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Meriam's Guy

Driving Soldiers Crazy with Psychiatric Meds
Posted:Dec 2, 2011 11:40 pm
Last Updated:Dec 4, 2011 5:07 am
3832 Views

by Dr Peter Breggin

The cost of psychiatric care in the military has escalated, including a skyrocketing number of psychiatric admissions, according to a recent USA Today front-page story. These statistics unfortunately reflect a great deal of human suffering on the part of our military.

Does this mean that life in the military has become tougher? Everyone seems to agree that it has with the increased frequency and length of deployments. But that's not the whole story. I recently testified before the Veterans Affairs Committee of the US House of Representatives about the increased rates of suicide in the military and pointed out that it probably is caused in part by the increased rate of prescribing psychiatric drugs, especially antidepressants which are scientifically documented to increase suicidal behavior, especially in young men and women of military age. Can we attribute the increased rate of psychiatric hospitalization in part to the same cause--the increased prescription of psychiatric drugs, especially antidepressants?

In Medication Madness (200 I tell more than 50 clinical stories about patients driven to suicide, violence and crime by psychiatric drugs. In Brain-Disabling Treatments in Psychiatry, Second Edition (200 I examine numerous scientific reports documenting high rates of adverse drug effects. Studies have shown that manic episodes escalate in individuals who are treated with antidepressants, even in individuals with no prior tendency to become manic. Rates for developing manic symptoms are in the range of 5%-17% of patients given antidepressants. That is a huge adverse reaction rate! If the patients have a previous history of manic-like symptoms, then up to one-quarter or one-third may be driven once again into a manic state shortly after starting antidepressants. One report found that more than 8% of psychiatric admissions could be attributed to antidepressant-induced mania. Suicidal behavior also rises in frequency after the prescription of antidepressants in all age groups. The energy and loss of self control induced by drug induced mania can easily fuel suicidal and violent behavior.

And this data is limited to antidepressants alone! Up to one-third or more of psychiatric hospital admissions are probably caused by adverse drug reactions to the whole range of psychiatric meds.

On Saturday May 1, 2010 I gave a two-hour presentation at the 18th Annual International Military & Civilian Stress Conference in Los Angeles directed by Bart Billings, Ph.D. My talk focused on the hazards of prescribing psychiatric drugs, especially antidepressants, to active duty military personnel. Many soldiers during and after their deployment suffer from symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. It was gratifying to learn that many military healthcare providers realize that PTSD is actually the normal human reaction of soldiers who have been exposed to combat.

Many symptoms of PTSD involved a state of hyper-arousal with anxiety, insomnia, irritability, anger, and emotional instability. The antidepressant drugs frequently cause a very similar spectrum of adverse effects, compounding and worsening the soldiers' natural reactions to trauma. I urged the military to continue the development of more human service oriented approaches to soldiers in distress--a theme that was repeated by others throughout the conference.

I was enormously impressed with the humanity and skill of many military caregivers who often appreciate the dangers and limitations of medication, and the need for empathic, supportive help. These professionals included psychologists, social workers, nurses, chaplins and even one military psychiatrist who realized that psychosocial approaches are more effective than drugs. Several active duty and retired military officers declared their interest in attending and presenting at our Empathic Therapy Conference in Syracuse, New York, on April 8-9, 2011.

Military nurses described to me their dismay on finding that every soldier in their rehab groups who returned from deployment for psychiatric treatment was being treated with three or more psychiatric drugs at the same time. The nurses knew that this was doing more harm than good but they were hamstrung by the prescribing psychiatrists who think that more is always better when it comes to psychiatric drugs.

Biological psychiatry, unlike medicine in general, tends to make people worse. In my clinical practice, I often remove patients from psychiatric drugs. The process can be hazardous, especially if the individual has been exposed for many months or years, and should be done carefully under experienced clinical supervision. But despite the difficulty involved in withdrawing some patients, in my clinical experience almost everyone does better off psychiatric drugs than on them, especially when they are offered empathic therapy by a caring and experienced professional.

Peter R. Breggin, MD is a psychiatrist in private practice in Ithaca, New York. He is the author of Medication Madness: The Role of Psychiatric drugs in Cases of Violence, Suicide and Crime (200. He and his wife Ginger have recently developed a new organization called The Empathic Therapy Center, which will hold its first annual conference in Syracuse, New York, April 8-9, 2011. It is open to the public.
0 Comments
Anti-Depressants Hell
Posted:Dec 2, 2011 11:19 pm
Last Updated:Dec 2, 2011 11:36 pm
3876 Views

by Jay Cee

Hi all,
Ive been on SSRI’s for about 6 years now. The drugs ranging from Zoloft
to Paxil (Arropax) through to Remeron (Avanza). Throughout this time
I’ve noticed that while the depression I was suffering from has eased,
some rather alarming side effects of the drugs have emerged.

Some of these side effects are:
*Major short term memory loss
*Difficulty concentration
*Difficulty with problem solving
*Problems with finding the right words in sentences, remembering peoples
names etc
*Missing words out whilst typing
*Difficulty paying attention whilst driving, forgetting street names or
where I am
*Feeling like Ive lost my personality, blank, boring.
*Facial tics (left eye, sometimes the right bicep)

Most of these became evident after the commencement of Paxil, known to
be one of the most potent SSRI medications on the market.

In light of this I decided to do some research (otherwise known as
google : ) and found an alarming number of people all reporting the same
symptoms that am suffering from*.

My question is to those that have used SSRI’s long term (2+ years) who
have experienced the above listed symptoms.

*** After ceasing the medication, how long did it take before the
cognitive, memory problems and facial ticks disappeared and you were
your normal self again? ***

I’m desperate to hear about your stories as I would hate to think that
myself and others may have sustained permanent brain damage due to using
such medication!
0 Comments
Nothing worthwhile comes easy very often
Posted:Dec 1, 2011 3:41 am
Last Updated:Dec 2, 2011 10:55 pm
3841 Views

The word says to count the cost. another words take time to realize what is involved in your project or task. Is it worth it to you? If it is, consider all things and approach it correctly.



Foundations. We are told to use materials that can withstand the storms. Do we?



We know, when the storms of life do come and our lifes work stands after the storm has come and gone. What a good feeling when we realize how detailed and careful we were in construction. The test of time requires time in the building of the foundation.
0 Comments
The Jesus People Days
Posted:Nov 28, 2011 4:21 pm
Last Updated:Nov 30, 2011 4:47 am
4044 Views

I became a Christian in the 70's. I was almost 16 years old. Pretty soon I left my original place in the Kingdom and became like many. Seeking the Holy Power of God. I became involved with the Jesus People movement. I hear many friends speak fondly of that era. I have to say that it may have been enjoyable, but to be honest I have to say that a lot of what was being taught just was not in line with God's word. Much of it was very legalistic and also in its own way elite.



I can remember being a part of the Methodist Church in my small town in Ohio. Because of what I was being taught in the small interdenominational bible studies I attended, it placed me at odds with my Pastor. Today, I would as a man approach things differently. I dont know, for some reason people have a desire to beat the system, be different. Be unique. If only I paid attention to where it says there is nothing new under the sun. Because there is not.



God is indeed the same, yesterday, today and forever. However, his covenant with mankind did indeed change. The problem with most doctrine is that they are some form of mixing a dead covenant with a new covenant. When you do that, you end up with half truths and confusion to be honest.Most of us who have been part of an organized Fellowship have suffered from these types of teachings.



Christianity is simple. Jesus took away the sin of the world. Believe on him and receive forgiveness. Allow him to live through you. That's it. It boils down to this, Love God with all of your being. Love your neighbor as yourself. We need to enter into a Love relationship with Jesus. That is what God is all about. relationship



However back in the day it was a lot of bad teaching. It was about power and overcoming. You do this and God did that. People would go around and say so and so has "the Spirit", which meant that someone had experienced the "Baptism in the Holy Spirit". So, God who is not a respecter of men has haves and have nots? Just inviting Jesus into your heart as Savior was not strong and powerful enough to overcome all of life's obstacles? To have real power to overcome, you need the Supercharging of the Holy Spirit in this so called Baptism of Fire?



I bought into this for almost 30 years. There is nothing humble about it. Its pedestal promotions of something beautiful and making it mans way of thinking while forgetting to rightly divide the word.The best time for me, and also the scariest time for me was about 10 years ago when the Holy Spirit shared Covenant with me. i just naturally thought Christianity began in Matthew 1:1, or better known as the first scripture of the New Testament. But it doesnt. A new Covenant can only happen with the shedding of blood. Hebrews 9:22.



I still believe in the gifting the same way as I always have. That did not change, except perhaps how i view a Prophet. The reason for that is that we all as believers have the same Holy Spirit in us. A Prophets words should not lead us, but only be a confirmation of what the Holy Spirit has already told us. They didn't have meetings to speak words over people.In my opinion, that is dangerous and falls into the realm of Christian Witchcraft. For me it is that simple



You know, I was in the deliverance ministry for five years. But when I look after the cross and Christianity has begun, you will not find one place in the scriptures where a born again believer has a demon cast out of a born again believer. You will not find a place where a born again believer is oppressed. It can not happen. The Holy Spirit permanently resides in the believer.But its interesting. before prayer over a person, we would basically prime the situation by saying this could happen and that could happen and we would give a low down on spirits and what they did and how they would effect you in daily life.



The truth of the matter is this. You want freedom? Spend time with Jesus. You want to get rid of wrong thoughts and desires? Renew your mind daily. The word says we are formed in God's image. The word also says God is Spirit and we must worship him in Spirit and truth. The word also speaks of the flesh, which better known as the Soul. Our, mind,will and emotions. If they lead us, we are in trouble. If we seek our desires over his, then we will fail over and over again. Its simple, not hard.



God Bless
0 Comments
Frosted Flakes and Rocky Road
Posted:Nov 28, 2011 4:44 am
Last Updated:Jun 3, 2023 1:57 am
3430 Views

Ahhh sweet. One to start your day and the other to comfort you because of your day sometimes. The visuals as we see Tony the Tiger saying they are Great!!! Great way to start ones day with something they like and enjoy. :] What if we really loved God? Embraced him as this fantastic Father that we not only love, but are also very proud of? I can remember as a young little boy making the proclamation on a few occasions "My Dad can do anything!!!". It is no wonder we are encouraged to be in our hearts like the faith of little . The heart certainly holds the keys to our lives. Our mouths will bring forth what is in our hearts. Whether it is joy, hope, love or pain and defeat. You can not hide it.



Many times unfortunately our earthly parents give us a totally wrong indication about what love, nurturing and trust is all about. Then when we do start a relationship with our heavenly Father through Jesus we have these strange misconceptions. We can see him as someone who only loves us when we are doing well. Our fears are found in not being accepted. We get so caught up in "trying to be perfect", that we are not allowing him to live through us. Life becomes a drag. Our dreams are turned into vapors that become cloudy and distant instead of a low flying star that we can reach up and touch if we will just jump a little.



God is for us. Not against us. He gave the Jewish world the law, just so they could see they could not live it and needed redemption. Then he gave all of us Grace through Jesus Christ. No sin is too big for the grace that he gave. What a relief to know that. God loves us no matter how good or bad our decisions in life are. Sometimes that is hard for us to really breathe in. There is so much clutter from our lives leading up to our conversion....and perhaps even more sadly the teachings out in Christiandom.



