Tag Archives: birth of God

The First 20 Years of Christianity

World English Bible - Wikipedia

By Spencer D Gear PhD

I wrote this article published in On Line Opinion (OLO): Anglicans, Christmas, and the birth of God? (3 December 2020). OLO has published a number of my articles over the years. Since I’m an evangelical Christian with an eye and ear for a defense of the faith, some apologetics’ emphases come out in what I write.

Often the anti-Christian, anti-God group comes out in full force and often they don’t address the topics I write about. Instead, they sometimes resort to the use of logical fallacies of erroneous reasoning to put me down or to rubbish the content.

1. Literature not infallible

 

diver dan made this comment regarding my article:

And the authenticity of that literature is not infallible is it. For the first twenty odd years of Christianity there is no literary record of what they believed. [1]

I took him to task: You overlook some fundamentals in understanding basic Christianity:[2]

clip_image002 All historical literature comes with a “not absolutely, 100% sure of the content.” This applies to Manning Clark’s History of Australia, the record of the ransacking of Jerusalem in A D 70, and the biblical literature. It’s the nature of historical science. We weren’t there, so we depend on ancient sources.

clip_image002[1]Since you reject the supernatural God and his power to oversee the writing of Scripture, you won’t accept what God has stated: “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). When something is THEOPNEUSTOS (breathed out by God) it emanates from the absolutely honest, pure and just Lord God.

clip_image002[3]How did God’s Word reach human beings? What was the process of how the infallible God could produce inerrant Scripture in the beginning? “Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things. For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:20-21). Without your accepting the nature of God as revealed in creation and Scripture, I don’t expect you to accept God’s Word of describing how we get reliable Scriptures.

clip_image002[5]For the first 20+ years of Christianity, there IS a literary record and that’s contained in the Book of Acts.[3]

Leading Luke-Acts biblical scholar, Dr Darrell Bock, concludes concerning the dating of Acts: “Given all the evidence, when was Acts written? Sometime in the late 60s—enough time for Mark to have been written and circulated—but not after AD 70.”[4]

Leading Australian ancient historian (he has taught ancient history at Macquarie University) has a 2005 publication,

clip_image002[6]Barnett’s conclusion was:

the historian is able, with confidence tempered with critical caution, to make use of the data in Acts in pursuit of the task of historical reconstruction…. Few have so clearly stated the importance of Acts for early Christianity as Meyer, who was himself critical of Christianity…. We have the completely inestimable advantage … of having access to the portrayal of the beginning stages of the development directly from the pen of one of its co-participants. That alone ensures for the author an eminent place among the significant historians of world history” (cited in Barnett 2005:204).

2. Splinter groups of early Christianity

Dan continued:

In the end, it was so confused with congregations of splinter groups, innovations were necessary to focus attention on what was to be the core belief system.

Yes, there were congregations where early Christian writers had to challenge erroneous groups. We see this in:

2.1 Errors in the Corinthian Church

Paul commends the Corinthian Christians who were chosen to be God’s holy people (1 Cor 1:2).

However, all was not well in that church where he corrected errors about marriage (1 Cor 7) and sexual immorality (1 Cor 6:12-20), abuse of the gifts of the Spirit (1 Cor 12-14); there was disorder at the celebration of the Lord’s Supper (1 Cor 11:17-34). There were some who doubted the bodily resurrection of Jesus (1 Cor 15).

To understand how these sins could happen in the new Corinthian church, we need to know about the culture of Corinth in the first century. Lacoste Munn explained:

Perhaps the most significant of the factors which comprised the atmosphere of Corinth was gross, unashamed immorality. Both the old city and the Roman colony were known far and wide for their sexual looseness. The most prominent site was the Acrocorinth, a sharp projection which rose to a height of 1,800 feet. On the summit of this steep mountain stood the temple of Aphrodite, a symbol of the lust which pervaded the mind of the city. The worship of this goddess was not Greek in origin but Oriental; it had been imported from the Phoenician cult of Astarte.

In old Corinth the temple maintained a thousand priestesses who amounted to no more than common prostitutes. It is not certain that the thousand priestesses were maintained in the temple of rebuilt Corinth; nevertheless, the gross immorality continued as before. The attitude of the city toward immorality involved no condemnation whatever; on the contrary, it was considered to be a normal part of life. The same loose attitude was often reflected in the church. The case of incest and the question about the Christian view of marriage had their roots in the immoral mind of the city. Most of the members of the church were Gentiles, and the strict morality characteristic of the Jews was foreign to them. They found it difficult to understand that what they once considered virtue was now sin.

