A reader has asked: "Regarding Jehovah's Witnesses, Christadelphians, and those who do not believe Jesus is God. Surely they have no Savior, though they say they are Christian, and 'born again.' There are also many in the established denominations, i.e., Church of England, Methodist, who also deny Jesus' deity. I have a reply from both church headquarters, saying they allow a wise range of interpretation concerning Jesus' deity - as long as He is acknowledged as Lord. Is this proper?"
We do not believe that it is right to allow a "wide range of interpretation concerning Jesus' deity." Indeed, we believe that there is only one correct interpretation of what Scripture says about Jesus, that is, that He is the only-begotten Son, equal to the Father in all things and One God with the Father.
We do not, however, intend to show that He is God. That we have done in previous issues (available on request). Instead we wish to show why this truth is so important and why there is no room for error.
First, then, Scripture teaches that the truth concerning Jesus is a fundamental of our faith that cannot be denied without destroying the whole of Christianity. That is implicit in Jesus' reply to Peter's confession that He was the Son of God (Matt. 16:18). Without this truth the church has no foundation and will be overcome and destroyed by the powers of darkness, as many churches are today.
The same truth is taught in II John 9. There the Word not only shows that to hold to the doctrine of Christ is to have God, but indicates how important this doctrine of Christ is. Those who do not have it are not even to be received into our houses. We have nothing in common with them.
It is on the basis of that passage that we reject the claims of the cults and of the apostate churches that deny the divinity of Jesus to be Christians and churches. To be a Christian is to hold the doctrine of Christ. Understand, the doctrine of Christ is not the doctrine that Christ teaches so much as the doctrine concerning Christ.
Second, there is no salvation possible if Jesus is not God.One who is a mere man cannot deliver us from the power of the devil, destroy death, give us an everlasting righteousness, and bring us to heaven. Nor can the voice of a mere man call us out of darkness into light.
If Jesus is not God there is no lasting value in His teaching, no atonement in His death, no resurrection from the dead, no effectual intercession with the Father. Nothing.
The great Fourth Century defender of this truth, the church father Athanasius, saw this clearly. He said: "And these are they who, having received the Word, gained power from Him to become sons of God; for they could not become sons, being by nature creatures, otherwise than by receiving the Spirit of the natural and true Son."
We see it too in Matthew 16:16. There, Peter in his confession connects the truth that Jesus is the Son of God with the truth that He is the Christ, i.e., the one appointed by the Father to be the Prophet, Priest and King of His people (cf. also Is. 43:10-12, I Tim. 1:1, Tit. 1:3, 2:10, 3:4, Jude 25, etc.). Let us then, who believe, abide in the doctrine of Christ. And let those know who deny it, that they in unbelief deny the living God Himself as He makes Himself known through our Lord Jesus Christ.
- Volume: 5
- Issue: 9
Rev. Ronald Hanko (Wife: Nancy)
Ordained: November 1979
Pastorates: Wyckoff, NJ - 1979; Trinity, Houston, TX - 1986; Missionary to N.Ireland - 1993; Lynden, WA - 2002; Emeritus October 15, 2017Website: www.lyndenprc.org/sermons/
Address13823 Clear Lake Rd.
State or ProvinceWA