Arminian Today

A Jesus-Centered Arminian Blog

Doing Something With Jesus

I have often said that whenever the doctrine of the Trinity is denied, the group that does the denying must do something with Jesus.  The Father is usually not attacked.  The Father is usually held up as the eternal God but groups who deny the doctrine of the Trinity must do something with Jesus and it is Jesus who is usually attacked and demoted.  The Holy Spirit is often altogether ignored.

Consider two groups who are similar in many ways: the Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Oneness Pentecostals.  Both are Arians.  Both find the theological heritage in Arius and his condemned teachings.  Arius said that there was a time when the Son was not.  Arius viewed God the Father as the eternal God and the one that we must worship but Jesus is viewed as a created being and less than the Father though still the Son of God.  Arius reasoned that since God is one and the Father is God, the Son cannot be God logically lest there be another god.  Therefore, the Son is a created being though exalted by the Father.

Now consider the Jehovah’s Witness (JW hereafter).  The JW’s teach that Jehovah God alone is God.  Jehovah is the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Jesus is the supreme creation of God and He is Michael in the Old Testament.  JW’s (after 1954) forbid people for worshipping Jesus Christ.  They teach that Jesus is wonderful, our example, our Savior but He is not God.  He is a creation of God and the firstborn of Jehovah’s creation (Colossians 1:15).  The New World Translation follows the JW bias but denying the Lord Jesus His full deity in passages such as John 1:1.  In JW teaching, Jesus is the Son of God but He had a beginning and He has an ending as well when in eternity Jehovah alone will be worshiped as the true and living God (John 17:3; 1 Corinthians 15:24).  The point here is that Jesus is less than the Father (Jehovah) and He is a created being.

Oneness Pentecostals are not much different.  They will declare that Jesus is God which makes them separate from JW’s but Jesus the Son is not eternal.  Only the Father is eternal.  In Oneness teaching, there is only one God (which is biblically true) and since there is only one God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost are all the same God (true) but not persons but instead are manifestations of the one true God (this is a heresy called Sabellianism).  Jesus is the one true God in Oneness Pentecostal teaching but only Jesus is God.  Thus Jesus is the Father, Jesus is the Son, and Jesus is the Holy Ghost.  Jesus the Father alone is eternal.  The Son had a beginning in Oneness teaching.  The Son is not eternal but only came to be in Luke 1:35.  Until Jesus the Son was born in Bethlehem, He did not exist as the Son but only as the Father.  So the Son is not the eternal God but only the Father is the eternal God (Jehovah).

Do you see the link?  The JW’s teach that Jehovah alone is God (the Father) and the Oneness Pentecostals teach that only Jesus the Father is eternal.  Both deny that the Son is eternal.  Both teach that the Son had a beginning and has an ending.  Jesus the Son is not important as much as the Father is.

In Trinitarian theology, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are all the one true and living God.  There is only one God and He is revealed in Scripture as three persons in the one Godhead.  While the mystery of the Trinity is not easy to grasp, we must do something with Jesus.  Jesus is called God in the Bible (John 1:1, 14, 18; 20:28; Romans 9:5) and He shares in many aspects of divinity along with the Father and the Spirit.  Jesus spoke of His Father as distant from Him but He never made Himself less than the Father.  Jesus viewed Himself equal to His Father (John 10:30) and yet as the Messiah, He was perfectly obedient to His Father (Hebrews 5:8).  Jesus said He came from heaven (John 3:13) and He said He came from the Father (John 17:5).  Hebrews 1:3 says that the Father created the entire worlds though Jesus Christ the Son.  If Jesus is a created being, how can this be?  Philippians 2:5-11 is clear that Jesus is equal to God and He took upon Himself the form of a servant to do the will of His Father.

Time does not permit me to defend the deity of the Spirit but He too shares in the personality of God.  The Spirit is not a force as in JW teaching or a part of Jesus the Father but instead the Spirit is very much a Person who does the works of God.  The Spirit is co-equal, co-eternal with the Father and with the Son.

Jesus is where we find our problems.  Those who deny the Trinity must denounce and dethrone Jesus.  Jesus has to become less than the Father or less than God.  In Islam, Jesus is a great prophet but certainly not God.  In JW, Jesus is a created being but not the eternal God.  In Oneness Pentecostalism, Jesus is the name of the one true God but Jesus the Son only came to be when the Holy Ghost caused Mary to be impregnated.  In Mormonism, Jesus is a son of God like we all are and in fact He is a son along with Lucifer.  In Arianism, Jesus was a created being who is less than the Father.  In Sabellianism Jesus is part of a manifestation or mode of God but certainly there is no Trinity.

We stumble over Jesus just as Scripture predicts (1 Peter 2:6-8).  We must do something with Jesus.  I choose to worship Him and adore Him and praise Him and preach Him (1 Corinthians 2:1-5).

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Written by The Seeking Disciple

09/28/2015 at 12:11 AM

5 Responses

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  1. Not that I disagree with your overall conclusions but, “Jesus spoke of His Father as distant from Him but He never made Himself less than the Father” will be difficult to defend in light of John 14:28.

    stephenwinters

    09/28/2015 at 9:27 AM

    • I don’t see John 14:28 as teaching that Jesus is less than the Father for it would deny the fact that Jesus had been saying He was equal with the Father earlier in the passage (John 14:7-11). Jesus gave up the full glory with His Father (John 17:5) and became an obedient slave to His Father (Philippians 2:5-11) so in light of this He was saying that the glory of the Father was greater than the glory He had revealed on earth (as it was hidden in His incarnation). Jesus was going back to share equal glory with the Father would be greater because His humiliation as the Son of Man would be over. Jesus now shares in His Father’s glory in heaven as He prays for us (Hebrews 7:25) before the Father.

      • I think you made the right choice in seeing it as due to the incarnation.

        stephenwinters

        09/28/2015 at 7:51 PM

      • Thank you brother.

    • But thank you brother for the comment. I do appreciate them.


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