Christianity and fellowship are not a business. In the New Covenant of Christ, God is not out for your measly 10% so supposedly he would bless you and not curse you. In the new Covenant of Grace, everything we have is God's. Giving is taught which is about your time and resources to be a blessing as the Holy Spirit leads. Tithing was never about money, but usually wheat. So, under the Lordship of Christ, we are his, lock stock and barrel. Paid for by the blood of Jesus. It is that simple.Everything we have is his and given by him to us.



Man has always found ways to take the simple, beautiful things of God and make them into ways to control other people. Yes we need to be moral. Yes we need to fellowship with other believers. But most of all we need to spend time with him. Worship him in Spirit and Truth. Not because of what he can or could do for you, but rather because he first loved you. There will always be an area in our life where we will fail. God knows that. Some people see God as a God that follows them around just to see them fail and pounce on them. No, he is there to pick you up and dust you off.



Most of the chastisement we will face is found in the repercussions of the natural effects of our own bad decisions and rebellions. This is not to say he will not chastise us. We tell our small not to run. They disobey and fall and skin a knee and cry. Do we spank them because of the disobedience? Or do we hold them and make sure they are ok and explain to them that the reason we told them not to run, was because of what exactly happened? If they did it again, yes we spank them at that point.



God is not punitive. He is just and also loving. God's wrath doesn't happen at the drop of a coin, it happens for our own good after continued disobedience with the intentions and much much warning.He is the great parent. A good parent is for you to develop as a person using all of your talents to flourish in all aspects of your life. That is how God is. Instead of a great fear, we should have a reverence knowing he does all things for our betterment. Not because we fail.



Everyone fails
. But Jesus never fails. God never fails. He doesnt always give us what we want, but he never fails. One time I fasted 90 days. I lost 75 lbs. What I asked for did not happen. I said why God? He said, did you pray out of love? Or did you pray out of how the situation made you feel? It was then that God taught me to pray in asking for his will to be done.When you ask in that manner, you ask with real faith, instead of dictating what you would like.



God Bless
0 Comments
Old versus new
Posted:Nov 26, 2011 6:53 am
Last Updated:Nov 28, 2011 4:59 am
3964 Views

The Jews did this...and God did that

In Christianity, we have, we are and we believe.

The Jews did not have the Holy Spirit Residing in them

Christians do
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Old Testament Believers and New Testament Christians
Posted:Nov 25, 2011 1:28 pm
Last Updated:Jun 3, 2023 1:57 am
3380 Views
by James Fowler

(Interesting thoughts)

What was the spiritual condition of the Old Testament believers as compared or contrasted to the spiritual condition of New Testament Christians?

There has been a long-standing difference of opinion among theologians on this issue. The differing opinions have been largely due to the presuppositions with which different theologians and interpreters commence to interpret the Scriptures.

The Dispensationalist theologian begins with presuppositions about varying time periods called "dispensations," during which periods God is said to have operated in different manners for different purposes. Based on this presuppositional grid of differing "dispensations" or "economies" (the Greek word is oikonomia, from which we get the English word "economy"), the Dispensational theologian usually concludes that the Old Testament believers did not have any of the "benefits" of regeneration, indwelling of the Holy Spirit, etc. that are the exclusive privilege of New Testament Christians. So in traditional Dispensational thought there is a complete discontinuity, a total disconnection, of those in previous dispensations from those in the so-called "dispensation of grace" or the "church age."

The Reformed or Covenant theologian begins with presuppositions about a singular covenantal basis of relationship between God and man. Based on this presuppositional grid of common covenant, the Covenant theologian concludes that the Old Testament believers shared in the same covenant relationship with God as do New Testament Christians; they belonged to the same "church" and enjoyed the same saving "benefits." In covenant theology there is a continuity of old and new that often becomes total identification of the two, based on the singular covenant idea. The more fair-minded covenant theologians will often admit that though there is a "continuity" of benefit from old to new, there is some sense in which Christians in the new covenant have a superior participation in these "benefits."

Let me declare here at the outset that I reject the man-made presuppositional grids of both the Dispensationalist theologian and the Covenant theologian. Rather than starting with arbitrary dispensations of time or an idea of covenant relationship, I believe that the Bible, from beginning to end, should be interpreted specifically from the perspective of the person and work of Jesus Christ, comprising a Christocentric theology.

Christian theology must commence with Jesus Christ! The presupposition of Christian theology is that Jesus Christ is God. When one interprets the Scriptures from the center-point of Jesus Christ and His historic redemptive mission and His "finished work" in His death, burial, resurrection, ascension and Pentecostal out-pouring, then it is logically plausible to see the historic connection between the relationship of God with the Old Testament believers and what God has made available to Christians in Jesus Christ, as well as the radical difference between the prospective belief of the Old Testament believers and the vital ontic dynamic of the life of Jesus Christ in Christians. Thus one's theology maintains both a sense of continuity as well as discontinuity between Old Testament believers and New Testament Christians.

In describing the Dispensationalist and Covenant theological positions I have referred to how they apply the "benefits" of the redemptive work of Jesus Christ back to Old Testament personages. It is not Scripturally proper to speak of detached "benefits" of Christ, but only of the very activity of the Being of Jesus Christ. There is no grace, no salvation, no righteousness, no life, no presence and work of the Holy Spirit, apart from the activity of the person and Being of Jesus Christ. Only as Jesus Christ functions as Savior, as Righteousness, as Life, as the Spirit of Christ do these realities exist and apply in our Christian lives. They are inherent in the personal ontological activity of the risen Lord Jesus. There are no Christian "benefits" except as they are related to and expressed by the active Being of Jesus Christ.

So when the Reformed professor of theology, Robert J. Dunzweiler, writes of "the potential application of all of the benefits (italics added) of Christ's redemption to the believer under the older dispensation,"1 and asserts that "the benefits (italics added) of Christ's redemption can be applied before that redemption is accomplished,"2 he is working with religious categories and "commodities" which the Bible knows nothing about, as well as an extra-Biblical accounting of history and time. Dunzweiler's attempted explanation of the retroactive application of Christian "benefits" is based on the understanding that "Christ's redemptive work was certain in God's eternal purpose, and thus atonement benefits (italics added) could be applied before the atonement was actually accomplished in time."3 First of all, this reasoning is based on his Calvinistic theological starting-point, which commences with the purposes, plan, decrees, and will of God, rather than with the intent of God in accord with His nature and character. Secondly, Professor Dunzweiler's common covenantal presuppositions force him to stretch so-called Christian "benefits" of redemption and atonement back retroactively into a time period prior to their historic enactment.

Alongside of this Calvinist Reformed explanation of retroactive application of Christian "benefits," is another explanation which employs Gnostic and mystic conceptions in order to apply Christian "benefits" to Old Testament peoples. This teaching presupposes an abstract, sometimes cyclical, understanding of time and history, rather than the chronologically sequential and linear perspective of time and history that are foundational to the Biblical record.4

Positing as their starting-point the statement of "the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world" (Rev. 13:, some have argued that the redemptive work of Jesus Christ has been accomplished in the "eternality" of the pre-creation past. The "benefits" of Christ's redemptive work are therefore alleged to be applicable to the believers of the Old Testament. The grace of God is said to have been receivable by faith so as to effect regeneration, salvation, righteousness and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. All of the Christian "benefits" become "virtual reality" for the Hebrew peoples of the Old Testament.

Apart from challenging their Gnostic conception of time and history, the first question should be a textual and exegetical challenge to their initial premise in utilization of the text in Revelation 13:8. The King James Version translates the phrase, "the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world," but newer English translations such as the Revised Standard Version (RSV) and the New American Standard Bible (NAS recognize that the prepositional phrase "from the foundation of the world" is more correctly applied as qualifying the verb action of "those who names are written in the book of life." Thus the NASB translates Rev. 13:8, "everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain." This is consistent with John's subsequent inspired usage of the same phrase in Revelation 17:8 when he mentions those "whose name has not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world." Hermeneutic consistency all but eliminates the phrase referring to "the lamb slain before the foundation of the world" which has so often been theologically misapplied.

Even if the KJV phrase were retained, it is theologically inadmissible to posit an actual crucifixion of Christ before time. Such becomes an abstract idea, a tenuous tenet, epistemological belief in which becomes entirely subjective and mystical. It is completely detached and divorced from historical objectivity and the ontological reality of the presence and activity of the risen Lord Jesus. When Christians begin to "play loose" with history and set up ethereal ideas outside of chronological time, then their belief-system is but an ideological abstraction that can be subjectively twisted to any existential end. When the "Lamb slain" is regarded as a pre-historical accomplishment, then the historical crucifixion of Jesus on a cross outside of Jerusalem becomes an unnecessary redundant enactment, a charade, a meaningless "acting out" or "play-acting." God forbid that the death of Jesus Christ should be cast as such an abstraction in the eternal "absence of time," rather than as an historical actuality within the linear time of human history.

If the phrase referring to "the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world" is retained, it can mean nothing more than that in the foreknowledge of God it was predetermined that the Word should become flesh (John 1:14) and there would be an historic space/time crucifixion of the incarnate of God whereby He would vicariously take the death consequences of humanity's sin upon Himself, and that in order to give His life (John 10:10) to men who would receive Him by faith. The historic space/time context is foundational to Christianity, else all becomes but a mythical, mystical abstraction. Christ-ianity must always be documented to be rooted in verifiable human history.

The historical record of Scripture is based on a sequential chronology from past to future, from Genesis to Revelation. There are those who might not engage in Gnostic etherealizing and spiritualizing, but still trample on Biblical history by transferring Christian ideas of the new covenant back into the Old Testament. Such a retroactive importation allows them to interpolate New Testament ideas into their interpretation of the Old Testament. Thus they implement the interpretive technique of eisegesis (reading or leading into the text) rather than the acceptable hermeneutic technique of exegesis (deriving out of the text the reading or leading intended).

Justification for this reverse projection of Christian realities is sometimes sought by appealing to the fact that God is "the same yesterday, today and forever" (Heb. 13:. Indeed God is immutable in nature and character, but this is not to deny that God can make different choices and do something new and novel. Though God's character never changes, He can change His modus operandi. God's hands are not tied to precedent actions, nor are subsequent actions to be made equivalent or identical with all precedent actions. God is free, independent and spontaneous. So the "historical revisionism" that projects Christian realities back into the Old Testament era, and attributes to Hebrew believers all that has been made available to Christians in Christ, is invalid and dishonest. Those who thus reconstruct and taint the Biblical historical record are usually attempting to revise, rewrite and reinterpret Old Testament history so that it corresponds with their particular presuppositions of theology to support their particular ethical or eschatological agenda.
The question must be asked again: If the Old Testament believers experienced all of the spiritual "benefits" that are derived from the redemptive mission of Jesus Christ, that in a retroactive "prior reality," why then did Jesus need to become historically incarnate and be crucified? Did He "die needlessly" (Gal. 2:21), since everything was readily available? Paul could not accept such reasoning and neither can we.

A more detailed consideration of some of these Christian realities that are often projected back into the Old Testament is now in order.

Grace

The Hebrew language did not have a term for what we know as the new covenant concept of "grace." The Hebrew word hen referred to "favor, pity, good-will, compassion, mercy, kindness, a favorable inclination toward another." Noah, for example, is said to have "found favor in the eyes of the Lord" (Gen. 6:, and other Old Testament personalities obviously experienced God's graciousness as well.