Idolatry is another feature of the city which was closely linked to its immorality. In addition to the temple of Aphrodite, there were numerous others, and the worship in these temples was popular among the residents. These idol temples played a significant role in both economic and social life (Munn 1960).

Therefore, it is not surprising that a new church raised in this milieu would need to grow through many sinful challenges.

There were other challenges to the churches in the first century that were addressed by various epistles:

2.2 The Letter to the Colossians

The church at Colossae was under attack from false teachers who were denigrating the deity of Jesus; they were teaching that He was not actually God. Though Paul had never been to the church itself, he addressed these issues head-on. The nature of Jesus Christ as Creator and Redeemer was nonnegotiable, so Paul wrote to them that he might bring his wisdom to bear on this difficult and trying situation. It was critical to him that this church know God in His greatness and glory, rather than in the deficient view given them by the false teachers (Colossians 1:25; 2:1–2) [Chuck Swindoll 2020].[5]

How did Paul address this Christological error? In this book we read some of the grandest language of the pre-eminence of Christ in all things. Colossians 2:9 (ERV) states: “All of God lives in Christ fully, even in his life on earth.” So, Christ is the center of the universe, not only as the active Creator but also as the recipient of creation—in His taking on of human flesh. Christ was and is the visible image of the invisible God, containing within Himself the fullness of Deity.[6]

2.3 Serious error corrected in 1 John.

First John 4:1-6 (ERV) gets to the crux of the issue:

My dear friends, many false prophets are in the world now. So don’t believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see if they are from God. 2 This is how you can recognize God’s Spirit. One spirit says, “I believe that Jesus is the Messiah who came to earth and became a man.” That Spirit is from God. 3 Another spirit refuses to say this about Jesus. That spirit is not from God. This is the spirit of the enemy of Christ. You have heard that the enemy of Christ is coming, and now he is already in the world.

4 My dear children, you belong to God, so you have already defeated these false prophets. That’s because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. 5 And they belong to the world, so what they say is from the world too. And the world listens to what they say. 6 But we are from God. So the people who know God listen to us. But the people who are not from God don’t listen to us. This is how we know the Spirit that is true and the spirit that is false.

ASV Star Bible.jpg(American Standard Version, image courtesy Wikipedia)

John wrote to a group of Christians. This is clear from statements such as:[7]

gold foward button 1 John 2:12 (ERV), “I write to you, dear children, because your sins are forgiven through Christ.”

gold foward button 1 John 2:13-14, “I write to you, fathers, because you know the one who existed from the beginning.
I write to you, young people, because you have defeated the Evil One.
I write to you, children, because you know the Father.
I write to you, fathers, because you know the one who existed from the beginning.
I write to you, young people, because you are strong.
The word of God lives in you, and you have defeated the Evil One.”

gold foward button 1 John 2:20, “You have the gift that the Holy One gave you. So you all know the truth.”

gold foward button 1 John 2:24 provides clear evidence he wrote to regenerate people: “Be sure that you continue to follow the teaching you heard from the beginning. If you do that, you will always be in the Son and in the Father.”

gold foward button 1 John 2:27, “Christ gave you a special gift. You still have this gift in you. So you don’t need anyone to teach you. The gift he gave you teaches you about everything. It is a true gift, not a false one. So continue to live in Christ, as his gift taught you.”

gold foward button 1 John 3:1, “The Father has loved us so much! This shows how much he loved us: We are called children of God. And we really are his children. But the people in the world don’t understand that we are God’s children, because they have not known him.”

gold foward button 1 John 3:2, “Dear friends, now we are children of God. We have not yet been shown what we will be in the future. But we know that when Christ comes again, we will be like him. We will see him just as he is.”

gold foward button 1 John 4:4, “My dear children, you belong to God, so you have already defeated these false prophets. That’s because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.”

gold foward button 1 John 5:5, “It is our faith that has won the victory against the world. So who wins against the world? Only those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God.”

gold foward button 1 John 5:13, “I write this letter to you who believe in the Son of God. I write so that you will know that you have eternal life now.”

gold foward button It is clear from John’s Gospel, 3:15-16, that “everyone who believes in him can have eternal life. Yes, God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him would not be lost but have eternal life.“

gold foward button 1 John 5:18, “We know that those who have been made God’s children do not continue to sin. The Son of God keeps them safe. The Evil One cannot hurt them.”

