Penal Substitution: Nothing But The Blood

For over 130 years, many orthodox Christians have sang and are singing Robert Lowry’s (1826 –1899) treasured hymn with joy, delight and awesome conviction that the Old and the New Testaments testify that “Nothing but the blood of Jesus” can wash away our sin, make us whole again, white as snow, and our sin atone. “Naught of good that [we] have done”. Nothing but the blood of Jesus is Christians’ hope and peace. This is all their righteousness. “Glory! Glory! This [they] sing—Nothing but the blood of Jesus, All [their] praise for this [they] bring”.

The story is changing. The blood of Jesus shed for our sin, in our place as God’s grace, mercy and forgiveness is nothing than “a footnote to a gospel that is much richer, grander, and more alive, a gospel that calls you to become a disciple and to disciple others, in authentic community, for the good of the world”(McLaren 2003: 215)

The notion of God so loved the fallen world (John 3:16) that He did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all (Rom. 8:32), a demonstration of His own love for us while we were still sinners (Rom. 5:8) Christ died for us, so that by the grace of God, Jesus suffered and tasted death for everyone (Heb. 2:9) and we, thus, might live through him (1 John 4:9) since his atoning sacrifice (1 John 4:10) has freed us from our sins by his blood (Rev. 1:5) is sadistic and masochistic and in fact a form of cosmic child abuse, we are told.

In Recovering the Scandal of the Cross, Joel B. Green and Mark D. Baker, misrepresented penal substitution, I believe, as “God takes on the role of the sadist inflicting punishment, while Jesus, in his role as masochist, readily embraces suffering” (Green & Baker 2000: 30). They contented that “It will not do, therefore, to characterize the atonement as God‘s punishment falling on Christ” (ibid 113)

A Baptist minister, Steve Chalke, lines with Green and Baker, as he expounded:

The fact is that the cross isn’t a form of cosmic child abuse—a vengeful Father, punishing his Son for an offence he has not even committed. Understandably, both people inside and outside of the Church have found this twisted version of events morally dubious and a huge barrier to faith. Deeper than that, however, is that such a concept stands in total contradiction to the statement: God is love”. If the cross is a personal act of violence perpetrated by God towards humankind but borne by his Son, then it makes a mockery of Jesus’ own teaching to love your enemies and to refuse to repay evil with evil.’(Chalke 2003: 182-3)

Is it true that Christ Jesus representing us as he lived, dead and rose again to bore our penalty by his blood a form of cosmic child abuse? What is Old and New Testaments understanding of Christ atoning work? I believe it is in the context of redemptive history as told in the Old and New Testaments that we can begin to understand the notion of Christ Jesus’ death.

Puzzling that N. T. Wright endorsed Chalke’s The Lost Message of Jesus, he correctly warned us that it is “to easy to belittle [the interpretation of Jesus’ death]”. Wright agrees that each model has its point to make. “But important though” is the model of Jesus “’representing’ his people, and through them the whole world” since it is “not only in the gospels but in Paul and elsewhere, it will scarcely carry all the weight required”. He explained,

There is too, third [first being exemplary, second representing], a massive sense in which Jesus’ death is penal. Jesus has announced God’s imminent judgment on his rebel people, a judgment that would consist of devastation at the hands of Rome. He then goes ahead of his people to take precisely that judgment, literally, physically and historically upon himself, ‘ Not only in theological truth, but in historic fact, the one bore the sins of the many’ This is both penal and substitutionary, but it is far bigger and less open to objection than some other expressions of that theory. Once you put it together with the previous model (Jesus as Messiah representing Israel and hence the world), you draw the sting of the main objections that have been advanced against it. (Wright 2011: 181)

I believe Wright is very correct. In the next article, I will begin with Passover Lamb of Exodus 12, sacrificial system of Leviticus 14 – 16, and the suffering Servant of Isaiah 52- 53 to show that “without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin.” (Hebrews 9:22 ), “the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”(Matt 20:28 ESV emp. added) and that “Christ Jesus’ blood of the covenant,[…] is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins”(26:28 ESV).

Question: Why did N. T. Wright, who defended superbly penal substitution model in his works, endorsed Steve Chalke’s The Lost Message of Jesus which rejects this model?