To recognize God's graciousness in the Old Testament is not the same as participating in the activity of God in Jesus Christ as "grace" is used in the New Testament. The Greek word charis is employed by Paul and the other New Testament writers to refer to a reality that was altogether new and unique: the "new and living way" (Heb. 10:20) of the "new covenant" (Heb. 8:, wherein Christians receive "newness of life" (Rom. 6:4) in Christ Jesus. L.S. Smedes notes that

"The deep meaning Paul conveys with the word 'grace' is hardly suggested by the Hebrew word hen, which the LXX translated as charis... It is not surprising that Paul never quotes from the Old Testament in order to establish his use of the word 'grace.'"5

James Moffatt amplifies this point, noting that

"...in handling the pre-Christian period of God's relations with Israel,...He (Paul) never cites any Old Testament text for grace."6

"It is not...that Paul conceives of God as ungracious during the pre-Christian period; Israel had its religious benefits. But 'grace' is so distinctively the mark of the revelation of God in Jesus Christ that he reserves it exclusively for the experiences of Christian men. In other words, 'grace' belongs to the years A.D., not to B.C."7

John W. Nevin concurs when he writes that

"the patriarchs and saints of the Old Testament,... their spiritual life, their union with God, their covenant privileges...constituted at best but an approximation to the grace of the gospel, rather than the actual presence of it in any sense itself."8

The Hebrew word hen in the Old Testament referred primarily to an attribute of God, whereas the Greek word charis in the New Testament is used to refer to the new and unique activity of God in Jesus Christ.

Numerous Scriptural affirmation in the New Testament link "grace" to the historically revealed Jesus: "The Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ" (John 1:17). Paul explains to the Jerusalem Council, "we believe that we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ" (Acts 15:11). To the Corinthians Paul writes, "I thank my God always concerning you, for the grace of God which was given you in Christ Jesus" (I Cor. 1:4). Paul begins his epistle to the Ephesians "to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved" (Eph. 1:6). In the second letter to Timothy, Paul writes of God's "own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus" (II Tim. 1:9), as well as "the grace that is in Christ Jesus" (II Tim. 2:1). The last verse in the Bible commends that "the grace of the Lord Jesus be with you all" (Rev. 22:21). This sequence of Scriptures documents that "grace" is specifically identified with the historical person and work of Jesus Christ. There is a specific Christocentric meaning of "grace" in the New Testament.

The Old Testament believers experienced God's graciousness and kindness and favor, but not the specific "grace" of God in Jesus Christ wherein His activity is expressed by the dynamic of the life of the risen Lord Jesus. Such "grace" of the new covenant was a promise that the Israelite peoples did not receive (Heb. 11:13) nor participate in. God's activity of "grace" in Jesus Christ must not be read back into the Old Testament narrative, for such was "realized", came to pass, happened historically "in Jesus Christ" (John 1:17).

Faith

The response to God's grace in Jesus Christ is intended to be the human response of "faith." The Hebrew language did not have a word that corresponds with the New Testament idea of "faith" either. An English Bible concordance reveals that the translators of the KJV used the English word "faith" only twice in the entirety of their translation of the Old Testament (Deut. 32:20; Hab. 2:4). James S. Stewart notes that "in neither place is it a strictly accurate translation of the original."9 In both verses the better translation would be "faithfulness" or "fidelity." The NASB translates four different Hebrew words with the English word "faith" (Deut. 32:51; Job 39:12; Ps. 146:6; Hab. 2:4), and they too would best be translated as "trust," "truth" or "faithfulness." J.F.H. Gunkel has explained that "if it is a doctrine of faith we are seeking, we shall search the Old Testament Scriptures in vain."10

God created man to respond to Him and His activity in freedom of choice. There has always been this "condition" of human response which can be generally referred to as "faith." Thus there is cause to question whether in God's dealings with man He would ever institute an "unconditional covenant" with Abraham (Dispensationalism) or "unconditional election" (Calvinism).

The Old Testament believers responded to God's gracious activity. They believed that God was true, reliable and faithful, and therefore they were convinced of, assented to, and confessed God's Old Testament revelation of Himself. They put their confidence in God and trusted Him. The New Testament Scriptures refer to this response as "faith," and mention specifically the faith of Abraham (Rom. 4:9,12,16; Gal. 3,9,11; Heb. 11:8,17; James 2:22,23), Abel (Heb. 11:4), Enoch (Heb. 11:5), Sarah (Heb. 11:11), Isaac (Heb. 11:20), Jacob (Heb. 11:21), Joseph (Heb. 11:22), Moses (Heb. 11:23,24) and Rahab (Heb. 11:31), as well as "Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel and the prophets" (Heb. 11:32).

The faith-response of the Old Testament believers was not necessarily equivalent to the New Testament response to the "grace" of God in Jesus Christ. The Jewish persons believed and trusted in God based on the revelation given to them, but this was a preliminary form of response based on a preliminary and incomplete revelation and covenant, which was but a pictorial pre-figuring of the completeness of the new covenant in Jesus Christ and the full content of a faith response which receives the divine life of Jesus Christ. James Stewart explains that

"with Abraham and with Jewish religion generally, the centre of gravity lay in the future, and hope was directed towards the fulfilment of still outstanding prophecies; whereas Paul had definitely passed beyond the sphere of hope and promise into that of realized fact. Hence faith was not so much a confidence that God's word would some day be fulfilled, as a recognition that it had been fulfilled already, and fulfilled in a way that claimed the surrender of a man's life in love and gratitude and obedience."11

Faith in the New Testament was invested with a fullness of meaning that was not possible in the Old Testament. Stewart again notes that

"From the moment when Jesus laid His hands on this word and baptized it into His own message to the world, its place in Christianity was secure."12

There is no doubt that the object of the faith of the Old Testament believers was God and His promised Messiah. "Moses...considered the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt" (Heb. 11:26), but he still "did not receive what was promised" (Heb. 11:39). The faith of the Old Testament believers was a prospective faith, believing in the promise of the prospect of the Messiah (for the person and work of Christ was not a "virtual reality" or "prior reality"). Christian faith is a receptive faith that receives the Being and activity of the risen Lord Jesus, the fulfillment of the promise and the provision of divine activity in humanity.

William Barclay has noted that "the first element in faith is what we can only call receptivity."13 New Covenant faith is our receptivity of the presence and activity of God in the Lord Jesus Christ. We "receive Him" (John 1:12); we "receive the Spirit" (Gal. 3:2), the Spirit of Christ who is to live out His life in our behavior to the glory of God. Christian faith is the receptivity whereby spiritual union and communion is effected between Christ and the Christian (I Cor. 6:17), and the Divine Being is allowed to function within the human being, which was God's intent for mankind.

It is impossible to legitimately attribute Christian faith to Old Testament believers. The reality of the indwelling spiritual union and communion was not made available until the historic death of Christ for the consequences of sin and the historic resurrection of Christ for the renewal of God's life in man. Christian teachers should be very cautious about utilizing Old Testament believers as allegorical or typological examples of Christian faith, lest they be encouraging what is less than new covenant response to Jesus Christ. The Old Testament believers did indeed have a form of faith that believed and trusted in God, but it was not a spiritually receptive faith, for they "died in faith, without receiving the promises" (Heb. 11:13, 39). The entire thrust of the argument of the "faith chapter" in Hebrews 11 is that in the new covenant we participate in a "better faith" than that exercised in the Old Testament era.

Regeneration ­ Life

The grace of God in Christ received by faith allows the life of God in Christ to indwell and become functional in the receptive Christian. The commencement of that indwelling and living function is referred to as "regeneration," since the life of God is "brought into being again" within the spirit of man.

The Old Testament never employs the terminology of "regeneration" or being "born" with the spiritual life of God in reference to Old Testament believers. Neither does the New Testament ever apply such terminology to Old Testament personages in the past. "Regeneration" and spiritual life are exclusively related to the unique spiritual union between Jesus Christ and the Christian.

The "Word of God" (Jesus Christ) became incarnate (John 1:14). "In Him was life" (John 1:4). He proclaimed that He was "the way, the truth and the life" (John 14:6), and that He "had come that we might have His life" (John 10:10). "Whoever believes in the has the eternal life" of Jesus Christ (John 3:16, 36). "He who has the has the life" (I John 5:12), and has "passed out of death into life" (I John 3:14). "The Spirit (of Christ) gives life" (II Cor. 3:6), whereby the Christian can "walk in newness of life" (Rom. 6:4), "reign in life through Jesus Christ" (Rom. 5:17), and be "saved by His life" (Rom. 5:10).

The commencement of the presence and activity of Christ's life in the Christian is often referred to with the analogy of "birth" in the New Testament. The Christian is said to be "born again through the living and abiding word of God," i.e. Jesus Christ (I Peter 1:23); "born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead" (I Peter 1:3). It is important to note in the above quotation from Peter that this initiation of the presence and function of divine life in the Christian is based upon the historic prerequisite of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Because Jesus Christ rose from the dead unto life, the Christian can "pass out of death into life" (I John 3:14), that by being "born of God" (I John 4; John 1:13), "born of the Spirit" of Christ (John 3:6,, "born from above" (John 3:3,7). "He saved us...by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit" (Titus 3:5).

Nowhere in Scripture are the Old Testament believers said to have "passed from death to life," to have been "regenerated," to have been "born again," or to have participated in the dynamic of the indwelling life of the risen Lord Jesus. Professor Dunzweiler, in his attempt to document "regeneration and indwelling in the Old Testament period," defines regeneration as "that ministry of the Holy Spirit by which He imparts (italics added) spiritual life to one who is spiritually dead."14 He proposes in his conclusion that

"Old Testament believers were both regenerated and indwelt by the Holy Spirit. Old Testament saints, before they became saints, were spiritually dead and needed the Holy Spirit's impartation (italics added) of spiritual life in order to become spiritually alive. ...the new life that was created in them by the Holy Spirit was also sustained in them by the Holy Spirit, and He was personally and savingly related to them in various ways."15

Once again, Professor Dunzweiler fails to connect life with Jesus Christ. Spiritual life becomes a detached commodity that can allegedly be "imparted" or dispensed by the Holy Spirit who is also not linked with and identified as the "Spirit of Christ." When regeneration is reduced simply to an action of spiritual impartation, and spiritual life to a commodity or "created condition," then such "benefits" can conceivably be attributed to Old Testament believers, even though there is not one shred of Biblical evidence for such attribution, and the terms are being used in ways that are not consistent with Biblical usage or consistent Christian theology.

L.S. Chafer, writing from a Dispensationalist theological perspective, arrives at the opposite conclusion, though his rationale for so doing must be taken into account. He also seems to have a "separated concept" which speaks of "impartation" rather than ontic union.

"In its New Testament aspect, regeneration provides for the impartation (italics added) of the divine nature; the regenerated person becomes thus the very offspring of God, an heir of God and a joint heir with Jesus Christ. It results in membership in the household and family of God. If the first law of interpretation is to be observed­that which restricts every doctrinal truth to the exact body of Scriptures which pertains to it­it cannot be demonstrated that this spiritual renewal know to the Old Testament, whatever its character may have been, resulted in the impartation (italics added) of the divine nature, in an actual sonship, a joint heirship with Christ, or a placing in the household and family of God. So the case of Nicodemus­a perfected saint under Judaism­was duplicated in the experience of every Jew who passed from the old order into the new. To Nicodemus Christ said, "Ye must be born again."16

The Old Testament believers looked forward to the promise of life in Christ Jesus, but they did not "receive the promises" (Heb. 11:13). They responded to the graciousness of the Living God in trusting faith, and "lived" physically, socially, religiously in that old covenant relationship with God, but they did not "pass from death to life" (I John 3:14) spiritually in regeneration whereby the very presence and activity of the life of Jesus Christ became their life (Col. 3:4) during the Old Testament era. It is the unique privilege of Christians within the new covenant to participate in a spiritual union with the life of Jesus Christ, and to be "saved by His life" (Rom. 5:10) as His life is lived out through them.

