From Heresy to Heresy

I am the LORD, I change not… (Malachi 3:6).

We all could use a little refinement.

There are certain aspects and principles of God’s Word, that no matter how hard we try, are just going to be a little bit past our ability to comprehend. As Paul wrote “now we know in part” (1 Corinthians 13:9). Much of what we can perceive and understand about God, about Christ, about our future hope, and even the entire spiritual realm, is only revealed to us through a “glass darkly” (1 Corinthians 13:12), meaning, these truths are reflected to us, as in a mirror, but the view of these truths is sometimes obscured or hard to make out.

So while I give great latitude to an unrefined understanding of the person and nature of God (and I do so because I think Scripture permits an un-perfected understanding of Him) there does come a time when a line must be drawn in the sand. Within the window of semi-compatible views, we can be less dogmatic with each other if we all don’t completely agree on everything. But that window is pretty narrow, and when someone steps outside of that window, and embraces a completely, demonstrably false view, we can’t just ignore the heresy in our midst.

What am I talking about?

Specifically, I’m talking about the divergent views on the nature of God, especially in terms of the Incarnation. And I am doing so specifically and especially in regards to what is commonly called Oneness Theology.

Now, anyone who reads my blogs has possibly noticed that while I don’t shy away from hard topics, I rarely if ever address Theology or Christology proper. The reason I do that is because this blog, by design, is devotional in scope, not Theological or Christological. As the articles have developed in the last couple of years, I’ve come to realize through the Holy Spirit that much of what I feel inspired to write is for an End Time generation. The topics are to help my brothers and sisters face the coming Great Tribulation with confidence. I have attempted to clear away a lot of clutter and useless debate, so we can just get down to living for Jesus the way we are meant to live for Him.

But I am finding that in order to properly do that, and in order to continue serving the purpose of this blog, I need to step into some controversial waters, albeit for the same reason: to help my brothers and sisters devote themselves to their Creator and His Redeemer.

There comes a point in time when the version of God one believes in, or the version of Christ they confess, just isn’t accurate. Again, I’m not talking about having a slightly different view within an acceptable window of Biblical truth. I’m talking about people turning to, as Paul called it, “another Jesus” (2 Corinthians 11:4), even in and within Oneness circles.

This is how it happens. Any wise master builder knows that if the foundation is off, the end result will be off. But notice the orders of magnitude. A corner stone that is off mere millimeters can result in a roof that is off inches. Imagine trying to frame a house and having to compensate 8 or 9 inches when you’re thirty feet off the ground.

Such compensation is pointless, futile. The whole of the frame will have to be taken down, even as the foundation will have to be re-laid. An exhausting, time-consuming enterprise, to be sure. But how badly do you want your building? How badly do you not only want your building, but how badly do you want it to be plumb and straight, agreeing with the blue-prints? Do you want your life built solidly and squarely upon the Rock or not?

Do you want to find yourself forever having to compensate for a “roof” (read: high level of Christian maturity) that doesn’t quite line up with the Word of God?

Or are you willing to un-do whatever flaws are in, not the design (for that comes from God Himself), but in the execution of the design? Can we handle being wrong? Can we humbly admit our limitations? Can we put down the pride of life long enough to say “I’m not there yet. I need refining. Lord, put me in the fire and make me as you wish me to be.”?

Here’s what I’m getting it. It may seem simple, it may seem obvious, but the ramifications are, I daresay, eternal.

1 John 2:22,

22. Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.

Notice what I have highlighted in bold. For years, many Oneness believers have attempted to use this verse as ammunition against Trinitarians, hoping to show them how Jesus is the Father, even to the point of labeling Trinitarians as antichrist, as if to say, that if you deny that Jesus is the Father and the Son, you are of the Son of Perdition, the Man of Lawlessness, otherwise understood to be Satan manifest in the flesh.

But note something. Unlike some Oneness people, Trinitarians never deny the Father and the Son, conceptually speaking. We can argue and nit-pick over how they understand these concepts and all of that, but that’s been done before, ad infinitum.

So, instead, I want to focus on an unfortunate, growing trend within the Oneness movement. In an attempt to sound as anti-Trinitarian as possible, some Oneness people have gone in the complete opposite direction, all the way to the point of denying the true, complete, and continued humanity of Jesus Christ, which is His Sonship, as in the “Son of the Father” (2 John 1:3), otherwise known as the “man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5).