Since this book was written to Christian believers, why the warnings?

gold foward button “Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour. 19 They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us.

20 But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth. I do not write to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it and because no lie comes from the truth. 22 Who is the liar? It is whoever denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a person is the antichrist—denying the Father and the Son. 23 No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also.

They have been warned many antichrists are in their midst and there is the possibility they will deny Jesus. Could they follow Peter in denying Jesus?

There is another warning to Christians, based on 1 John 4:1-6,

gold foward button They need to test the spirits of false prophets;

gold foward button John faced the heresy of Gnosticism among these Christians: “Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God” (4:2). We discern the spirit of truth from the spirit of falsehood by those who listen to the teachings of the God of truth.

gold foward button This is why it is of critical importance to know the spirit of truth in Scripture to be able to differentiate between it and falsehood.

2.4 Another error corrected in the Book of Galatians

The problem in the Galatian church was mixing grace with works of the law. It was dealt with in Council of Acts 15. Because so many of the early Christians were of Jewish origin, it was not surprising that these believers wanted to retreat to some elements of Judaism.

See the article: “Who were the Judaizers?” (Got Questions)

Paul particularly addressed this problem in Galatians 2:14, “They were not following the truth of the Good News. When I saw this, I spoke to Peter in front of everyone. I said, “Peter, you are a Jew, but you don’t live like one. You live like someone who is not a Jew. So why are you trying to force those who are not Jewish to live like Jews?”

3. Conclusion

(Revised Version image courtesy Wikipedia)

MRevised Version Bible 01.JPGany of the NT letters were written to combat errors in the emerging churches. It is natural that new Christians would bring with them some errors of their previous lifestyle. They are warned about refusing to continue with their worldly lifestyles:

These are only a few biblical examples:

clip_image0041 John 1:6 (ERV), “But when you ask God, you must believe. Don’t doubt him. Whoever doubts is like a wave in the sea that is blown up and down by the wind.

clip_image004[1]1 John 2:4 (ERV), “If we say we know God but do not obey his commands, we are lying. The truth is not in us.”

clip_image0051 John 2:15 (ERV), “Don’t love this evil world or the things in it. If you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you.”

clip_image005[1]In the Epistle of James, he states that “The worship that God wants is this: caring for orphans or widows who need help and keeping yourself free from the world’s evil influence. This is the kind of worship that God accepts as pure and good.” So “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father” (ESV) is (among other things) “to keep [oneself] unspotted from the world” (James 1:27, ESV), or “keeping yourself free from the world’s evil influence” (ERV). This will be what “God accepts as pure and good.”

“Religion” is a biblical word but it has strong practical dimensions and not have academic overtones. Caring for orphans and widows is not like teaching systematic theology at seminary but it is regarded as core “religion” by James.

clip_image004[2]In James 4:4, the author of James labels some Christians as those who “are not faithful to God! (ERV, NIRV).” Other translations use the language of “adulterous people” (ESV, NIV), “adulteresses” (HCSB, NASB), “adulterers” (NET, NLT, NRSV, Wycliffe), “adulterers and adulteresses” (NKJV, WEB), and “unfaithful creatures” (RSV).

You should know that loving what the world has is the same as hating God. So anyone who wants to be friends with this evil world becomes God’s enemy.

They are labelled as “adulterers and adulteresses” because of their friendship with the world, adding that the one who will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.

The other passage is 1 John 2:15, where John commands Christians not to love the world. The force of the Greek grammar is: “Stop loving the world.” That couldn’t be clearer. The reason John gives is similar to James: “If any man love the world, the

love of the Father is not in him.”

4. Bibliography

Barnett, P 2005. The Birth of Christianity: The First Twenty Years. Grand Rapids,

Michigan / Cambridge, U.K.: William B Eerdmans Publishing Company.

Munn, G. Lacoste 1960. “The Historical Background of First Corinthians,”

Southwestern Journal of Theology Vol. 3 – Fall. https://preachingsource.com/journal/the-historical-background-of-first-corinthians/.

 

5. Notes


[1] Posted by diver dan, Sunday, 6 December 2020 7:25:13 AM.