Salvation

"Salvation" is another term that some tend to use interchangeably between Old Testament and New Testament. Careful word studies of the numerous Hebrew words translated "save" and "salvation," in comparison with the Greek words sozo and soteria in the New Testament, will reveal that differing concepts are being referred to.

In the Old Testament "salvation" is usually a physical deliverance or rescue. "Save me!" is a common cry for God's help (Ps. 3; 6:4; 7:1; 22:21; 54:1; 65:1). The Old Testament believers were often "saved out of their troubles" (Ps. 34:6), "saved out of their distresses" (Ps. 107:13), "saved from their enemies" (Ps. 18:13) and their "adversaries" (Ps. 44). The Exodus is a prominent example of God's rescuing and "saving His people out of the land of Egypt" (Jude 5). Noah and his kin were also "saved," delivered, "brought safely through the water" (I Peter 3:20; II Peter 2:5). These are the New Testament references that apply "saved" and "salvation" to Old Testament personages.

Such physical deliverance is certainly not to be equated with the salvation that is effected by the Savior, Jesus Christ, in the new covenant. Jesus "came into the world to save sinners" (I Tim. 1:5), to "save His people from their sins" (Matt. 1:21), for His very name "Jesus" meant "Jehovah saves." Such a salvation was unknown in the old covenant for the Law could not save from sin. The prophet Jeremiah explained that such a salvation would come when the "Righteous Branch," the "Lord who is our righteousness" would come, and Judah and Israel would be "saved" (Jere. 23:6; 33:16). Jesus Christ the Righteous (I John 2:1) is indeed that promised "righteous Branch of David," the Savior of all mankind. Peter explains that the prophet Joel was also referring that new covenant realization when "everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord (Jesus Christ) shall be saved" (Acts 2:21; Joel 2:32; Rom. 10:13).

Salvation is only "through our Lord Jesus Christ" (I Thess. 5:9). "There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name...by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12). The Philippian jailor asked "What must I do to be saved?" and Paul replied, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved" (Acts 16:30). "By grace you have been saved through faith" (Eph. 2:5,. "He saved us...by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior" (Titus 3:5,6).

Christian salvation is not just a deliverance or escape from the consequences of sin. Neither is it a static commodity which "Jesus dispenses" as Dispensationalist Darrell Bock indicated when he referred to Jesus as "the divine dispenser of salvation."17 Salvation is the dynamic process whereby we are "made safe" from the satanic misuse and abuse of humanity, and invested with the very presence and life of the risen Lord Jesus so as to allow the divine character to be lived out to the glory of God. Christian salvation must never be disconnected from the vital and dynamic activity of Jesus Christ the living Savior. We continue to be "saved by his life" (Rom. 5:10) and to "grow in respect to salvation" (I Peter 2:2).

This intimate union with the life of Jesus Christ wherein we are "made safe" from sinful misuse of our being, and the Being of the Savior becomes the functionality of our lives in salvation was an experiential unknown to the Jewish peoples of the Old Testament. It was known only as a prophetic promise yet unrealized, until "the grace of God appeared, bringing salvation to all men" by our "God and Savior, Christ Jesus" (Titus 2:11-13). It is illegitimate to transpose "salvation" to all the Jewish believers of the Old Testament based on an alleged "unconditional promise and covenant" to Abraham, prior to and apart from the historic revelation and redemptive activity of Jesus Christ the Savior. L.S. Chafer concludes that "the Old Testament will be searched in vain for record of Jews passing from an unsaved state to a saved state, or any declaration about the terms upon which such a change would be secured."18 He arrives at that conclusion from Dispensational presuppositions, and still regards salvation as a static "state" rather than the dynamic action of Christ the Savior.

Holy Spirit

The foregoing truths of the divine life operative in salvation by the grace of God in Jesus Christ, are all connected to the Person and work of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit of God and His activity is referred to throughout the Old Testament, but "in the Old Covenant, His work was...altogether different from what it is now."19 In the Old Testament the Spirit of God was understood as a "divine influence exerted upon the soul of a person."20 The Spirit of God is reported to have come upon the seventy elders (Numb. 11:17,25), Balaam (Numbers 24:2), Othniel (Judges 3:10), Gideon (Judges 6:34), Jephthah (Judges 11:29), Samson (Judges 14:6,19), Saul (I Sam. 10:2,10; 19:20-23) and David (I Sam. 16:13; to have filled Bezalel (Exod. 31:3; 35:31) and Micah (Micah 3:; and to have been present and operative in Joseph (Gen. 41:3, Joshua (Numb. 27:1, Daniel (Dan. 4:8,9,18; 6:3) and the prophets (Neh. 9:30; I Peter 1:11). In these latter references the preposition "in" is best understood as referring to "in" the behavior mechanism of their soul, rather than spiritual indwelling. It is doubtful that the prepositions in the foregoing citations should be precisely differentiated, for they all refer to a temporary action of the Spirit for an assignment of service. The temporality of the Spirit's activity in the Old Testament is evident in that "the Spirit of God departed from Saul" (I Sam. 16:14), and David pleads that God "not take Thy Holy Spirit from me" (Ps. 51:11).

The activity of the Spirit of God to inspire and energize a particular activity in the Old Testament believers is not equivalent to the indwelling activity of the Spirit of Christ in Christians in the new covenant. Such relation to the Holy Spirit was only promised by the prophets to the Old Testament peoples. Through Isaiah, God says, "I will pour out My Spirit on your offspring" (Isa. 44:3). Through Ezekiel, He says, "I will put My Spirit within you" (Ezek. 36:27; 37:14) and "pour out My Spirit on the house of Israel (Ezek. 39:29). Through Joel, God says, "I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind...in those days (Joel 2:28,29), which Peter declares that God fulfilled on Pentecost (Acts 2:17,1. French author, René Pache comments,

"All these promises could not be fulfilled until after the completion of the redemptive work of Christ. Not until Christ was crucified, raised again and glorified, could the Spirit be poured out and accomplish all His work."21

The apostle John comments on Jesus' promise of "living water flowing from one's innermost being" (John 7:3, noting that Jesus was speaking "of the Spirit whom those who believed in His name were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet (given), because Jesus was not yet glorified" (John 7:39). Later to the disciples, Jesus speaks of "the Spirit of Truth who...will be in you" (John 14:12) and will come (John 16:13), obviously indicating a future expectation of the presence of the Spirit realized only on Pentecost and thereafter. Thus Peter in his Pentecostal sermon explains that the risen Lord Jesus "having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, has poured forth this (activity of the Holy Spirit) which you both see and hear" (Acts 2:33). "In Christ Jesus...we receive the promise of the Spirit through faith" (Gal. 3:14). "Having believed, we are sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise" (Eph. 1:13).

The Holy Spirit must not be detached from Jesus Christ and regarded as a mechanical instrument which/who "implements the purposes of God in every age,"22 and in the Christian context "applies (italics added) redemption by uniting us to Christ and to the benefits (italics added) of His atoning work."23 It is a deficient Trinitarian theology that separates the Holy Spirit from the "Spirit of Christ." The natural tendency of Christian "religion" is to posit some theory of the Spirit's "supernatural influence" to assist in the Christian's ethical obedience in the context of a morality-based relationship with God. Such is not the Christian gospel! In the new covenant the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Christ. "If anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him (Christ)" (Rom. 8:9). By the indwelling presence of the Spirit of Christ we are "joined to the Lord in one spirit" (I Cor. 6:17) in a real spiritual union of the divine life dwelling in the Christian, whereby the life of the risen Lord Jesus can be manifested in character that is the "fruit of the Spirit" (Gal. 5:22,23).

The promised new covenant relation to the Holy Spirit is realized and experienced only by Christians. John W. Nevin explained:

"We read of the Spirit of God, as present and active in the world, under a certain form, before the incarnation of Christ. But we must not confound this agency with the relation, in which He has come to stand to the church since, in consequence of the union thus established between the Divine nature and our own. John goes so far as to say there was no Holy Spirit, until Jesus was glorified (Jn 7:39). This does not mean, of course, that he did not exist; but it limits the proper effusion of the Spirit, as known under the New Testament, to the Christian dispensation as such. It teaches besides, that the person of Jesus, as the Word made flesh, forms the only channel by which it was possible for this effusion to take place. The Holy Spirit accordingly, as the Spirit of Christ, is, in the first place, active simply in the Savior himself. ...He cannot be separated from the person of Christ."24

The active spiritual presence and manifestation of the Spirit of Christ, the living dynamic of the risen Lord Jesus, can only be indicated of Christian peoples.

Always aware of his dispensationalist reasonings, the words of L.S. Chafer are nonetheless pertinent.

"...there was no provision for, and no promise of, an abiding presence of the Holy Spirit in the life of any Old Testament saint."25

"That interpretation­far too common­which assumes that the Old Testament saints were on the same ground of privilege as the believers of this age, is rendered possible only through unpardonable inattention to the revelation which has been given on this point.
Of the present ministries of the Holy Spirit in relation to the believer­regeneration, indwelling or anointing, baptizing ,sealing, and filling­nothing indeed is said with respect to these having been experienced by the Old Testament saints... Old Testament saints are invested with these blessings only theoretically, and without the support of the Bible, by those who read New Testament blessings back into the Old Testament­an error equaled in point of the danger to sound doctrine only by its counterpart, which reads Old Testament limitations forward into the New Testament portions designed to present the new divine purpose in grace."26

"The conception of an abiding indwelling of the Holy Spirit bywhich every believer now becomes an unalterable temple of the Holy Spirit belongs only to this age of the Church, and has no place in the provisions of Judaism."27

The particular reality wherein the Holy Spirit is the spiritual expression of the risen Lord Jesus poured out on Pentecost to indwell all Christians and to be the vital and functional expression of God's character in Christians, can only be predicated of Christians. Such a spiritual restoration of humanity was promised to the Old Testament believers by the prophets Isaiah, Ezekiel and Joel, but they "did not receive what was promised" (Heb. 11:39). From Pentecost onwards the Spirit of Christ could indwell the spirits of receptive mankind, and become their life, and Christians could have the inner assurance that "the Spirit bears witness with our spirit that we are of God" (Rom. 8:16).

Righteousness

In both the Old and New Testaments the term "righteous" is applied to Old Testament personages. In what sense were they regarded to be "righteous," and is there a distinction in their "righteousness" and the "righteousness" that New Testament Christians enjoy by union with Christ?

Reference is made within the New Testament Scriptures to Abel's deeds being "righteous" (I John 3:12) and the consequent testimony of God to his "righteousness" (Heb. 11:4; Matt. 23:35). Noah's preparation of the ark merited for him the designation of being a "preacher of righteousness" (II Peter 2:5) and an "heir of righteousness" (Heb. 11). Abraham's unstable belief that God would provide descendants as promised (Gen. 15:1-6) is oft quoted in the New Testament as an example of one who was "reckoned as righteous" because of his faith (Rom. 4:3,9,22; Gal. 3:6; James 2:23). Along with Abraham, Rahab is used as an example of an Old Testament person who was "justified" or regarded as "righteous" by the active out-working of faith.

