Adoptionism: Concise Introduction For Skeptics

 Water

A doctrine that taught that Jesus of Nazareth was a mere man until his baptism where God the Father adopted him as his Son. Wayne Grudem explained that “[a]doptionists would not hold that Christ existed before he was born as a man; therefore, they would not think of Christ as eternal, nor would they think of him as the exalted, supernatural being created by God that the Arians held him to be.”(Grudem 1994: 245)

Adoptionism was rejected and exposed to be a false teaching because it failed to square with passages that explicitly demonstrated the preexistence of Christ Jesus (e.g. John 1:1, 8:58 and Phil. 2:6). This teaching failed to portray Christ Jesus as David’s Son and David’s Lord (Matt. 22:45 Luke 1:43) that is clearly taught in God-breathed Scriptures.

Gerrit C. Berkouwer informed as that,

Felix of Urgel, for instance, taught that the human being adopted by the Son of God must be sharply distinguished from Christ who, as God’s own Son without adoption, was the second person of the Trinity. The man Jesus was predestined to be united with the Son of God. This Adoptionism was condemned by the Western Church in 792 (Regensburg), in 794 (Frankfort), and in 799 (Aken), because the church regarded this as a doctrine of two persons and spoke explicitly of the Nestorian impiety by which Christ was divided into two persons: God’s own Son and the adopted son.(Berkouwer 1954: 322)

He wonderfully remarked that “in order to find Adoptionism in the New Testament, one must make a radical selection in Scripture—a selection which obscures the mystery of the person and work of Christ.”(Berkouwer 1954: 176) Berkouwer explained that the Gospel does not present Jesus Christ as a man who was adopted as Son of God as a reward for his work on earth but a person whose work and person direct us to His divinity.

Millard J. Erickson noted that the doctrine Adoptionism recurrent appearances throughout the Church history but “[t]hose who take seriously the full teaching of Scripture, however, are aware of major obstacles to this view, including the preexistence of Christ, the prebirth narrative, and the virgin birth.”(Erickson 1998: 748)

Question To Skeptics: What case could you offer against preexistence of Jesus of Nazareth?

Bibliography:

Berkouwer, G. C. (1954). The Person of Christ. Grand Rapids: W. B. Eerdmans Pub. Co.

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

Grudem, W. A. (1994). Systematic theology : An introduction to biblical doctrine. Leicester, England; Grand Rapids, Mich.: Inter-Varsity Press; Zondervan Pub. House.

Incarnation: Concise Introduction For Skeptics

John 1:14 ESV

“The Christian doctrine of the Incarnation,” explained Cross and Livingstone, “affirms that the eternal Son of God took flesh from His human mother and that the historical Christ is at once both fully God and fully man.”(Cross & Livingstone 2005: 830)

Incarnation was a means to which the Word became flesh (John 1:14), partook of the same nature as his brothers in every respect (Heb. 2:14, 17), born of a woman (Gal. 4:4), manifested in the flesh (1 Tim. 3:16) and found in human form (Phil. 2:8).

Charles Gore, summarizing Chalcedon Creed, correctly expound that in “incarnation the manhood, though it is truly assumed into the divine person, still remains none the less truly human, so that Jesus Christ is of one substance with us men in respect of His manhood, as He is with the Father in respect of His godhead.”(Gore 1891: 81)

Thomas Aquinas, contra unorthodox theory of kenosis1, adds that the “mystery of the Incarnation was not completed through God being changed in any way from the state in which He had been from eternity, but through His having united Himself to the creature in a new way, or rather through having united it to Himself.”(Aquinas 2009: n.p)

Though there was no change in Logos’ being or Personal identity, Robert Culver correctly noted five changes in Logos’ state. Logos changed in His dwelling-place(John 6:51), possessions (2 Cor. 8:9), glory (John 17:5), position (Phil. 2:6,7, Acts 2:33-36) and form (John 1:14, Phil. 2:8)(Culver 2005: 485-7)

The incarnation of Logos, unlike Hinduism doctrine of a continuous reincarnation towards moksha and Nirvana, was a one time event in human history.

Question For Skeptics: What case could you give against the Christian doctrine of incarnation?


[1] A theory that Logos emptied some of His attributes. Example He gave up all-knowing attribute.

Bibliography:

Aquinas, Thomas S., & Fathers of the English Dominican Province. (2009). Summa theologica (Complete English ed.). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

Cross, F. L., & Livingstone, E. A. (2005). The Oxford dictionary of the Christian Church (3rd ed. rev.). Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press.

Culver, R. D. (2005). Systematic Theology: Biblical and Historical (486). Ross-shire, UK: Mentor.

Gore, Charles (1891) The Incarnation of the Son of God.: London: John Murray.

Photocredit: John 1:14 ESV Logos Bible Software.