Next: Penal Substation: The Lamb and the Suffering Servant

Previous: Penal Substitution: In My Place He Stood

Bibliography:

McLaren, Brian (2003). “The Method, the Message, and the Ongoing Story” in The Church in Emerging Culture: Five Perspectives. Leonard I. Sweet, Andy Crouch, Frederica Mathewes-Green, Brian D. McLaren, Erwin Raphael McManus, Michael S. Horton.

Green, Joel B. & Baker, Mark D. (2000). Recovering the Scandal of the Cross. Downers Grove: Inter Varsity.

Chalke, Steve (2003). The Lost Message of Jesus: Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

Wright, Tom (2011). Simply Jesus: Who he was, what he did, why it matters. HarperCollins Publishers.

Bloody photograph is from Dexter.

John the Golden-Mouthed On John 3:16

John the Golden-mouthed of Antioch, John Chrysostom(ca. 347-407), is arguably the greatest preacher of the patristic era. He was tutored the art of rhetoric by the finest pagan orator Libanius and studied theology under Diodore of Tarsus in a monastery near Antioch that emphasized on a historical and grammatical exegesis of the Scripture.

Michael Duduit elucidated that “John was nurtured to the faith by his pious mother, Anthusa. His early religious education was shaped by Meletius, the bishop of Antioch, and Diodorus, the leader of a catechetical school in the city”(Duduit 1992: 24)

Reading Chrysostom’s homilies on the Gospel of John, I unquestionably concur with Duiduit, that the Golden-mouthed’s exposition and application of Scripture  “are a treasure of spiritual insight.” Here is a petite teaser of John 3:16:

For by the expression, “so loved,” and that other, “God the world,” He shows the great strength of His love. Large and infinite was the interval between the two. He, the immortal, who is without beginning, the Infinite Majesty, they but dust and ashes, full of ten thousand sins, who, ungrateful, have at all times offended Him; and these He “loved.” Again, the words which He added after these are alike significant, when He saith, that “He gave His Only-begotten Son,” not a servant, not an Angel, not an Archangel. And yet no one would show such anxiety for his own child, as God did for His ungrateful servants.[…]

Let us now be abashed at His love, let us be ashamed at the excess of His lovingkindness, since He for our sakes spared not His Only-begotten Son, yet we spare our wealth to our own injury; He for us gave His Own Son, but we for Him do not so much as despise money, nor even for ourselves. And how can these things deserve pardon? If we see a man submitting to sufferings and death for us, we set him before all others, count him among our chief friends, place in his hands all that is ours, and deem it rather his than ours, and even so do not think that we give him the return that he deserves. But towards Christ we do not preserve even this degree of right feeling. He laid down His life for us, and poured forth His precious Blood for our sakes, who were neither well-disposed nor good, while we do not pour out even our money for our own sakes, and neglect Him who died for us, when He is naked and a stranger; and who shall deliver us from the punishment that is to come?

I highly recommend his 88 homilies on the Gospel of John to those who are doing expository preaching through God-treasuring Gospel according to John.

Bibliography:

Duduit, M. (1992). Handbook of Contemporary Preaching (24). Nashville, TN: Broadman Press.

John Chrysostom. (1889). Homilies of St. John Chrysostom, Archbishop of Constantinople, on the Gospel of St. John G. T. Stupart, Trans.). In P. Schaff (Ed.), A Select Library of the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church, First Series, Volume XIV: Saint Chrysostom: Homilies on the Gospel of St. John and Epistle to the Hebrews (P. Schaff, Ed.) (95). New York: Christian Literature Company.

Did Muhammad Understand Trinity?

“The Trinity “seen” in the Quran is not the Trinity of the Apostles Creed, or of the Nicene Creed” correctly observed Robert A. Morey.

John Paul Stevens, former Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United Stated, captured the habit of his mentor Wiley Rutledge as “of understanding before disagreeing.”(Stevens 1956: 179-198) I am not sure if Muslims’ scholars could say the same to their founder prophet Muhammad (ca. 570 – 632 A.D) when it comes to his understanding of early Church’s doctrine of Triune God viz., One God in three distinct Persons.

I believe Muhammad failed to understand this teaching before he disagreed. Muhammad asserted that Christians, People of the Scripture, believed in three distinct gods, the Father(Allah), Son(Isa) and Mary. [I am very open for correction, if I failed to understand Muhammad’s position.]