The righteousness which is ascribed to these Old Testament believers must be considered within the context in which righteousness was evaluated and applied at that time in the history of God's dealings with mankind. These persons obviously made right choices to listen to God, to respond to God in the right way, and to thus have a right relationship with God by trusting God. Robert A. Kelly notes that

"In the Old Testament righteousness involves the fulfilment of the demands of a relationship... When a person fulfils the obligation of a relationship, that person is said to be righteous. ...Righteous people are people who fulfil their duties toward God..."28

The relationship of God and man in the Old Testament was one wherein trusting God in right external conduct could gain God's approval (Heb. 11:2,4,5,39), and a person could thereby be "reckoned," accounted as, declared "righteous." Old Testament believers were "approved" as "righteous" or well-pleasing to God by a faithful response to whatever revelation of God had been given to them. Being "reckoned as righteous" was usually set in a legal or judicial context, wherein God the Judge declared the "status," "condition" or "position" of righteousness/right standing to be "on the books" of His heavenly accounting. Such commendation and calculation of righteousness was certainly less than the spiritual communion with the Righteousness of Christ that Christians participate in.

Even the prophets recognized that the righteousness of the old covenant was insufficient. "All our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment," declares Isaiah (64:6). They uttered prophetic promises of the righteousness that was to come in the Messiah, Jesus Christ, allowing God to declare through them, "I bring My righteousness, it is not far off; and My salvation will not delay" (Isa. 46:13; 51:5); "I shall raise up a Righteous Branch..., He will be called 'the Lord of righteousness'" (Jere. 23:5,6; 33:15,16). These prophecies were recognized as having been fulfilled in Jesus Christ, the "Righteous One" (Acts 22:14), the "righteousness of God" (Rom. 3:21).

The righteousness of the old covenant eventually came to be regarded as "righteousness in the Law" (Phil. 3:6) or "derived from the Law" (Phil. 3:9), even though the Law could not impart righteousness (Gal. 3:21). Such a context and understanding of righteousness cannot be equated with the justification or righteousness made available in Jesus Christ. L.S. Chafer remarked that the "standing" of the Old Testament believer "cannot rightfully be compared with the estate of the believer today who is justified and perfect forever, having received the pleroma (fullness) of the Godhead through vital union with Christ." 29 James S. Stewart concurs, noting that

"Resemblances there are to Jewish doctrine, but the difference is momentous and decisive. Pious Jews could only peer into a dim, mysterious future, hoping against hope that God would pronounce a sentence of acquittal at the last. But it was Paul's glorious certainty that for himself, and for all who had faith in Christ, the liberating sentence had already been pronounced. ...Judaism toiled and hoped and struggled and doubted: Paul possessed."30

"Paul's conception of justification...is no mere legacy of Jewish scholasticism. It springs from Gospel soil. It bears the stamp of Paul's deep, evangelical experience. It mirrors the life and death and teaching of his Lord."31

The righteousness that Christians enjoy "in Christ" is the very indwelling righteousness of the nature of God. The "divine nature" (II Peter 1:4) of the Righteous God "is transferred to man, and realized in him by the action of divine grace."32 Christians are "made righteous;" we "become the righteousness of God in Him" (II Cor. 5:21). The indwelling of Jesus Christ, the "Righteous One" (Acts 22:14; I John 2:1), establishes a spiritual condition of union with the righteousness of God, divine righteousness; far more than just pardon or forgiveness from sin, and the reckoning or commendation of righteousness. "Christ Jesus becomes to us... righteousness and sanctification" (I Cor. 1:30), "the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith" (Phil. 3:9).

The indwelling righteousness of God in Christ is the vital and functional dynamic for the behavioral expression of God's righteous character in Christian behavior. Righteous Christian behavior is not the result of a Christian's ethical consistency with either the Law's demand or God's character. We are not adequate (II Cor. 3:5) to produce righteousness, despite Professor Dunzweiler's assertion that the "Holy Spirit enables me to produce godliness and holiness and...righteousness."33 "The fruit of righteousness comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God" (Phil. 1:11). The righteousness of Christian behavior is only and always the out-living of the indwelling life of the Righteous One, Jesus Christ. "Everyone who practices righteousness is born of Him" (I John 2:29). Nicodemus, who would have been regarded as a "just" and "righteous" man within Judaism, was still told by Jesus that he "must be born from above" (John 3:3,7), "born of the Spirit" (John 3:5,6,, for righteousness only comes from the indwelling life of the Righteous One. Jesus said, "Unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven" (Matt. 5:20).

The righteousness that Christians receive by the indwelling presence and activity of Jesus Christ far surpasses the Old Testament Judaic concepts of righteousness in commendation, reckoning or declaration. Our righteousness is "in Christ." Christian righteousness cannot be read back into the Old Testament and attributed to the peoples recorded therein.

Not wanting to inordinately belabor the point of the discontinuity between Old Testament believers and New Testament Christians, the foregoing categories should suffice to document that there is a radical difference in the spiritual condition of Christians "in Christ" as compared to the spiritual condition of personages of the Old Testament. Inasmuch as this study is but a synopsis and statement of thesis, further study should be made to explore the Biblical evidence concerning the above categories as well as such subjects as creation, adoption, atonement, ordinances, eschatological expectations, etc.

The question might still be asked, "Why should we be concerned about the spiritual condition of Old Testament believers?" Some might say, "Their spiritual condition is God's business. He will take care of them." "Perhaps God did not intend for us to speculate about their spiritual condition, and thus did not give us adequate information to make definitive evaluations." "Is this just dry historical concern of theological inquiry?" The theological implications of such a study as this are important in order for Christians to better understand all the implications of the abiding spiritual life of Jesus Christ by comparison and contrast with the spiritual condition of Old Testament believers. There is certainly sufficient Scriptural data to make the comparisons, as is evidenced by the abundance of Biblical citations we have quoted.

The Old Testament era was a promissory period, a physical pictorial pre-figuring of the spiritual "People of God" (I Peter 2:10) that God intended to create in Jesus Christ. The Old Testament believers experienced the graciousness of God, "finding favor in His sight," but they longed for the grace of God in Jesus Christ. They believed and trusted God, but theirs was a prospective faith and they "died in faith, without receiving the promises" (Heb. 11:13); "having gained approval through their faith, they did not receive what was promised" (Heb. 11:39). But as the "mediator of a new covenant," Jesus made it possible for Christians to "receive the promises of the eternal inheritance" (Heb. 9:15). "Christ...confirms the promises given to the fathers" (Rom. 15:. "As many as may be the promises of God, in Him (Jesus) they are 'Yes,'" (II Cor. 1:20), affirmed and fulfilled. "The promise may be certain to all the descendants, not only those who are of the Law (Jews), but also those who are of the faith of Abraham" (Rom. 4:16). By receptive faith Christians "receive the promises" of God in Jesus Christ. Christians receive the very life of God, the resurrection-life of Jesus Christ, so as to be regenerated, saved, indwelt by the Spirit of Christ. Identified by intimate spiritual union with Jesus Christ, Christians are "Christ-ones," vessels through whom the Christ-life is lived out to the glory of God. Prior to the historical redemptive manifestation of Jesus Christ there were no "Christians." The Old Testament believers cannot be called "Christians," nor can they be theoretically vested with the spiritual realities experienced only by new covenant Christians "in Christ." Christians, on the other hand, participating in the fulfillment of the pictorial "type," can and are called "spiritual Jews." "He is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit" (Rom. 2:29). The Old Testament period was a preliminary period culminating in the "finished work" of Jesus Christ, the declaration of which Jesus made from the cross, exclaiming "It is finished" (John 19:30). The divine foreknowledge and predetermination of this "finished work" had been made "from the foundation of the world" (Heb. 4:3); the completion came in the life, death, resurrection, ascension and Pentecostal outpouring of Jesus Christ.

The focus of all the inspired Scriptures is the fulfillment of all God's promises and intent in the Person and work of Jesus Christ, including the living out of His life in Christians. This is why the "historical revisionism" of the Old Testament employed by some Christians is so damaging to the gospel presentation. It diminishes the Christocentric emphasis of the Biblical record. When Old Testament believers are reputed to have experienced grace before "grace was realized in Jesus Christ" (John 1:17); to have been "saved" before the redemptive and saving work of the Savior; to have "passed from death to life" before the resurrection-life of Jesus was made available; to have been completed and perfect in their relationship with God prior to the "finished work" of Jesus Christ; and to have been "Christians" before Jesus ever came to be the Christ; then the historic redemptive action of the cross and the subsequent resurrection of Jesus Christ is made to be unnecessary and redundant. Such assertions can only be advocated when the interpreters fail to connect the so-called "benefits" with the Being of the risen and living Lord Jesus; when they fail to recognize the necessity of dynamic and ontic oneness with the person and life of the resurrected Jesus in order for deity to indwell humanity and express divine character in human behavior.

Even more tragic consequences occur when such misinterpretation and such inadequate and deficient spiritual understanding becomes the basis of new covenant explanation. Having sacrificed the dynamic and ontic distinctions of New Testament spiritual realities by transporting them back into Old Testament interpretation, some would then bring the same anemic definitions of these realities forward into New Testament theology and set them up as Christian doctrine, as the full content of Christian "truth," continuing to regard them as Christian "benefits," separated and detached and disconnected and divorced from the resurrected Jesus.

Tainted old covenant concepts are taught as new covenant gospel. Grace is defined simply as "undeserved favor." Faith is regarded as assent, belief, trust and confidence in God. Salvation is explained as deliverance and rescue, the avoidance of hell-fire. Regeneration becomes but an experience of rejuvenation after which one possesses the commodity of "eternal life." Justification is a legal declaration of the status of righteousness reckoned and accounted in the divine bookkeeping. The Holy Spirit is a nebulous depository promise of future inheritance. Do these sound familiar? They are typical, traditional doctrinal definitions proffered by the Christian "religion" of our day, none of which are necessarily connected to the living Lord Jesus.
What we are seeing today in "evangelical" Christian religion is a tragic misrepresentation of the gospel of Jesus Christ. They have "sold out" the gospel in order to make it a marketable commodity. They have "watered down" the gospel to a gruel that no one could regard as cruel. They have "gutted" the gospel of its living reality in Jesus Christ. Much of "evangelical" teaching today is nothing more than Judaism "warmed over," a form of Christianized Judaism with a few glosses. They fail to proclaim the radical newness of the "new and living way" (Heb. 10:20). The "new" of the "new covenant" is not new since it has been available since Adam; thus they miss the radical difference of "newness of life" (Rom. 6:4) in Christ, failing to recognize the ontological dynamic of the life of the risen Lord Jesus. The "good news" of Christianity is the proclamation of the ontological spiritual union with the very Being and Life of Jesus Christ as God.

Addenda

Consider these words of John W. Nevin, a German Reformed author, written in 1846:

"...if the order of grace is supposed to continue the same...if Christ manifested himself previously to the patriarchs and prophets as he now manifests himself to his church...if the Spirit of Christ indwelt the people of the Old Testament the same as Christians.... ...if so, let the church know that she is no nearer to God now ...than she was under the Old Testament; that the indwelling of Christ in believers, is only parallel with the divine presence as enjoyed by the Jewish saints, who all 'died in faith, not having received the promises;' that the mystical union in the case of Paul or John was nothing more intimate and vital and real than the relation sustained to God by Abraham, or David, or Isaiah.

Under the Old Testament..(the presence of the Spirit) was always an afflatus or influence simply, exerted on the soul of the person to whom it was extended. Is this all that we are to understand by it, in the Christian church? So the theory would appear to mean. The theory of "supernatural influence" -- merely moral union, rather than the actual LIFE of Christ conveyed into us.

