, and Holy Spirit has no power.”

First off, the claims by the Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Jesus only folks, etc. that the original apostolic doctrines were discarded and that their group is the true church restoring the true faith … well they have been around for awhile. The first known group to make this claim were the “adoptionists”, who claimed that Jesus Christ was born a mere man (though supremely virtuous), received God’s “anointing” at baptism, and did not reach divine status until His resurrection. This doctrine originated in 190 AD, and within a few decades  its followers started claiming that their doctrine was the original doctrine first given to universally accepted by the church until it was changed when the church was led by Zephyrinus, the bishop of Rome from 198 AD to 217 AD. Fortunately there were still people around that were alive before Zephyrinus became bishop of Rome to refute their lies, and further Hippolytus was easily able to trace documents, doctrines, and teachers into the first century, which was the apostolic era itself. So the same lies that Charles Taze Russell, Joseph Smith, and the neo – gnostics like Elaine Pagels and Dan Brown are currently pushing

Second, the notion that Jesus Christ and Michael the archangel were one and the same did not originate with Ellen G. White of the Seventh Day Adventist denomination. Instead, it was first proposed in a crude form by second century figure Hermas. The source of Hermas’ confusion on this matter seems to be that put the Holy Spirit in the place of Jesus Christ in his Similitudes writings. Also in those writings he described a council of six angels, with Michael as the lead, who were called most venerable, holy, and glorious, and were also were given supreme power over the people of God, to pronounce judgment, etc.

Third, the original Jesus only oneness pentecostal, a late second – early third century figure named Noetus, who along with his followers justified their doctrines by rejecting John 1:1-18 by refusing to interpret it literally. In those days, it was a common practice to resort to an “allegorical” or “spiritual” interpretation of scripture whenever one encountered something that they did not want to believe or obey. It was most commonly used to A) discard things in scripture that did not conform to the Hellenistic mindset and B) bash Jews, which appears to have been a beloved pasttime of the early church after the Jewish Christian – Gentile Christian schism. But of course allegorizing and outright taking things out of context was also broadly used by heretics, as it was in this case. Please keep in mind that the views of Noetus actually predated the Council of Nicea by 100 years and the Council of Constantinople, where the full Trinity doctrine was adopted, by over 150 years. Despite what the oneness crowd claims, “Jesus only” and similar was not the doctrine being debated at Nicea and Constantinople, but rather Arianism, which rejected both Christianity and oneness by claiming that Jesus Christ was a created being that was not divine. The Trinity doctrine, then, was fully articulated as a response to Jehovah’s Witness – ism, not modalism, which had been rejected over 100 years earlier. Please consider that it was in response to the teachings of Noetus that Tertullian became the first to refer God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit as “Persons”, and the document in which he did so was produced in 213 AD. Not that Tertullian was an innovator, but rather built on the writings of Irenaeus, and he on other church leaders.

Oh yes, and as to the claim that the early church baptized in the name of Jesus only, the Didache (the Teachings of The Twelve Apostles), which was written as early as 140 AD, says otherwise. So do the writings of Theophilus, who was born around 115 AD and became bishop of Antioch in 169 AD.  Not coincidentally, this same Theophilus is considered the first person to use the word “Trinity.”

Source: Early Christian Doctrines by J.N.D. Kelly.

Posted in Christianity, jehovah's witness, Jehovah's witnesses, Jesus Christ, Jesus Only, modalism, oneness pentecostal, oneness pentecostalism, watchtower tract | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 53 Comments »

 
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