In Sura 5.115-6, 5.73-75a and 4.171, Muhammad wrote expounded:

Allah said: Lo! I send it down for you. And whoso disbelieveth of you afterward, him surely will I punish with a punishment wherewith I have not punished any of (My) creatures. And when Allah saith: O Jesus, son of Mary! Didst thou say unto mankind: Take me and my mother for two gods beside Allah? he saith: Be glorified! It was not mine to utter that to which I had no right. If I used to say it, then Thou knewest it. Thou knowest what is in my mind, and I know not what is in Thy Mind. Lo! Thou, only Thou, art the Knower of Things Hidden?

They surely disbelieve who say: Lo! Allah is the third of three[thalithu thalathatin]; when there is no Allah save the One Allah. If they desist not from so saying a painful doom will fall on those of them who disbelieve. Will they not rather turn unto Allah and seek forgiveness of Him? For Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. The Messiah, son of Mary, was no other than a messenger, messengers (the like of whom) had passed away before him. And his mother was a saintly woman. And they both used to eat (earthly) food.

O People of the Scripture! Do not exaggerate in your religion nor utter aught concerning Allah save the truth. The Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, was only a messenger of Allah, and His word which He conveyed unto Mary, and a spirit from Him. So believe in Allah and His messengers, and say not “Three”[ thalathatun] – Cease! (it is) better for you! – Allah is only One Allah. Far is it removed from His Transcendent Majesty that He should have a son. His is all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth. And Allah is sufficient as Defender.

Philip Schaff observed that Koran’s understanding of Jesus(Isa) the Son of Mary is a mixture of facts and apocryphal fictions. According to Koran, Isa “is not the Son of God; for as God has no wife, he can have no son”. Schaff noted that:

“In rude misconception or willful perversion, Mohammed seems to have understood the Christian doctrine of the trinity to be a trinity of Father, Mary, and Jesus. The Holy Spirit is identified with Gabriel. “God is only one God! Far be it from his glory that he should have a son!” Sura 4, ver. 169; comp. 5, ver. 77. The designation and worship of Mary as “the mother of God” may have occasioned this strange mistake. There was in Arabia in the fourth century a sect of fanatical women called Collyridians, who rendered divine worship to Mary. Epiphanius, Haer. 79.” ( Schaff, History of the Christian Church, CCEL)

If Muhammad received his revelation from angle Gabriel, should not he then have understood what the early Church meant by One God who is of three distinct Persons, namely the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit? I will let my Muslim friends who love thinking and wrestling with hard questions help me understand.

Question to Muslim Scholars: Am I correct to believe that Muhammad failed to understand the early Church concept of Trinity?

N.B: The question is not whether Trinity is true, but Muhammad’s understanding of it.

Bibliography:

Stevens, John Paul. 1956. Mr. Justice Rutledge. In Mr. Justice, ed. Allison Dunham and Philip B. Kurland,. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

The Quran (M. M. Pickthall, Ed.). Medford, MA: Perseus Digital Library.

Docetism: Jesus The Illusionist

A Docetist argues that Christ Jesus only seemed to be (Gk. δοκέω – dokeō) human. He appeared to be a Jewish man but he did not possess a true corporal earthly body. Swayed by Gnosticism, that assumes the material creation is innately evil, it is foolish and shameful, according to a gnostic docetist, to think that Logos, who was in form of God, would take upon Himself an unworthy form of a creature.

Millard J. Erickson explained:

Docetism is in essence a Christology heavily influenced by basic Greek assumptions of both the Platonic and Aristotelian varieties. Plato taught the idea of gradations of reality. Spirit or mind or thought is the highest. Matter or the material is less real. With this distinction of ontological gradations of reality, there came to be ethical gradations as well. Thus, matter came to be thought of as morally bad. (Erickson 1998: 729)

Geisler quotes Bettenson explanation of docetism as “[t]he assertion that Christ’s human body was a phantasm, and that his suffering and death were mere appearances. ‘If he suffered he was not God; if he was God he did not suffer’ ” (Geisler 1999: 202)

Mühlenberg informs that the earliest reference to the concept of docetism is found in the letters of Ignatius of Antioch (d. ca. 107) to the churches of Asia Minor. He explained that these epistles Ignatius warned the churches “to beware of false teachers who maintain that Jesus Christ “only appeared to suffer” and thus to undergo birth, eating and drinking, persecution and crucifixion under Pontius Pilate, and resurrection in appearance only.”(Mühlenberg 2003: 862).