The religion of the Old Testament ...foreshadowed the great fact of the incarnation. In the religion of the Old Testament, God descends toward man, and holds out to his view...the promise of a real union of the Divine Nature with the human, as the end of the gracious economy thus introduced.

To such a real union it is true, the dispensation itself never came. ...God drew nearer to men in an outward way. But to the last it continued to be only in an outward way. The wall of partition that separated the divine from the human, was never fully broken down.. ..It was a revelation of God to man, and not a revelation of God in man-the only form in which it was possible for Him to become truly known.

The meaning of the entire (Old Testament) system lay in its reference to Christianity. We may say of the Old Testament as a whole, what is said of its last and greatest representative in particular. It was the voice of one crying in the wilderness, prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God!

...The mystery of the incarnation (God in man). Here was a fact, which even the religion of the Old Testament itself had no sufficiency to generate, and to which all its theophanies and miracles could furnish no proper parallel. For the revelation of the supernatural under the Old Testament, as already remarked, was always in an outward and comparatively unreal way. It never came to a true inward union between the human and the divine.

But in the person of Christ, all is different. It is by no mere figure of speech that Christ is represented to be the author of a new creation. ...The Word itself...became permanently joined with humanity in the person of Jesus Christ.

The religion of the Old Testament...(its) covenants, law, promises...(were) only a shadow to the substance it represents. Its truth was not in itself, but in a different system altogether to which it pointed. Its reality was..relative only. It made nothing perfect. It was the picture merely of good things to come. ...We have no right to say that the New Testament is a mere extension or enlargement of the Old, under the same form.

The relation of God to the patriarchs and saints generally of the Old Testament, was something that came short wholly of the relation in which He now stands to His people, as the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Their spiritual life, their union with God, their covenant privileges -- all had an unreal, unsubstantial character, as compared with the parallel grace of the gospel, and constituted at best but an approximation to this grace, rather than the actual presence of it in any sense itself.

That which forms the full reality of religion, the union of the Divine Nature with the human, the revelation of God in man and not simply to him, was wanting to the Old Testament altogether. ...all its doctrines and institutions, ...had a shadowy, simply prophetic nature... Its sacraments were representations only... Its salvation was in the form of promise, more than present fact. It became real ultimately, only in Christ; for before His appearance, we are told the patriarchs of the law could not be made perfect (Hebrews 11:13, 39,40). The dispensation of the Spirit has its origin wholly in the person of Christ (Lk 1:35; 3:22; Jn 3:34) and could not reveal itself in the world until He was glorified (Jn 7:39)

The religion of the Old Testament went not beyond the character of a "report," to be received only by "the hearing of the ear." The revelation was always relative only, never absolute. It came not in any case to a full manifestation of the truth in its own form. But in the church of the New Testament, all is different. A new order of revelation entirely bursts upon the world, in the person of Jesus Christ. He is the absolute truth itself, personally present among men, and incorporating itself with their life. He is the substance, where all previous prophecy, even in its highest forms, had been only as sound or shadow.

Many see in Christianity an advance only on the grace of the Jewish dispensation, under the same form, and not a new order of grace entirely. Greater light, enlarged opportunities, more constraining motives, a new supply of supernatural aids and provisions; these are taken to be the peculiar distinction of the New Covenant, and constitute its supposed superiority over the Old. But is not this to resolve the Christian salvation as before, into a merely moral institute or discipline?...an outward apparatus....(which) turns the work of redemption into a mere doctrine or example. We should have at most, in this view, an exaltation only of the religion of the Jew. Christ would be to us of the same order with Moses; immeasurably greater of course; but still a prophet only in the same sense.

In opposition to all this, we say of Christianity that it is a LIFE. Not a rule or mode of life simply; not something that in its own nature requires to be reduced to practice; for that is the character of all morality. But life in its very nature and constitution...the actual substance of truth itself. John 1:17 - "The law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ."

We read of the Spirit of God, as present and active in the world, under a certain form, before the incarnation of Christ. But we must not confound this agency with the relation, in which He has come to stand to the church since, in consequence of the union thus established between the Divine nature and our own. 34

FOOTNOTES

1 Dunzweiler, Robert J., Regeneration and Indwelling in the Old Testament Period. Research Report No. 25. Hatfield, PA: Interdisciplinary Biblical Research Institute. 1985. pg. 3.
2 Dunzweiler, Ibid. pg. 2
3 Dunzweiler, Ibid. pg. 3
4 For further study of the biblical perspective of time and history consult: Cullman, Oscar, Christ and Time and Salvation in History; Berkhof, Hendrikus, Christ the Meaning of History; Torrance, T.F., Space, Time and Incarnation and Space, Time and Resurrection.
5 Smedes, Lewis B., The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (revised). Geoffrey W. Bromiley (ed.). Grand Rapids: Wm B. Eerdmans. 1982. Vol. 2, pg. 549.
6 Moffatt, James, Grace in the New Testament. New York: Ray Long and Richard R. Smith Inc. 1932. pg. 198.
7 Moffatt, Ibid. pg. 209.
8 Nevin, John W., The Mystical Presence. Philadelpha: United Church Press. pgs 211,212.
9 Stewart, James S., A Man in Christ. New York: Harper and Brothers. n.d. pg. 173.
10 Gunkel, J.F.H., Die Religion in Geschichte und Gegenwart. Vol. II, pg. 1245. Quoted by Stewart, A Man in Christ, pg. 174.
11 Stewart, James S., op cit. pgs. 178.179.
12 Stewart, Ibid. pg. 176
13 Barclay, William, The Mind of St. Paul. Collins, 1958. pg. 112.
14 Dunzweiler, op cit., pg. 10.
15 Dunzweiler, Ibid. pg. 20.
16 Chafer, Lewis Sperry, Systematic Theology. Dallas: Dallas Seminary Pr. 1948. Vol. VI, pg. 73.
17 Bock, Darrell, Bibliotheca Sacra. April-June 1986. Dallas: Dallas Theological Seminary.
18 Chafer, op cit., pgs. 73.74.
19 Pache, René, The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit. Chicago: Moody Press. 1954. pg. 30.
20 Nevin, op cit., pg. 197.
21 Pache, René, op cit. pg. 35.
22 Dunzweiler, op cit. pg. 4.
23 Dunzweiler, Ibid. pg. 4.
24 Nevin, John W., op cit. pg. 226.
25 Chafer, op cit.. pg. 71.
26 Chafer, Ibid. pg. 72.
27 Chafer, Ibid. pg. 74.
28 Kelly, Robert A., The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (revised), Geoffrey W. Bromiley (ed.). Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans. 1982. Vol. 4. pg. 193.
29 Chafer, op cit. pg. 74.
30 Stewart, op. cit. pgs 249,250.
31 Stewart, Ibid. pgs 253,254.
32 Stewart, Ibid. pg. 248.
33 Dunzweiler, op cit. pg. 10.
34 Nevin, op. cit.
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3 divine Onesses
Posted:Nov 25, 2011 7:01 am
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THREE DIVINE ONENESSES

Abstract

Three divine onenesses serve to form the structure of all Christian theology. Trinitarian oneness explains the oneness of the three persons of Father, , and Holy Spirit in the same Being of the one God. Christological oneness is the explanation of deity and humanity being hypostatically united in the one God-man, Jesus Christ. Christian oneness is the union of Christ and the Christian in "one spirit." The unity of the three divine onenesses comprises the one gospel message of the Trinitarian God interacting with and in humanity.

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Paul wrote to the Ephesians, "There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling: one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all" (Ephesians 4:4-6). Based on Paul's sevenfold use of the word "one", we could legitimately refer to "seven onenesses." But in this article we will concern ourselves with "three onenesses" which do not necessarily have equivalence with the onenesses referred to by Paul's statement to the Ephesians, but are yet included within, and inclusive of, the seven onenesses mentioned by Paul. (This might give you a forewarning of the complexity of "onenesses".)

Throughout Christian history, in the literature of Christian spirituality, there have been a number of authors who have referred to "three divine unions" or "three heavenly unions".1 These "three divine unions" have usually been identified as (1) the union of Father, , and Holy Spirit in the one Godhead, (2) the union of deity and humanity in the one God-man mediator, the Lord Jesus Christ, and (3) the union of the Spirit of Christ and the spirit of a Christian individual, sometimes expanded to include the collective union of the "one Body," the Church, in union with Christ. Changing the phrase to "three divine onenesses" ­ (1) the Trinitarian oneness of Father, , and Holy Spirit in the one Godhead, (2) the Christological oneness of deity and humanity in the one Lord and mediator, Jesus Christ, and (3) the Christian oneness of the Spirit of Christ and the spirit of an individual or the collective church in the "one spirit" union with Christ ­ this study will seek to consider the distinction and relation of these onenesses.

Why have we referred to "three onenesses" instead of "three unions"? Because the word "union" implies the bringing together into one of multiple entities which were previously not conjoined. The dictionary definition indicates that "union" refers to "uniting or joining two or more things into one;" the formation of a single unit as separate, disparate or distinct entities are joined into one singular entity. Such a definition of "union" does not apply to the Trinitarian oneness of Father, , and Holy Spirit in the Godhead, for they are not, and have never been, separate and disparate entities which were then conjoined or united into one God. The eternality of the essential and relational oneness of the one God disallows the conjoining or uniting of separate parts or persons in such a "divine union." Rather, God is (and has always been) a unity, a triunity, which can, has, and does engage in unitive action to create unions that allow His unity and oneness to function therein.

The "three onenesses" which are addressed in this study all involve and include the divine Being of God, and can thus be legitimately identified as "divine onenesses", but the composition of the "onenesses" vary in terms of their essentiality, functionality, and relationality. They also vary in terms of their eternality and temporality, i.e. whether the "oneness" being referred to has always existed in unity (as has the oneness of the Triune God), or whether the "oneness" has a commencement of unitive expression in historical time (as the oneness of Christological incarnation and the oneness of spiritual regeneration do).

The divine unity of the Trinitarian oneness of God has engaged in the unitive action of creating a divine union of deity and humanity in the historical incarnation of the God-man, Jesus Christ. By this Christological action of the Trinitarian God and the subsequent redemptive and restorative action of God in Christ, He has taken the continued unitive action of creating spiritual Christian union as the Spirit of Christ and the spirit of man are conjoined in the union of "one spirit" (cf. I Cor. 6:17), and collectively in the union of "one Body" (I Cor. 12:13; Eph. 2:16,18; 4:4; Col. 1:1, wherein the living Lord Jesus becomes and functions as the life of the Christian and the church.

These clarifications of terminology should provide sufficient foundation for our continued study of the "three divine onenesses" ­ (1) the Trinitarian oneness of the one God, (2) the Christological oneness of the one Lord, Jesus Christ, and (3) the Christian spiritual oneness of Christ and the Christian in "one spirit." As these onenesses of Trinity, Christology, and union with Christ have traditionally been regarded as inexplicable mysteries of the Christian faith, we do not presume to be able to provide full and final definition and explanation of these onenesses in this brief study, but only to address some basic distinctives of each, and the necessity and interconnection of these onenesses in the larger framework of the Christian gospel.

Trinitarian Oneness

The mysteries of God's onenesses are such that they can only be known by revelation. God has chosen to reveal Himself and His unitive actions in the Self-revelation of Himself in His , Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ, the Logos of God, serves as the primary revealer of God, being the expressive Word of God (John 1:1,14). The unity and unions of God can only be known to the extent that God has revealed such in Christic revelation, so this study engages not in "natural theology" whereby man seeks to know God in the natural creation or by natural reason, but in "revelatory theology" whereby those receptive to the revelation of God in Christ seek to understand and interpret how God has revealed Himself and His active unions.

