If someone tells you they have discovered a new understanding of the Bible, skepticism is called for. After all:
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. (Hebrews 13:8.)
God is who he is, always has been, and will ever be. His word the Bible, likewise, reveals who he is, who he always has been, and who he will ever be.
Some people are saying otherwise.
Degrading Jesus in the Patriarchal Camp
There are efforts to come up with a new understanding of God, and they are directed at the heart of who God is: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We call this the doctrine of the Trinity, and it has been expressed for 2000 years based on what the Bible says about God.
Some patriarchy proponents have created an agenda that goes beyond biblical doctrine, though, and seeks to subject all women to the authority of all men for eternity by comparing the male/female relationship to the relationship between God the Father and God the Son. They subordinate Jesus to a position of being a lesser God and then say this is the same with women to men.
The point of my post today, though, is not to weigh in on the Trinitarian debate except to say that CBMW (The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood) and those aligned with it in their rewriting of Trinitarian doctrine are wrong, and so wrong that their error rises to the level of heresy which blasphemes Jesus Christ. (See these responses to the bad doctrine for more detail: Liam Goligher’s On the Word “Heresy”, Aimee Byrd’s A Plea to CBMW, and Rachel Green Miller’s Does the Son Eternally Submit to the Authority of the Father?)
Rather, the reason I write today is to point out a related and pernicious danger. It is the rhetoric of those who fall into heresy, who leave orthodox teachings that rest on the words of the Bible and rewrite it as heterodox teaching that strays from biblical foundation. Rachel Green Miller identified some of the rhetorical devices common to these error-filled teachings:
Every heterodox theologian in history, back to Arius, will eventually respond the same way to critics:
1. You’ve misunderstood … because …
2. I’m using the same orthodox words you use … except
3. I’ve changed the meanings .. so yeah we may disagree … but…
4. Can’t we all just be friends? Unity!
The Arian Heresy
Who is Arius? One of the earliest theologians to deny the full divinity of Jesus, Arias taught that God the Son is a lesser god than God the Father and that there was a time before God the Son existed. He also used various words and phrases, changing them as necessary to ward of those who tried to correct his blasphemous teachings. (See Ronald Hanko’s The Arian Controversy.)
His tactics did not win the day, but they did wreak havoc while they lasted. His rhetoric was his main weapon and it is one that continues to wreak havoc in the church. How do you combat it?
The Bible has the answer, and it is found in a group of people who dealt wisely with the teachings of the Apostle Paul. He came to the town of Berea and spoke of things in a way they had not heard before. Yet it turned out that he was preaching nothing new, but rather something firmly grounded in Scripture and now fulfilled: the long-promised Messiah of Israel had come in Jesus Christ.
As soon as it was night, the believers sent Paul and Silas away to Berea. On arriving there, they went to the Jewish synagogue. Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. As a result, many of them believed, as did also a number of prominent Greek women and many Greek men. (Acts 17:10-12.)
This is how you know whether a person is teaching something that is true: it matches up with Scripture. That’s what the Bereans did and they were called noble for their efforts.
And this is what is needed with the heresies coming from CBMW and its adherents. They say God the Son is less than God the Father by nature and in turn they subordinate the Holy Spirit as well. But the Bible says the nature of God is such that none is less than another. (See Francis J. Beckwith’s The Trinity.)
Do not let shifting rhetorical devices fool you. There may be new ways to teach about God, but there is nothing new to teach about him.
What has been will be again,
what has been done will be done again;
there is nothing new under the sun.
Is there anything of which one can say,
“Look! This is something new”?
It was here already, long ago;
it was here before our time. (Ecclesiastes 1:9-10.)
Jesus is God, all God
As Jesus said of himself and his heavenly Father:
I and the Father are one. (John 10:30.)
If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him. … Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. (John 14:7, 9.)
It is because of this that Paul wrote:
For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form … . (Colossians 2:9.)
Check what Scripture has to say on everything you are taught about God. Reject the falsehoods, cling to the truth, and worship Jesus Christ as God your Savior.