The following is an excellent lecture by Robert Godfrey on the heresy that Jesus Christ is not God, eternally begotten of the Father.
During the first centuries of the church’s existence, there were times when heresy seemed to have won the day. In this session, Dr. W. Robert Godfrey will reflect on the experience of Athanasius and affirm the calling of Christians to stand against the world, explain that we will have trouble in this world, and remind us of the importance of standing firm against attacks on the person and work of Christ. This message is from our 2014 National Conference, Overcoming the World.
Let’s not be led astray by the Gnostic heresy, which in the early church was that Jesus was not human but only God, with a spirit body, and thus He could die and be resurrected. But because He was God He could endure the crucifixion. So John wrote in two letters, 1,John and 2,John to warn against this.
For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.2 John 1:7
So the argument is that Jesus was fully human ALSO. He was God yes, that was already accepted, but that He was human also and suffered as we do in the flesh.
Who is he that overcomes the world, but he that believes that Jesus is the Son of God? 6 This is He that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that bears witness, because the Spirit is truth. 7 For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. 8 And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.1 John 5:5-9
And we know that the Son of God is come, and has given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.1 John 5:20
Jesus like the Father and the Holy Spirit are self-existent, always being uncreated before the world (universe) was.
And now, O Father, glorify You Me with Your own self with the glory which I had with You before the world was.John 17:5
This indicates as do many scriptures that Jesus existed before the creation. John 1:1-3 and 14 tells us Jesus, the Logos (the Word) created all things.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 The same was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made by Him; and without Him was not any thing made that was made. 14 And the Word was made [became] flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.John 1:1-3 & 14
He is self-existent, the I AM, which Jesus said Himself many times, quoted in the gospels of John and Matthew (listed here). A self-existent being certainly qualifies to be the Almighty God, the Creator.
Now I can really relate to what Thomas said when He met Jesus after the resurrection.
And Thomas answered and said unto Him, My Lord and my God.John 20:28
But to the Son He says, Your throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of Your kingdom.Hebrews 1:8
In both verses the Greek for “God” is Theos, which by Hebraism (Hebrew writers) means the Almighty God.
G2316 θεός theos (the-os’) n.
- (properly, in Greek) a god or deity. a supernatural, powerful entity (real or imagined).
- (by Hebraism, especially with G3588) God, the Supreme Being, the Creator, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, Yahweh by name.
- (figuratively) a supreme magistrate (in the land).
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3 replies on “Against the World: Jesus Christ Is God”
Thank you, Dr. Hartnett. I appreciate this solid theological offering.
I do wish Godfrey had gone into much more detail about what Arians believe and why, and exactly how they twist the Scripture; and explained the various contemporary expressions of the same, aside from JWs.
I also wish he had somehow included discussion of the related first centuries heresy of Modalism, which I find to be even more extensive in the current theological mix, often hiding under an orthodox/evangelical umbrella (e.g., TD Jakes).
You may already know that the denomination called Apostolic Church does not accept the Holy Spirit as God, but only the Father and the Son as God? They do not accept Trinitarianism or Unitarianism (Arianism (Jesus is a special angelic creation) or Socinianism (Jesus was just a special man)). Then there is semi-Trinitarian and semi-Arian theology and these date back to at least the 4th century. None of this stuff is new. It is true the word “Trinity” is not in the Bible, but it would seem that that is what most modern debates have revolved around. So one person might claim “truth” when another also claims “truth” so where is the resolution? The way the churches have dealt with this through the ages is they formed different denominations and formulated their own statements of faith. I’ll stick with the orthodox Trinitarian view any day. It is supported all through the scriptures.
Yes, the “Apostolic” label on a church often is synonymous with a Modalist perspective, or some form of Unitarianism. However, there are places where that is not so, such as in parts of Europe and in certain Black Pentecostal churches in the US. There are at least 1/4 million Modalists in Latin America, usually the result of United Pentecostal Church (UPC) missionaries from the USA. Some are openly anti-Trinitarian, others tend to cloak it behind Father-Son-Holy Spirit terminology (like TD Jakes in the USA), knowing that to come out openly as anti-Trinitarians they would become the target of critics.