The oneness of God's own Being was revealed to Moses on Mt. Sinai and shared with the Israelite people in the Shema statement, "Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God is one God!" (Deut. 6:4). This assertion of monotheism was carried over into Christian theology as the Christian faith was established in the Judaic context, and Jesus Himself reiterated the Shema statement (cf. Mark 12:29). The apostle Paul asserts the oneness of God, explaining to the Corinthians that "there is one God, the Father, from Whom are all things" (I Cor. 8:6), and to the Ephesians that there is "one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all" (Eph. 4:6). Later, Paul wrote Timothy, "There is one God..." (I Tim. 2:5). The Christian understanding of God is clearly monotheistic.

When God made the Self-revelation of Himself in Jesus Christ there was a unique revelation that His oneness was more complex than the monadic oneness of a singular and unextended unit of one as the Jewish people had understood God. In Christ, God revealed Himself as a plurality-in-oneness ­ as a "three-in-oneness." Jesus declared, "I and the Father are one" (John 10:30). Such a statement either had to be repudiated as a blasphemous denial of God as a monadic oneness (which was the response of the Jewish leaders - John 10:31,39), or the monotheistic oneness of God had to be reconsidered and reformulated in accord with God's revelation of Himself as being One with multiple personal distinction (which was the process in which the early Christians engaged theologically). It can definitely be noted that neither the first century Jews nor the subsequent Christians understood Jesus' comment to mean, "I and the Father have one purpose or objective," as later proponents of monadic monotheistic have disingenuously suggested. Jesus' revelation of God is clear: "I and the Father are one;" not "I and the Father have one purpose or goal." The oneness refers to essence and relation, rather than to functional or teleological intent.

There were possible previous hints of multiplicity in the oneness of God, as the Hebrew word for God, Elohim, used throughout the Old Testament, is a plural noun, and God used plural pronouns when He declared, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness" (Gen. 1:26). But the clear Self-revelation of God as personal plurality within His oneness only becomes evident in the historic revelation of Jesus Christ. God had declared His oneness of Being when He identified Himself to Moses as "I AM that I AM" (Exod. 3:14), but then Jesus came identifying Himself as, "I AM the way, the truth, and the life" (John 14:6); "I AM the resurrection and the life" (John 11:25); "I AM the light of the world" (John 8:12); "I AM the bread of life" (John 6:35,4; "I AM the Messiah" (John 4:26); "before Abraham came into being, I AM" (John 8:5; "I and the Father are one" (John 10:30). To claim to be the "I AM" of God is either the ultimate presumption of deceived egocentricity, or it is God's Self-revelation of Himself in His . Christians believe the latter.

The earliest Christian affirmations and explanations of God recognize Jesus as the of God (Matt. 16:16), who was God (John 1:1) from the beginning, and is God and Savior (Titus 2:13; II Peter 1:1) forever (Heb. 1:. The Holy Spirit, identified as the "Spirit of God" and the "Spirit of Christ" (Rom. 8:9), was also regarded as co-essential with the Lord Jesus Christ (II Cor. 3:17,1 and with God the Father (Acts 5:3,4). The three-in-oneness of this newly revealed Trinitarian monotheism was evident in the redemptive explanation of how "the blood of Christ, Who through the eternal Spirit, was Jesus' own self-offering without blemish to God" (Heb. 9:14). Regenerative salvation was explained by Paul as "God having sent forth the Spirit of His into our hearts" (Gal. 4:6). The earliest baptismal formula was that of "baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the , and the Holy Spirit" (Matt. 28:19). Peter regarded his commission as apostle to be "according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, that you might obey Jesus Christ..." (I Peter 1:2). The early doxological statements also expressed this distinctively Christian understanding of God as three-in-one, asking that "the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all" (II Cor. 13:14).

There can be no doubt that the early Christians accepted God's Self-revelation of Himself as Father, , and Holy Spirit, comprising one God. That, despite the difficulty of articulating and explaining this Trinitarian distinctive within monotheistic oneness. The distinctive of the plurality of persons within the singularity of God's essential oneness creates a dialectic of thought that must be held in balanced tension. (cf. Diagram #1). Some have referred to this dialectic as a paradoxical antinomy (against the law of reason), but this must not be construed to imply that Trinitarian monotheism is illogical, especially in the context of the divine logic of God's Self-revelation.

While clearly affirming the unique Christian understanding of God as three-in-one, the early Christians progressively attempted to rethink and express this reality of Trinitarian monotheism. Theophilus of Antioch (c. AD 175) referred to the "threesomeness" or "triad" of God, using the Greek word trias. Tertullian, of Carthage in North Africa (AD 160-230), was (as best we can ascertain) the first to use the Latin word trinitas (tri means "three"; unitas means "unity") to express God's Self-revelation as three, distinct persons in the singular unity of the Godhead, explaining that God is three persons (Latin personae) in one substance (Latin substantia).

Finding words in different languages to attempt to explain the content of the triple distinction and the singular oneness of God has always been difficult ­ especially since languages evolve and words change meaning or have numerous nuances of meaning. The earliest Christians used the Greek language, but by the second century there were Christian theologians (ex. Tertullian) using the Latin language. Equivalence of concepts and words proved difficult. Tertullian referred to three personae, which originally meant faces wearing masks as actors engaged in role-playing, but had evolved into the meaning of "individual distinction" or "distinct individuals". The Greek equivalent, prosopon, also referred to faces and masks worn by role-playing actors, but had not progressed into the meaning of "individual distinction" to the extent that the Latin word had. The Greek theologians preferred to speak of three hypostaseis, which originally had meant "beings", but had come to mean "distinct particularizations capable of interrelation," i.e. persons. If the Latin writers were then to refer to three distinctio or subsistentia, the personalism of the three divine beings tended to be diminished. Whereas Tertullian had used the Latin substantia, meaning "substance", to refer to the integral oneness of God, and others used the Latin essentia, meaning "essence," or verite, meaning "reality," or natura, meaning "nature", the Greek writers preferred ousia which was inclusive of some of the Latin concepts but carried a greater connotation of personal "being."

This gives us some semantic background for the word distinctions that came into play at the Council of Nicea in AD 325, when 318 bishops (all but one of them from the Eastern Greek-speaking churches) assembled, at the request of the Roman emperor, Constantine, to clarify the Christian understanding of God. Constantine had expediently accepted the Christian faith and wanted to quench any divisive dissension. Arius, of Alexandria in Egypt (AD 250-336), had amassed quite a following for his thesis that the threeness of the Godhead was not three co-equal and co-essential persons consubstantially united in one Being. Rather, he claimed that the was made by the Father, and the Spirit proceeded from the Father, so these two were ontologically inferior to the Father, as distinct second-class demi-gods who were not of the same essence as the Father. Arius could not maintain the dialectic in his own mind of the distinction of three equal personages in the essential unity of divine oneness. So, instead of Trinitarian monotheism, the unique Christian understanding of God, he had reverted to a monad monotheism that stressed the singular oneness of God while denying the three-in-oneness. The previously accepted Christian explanation of God's triunity had employed the Greek word homoousion (homo means "same"; ousia means "being"), implying that the three persons of Father, , and Holy Spirit comprised the same Being of the Godhead. This Greek term homoousion (as best we can determine) was first utilized by Origen, of Alexandria in Egypt (AD 185-255), despite the fact that he, too, could not maintain the dialectic tension of God's distinction and oneness, and had sacrificed the co-equal threeness by positing a hierarchical subordinationism that made the and the Spirit inferior to the Father. So even though Origen served as a preliminary ideologue for the thinking of Arius, it was he who seems to have provided the orthodox Greek term homoousion. Arius rejected Origen's term of orthodox explanation of the triunity of God, stating instead that the Father, , and Holy Spirit were anomoousion, "not of the same being," but rather heteroousion, "of different being."

Athanasius, of Alexandria in Egypt (AD 296-373), was the young defender of the distinctively Christian understanding of God who adamantly argued at the Council of Nicea that homoousion was the correct word that maintained the distinction of the three persons of Father, , and Holy Spirit in the "same Being" of the Godhead, allowing for the Christian theological understanding of Trinitarian monotheism. The arguments of Athanasius won the day at Nicea after much contention, and Arius and his monadic monotheism were denounced. Arius was slow to capitulate, however, and later some of his ideologues (commonly known as semi-Arians) proposed their willingness to accept the word homoiousion (homoios means "like" or "similar"; ousia means "being") instead of homoousion ("same being"). This variation of Arianism was also rejected by the church leaders of the day, but it is the basis of the age-old question: "Does it make an iota of difference?" (since the difference in the two words is simply the inclusion of the Greek letter iota). The answer of those who have held to an orthodox Christian understanding of the Trinitarian God is an unequivocal "Yes, it does make a difference!" The Nicene Creed, initially formulated at the Council of Nicea, states that Jesus, the of God, is homoousios to Patri, "of the same Being as the Father," and this has henceforth been the Christian explanation of the Trinitarian oneness of Father and .

Consideration of the oneness of God's Being requires the explanation that although ousia referred to an abstract sense of existence in general in some of the Greek philosophers, the Christian use of "oneness of Being" does not mean that God is all that exists. Such a monistic monotheism portrays God as a singular and universal God-reality that incorporates and includes all that exists in a pantheistic monism that fails to distinguish the Creator from the creation. Some have misused Scripture to attempt to justify such monistic monotheism, arguing that the KJV rendering of Isaiah 45:5,6 is God's declaration, "I am the Lord, and there is none else. ...There is none beside Me," implying that God is all that is. They also misuse I Cor. 15:28, Eph. 4:6, and Col. 3:11, claiming that these verses state "God is all in all." God's Being is not to be abstracted as a monistic universal existence that comprises or is intrinsic to everything in a pantheistic or panentheistic sense. The traditional Christian understanding of Trinitarian monotheism regards the three persons of the Father, , and Holy Spirit as constituting the personal divine Being of the Godhead.

When the oneness of God is emphasized to the denial or neglect of the tripersonal diversity and distinction of the co-equal and co-essential persons of the Trinity, then the extremisms that result cast God as a singular, mathematical oneness ­ either as a single, unextended authority figure, as in the monadic monotheism of Judaism and Islam, or as a single, comprehensive universal as in the monistic monotheism of unitarianism, modern "oneness" sects, and contemporary New Age religion. In either case, these inadequate explanations of the singularity of God's oneness disallow the interpersonal and relational oneness that provides the foundation and function of Trinitarian monotheism. The oneness of God must not be viewed merely as a single and static integer of one, but as a relational oneness wherein the three distinct persons of Father, , and Holy Spirit relate to one another in a unity of oneness. Though they are three distinct persons, they are indivisible and cannot be separated ontologically since they are essentially the same Being (homoousion) of the one Godhead. Their intimate interaction in the onto-relationalism of the divine Trinity is the basis for the Christian understanding of Trinitarian monotheism.