In Elucidations, Clement of Alexandria explicated that the doctrine of Christ Jesus only appeared human, namely “docetism of Cassian, who had presumed to speak of the body of Jesus as a phantasm”(Robert Ed 1885: 407), is destructive to the Christ of the Gospel.

North African Carthaginian, Tertullian(c. 160 – c. 225) joined forces in condemning Gnostic docetism. In his works against the teachings of Marcion, he pointed out “[i]f you[Marcion] allege that the Creator practised deception in any instance, there was a far greater mendacity in your Christ, whose very body was unreal.”(ibid 320) Refuting Marcion’s docetism, Tertullian contended:

But when he adds, that “he bare in his body the scars of Christ”—since scars, of course, are accidents of body—he therefore expressed the truth, that the flesh of Christ is not putative, but real and substantial, the scars of which he represents as borne upon his body.”(ibid 438)

Tertullian explained to Marcion that there are other quite equally foolish things as Christ Jesus taking upon flesh. “Humiliations and sufferings of God”, “Crucified God” for example. He went on:

For which is more unworthy of God, which is more likely to raise a blush of shame, that God should be born, or that He should die? that He should bear the flesh, or the cross? be circumcised, or be crucified? be cradled, or be coffined? be laid in a manger, or in a tomb?”

If Marcion’s Jesus only appeared human, Tertullian argued, then Marcion has “cut away all sufferings from Christ, on the ground that, as a mere phantom, He was incapable of experiencing them?” (ibid 525)

Tertullian also showed that “[Christ Jesus] hungered under the devil’s temptation; He thirsted with the woman of Samaria; He wept over Lazarus; He trembles at death (for “the flesh,” as He says, “is weak”); at last, He pours out His blood.” (ibid, 530) These were “celestial marks” that showed Christ as not only appear human but was really human.

Countering Docetism, Justin Martyr, emphasized that Christ Jesus was fully human thus experience really pain. Explaining Christ Jesus at Gethsemane to Tryoho, Justin contended:

‘If it be possible, let this cup pass:’ His heart and also His bones trembling; His heart being like wax melting in His belly in order that we may perceive that the Father wished His Son really to undergo such sufferings for our sakes, and may not say that He, being the Son of God, did not feel what was happening to Him and inflicted on Him.(ibid 251)[1]

New Testament writers also contended against docetism. The author of first and second Epistles of John, warned that “many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh”(2 John 7a) and “every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God.”(1 John 4:2-3b)

A nail in docetism doctrine coffin is found in Hebrews 2:17. The Son of God partook of the blood and flesh because “he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.”

Contra Arianism, Docetism strongly affirms  the Deity of Christ, but at the cost of denying His humanity.

Question: Some theologians have accused the Gospel of John’s Christology as a road to docetism. Is there truth in their accusation? Give reasons


[1] Justin Martyr: Dialogue with Tryoho Chapter 103

Bibliography:

Erickson, M. J. (1998). Christian theology (2nd ed.). Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Book House.

Geisler, N. L. (1999). Baker encyclopedia of Christian apologetics. Baker reference library. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Books.

Mühlenberg, Ekkehard (2003) “Docetism” in Fahlbusch, E., & Bromiley, G. W. (1999-2003). Vol. 1: The encyclopedia of Christianity. Grand Rapids, Mich.; Leiden, Netherlands: Wm. B. Eerdmans; Brill.

Roberts, J. Donaldson & A. C. Coxe, Ed (1885): The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume II: Fathers of the Second Century: Hermas, Tatian, Athenagoras, Theophilus, and Clement of Alexandria (Entire). (A..). Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Company.

Arianism: Origins of Jehovah’s Witnesses

Arianism is a doctrine that was taught by Arius of Alexandrian (ca. 280-336), which viewed preexisted Son of God as a first created creature before and above all other creatures. He is not out of the essence but the will of God the Father.

