Divinity of Christ, part 3—The Arian Controversy

While some may distinguish between the divinity and the deity of Jesus Christ, in this series, I use them interchangeably, and Webster’s 1828 dictionary agrees. Of course, there are other meanings to divinity nowadays—after all, divinity is also a type of candy, isn’t it?

The divinity of Christ is not some minor issue on the level of women’s haircuts and skirt lengths. It is one of the very fundamental foundations of the Christian faith. It is one of the most pivotal doctrines in all of Christianity. As we proceed in this study, I believe I can show you that if Christ is not God, then our faith in the resurrection from the dead into immortality is void and meaningless. It is that important!

We are going to spend much time in this study actually comparing Scripture with Scripture to demonstrate to you the truth of the Godhood of Christ. But before we get into the detailed Scripture study, it is necessary that I give you some historical background on this doctrine.

Speaking in general, it is a sad fact that the Christian people in America today are so ignorant of church history that they could correctly be labeled as illiterate in that area. As George Santayana remarked—and he was only paraphrasing others—Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

This is applicable in the church as well. If Christians were well-versed in church history, they would then recognize that what they think are new revelations or new doctrines are, in fact, just ancient heresies dressed up in 21st century verbiage. Gnosticism comes to mind. It is very prominent—even pervasive in America today, but seldom under that name, and hence it goes unrecognized for what it is.

So I am are going to spend several essays, at the very least, presenting the history of the controversy surrounding the deity of Christ. As you will see, it was not necessarily as cut-and-dried in the early centuries as we today might see it. As I have stated several times now, this questioning the divinity of Christ Jesus is nothing new.

Upon Jesus’ resurrection, we find the gospel account tells us in Matthew 28 that the chief priests and unbelieving elders among the Jews paid a large sum of money to the soldiers guarding the tomb so that they would spread the lie that our Lord’s disciples came secretly by night and stole away His corpse. (This is part of Dr. Hugh Schonfield’s fable, The Passover Plot, as well.)

Matthew 28: 11 Now when they were going, behold, some of the watch came into the city, and shewed unto the chief priests all the things that were done.

12 And when they were assembled with the elders, and had taken counsel, they gave large money unto the soldiers,

13 Saying, Say ye, His disciples came by night, and stole him away while we slept.

14 And if this come to the governor’s ears, we will persuade him, and secure you.

Another kind of healing and a note of clarification

Those of you on our mailing list received a flier from me recently offering the book, The Healing Code (300 pgs., $20 ppd.). Accompanying his order for the book, one gentleman wrote me a letter with which my spirit immediately resonated in truth. His suggestion is so simple, but yet I believe it is so important that I wanted to share it with you immediately. Perhaps it will benefit you also when a time of great sorrow and grief enters your life. He wrote:

Dear Dr. James,

Your promotion for The Healing Code is so intriguing that I must order a copy to see for myself what this is about.

There is another kind of healing which is important to appreciate and that is the soothing and refreshing and the calming of a grieving heart. Having read your comments to your congregation about the loss of your wife/partner, Roxanne, I can tell you from experience that the antidote to grief is gratitude.

What I mean by that is that as the days, weeks and months roll on, whenever the memory of your beloved blooms in your mind—whether joyful or sorrowful—summon up all the love and gratitude in your being and offer it up unreservedly to God, silently saying “thank you” again and again and sincerely reflect on how different your life would have been without her [meaning, never having known her]. Practice love and gratitude at every opportunity and before long His grace will descend upon you, warming your heart, relieving your pain and lightening your burden. Before long you will feel the peace and contentment of knowing that all is well and in His loving care.

In the meantime, keep up the good work, enjoy your service, stay the course and smile whenever possible.

Yours in truth, /signed by a Feed My Sheep subscriber in New York state.

My closing comments: Thank you, my friend! I am going print out this letter and tape it on the wall in my office and in my home so that I can be reminded of it often and practice it until it becomes second nature—scratch that—I mean until it becomes my first nature!

He enjoined me to “enjoy my service.” I appreciate that encouragement and I shall continue to do so because I have always been grateful to our Father in that He has given me a love for this work…which reminds me…

There is something I have wanted to clarify for some time. And a phone call yesterday from a dear lady in Nebraska reminded me once again that I needed to clarify this because the confusion has arisen in the minds of a number of you who have asked me—which means that there are many others with the same question or assumption who have not voiced it to me. I caused the confusion so let me clarify.

At our Tabernacles Bible Conference in Kansas City last September I announced that I was not planning to sponsor any more Bible conferences …

The Jehovah’s Witnesses and other cults

In the previous post, I mentioned how as a teenager in the Roman Catholic seminary, I had read a very disturbing book by Dr. Hugh Schonfield called The Passover Plot. I also mentioned that it was republished a few years ago for the 40th anniversary of the initial release of the book, thus it is still available from Amazon and other sources. That being the case, by the authority vested in me by God Almighty, I hereby forbid any followers of my teachings to read The Passover Plot!

Now before you quit reading and click off this page, I want you to know that the previous sentence is totally out of character for me. Those of you who know me personally would recognize that; others might not. I do not forbid those who follow my teachings to read anything.