[2] This was the first part of my reply: Posted by OzSpen, Sunday, 6 December 2020 8:46:22 PM.

[3] Since I’m only allowed 350 words in a post, this was the second part of my response to Dan: Posted by OzSpen, Sunday, 6 December 2020 8:49:06 PM.

[4] Darrell Bock 2018. “When was Acts written?” 12 January. Zondervan Academic. https://zondervanacademic.com/blog/when-was-acts-written. This post is adapted from Darrell Bock’s Theology of Luke and Acts online course.

[5] Available at: https://www.insight.org/resources/bible/the-pauline-epistles/colossians (Accessed 7 December 2020).

[6] Ibid.

[7] These verses were suggested by Bill Pratt, “Who were the original readers of 1 John?” Tough Questions Answered. Available at: https://www.toughquestionsanswered.org/2013/11/25/who-were-the-original-readers-of-1-john/ (Accessed 7 December 2020).

 

 

Copyright © 2020 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 07 December 2020.

Download Sparrowclan-dividers - Brown Swirls Transparent Background PNG  Image with No Background - PNGkey.comDownload Sparrowclan-dividers - Brown Swirls Transparent Background PNG  Image with No Background - PNGkey.comDownload Sparrowclan-dividers - Brown Swirls Transparent Background PNG  Image with No Background - PNGkey.com

Anglicans, Christmas, and the birth of God?

St Andrew's Cathedral c.1868.jpg

(St Andrew’s Cathedral, Sydney, Australia. Image courtesy Wikipedia)

By Spencer D Gear PhD

This article was published in On Line Opinion, ‘Anglicans, Christmas, and the birth of God?’ (3 December 2020)

I’m an orthodox evangelical believer. I watched the Christmas Eve service 2011 which the Dean of the Cathedral, Phillip Jensen, led from St. Andrews Cathedral, Sydney, telecast on ABC1 in Australia. It was a magnificent Christ-centred service led by Dr Jensen. I know his church is a member of the evangelical Anglican diocese of Sydney which has been an orthodox stalwart in the midst of an Anglican church that has become theologically liberal in many states.

Anglicans in Australia

What is happening to the liberal Anglicans in Australia? The Rev. Dr. Mark Thompson, at the Sydney ‘Lambeth Decision Briefing’, St. Andrew’s Cathedral, Sydney, Friday 14th March 2008, wrote of ‘The Anglican Debacle’. Here he stated the obvious for that denomination in Australia that biblical Christianity has struggled under the Anglican umbrella. There was never a time when it was uniformly accepted by the church hierarchy.

He pointed out that early Anglicans such as Latimer, Ridley and Cranmer were burnt at the stake with the consent of most of the rest of the bishops in Mary’s church.

According to The Melbourne Anglican (2017), the 2016 census revealed the ‘number of Australian Anglicans fell by 580,000 in five years.’

Primate of Australia, Archbishop Dr Philip Freier, attributed the decline in the Anglican Church to a number of factors, singling out a culture ‘that no longer “carries” Christianity.’

A Sydney Anglicans news’ release about the event in 2011 stated it was the first time in many years ABC Television screened an evangelical Christmas Eve service. It was chosen by the ABC for a 6pm Christmas Eve service. It featured Dean Phillip Jensen, the Cathedral choir, guest musicians and orchestra. Jensen said: ‘This broadcast provides a great opportunity to express the message of the birth of our Lord in a genuinely modern and Australian fashion.’

What’s at the heart of the Anglican problem?

David Ould(photo David Ould from his website)

Senior Associate Minister at St John’s Anglican Cathedral, Parramatta, Sydney,  and a prolific blogger is Rev. David Ould, who became a minister in 2013. His beef with the undermining of Anglicanism is very different from the liberal wing of the denomination. He considers one of the main problems is with integrity of the ministers.

What? He is crystal clear on what he means. He used an illustration from the world of advertising: If you were a marketing director for a major drinks’ company who drank the opposition’s leading brand of milk at a press conference, you would expect to lose your job if the company had any integrity.

However, what has happened with the Anglicans? They discuss an aging population, schisms over sexuality issues, young people preferring experiential over traditional worship, etc. However, Ould does not see Core Value - Integritythis at the core of the problem. For him the nucleus of the issue is over promises made by bishops which states: ‘I firmly and sincerely believe the Catholic faith and I give my assent to the doctrine of the Anglican Church of Australia as expressed in the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion, The Book of Common Prayer and the Ordering of Bishops, Priests and Deacons; I believe that doctrine to be agreeable to the Word of God.… I do solemnly and sincerely declare my assent to be bound by the Constitution of the Anglican Church of Australia.’

