The SBJT Forum -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Southern Baptist Journal of Theology
Volume: SBJT 16:2 (Summer 2012)
Article: The SBJT Forum
Author: Anonymous

The SBJT Forum

Editor’s Note: Readers should be aware of the forum’s format. Gregg R. Allison, Christopher W. Morgan, Robert Peterson, and Zane Pratt have been asked specific questions to which they have provided written responses. These writers are not responding to one another. Their answers are presented in an order that hopefully makes the forum read as much like a unified presentation as possible.

SBJT: What Errors Have Plagued The Church With Respect To The Person Of Christ Throughout Its History?

Gregg R. Allison is Professor of Christian Theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

He also serves as the Secretary of the Evangelical Theological Society and the book review editor for theological, historical, and philosophical studies for the Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society. Dr. Allison is the author of several books, including most recently Historical Theology: An Introduction to Christian Doctrine (Zondervan, 2011) and Sojourners and Strangers: The Doctrine of the Church (Crossway, forthcoming).

Gregg Allison: From its outset, the church has been plagued by heretical notions about its own Savior and Founder, the Son of God incarnate, Jesus Christ. Simply put, these heresies can be categorized according to four denials: (1) denials of the deity of the Son of God; (2) denials of the humanity of the incarnate Son; (3) denials of the two natures— divine and hum an — in the one person, Jesus Christ; and (4) denials of the distinctions between the Son and the other two persons of the Trinity.

With regard to (1), heresies that denied the deity of the Son of God were of two varieties. Ebionism insisted that Jesus was only a human being in whom the presence and power of God worked mightily. At the baptism of the holy and righteous Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ, or the presence of God, descended upon this man, conferring upon him unusual powers and rendering him the Messiah. Accordingly, God was influentially active in the man Jesus, but there was no incarnation of the Son.

Arianism emphasized monotheism—the belief in only one God—and denied that this totally unique God could communicate, or share, his divine essence or attributes with anything or anyone else. Obviously, then, to imagine that the Son was God was wrong. Rather, God created a Son, and through this created Son, God created the universe and everything in it. Accordingly, the Son was the first of all created beings, the highest of all created beings, and the one through whom all created beings were created—but he was a created being nonetheless. Two implications arose from this Arian position. First, the Son was not eternal, because there was a time prior to ...

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