This is “another Jesus”. Look at these verses:

Hebrews 10:12,

12. But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God…

Notice the past tense? “This man”, talking about Jesus Christ, as we know, nearly two millennia ago, sacrificed Himself for sins and so “sat down” and etc. Most Oneness believers want to rush ahead to explain away the “right hand of God” concept. But take a moment. The Holy Spirit inspired the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews to call Jesus, in His post-resurrection, glorified, ascended-to-heaven body, a “man”, i.e. a human being.

Look at Stephen the Martyr’s testimony:

Acts 7:56,

56. And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.

As he fell down to die under the barrage of killing stones, Stephen had a vision of the Heavenly Throne. Look what he saw: the Son of Man! He saw the human male being otherwise known as Jesus Christ our Lord. He saw a man!

And yet, some Oneness believers refuse to allow for the Messiah who saved us to be anything other than, in no uncertain terms, without qualification or explanation, God Himself. No humanity, no flesh, no Sonship. This is antichrist!

I am not saying this is happening by you, the Reader, or your church. Nor am I saying it’s happening in my neck of the woods, either. But it is happening out there in the Oneness movement (wherever “out there” happens to be).

Case in the point:

I recently interacted with a person on an Apostolic Pentecostal forum. He posted a video of the Pope speaking on the nature of Christ. I commented that all that was said of Christ in the video is Biblically accurate. After some incredulity on the part of the original poster, I confirmed that I was serious, and posted SEVEN verses proving my point.

These were all summarily ignored, with the following comments (and I quote):

“Jesus Christ is no longer a man, like you and I.”

“Jesus Christ is GOD, not a man.”

I haven’t replied, and I’m not going to. But take a moment and meditate on what is being said. This person doesn’t believe that Jesus Christ is still a human being, AGAINST the testimony of Scripture. This person, by default, has to believe that if Christ was ever human, His humanity no longer exists. It has dissolved or disappeared, AGAINST the testimony of Scripture.

The fact is, the Son of Man is still alive, still existing, still in Heaven, still coming back in the clouds with power and great glory, presently still, and eternally so, a human male being named Jesus Christ. Or Stephen was a liar and bore false witness against the very One he was calling upon as he died.

Oneness believers have run the gamut from one heresy to another. Fleeing Trinitarianism, they’ve run smack dab, face first into the spirit of antichrist, which denies the Father and the Son.

The above quotes are a mere sampling of what’s really out there in our movement. Take another look at the second quote.

“Jesus Christ is GOD, not a man.”

Compare that to these verses:

Numbers 23:19,

19. God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent…

“Jesus Christ is GOD, not a man” versus “God is not a man”. Which one will you believe?

1 Samuel 15:29,

29. …the Strength of Israel will not lie nor repent: for he is not a man, that he should repent.

Whose right? The Word of God or the fellow I’ve been quoting?

Job 9:32,

32. For he is not a man, as I am…

Jesus Christ is…not a man, says the Oneness believer. Here, Job says God is not a man, while Scripture says over and over again in the New Testament, that Jesus Christ IS a man. Some 150+ times, actually.

And most telling of all: Hosea 11:9,

9. …for I am God, and not man…

God Himself, speaking in first person, through the prophet Hosea. We can’t have it both ways, Church. My God doesn’t change. Does yours?

Look, I’m not into “discernment ministry” and/or heretic hunting. But there is going to come a point in time in the Oneness movement when we will either have to break the bed we’ve made, or sleep in the one we’ve got. If we don’t get our Christology sorted out properly, some of us, like the above, are going to, BY THE VERY WORD OF THE LORD AND HIS HOLY APOSTLES, end up as nothing more than antichrist. There is a better way, a truer understanding of God and His Son than we, as Oneness adherents, have heretofore been led to believe (I encourage you to prayerfully meditate and consider John 20:17 if you don’t believe me).

2 John 1:7,

7. For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.

If we cannot or will not confess the true, complete, and continued humanity of the Son of Man, we are but deceivers and antichrists.

I don’t know about everyone else in the world, but I don’t want to be known to my Creator and His Redeemer as a deceiver and an antichrist.

How about you?


~ by votivesoul on 03/19/2014.

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Mark Showalter's Blog

Always seeking to know God more

Theo-sophical Ruminations

A collage of theological and philosophical musings

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