Arianism perceived pre-existed Son of God as the perfect image of the Father and the executor of God the Father’s thoughts. Thus preexisted Christ Jesus is “capable of being called in a metaphorical sense God, and Logos, and Wisdom.”(Schaff 1997: n.p)

Shedd and Gomes explained that “Arius taught that God created a rational spirit creature called the ‘Son-Logos.’ At the incarnation the created Son-Logos assumed bodily form.”(Shedd & Gomes 2003: 952)

Arius and his fellows, applied Origen’s (ca. 185- ca. 254) teachings, viz., ontological Platonic categories of attributing hypostasis and subordination to God the Father, to an extreme of asserting that only God the Father is “unbegotten, eternal, and without beginning or change. Christ is distinct from God, created out of nothing by the will of God”( Fahlbusch & Bromiley 2003: 121)

Athanasius of Alexandria (ca.295-373) contended that Arianians have contra Scriptura invented a doctrine that asserted:

God was not always a Father, but there was a time when God was not a Father. The Word of God was not always, but originated from things that were not; for God that is, has made him that was not, of that which was not; wherefore there was a time when He was not; for the Son is a creature and a work.( Schaff & Wace 1892: 70)

Athanasius depicted Arianians position that the Son of God is neither like the Father in essence, nor true Wisdom and natural Word of the Father. The Son of God “originated by the proper Word of God, and by the Wisdom that is in God, by which God has made not only all other things but Him also.”(ibid: 70)

Steven Lawson pointed out that “Athanasius mounted his response to Arius by expounding the eternality of the Son. The natures of the Father and of the Son are identical, he said—both are eternal.”(Lawson 2011: 150). Athanasius addressed the difficult passages that Arianians used (Acts 2:36; Col. 1:15; Heb. 1:14) and “cites almost all the familiar proof-texts which ascribe to Christ divine names, divine attributes, divine works, and divine dignity […]”(Schaff 1997: n.p)

Arianism was anathematized at the ecumenical council of Nicea (A.D.325) because it destroyed the whole doctrine of salvation, borrowing Athanasius words. As Schaff explained “For if the Son is a creature, man remains still separated, as before, from God; no creature can redeem other creatures, and unite them with God. If Christ is not divine, much less can we be partakers of the divine nature and children of God”(ibid: n.p)

All 318, except Theonas and Secundus of Alexandria, bishops present in Nicaea I, the first ecumenical council summoned by the Emperor Constantine in A.D.325, affirmed the Deity of Christ Jesus(Schaff: 1994: 623-9), namely Jesus is begotten of the Father before all worlds, very God of very God, begotten, not made, and His being is of one substance with the Father. They anathematized the teachings of Arius as heresy.

Reestablishing Arius’ Christology, in our contemporary time, are the followers of Charles Taze Russell (1852-1916), Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Question For Jehovah’s Witness:

What Bible passages convinced you that Jesus is not God but angel Michael? Give reasons.

Bibliography

Fahlbusch, E., & Bromiley, G. W. (1999-2003). Vol. 1: The encyclopedia of Christianity (121). Grand Rapids, Mich.; Leiden, Netherlands: Wm. B. Eerdmans; Brill.

Lawson, S. J. (2011). Vol. 2: Pillars of Grace (AD 100–1564). A Long Line of Godly Men. Lake Mary, FL: Reformation Trust Publishing

Schaff, P., & Schaff, D. S. (1997). History of the Christian church. Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

__________________(1994), History of the Christian Church,Vol. III; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans.

__________________(1983) The Creeds of Christendom, Volume 1: The History of Creeds. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

__________________(1892) Athanasius Deposition of Arius: A Select Library of the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church, Second Series, Volume IV: St. Athanasius: Select Works and Letters. 1892 (P. Schaff & H. Wace, Ed.). New York: Christian Literature Company.

Shedd, W. G. T., & Gomes, A. W. (2003). Dogmatic theology (3rd ed.). Phillipsburg, N.J.: P & R Pub.

Christ Jesus in Ignatius’ Letter

Ignatius, a bishop of Antioch during the reign of the Emperor Trajan (98–117 A.D) and martyr in Rome at end of the reign of Trajan ca. 115 A.D, records one of the earliest understanding of the person and the work of Christ Jesus. In the opening of his letter to the Smyrnæans he wrote:

I give glory to Jesus Christ the God who bestowed such wisdom upon you; for I have perceived that ye are established in faith immovable, being as it were nailed on the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ, in flesh and in spirit, and firmly grounded in love in the blood of Christ, fully persuaded as touching our Lord that He is truly of the race of David according to the flesh, but Son of God by the Divine will and power, truly born of a virgin and baptized by John that all righteousness might be fulfilled by Him, truly nailed up in the flesh for our sakes under Pontius Pilate and Herod the tetrarch (of which fruit are we—that is, of His most blessed passion); that He might set up an ensign unto all the ages through His resurrection, for His saints and faithful people, whether among Jews or among Gentiles, in one body of His Church.

