Church History 13
Monday, September 22, 2008
A figure that the church worships as divine, who is distinct from the Father. How do you articulate
this without creating two gods, and without stripping the divinity from the Son.
How do they fit the claim of the Shma! Hear O Israel, the Lord is One.
What we saw with the monarchial approach, was that not everyone would put the accent on
Christ, but would put it on the Father.
Adoptionism: Jesus is simply a man who speaks God’s message, and he is adopted by God at
his baptism. That is, he is simply like one of the kings of Israel. The adoptionist view makes
Jesus entirely human. Inspired, but entirely human.
A second form of monarchialism is in Modalism. Modalists do affirm the divinity of Christ. That’s
a difference from the Adoptionists. They are going to assert the unity of the Father and the Son.
The problem is: how do you support the separate of the Father and the Son without falling into
polytheoism. To put it more bluntly: They deny the separation of Father and son.
“If Christ is God, and God is the Father, than Christ is the Father.” (Who said this?)
The problem is that if you say that Christ is the father, simply now incarnate, you are saying not
only that Christ died and suffered on the cross, but this would be that God the Father suffers and
dies on the cross. They say that’s beyond the pale, that’s not scriptural.
Sabellius becomes so closely identified with Modalism. Sabellianism is another word for
Modalism. God is a “monad”’; he is a unity; he is one with three distinct modes of operation. God
the Father, who is sort of God proper. And then God reveals himself as the Son; and then after
Christ’s ascension, he comes again as the Spirit, filling the apostles with grace. Father, Son and
Spirit are not three distinct persons. They are three distinct modes of God’s self-expression. The
Teddy Roosevelt theory of the Trinity.
TR Rough Rider, TR President of the USA, TR wild game hunter in Africa. Just one God who
acts in history 3 different ways.
These different roles don’t express any fundamental difference within the Godhead. That is,
when Jesus ceases to be incarnate, then there is no longer a Son. That would mean that God is
no longer eternally Father, eternally Son, and eternally Spirit. And that flies in the face of the Son
being eternally begotten of the Son. Christ is at the right hand of the Father.
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September 22, 2008