Then the bishops set about rejecting the standards set by Scripture, refusing to support the content of the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds, fail to accept the 39 Articles as the ‘standard of doctrine’, not using the Book of Common Prayer as the worship standard, and rejecting some of the Constitution of the Anglican Church of Australia.

What then should these prodigal bishops and ministers do, since they deny fundamentals of biblical Christianity and of the Anglican requirements for ordination? C S Lewis got straight to the point of what should happen:

It is your duty to fix the lines (of doctrine) clearly in your minds: and if you wish to go beyond them you must change your profession. This is your duty not specially as Christians or as priests but as honest men.… We never doubted that the unorthodox opinions were honestly held: what we complain of is your continuing in your ministry after you have come to hold them (‘Christian Apologetics, 1945:1).

Evangelical Anglican: Christmas as the birth of God

Neapolitan presepe of Maiori (nativity scene courtesy Wikipedia)

This phrase caught my attention from Phillip Jensen several times in the telecast as he spoke about Christmas being a celebration of ‘the birth of God.’ Could this kind of language give the wrong impression? He has a brief article online that is titled, “Celebrate the Birth of God” (published 2 December 2005). In it he writes of Christmas as a time to ‘celebrate the coming of the Lord Jesus, who is God in the flesh’ and ‘give thanks to God for the great privilege of celebrating the birth of our Mighty God in this way.’

He seems to be trying to communicate that Jesus is both God and man, but does the language, ‘the birth of God’ have potential problems? These are my questions:

  1. Is it misleading to speak of the birth of God when God the Son has always existed and has had no birth eternally? The God-man was born in Bethlehem.
  2. Could it be better to say that the second person of the Trinity, God the Son, became flesh (a man) and we celebrate His birth at Christmas time?
  3. Many do not understand how a virgin could conceive and give birth to the Son of God as flesh, without the insemination of a male. Does the language of ‘the birth of God’ convey orthodox theology, or is it meant to get the attention of secular people who celebrate Christmas for materialistic and holiday reasons?
  4. I cannot ever understand the supernatural act of God in the virgin birth if I reject miracles as John Shelby Spong (an Episcopalian/Anglican) does when he states, ‘Let me say bluntly that I no longer think that the miracles of the gospels have anything to do with what we once called the miraculous.’

Phillip Jensen clarified this in 2013, ‘We celebrate more than the birth of the baby, Jesus. When we retell the history of his birth, we are celebrating the meaning and purpose of God’s action in our salvation.’ That’s a better way of putting it.

Prophecy of Jesus’ birth

The prophecy of Christ’s birth in Isaiah 9:6 states, For to us a child is BORN, to us a son is GIVEN.’ For this one event of the incarnation, there are two distinct matters.

(1) A CHILD is born – this is the human Jesus, and

(2) A SON is given. The Son was not born; Jesus the Son was GIVEN. He was from eternity.

I am not sure that Phillip Jensen made this distinction as clearly as he should have. I consider that he ought to have made it unambiguous about the humanity of Jesus (a child is born) and the deity of Jesus (the eternal Son is given). God was not born on the first Christmas Day. God the Son has always existed as God and he became a human being on that first Christmas Day but there was no ‘birth of God’ as such.

We know this from a well-known verse such as John 3:16, ‘For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.’ So, God SENT his Son. This presupposes that the Son was always with the Father and was ready to be sent.

The apostle Paul is clear about what this means at Christmas time. According to Romans 1:3-4, ‘concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh  and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord’ (ESV).

The eternal generation of the son is orthodox Christian doctrine. The Nicene Creed affirms the eternal nature of the Son:

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made,
of one Being with the Father.

The Scriptures state that the child was born at the first Christmas, but the Son was given. The eternal Son of God was not born at the first Christmas. He was from eternity the Son.

I have been warned not to be another Nestorius

Since I see that Christmas celebrates the birth of the humanity of Jesus, the God-man, some have written to me warning that my view could come close to the false teaching of Nestorius (ca. 386-451). Most Christians would not know of Nestorius and his teaching.

