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 ‘modalistic monarchianism’

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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TBN Says The Oneness Pentecostal Jesus Only Cult Was Founded In 1913

Posted by Job on August 14, 2007

From “The Asuza Street Revival: The Holy Spirit In America 100 Years”, Special Centennial TBN Edition, Published By Charisma House ( by Eddie L. Hyatt copyright 2006 on page 53. I must ask: have you accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior? If not, follow this link The Three Step Salvation Plan With their denying Matthew 28: 19 ( see who Oneness Pentecostals are walking in agreement with and how here: Why Do Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, And Oneness Pentecostals Agree? Also, see what they will never understand What Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Jews, Muslims, and Oneness Pentecostals Don’t Understand

At a highly publicized Pentecostal camp meeting in Los Angeles in 1913, one of the speakers noted in passing that the record in Acts indicated that the apostles baptized in the name of Jesus Christ rather than in the traditional formula of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. One of the attendees, intrigued by what he heard, spend the night studying and meditating on the name of Jesus. In the early morning hours he ran through the camp shouting that God had revealed to him the truth of baptism in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.

One of those attending the camp meeting was Pastor Frank Ewart, who was profoundly impacted by what he heard. He spent the next year quietly studying the issue and then decided it was time to act. He set up a tent in Belvedere, near Los Angeles, and with another Pentecostal evangelist, Glenn Cook, began preaching that baptism was to be in the name of “Jesus only.” They also set up a baptismal tank under the tent and baptized each other according to the newly discovered formula. (My note: this indicates that these folks felt that the prior baptisms were invalid and that Trinitarian Christians were not really saved. Oneness Pentecostals used to take a very hard line against Trinitarian Christians that most – but not all! – have backed away from.) From Los Angeles, the teaching spread rapidly, gaining adherents and stirring heated controversy.

Along with the doctrine of baptism in the name of Jesus Christ only (my note, the text in the book said “in the Name of Jesus Christ” to try to soften it) the Oneness Pentecostals developed a parallel theory of the Godhead that says that the terms “Father”, “Son”, and “Holy Spirit” refer to the same person in different modes of existence or relationship. (Note: this is MODALISM or Sabellianism , long known as an ancient heresey that was rejected by the church LONG BEFORE NICEA. Please note this link, which says “The chief opponent of Sabellianism was Tertullian, who labelled the movement “Patripassianism”, from the Latin words pater for “father”, and passus from the verb “to suffer” because it implied that the Father suffered on the Cross.” Tertullian lived from 155 to 230, Nicea was in 325. This shows that the Trinity doctrine was created by Roman paganism IS A LIE. The notion that the early church was unitarian IS A LIE. Tertullian lived less than 75 years after the final book of the New Testament was written.) Just as a person in different relationships may be a father, a son, and a brother, so Jesus is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit they said.

By 1916 the teaching had gained so many adherents that it was the central issue at the 1916 council of the Assemblies of God. The council voted for a statement of faith that strongly endorsed the historic doctrine of Trinity and baptism in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. (In other words, they decided to obey Jesus Christ in Matthew 28:19 instead of some preacher with a three year old doctrine that had already been discredited 1700 years prior.) As a result, 156 of the 585 ministers left the organization along with the churches that they represented.

The Oneness Pentecostals founded the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World, which is primarily black, and the United Pentecostal Church, which is primarily white. Much later, in 1971, the Apostolic World Christian Fellowship was formed to give unity to the many Oneness Pentecostal churches, fellowships, and denominations. The organization gew to represent 3.5 million people.

A Source: The International Dictionary of Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements page 39.

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