If I argued that this is one of the earliest well outlined Christology, would I be wrong?

Bibliography:

Lightfoot, J. B., & Harmer, J. R. (1891). The Apostolic Fathers (156). London: Macmillan and Co.

God The Father, The Son and Early Christians

An anonymous Letter to Diognetus, named The Epistle of Mathetes to Diognetus, which is probably written ca. 80-130 A.D by  unknown author who called himself “a disciple of the Apostles”, captures the early Church understanding of God the Father and Son relationship. In  Chapter 7: The manifestation of Christ in  Philip Schaff’s (1819-1893) Ante-Nicene Fathers, which can be found in public domain at Christian Classics Ethereal Library, of this epistle to Diognetus, we encounter this wonderful descriptions:

For, as I said, this was no mere earthly invention which was delivered to them, nor is it a mere human system of opinion, which they judge it right to preserve so carefully, nor has a dispensation of mere human mysteries been committed to them, but truly God Himself, who is almighty, the Creator of all things, and invisible, has sent from heaven, and placed among men, [Him who is] the truth, and the holy and incomprehensible Word, and has firmly established Him in their hearts.

He did not, as one might have imagined, send to men any servant, or angel, or ruler, or any one of those who bear sway over earthly things, or one of those to whom the government of things in the heavens has been entrusted, but the very Creator and Fashioner of all things—by whom He made the heavens—by whom he enclosed the sea within its proper bounds—whose ordinances all the stars faithfully observe—from whom the sun has received the measure of his daily course to be observed—whom the moon obeys, being commanded to shine in the night, and whom the stars also obey, following the moon in her course; by whom all things have been arranged, and placed within their proper limits, and to whom all are subject—the heavens and the things that are therein, the earth and the things that are therein, the sea and the things that are therein—fire, air, and the abyss—the things which are in the heights, the things which are in the depths, and the things which lie between.

“[A] disciple of the Apostles” explained that Almighty Creator of visible and invisible, the true God sent not an angel or a ruler but the very Creator and Fashioner of all thing. This is the doctrine that  was delivered to them, probably from the 12 Apostles themselves. The disciple of the Apostle continued to explain:

This [messenger] He sent to them. Was it then, as one might conceive, for the purpose of exercising tyranny, or of inspiring fear and terror? By no means, but under the influence of clemency and meekness. As a king sends his son, who is also a king, so sent He Him; as God He sent Him; as to men He sent Him; as a Saviour He sent Him, and as seeking to persuade, not to compel us; for violence has no place in the character of God. As calling us He sent Him, not as vengefully pursuing us; as loving us He sent Him, not as judging us. For He will yet send Him to judge us, and who shall endure His appearing?

This messenger, the very Creator and Fashioner of all thing, is a Son of God and very God. He explained that as a king sends his son, who is also a king, God send his Son who is also God. “[A] disciple of the Apostles” gives us an early understanding of the relationship the Father who is God sending his Son who is also God.

How could early monotheist Christians claim that the Son is God and the Father is God yet there is one True God? It is from this doctrine,(and the deity of Holy Spirit), that led the early Christians to progressively formulate the doctrine of a Tri-une God viz., One and Only true God  in three distinct Persons.

Question: Do you agree with “a disciple of the Apostles” that Jesus is God? Give reasons.

Source: Christian Classics Ethereal Library public domain documents

The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume I: The Apostolic Fathers with Justin Martyr and Irenaeus. 1885 (A. Roberts, J. Donaldson & A. C. Coxe, Ed.) (27–28). Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Company.

Related:

Early Church’s Understanding of the Holy Spirit: Irenaeus( c. 120- 28th of June 202 A.D) and Clement of Alexandria(c.150 – c. 215)

Who Is Christ Jesus? Answers From Clement(ca. 150- 215 A.D.)

Who is Christ Jesus? Answers From Irenaeus(c. 120-202 A.D)

Is Christ Jesus God? Answers From Ignatius(ca.30-107 A.D)

Early Church’s Understand of Genesis 1:26

Early Church’s Understanding Of Isaiah 9:6

Early Church’s Understanding Of John 1:1