The Nestorian controversy came to a head at the Council of Ephesus in 431. This Nestorian website gives a summary of the Christological controversies surrounding the teaching of Nestorius who was bishop of Constantinople in 428. He came from the Antioch school and was taught theology there by Theodore of Mopsuestia.

He opposed a new theological teaching of theotokos. This affirmed Mary was the ‘God-bearer’ or ‘Mother of God.’ Nestorius was concerned with this teaching when applied to Jesus because it could infer that the Son of God had a beginning and then suffered and died.

I confirm none of these things could happen to the infinite God. Therefore, instead of a God-man, Nestorius taught there was the Logos and the ‘man who was assumed.’ He favored the term ‘Christ-bearer’ (christotokos) as a summary of Mary’s role, or perhaps that she should be called both ‘God-bearer’ and ‘Man-bearer’ to emphasise Christ’s dual natures of God and man.

Nestorius was accused of teaching a double personality of Christ – two natures and two persons. He denied the charge, but the term Nestorianism has always been linked with such a teaching.

Yes, he was from the Antiochene ‘school’ (now in Turkey) and wished to emphasise a distinction between Christ as man and Christ as God. He did not deny that Christ was God. He said, however, that people should not call Mary thetokos, the ‘mother of God,’ because she was only the mother of the human person of Christ.

Great opposition developed against Nestorius’s teaching and his opponents charged that he taught ‘two sons’ and that he ‘divided the indivisible.’ Even though he denied this charge, Nestorianism continues to be linked with the teaching.

Nestorius was opposed by Cyril, patriarch of Alexandria, who was one of the most ruthless and unrestrained of the major early bishops. Cyril ‘condemned Nestorius’s works by issuing twelve anathemas [stong curses] against him. Nestorius responded in kind. The two men were harsh individuals and fierce antagonists.’

The possible danger in my discussing the birth of the humanity of Jesus at Christmas, which is true, and rejecting anything to do with the birth of God (as the eternal God cannot be born), is that when I speak of the God-man Jesus, that I try to attribute some of Jesus’ actions to his humanity and some to his divinity. That is not what I’m saying, but I want to make it clear that God cannot be born, either as ‘Mary the mother of God’, or the celebration of ‘the birth of God’ (Phil Jensen) at Christmas.

Conclusion

The language that ‘God was born’ at Christmas does not provide biblical warrant for orthodox, biblical thinking. God, the Son, the second person of the Trinity, has existed eternally. At that first Christmas, the Son obtained his humanity through being born to a virgin. This inaugurated the God-man nature of Jesus, but the Son never ceased being God from eternity. That the first Christmas celebrates the ‘birth of God’ in Jesus, is false theologically. It was the ‘fullness of time’ (Gal. 4:4) at which God the Son became the God-man.

It’s unusual for an orthodox evangelical such as Phillip Jensen to define the incarnation as the ‘birth of God’ in his Christmas Eve service at St. Andrew’s Cathedral, Sydney, and telecast on Australian ABC1 television. I have written to him to get his views, with much of the information provided above.

God cannot be born. That’s an oxymoron. God is from eternity and is always eternally God so there can be no ‘birth of God’ or ‘God was born’.

Jesus, the Son, who also is called ‘the Word’, always existed and continues to exist as God. We know this from John1:1-2: ‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.’

As for the Anglican churches in Australia, they are losing attendances wholesale because ministers and bishops refuse to be loyal to their ordination vows. They suffer the consequences of lack of integrity in support of scriptural authority and other commitments made at ordination.

If Anglican ministers affirmed the full authority of Scripture at their ordinations and stray from that path they should do as C S Lewis recommended, ‘You must change your profession’ to be honest men.

Copyright © 2020 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 4 December, 2020.

58000+ Horizontal Lines hd photos free download - Lovepik.com58000+ Horizontal Lines hd photos free download - Lovepik.com58000+ Horizontal Lines hd photos free download - Lovepik.com58000+ Horizontal Lines hd photos free download - Lovepik.com58000+ Horizontal Lines hd photos free download - Lovepik.com58000+ Horizontal Lines hd photos free download - Lovepik.com58000+ Horizontal Lines hd photos free download - Lovepik.com58000+ Horizontal Lines hd photos free download - Lovepik.com58000+ Horizontal Lines hd photos free download - Lovepik.com58000+ Horizontal Lines hd photos free download - Lovepik.com