But I said it to make a point: namely, that if you are the type of person who is inclined to obey me simply because I claimed I have that authority, then beware, you are susceptible to becoming a member of a cult—whether that cult is as small as Vernon Howell’s (aka David Koresh) and his “Branch Davidians,” or as large as the organization we are about to discuss in this essay, an organization which has millions of members.

I do believe, however, that most of you regular followers of my teachings are not that gullible or susceptible because if you were, you would not be reading or listening to my material in the first place. With the foregoing as an illustration of cultic behavior, let us return to the subject of the divinity of Jesus Christ.

There is a whole denomination—which certainly claims to follow Jesus Christ—but which vigorously denies that Jesus is God. I am referring to the Jehovah’s Witnesses, of course. Have you had the knock on the door from the JW missionaries?  Have you actually let them in and had discussions with them? I have—many years ago, and then again fairly recently. More on that in a minute.

Did you know they have their own version of the Bible? I have a copy. It is called the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures. My copy is copyrighted 1961 and published by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, Inc. and the International Bible Students Association, Brooklyn, NY.  My opinion of it is…well, I can sum it up by telling you that I keep it in my library with the other works of fiction.

In the gospel of John, chapter 1, verse 1, the New World Translation (NWT) reads “In [the] beginning the Word was, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god.” (Emphasis mine.) The KJV renders that last part: “and the Word was God.”

I have a vast assortment of various English versions of the Bible, both printed and in Bible software. Did you know that the NWT is the only English translation …

The Divinity of Christ, part 1—Orthodoxy and Heresy

On any given subject in the world of science, there are opposing points of view. For example, some physicists contend that light consists of waves. Other physicists say, no, you’re incorrect. Light consists of particles. Quantum physicists say you’re both wrong because it’s both.

We could cite numerous examples where two or more scientific theories are at odds with each other, but yet where all of them are considered to be within the bounds of scientific orthodoxy by the majority of scientists.

Conversely, there were men like Nikola Tesla, John Keely and Viktor Schauberger whose ideas (for example, ideas such as what we now call Zero Point Energy) were so threatening to the mainstream scientific community of their day that these men were labeled as charlatans, fakes, frauds and worse.

They were not welcome—or at least not for very long—in the scientific circles of their day. They were outcasts. The denizens of scientific orthodoxy excluded these geniuses from the circle of scientific acceptability.

In short, these gentle giants were scientific heretics. Since their mainstream opponents could not understand nor could they refute the science of Tesla, Keely and Schauberger, the so-called heretics were often harassed, frequently threatened, and occasionally even physically beaten.

Their sources of financing were withdrawn. They were ridiculed, and when that treatment proved ineffective, they were eventually ignored. Such is often the fate of the pioneer and the proclaimer of truth—especially when it threatens to overturn orthodoxy. Because when orthodoxy is overturned, those currently occupying the pinnacle of orthodoxy lose their wealth, power and prestige.

The same pattern is found in the world of politics. In America, there are acceptable differences of opinion in the political realm. But these differences are bounded by the parties known as Democrats and Republicans.

We find the same pattern in the realm of medicine. There are powerful interests who control what is acceptable and what is not. Although alternative medicine has been making inroads over the past several decades, the medical-pharmaceutical powers-that-be still attempt to stifle the health “heretics” by labeling them as quacks, charlatans, frauds, snake oil salesmen, etc.

In many areas of life, we could remark on the same phenomenon. Whatever the field of endeavor, there are powers-that-be who continually strive to maintain their power and position by controlling what is acceptable disagreement and what is not. That which is deemed acceptable is within the circle of orthodoxy. What is not is heresy.

The origin of the word “orthodox” is from the Greek words which meant “right opinion” and “right thinking.” It is interesting to note that orthodox is defined in the Webster’s 1828 dictionary as “sound in the christian faith; believing the genuine doctrines taught in the Scriptures; opposed to heretical.” (Emphasis mine.) Would you agree that by “genuine doctrines” Webster meant true doctrines?

Notice how the meaning has changed as this same word is defined in my 1977 Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary.  Nowadays, orthodox means “1. conforming to established doctrine, esp in religion.”

We notice …

AAA warning motorists of new gas!

I have seen the E85 at a gas station recently and wondered what that new gas was all about. Little did I know and I am glad I did not “take a chance” and pump it into my tank! Spread the word to everyone you know in order to prevent serious damage to your vehicle!

I have copied the following “as is” from an email sent to me by my friend, Lynn. Thanks for the heads-up, Lynn!  I have added my comments in [brackets]:

Subject: New gas coming to your gas station; PAY ATTENTION  – don’t use it     This news clip is pretty amazing and says quite a bit. Do not use in ANY motorcycles, or boats, or snowmobiles!

MOST FOLKS DON’T HAVE A VEHICLE “NEWER” THAN 2012. THE VIDEO DOES NOT ADDRESS WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU USE THIS IN OLDER CARS.

If you like your car, please watch this short video. It’s the real deal!  I’m not sure how the EPA could okay something like this…..  [I have a hunch about that!—JWB]  New gas coming to your gas station, so pay attention. Watch video about E15 [and E85—JWB] gas if you have a car older than 2012  OR WATCH ON YOUTUBE (recommended)   FOX News Report [Money with Melissa Francis—JWB]  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ceW9Nc1hVHU [Click here]…