Pow! There Goes A Skeptic 1.3 Down

More and more internet skeptics claim that Jesus of Nazareth did not exist. Reginald Finley, an internet skeptic(infidelguy.com) got a pow! there goes a skeptic down by a non-Christian historian Dr. Bart Ehrman (leading New Testament criticizer)

Dr. Bart Ehrman (best-selling author of Misquoting Jesus), who is NOT a Christian, was interviewed about the historical Jesus and whether He existed or not. Reginald Finley (of the infidelguy.com fame) challenged Dr. Ehrman on this “Jesus Myth” theory. As the debate reveals, this mythicist view of Jesus is not taken seriously in New Testament and historical scholarly circles. This is a rare moment in the freethinking society where Dr. Ehrman actually agrees with Christians on the existence of the historical Jesus.(Cite: Youtube’s )

For Christian Answers To Bart Ehrman: Visite: Ehrman Project

“Dr. Bart Ehrman is raising significant questions about the reliability of the Bible. In an engaging way, he is questioning the credibility of Christianity. His arguments are not new, which he readily admits. Numerous Biblical scholars profoundly disagree with his findings. This site provides responses to Dr. Ehrman’s provocative conclusions.”(Cite: Ehrman Project)

Pow! There Goes An Atheist 1.1 Down

Christian: Why do you believe that God does not exist?

Atheist: Simple, there is no evidence for existence of God.

Confused

Christian: How is no evidence for existence of God, evidence for nonexistence of God?

Atheist: What do you mean by that?

Christian: Well, if CSI or FBI find no evidence that Kray Brothers murdered Bill Bob, does that mean Kray Brothers did not murdered Bill Bob?

Atheist: No, but no one can  know for sure if they did or did not murdered Bill Bob.

Christian: You are correct, that position is called agnosticism. Simply means  no enough knowledge to decide.

Atheist: So for me to be an atheist, I need to have evidences that God does not exit?

Christian: Yeap. Moreover even if one succeed in refuting all arguments for existence of God, that by itself does not entail nonexistence of  God.

Atheist: How about the problem of Evil?

Christian: Well, we already answered that one last week.

Atheist: Yeah right! How about evolution?

Christian: Even if evolution is true, it does not entail nonexistence of God, because God could create a universe that evolves.

Atheist:  That is possible! Well give me time to think about that, and I will come with arguments against existence of God.

Christian: I am looking forward. Thank you for a wonderful chat.

Atheist: Thanks back to you.

Adoring God

A. W. Pink(1886-1952)

The infinite knowledge of God should fill us with amazement. How far exalted above the wisest man is the Lord! None of us knows what a day may bring forth, but all futurity is open to His omniscient gaze.

The infinite knowledge of God ought to fill us with holy awe. Nothing we do, say, or even think, escapes the cognizance of Him with whom we have to do:

“The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good” (Pro 15:3).

What a curb this would be unto us, did we but meditate upon it more frequently! Instead of acting recklessly, we should say with Hagar, “Thou God seest me” (Gen 16:13).

The apprehension of God’s infinite knowledge should fill the Christian with adoration. The whole of my life stood open to His view from the beginning. He foresaw my every fall, my every sin, my every backsliding; yet, nevertheless, fixed His heart upon me. Oh, how the realization of this should bow me in wonder and worship before Him!

— A. W. Pink

Blogfriendly of: The Attributes of God, Bakerbooks 4th print(July 2009) p. 25-26

Get a free PDF Copy of this classic 41 pages book. A. W Pink, The Attributes of God(Published by
Chapel Library)

Pow! There Goes An Atheist Down

The Problem of Evil and Existence of God

The Holocaust

Atheist: I just do not understand how you Christians can believe in God, while there is so much evil and suffering in this world.

Christian: What is it that you do not understand?

Atheist: I do not understand because your belief about God is incompatible with the evil and suffering we encounter in this world.

Christian: How is our belief about God incompatible with existence of evil and suffering?

Atheist: Because you believe that God is totally good(omnibenevolent), all-knowing(omniscient) and all-powerful(omnipotent) and that He created the world.

Christian: Yes, that is true. But how is that incompatible with the evil and suffering we encounter in the world?

Atheist: Well, If God is good and loves all human beings, it is reasonable to believe that he want to deliver the creatures he loves from evil and suffering.

Christian: Go on.

Atheist: And, If God is all-knowing, it is reasonable to believe that he knows that evil and suffering exist and knows how to deliver his creatures from evil and suffering.

Christian: I am listening.

Atheist: And last, If God is all-powerful, it is reasonable to believe that he is able to deliver his creatures from evil and suffering. Continue reading

Pow! There Goes A Skeptic Down

Joseph Martin Kronheim (1810-1896)

Christian: Do you know that, the first Christians died for their belief that Christ Jesus rose again?

Skeptic: Well, Terrorists die everyday for their belief, dying for your belief does not make it true!

Christian: You got that right! But have you noticed that Terrorists die because they believe what they are told to be true, thus if they knew it was false, the would not sacrifice their lives. Liars make poor martyrs.

Skeptic: Yes, what is your point?

Christian: My point is, the first Christian, including Jesus’ own followers were ready to be burnt, tortured and killed(to which many were), not for what they were told to be true as Terrorists, but what they saw and knew to be true.

Pow! There Goes A Skeptic Down 🙂