Pt. 4 Ch. 1. Is Christ Truly God: The Doctrines That Divide By Erwin Lutzer (NKJV)
October 10, 2018
One God or Three Gods
In this section, we will go through a little theological history on a few of the topics of debate. One stream of thought known as “Monarchianism”, became a widely held belief by many in the church during the third century. It is pronounced Mo-nar-chi-an-ism, meaning “one ruler.” Some taught that one God wore three different hats. Lutzer said in his book “the so-called three persons were actually modes in which the one person manifests himself.” Christ and The Holy Spirit were actually God The Father.” Some Churches still hold to Monarchianism. Just like one man can be a father, son, and a husband. Alternatively, how water can be in the form of liquid, ice, or steam. When you think about it, from a human standpoint it’s not that far-fetched an idea.
Monarchianism would support the true deity of Christ. It seems simple enough a doctrine to accept. We can easily take verses like John 17: 22 “And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one:”; 1st Cor. 8: 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.”; 2nd Cor. 3: 17 “Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.”; and Col. 2: 9 “For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily;” These are just a few verses that can be used to spin a web of doctrinal error lickety-split.
Taking verses of scripture out of context like that is the foundation of all false doctrine. This idea definitely made Christ God, however, it forced God The Father to become the Incarnate Son. Lutzer said, “Noetus, one of its leaders wrote, “When the Father had not yet been born, he became the Son, he of himself and not of another.” That sounds so intellectual, which is really the problem. It is extremely difficult for men and women who hold Ph.D.’s not to lean to their own understanding. Remember, the Apostle Paul said knowledge puffs up. Sometimes I think Christians hold too tightly to what some theologians teach because some of that stuff can rot your brain and corrupt one’s heart. Being Born Again and Baptized (filled) in The Holy Spirit is a must:
1st John 2: 27 “But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him.”
Even though the scripture says in Heb. 1: 1″God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, 2 has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds;” these verses do not imply that we will not receive revelation knowledge from The Holy Spirit concerning what God The Father has spoken through His Son.
The church eventually judged Monarchianism as heresy. This teaching could not account for those instances when God The Father clearly to and about His Son:
Matt. 3: 17 “And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”; 17: 4 “Then Peter answered and said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, let us make here three tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” 5 While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and suddenly a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!” In addition, Heb. 1: 5 “For to which of the angels did He ever say: “You are My Son, Today I have begotten You”? And again: “I will be to Him a Father, And He shall be to Me a Son”?
I have spoken to myself on occasion by way of encouragement. I think we all have from time to time. Even King David found himself in a situation where he needed to encourage himself because his own people wanted to stone him (1st Sam. 30). We are human, and sometimes we need to speak The Word of God to our soul and into our lives. However, we cannot impute our human needs and or behavior onto The Godhead. I will close with another quote from The Doctrines That Divide.
“Tertullian of North Africa (ca. 160-215), one of the first theologians to affirm the tri-personality of God, accused the Monarchians of denying the Holy Spirit and believing that God the Father was crucified. This doctrine was never a serious threat to Christendom as a whole. Though it still survives today among some who belong to the Jesus only sect, it has largely passed off the scene. Of course, we can fall into this ancient heresy when we thank God the father for dying on the cross for us. Doctrinal accuracy requires that the persons of the Trinity be kept distinct.”
I am in complete agreement with Lutzer’s assessment. You see, I have a distinct relationship with my Heavenly Father. I know He did not spill blood on the cross for me because blood never ran through His veins. I don’t think He has veins, He is filled with the Shekinah Glory. He is also my Heavenly Father, and He looks upon me as His son. While Christ is my big brother, my Lord or Master, and I serve and worship Him as such. The Holy Spirit is my Comforter, Helper, Teacher, Guide, and Revelator. Three distinct individuals whom I have distinct relationships with. However, they are One in unity and in essence command equal love and respect. To be continued…