Pt. 9 Ch. 1. Is Christ Truly God: The Doctrines That Divide-By Erwin Lutzer (NKJV)
November 12, 2018
Before we begin with the renowned theologian Athanasius, we do not want to lose sight of the term sectarianism, which is: 1. a narrow-minded adherence to a particular sect or party or denomination 2. bigot, dogmatist, dogmatizer, partisan (also partizan) Both definitions are nouns. Synonyms: illiberal, insular, Lilliputian, little, narrow, narrow-minded, parochial, petty, picayune, provincial, small, small-minded.
As stated in a previous post, Athanasius was a Church father and the chief defender of Trinitarians. At the age of 27, this man was a noted Egyptian leader of the fourth century. His conflict with Arius and Arianism help to shape his career in 325 A.D. at the council. You can find more information on Athanasius or any of these men at your public local library or on the internet. He proposed, “(1) Christ and the Holy Spirit are fully God; (2) both are, in some sense, distinct from one another and from the Father; and (3) God is One”.
Lutzer goes on to say in his book, as you may recall; he believed that Christ was “true God of true God, begotten not made, of one substance with the Father”. He introduced the Greek term ‘Homoousion’, which meant “of one substance”. This became the basis for what we know as “The Nicene Creed”. According to this Creed, Christ was God without qualification. But even The Nicene Creed is flawed.
This debate went on for several days. Eusebius, a historian of Christianity, exegete, and brilliant Christian apologist attempted to bridge the gap by siding with the Arians by saying that Christ was of a different substance of the Father. He also concluded that Christ was divine. Apparently, he wanted nothing but to please the Emperor. There are Christians right now, in this day and time who are willing to believe certain things because they are people pleasers. Sometimes we need to step back and take an objective look at our lives, and recall the words of the Apostles Paul and John:
Phil. 2: 12 “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for HIS GOOD PLEASURE.”
Gal. 1:10 “9 As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed. 10 For do I now persuade men, or God? OR DO I SEEK TO PLEASE MEN? FOR IF I STILL PLEASED MEN, I WOULD NOT BE A BONDSERVANT OF CHRIST.”
Rev. 4: 11 “You are worthy, O Lord, To receive glory and honor and power; For You created all things, And by Your will (PLEASURE) they exist and were created.”
Paul suggested that we work out our own salvation; we are not to allow others to work it out for us. Yet, we persist in doing so by following after the traditions of men. We don’t give God the opportunity to work His will and good pleasure in our lives. We have become like parrots reciting the creeds and traditions of denominations every Sunday. We are supposed to be BONDSERVANTS OF CHRIST; not bondservants of the traditions of men, which bring about segregation.
Athanasius had this understanding; the three persons of the Godhead were not separate, because that would bring about polytheism. This was the belief and worship of multiple gods. Therefore, this belief would be a violation of not only the New Testament but also the Old Testament scripture. 1st Tim. 2: 5 “For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time,”
1st Cor. 8: 5 “For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as there are many gods and many lords), 6 yet for us there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we for Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and through whom we live.”
Isaiah 44: 6 “Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel, And his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts: ‘I am the First and I am the Last; Besides Me there is no God.” Yet, Jesus said He was the First and the Last. (Revelation 1:17-18)
Isaiah 43: 11 “I, even I, am the Lord, And besides Me there is no savior.” Yet, Paul said Jesus Christ was God and Savior. (Titus 2:13)
Athanasius submitted that they shared “oneness of substance and essence”. Lutzer quoted Reinhold Seeberg in saying, “that Athanasius realized that “only if Christ is God without qualification, has God entered humanity, and only then have fellowship with God, the forgiveness of sins, the truth of God, and immortality been certainly brought to men.” To be continued…