The Father, the , and the Holy Spirit are not three gods added together in the collectivity of simple addition (1+1+1=3) ­ this is polytheistic tritheism that preempts the oneness of monotheism. Neither are the three persons to be overly individualized as a triad of cooperative participants in a "social trinity" that is akin to a divine committee (Now there's an oxymoron!). Though the Latin phrase communicatio idiomatum has sometimes been used in Trinitarian discussion, referring to the intercommunication of the properties and/or substances of the three persons, the more adequate expression to refer to the onto-relationalism of the Trinity is that employed by Gregory of Nazianzus (AD 330-389) in the later clarification of Trinitarian monotheism at the Council of Chalcedon (AD 451). The Greek word perichoresis (peri meaning "around"; chora means "space" or "room" and chorein means "to contain" or "to make room") was originally used to explain how the divine and human properties coinhered in the one Person of Jesus Christ without either being diminished thereby, but the word was then applied with an expanded meaning to the oneness of relations in the Trinity. In an attempt to explain Jesus' statement that "I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me" (John 14:10,11) the early Greek theologians used perichoresis or emperichoresis to indicate the mutual indwelling of the three persons as they coinhere and are completely contained within each other, and yet have the "space" to be themselves and express their distinct otherness. While maintaining a distinct otherness, the three persons inexist in an immanent in-each-otherness whereby they interpenetrate one another are mutually constitutive of the other in their relations. For example, the Father to be the Father requires the , and the to be requires the Father. The Father has always been Father God, and the eternal has never not been the of God, despite Arius' contention that the words "only begotten" implied that the was created and made by the Father out of nothing. To the contrary, the Father, , and Holy Spirit are all eternal and underived Deity. In the interanimation of their interrelations they are a community of Being, and Divine Being in communion. This ontological dynamic of divine Being in action ­ a triune oneness of Being and agency ­ is expressed in the loving (I John 4:8,16) fellowship of community in the mutual and reciprocal relationships of Trinity.

The development of the meaning and implications of the word perichoresis to the inner Being and interactions of the Trinity evidences the importance and necessity of differentiating between the ontological (Greek ontos derived from ousia meaning "being") considerations of the triune Being of God and the operational or functional (aka economic or ergonomic) considerations of the mutual interrelations and interactions of the Trinity. While the ontological Trinity was adequately expressed in the homoousion of "same Being," the operational Trinity found fuller expression in the word perichoresis, with its deeper implications of interactive dynamic and communion. Even within the operational consideration of the Trinity there remains the dialectic tension between distinction of operation and the coinherent oneness of the Being of God in action. There are operational distinctions of administration and function between the three persons of the Godhead. The Father sent the (John 3:16), not vice versa. The emptied Himself (Phil. 2, to be found in appearance as a man, not the Father or the Spirit. The Spirit bears witness (Rom. 8:16) by His presence in the spirit of man. These distinctions of diverse activity do not, however, diminish the co-constitutive unity of their shared Being and the interrelational dynamic of their mutual action. There is allowable distinction of function, but at the same time we have the balanced tension of recognizing that when the Father, and Holy Spirit function, they "dance together as one" with no space or room between them, each interpenetratively contained within the other. Regrettably, the Latin word circumcessio (circum meaning "around"; cessio meaning "to go") which was used as an equivalent to the Greek perichoresis did not prove broad enough to convey the same meaning of the perichoretic interpenetration of God's Being in action. The Western Church (Catholic and Protestant) has focused primarily on the static and rationalistic considerations of the ontological essentiality of Trinitarian oneness. The Eastern Church, in its various Orthodox forms, has placed more emphasis on the dynamic functionality of the operational interrelatedness and interactivity of Trinitarian oneness. Both emphases are needed for a balanced Trinitarian understanding.

In the consideration of Trinitarian oneness we must constantly reiterate the necessity of maintaining the dialectic tension of the distinction of Father, , and Holy Spirit in their three persons and activity, while at the same time noting their essential oneness of divine Being. Gregory of Nazianzus wrote, "I cannot think of the One, but I am immediately surrounded by the glory of the three; nor can I discover the three, but I am suddenly carried back to the One."2 Augustine likewise recognized that "God is greater and truer in our thoughts than in our words; He is greater and truer in reality than in our thoughts."3 Trinitarian oneness will always remain beyond full understanding, but it is incumbent on Christians in every age to articulate the mystery of the three-in-one God in accord with God's Self-revelation of Himself, and that without reducing God to mere formulation of thought, but allowing Him to continue to reveal Himself to all Christians as the Trinitarian God that He is.

Christological Oneness

Clarification of the Trinitarian oneness of God was made primarily at the Council of Nicea (AD 325), utilizing the Greek word homoousion for the three persons of the Godhead comprising the "same Being." Though additional discussion of Trinitarian oneness ensued at the Council of Constantinople (AD 381) and the Council of Chalcedon (AD 451), the consideration of the Christological oneness of deity and humanity in the one person of Jesus Christ was the primary distinctive of the Chalcedonian Council. Shedd wrote, "It (Chalcedon) substantially completed the orthodox Christology of the ancient church."4

Whereas the door to the discussion of the Trinitarian oneness of God was through the recognized monotheistic oneness of God, which then had to be dialectically balanced with the tension of the distinction of Father, and Holy Spirit, the door to Christological consideration was (and is) entered through the distinction of the established deity of the of God and the enfleshment of the in human form, and how it is that deity and humanity can comprise one person. In other words, whereas the consideration of Trinitarian oneness moves from oneness to distinction, the consideration of Christological oneness moves from distinction towards oneness, attempting to explain the tension of the dialectic of the duality of God and man in the singularity of the person of Jesus Christ. Explaining this "two-in-oneness" both in essence and function is the task of Christological study. (cf. Diagram #2)

The Trinitarian discussions affirmed that the eternal of God, the Word (Logos) of God, the primary agency of God's Self-revelation, was the co-equal, co-essential, and co-eternal second person of the Triune Godhead. Christological considerations then had (and have) to contend with the Biblical statements that while "the Word was in the beginning with God, and was God" (John 1:1), "the Word became flesh" (John 1:14). The historical incarnation of the of God "revealed" (I Tim. 3:16) and "manifested" (I John 1:2) "in the likeness of sinful flesh" (Rom. 8:3), and partaking of "flesh and blood" (Heb. 2:14) or "flesh and bones" (Lk. 24:39) in connection with an historic lineage of Hebraic and Davidic heritage (Rom. 1:3) had to be addressed, and an explanation sought. How can deity and humanity, which seem to have mutually antithetical attributes, be combined in one person? How can the uncreated God and the created man be joined in such a manner that does not posit a monistic merge that impinges upon the necessary distinction of Creator and creature?

That the of God was the of Man (Mk. 8:31; 9:12; 10:33), and truly a human man (Acts 2:22; Rom. 5:15; I Cor. 15:21; I Tim. 2:5) is attested throughout Scripture by references to His descendancy (Matt. 1:1-17; Lk. 3:23-38; Rom. 1:3), his birth (Matt. 2:1; Lk. 2; Gal. 4:4), his development and growth (Lk. 2:40,46,51), his human senses (Matt. 4:2; Jn 4:6; 11:34; 19:2, his human emotions (Matt. 9:36; 26:37-40; Jn. 11:35; 12:27), his temptability (Matt. 4:1-11; Lk. 4:1-3; Heb. 2:18; 4:15; 5), and his mortality (Jn. 19:30; Phil. 2:. But how can God and man be united or unified in a union of oneness that constitutes one person, one Man (Rom. 5:5), one Lord (I Cor. 8:6; Eph. 4:5), and one Mediator between God and man (I Tim. 2:5)?

The difficulty of maintaining the balanced tension of the dialectic between the distinction of deity and humanity alongside the singular oneness of the person of Jesus Christ has led many Christian thinkers through the centuries to attempt to resolve the problem by explaining the oneness by denying a real union of the distinctions, and that by denying or diminishing the reality of either the deity or the humanity of Jesus.

One of the earliest attempts to resolve the dialectic was in the context of Gnostic thought that espoused the Greek philosophical dualism of identifying the immaterial or spiritual as "good" and the material or physical as "evil." To avoid the idea that Jesus partook of what they regarded as evil physicality, the Gnostics explained that Jesus only "appeared" to be human. This thought is referred to as "docetism," based on the Greek word dokein meaning "to appear." Marcion (second century) indicated, for example, that the humanity of Jesus was just a phantom or a hallucinatory mirage.

The Ebionites, on the other hand, diminished or denied the deity of Jesus Christ by indicating that Jesus was just a man, the of Joseph and Mary, whom God elected to be the of God and conferred such honor upon Him by the descent of the Holy Spirit at His baptism. Many such forms of adoptionism have been proposed by those who have emphasized the humanity of Jesus at the expense of His deity, suggesting that the man, Jesus, received a divine adoption to become the of God, or that the Christ-cloak or Messiah-mantle was placed on Jesus at a particular point in His life (usually at His baptism).

Since Arius (AD 250-336) did not believe that the of God was pre-existent or essentially the same as God the Father, but that the was a creature that God the Father had made, he necessarily regarded Jesus as but a man who was chosen, exalted and inspired by God to serve as His prophetic mouthpiece. Apollinarius (c. AD 310-391) suggested the rational human soul (or spirit) of the man Jesus was displaced by the divine Logos. Others explained that the man, Jesus, developed the consciousness of Godness by engaging in the volitional choices of sinlessness. Later forms of kenoticism suggested that the of God "emptied Himself" of deity in order to become a man.

All of these attempts to explain how Jesus could be the incarnate Savior sacrifice a real union by effectively denying either the deity or the humanity of Jesus. Other explanations of the incarnation sought to retain the dual distinction of deity and humanity, but arrived at various conceptions of the oneness, of how these categories might be united in a union.

Nestorius (c. AD 380-451), for example, could accept that Jesus was both God and man, but could not reconcile how these could be united in one person. So he denied any real union of the divine and human, indicating that there were two separate beings ­ a God being and a human being ­ within a single physical body having one face (Greek prosopon). Such a theory casts Jesus as a schizoid double-being.

Others offered an alternative explanation that the union was effected by humanity being subsumed into deity. Such theories of subsumption or subsumation are not far removed from the absorptionism theories that explain that either deity or humanity was absorbed into the other to effect a oneness of person in Jesus Christ.

The Christian theologians of the 4th and 5th centuries struggled to find words to explain the two-in-oneness of the distinctions of deity and humanity united in the oneness of the one Lord, Jesus Christ. Operating on the clear premise that the pre-existent and eternally generated of God, the Logos, had been incarnated, "made flesh," by supernatural conception allowing for physical expression in the virgin birth of Jesus, they were intent on explaining that Jesus was "true God" and "true man" ­ fully God and fully man. The two categories of deity and humanity were variously explained as "two natures" (Greek phusis), "two substances" (Latin substantia), "two essences" (Latin essentia), and "two beings" (Greek ousia). As with the explanation of Trinitarian oneness, the different languages and the various meanings of words made definition and description difficult. One could explain that "divine being" and "human being" were united in Jesus Christ, comprising an individual "human being," but this creates a logical absurdity (being + being = being), and besides, the Greek word ousia was already being utilized to explain the essential oneness of Being of the triune God. So the word chosen by the predominantly Greek-speaking theologians to refer to the two categories of deity and humanity was the Greek word phusis. This Greek word allowed for the broad understanding of the two "essential properties" of deity and humanity, but the word came freighted with many nuances of meaning in Greek philosophy. "Nature" was sometimes deified in Greek philosophy as the organizing entity of the universe, and "human nature" was subsequently regarded as an extension of the cosmic "nature of things." On the other hand, the usage of phusis by the New Testament writers seem to have reference to the spiritual condition of man: ex. "you were by nature (phusis) of wrath" (Eph. 2:3), but you have "become partakers of the divine nature (phusis)" (II Peter 1:4), leading some to question whether man has an independent "human nature." These variant usages combined to create an ambiguity of the explanation of "two natures" in Jesus from the earliest usage of this terminology.

Choosing words to explain the union of deity and humanity in the oneness of the theanthropos (from the Greek words theos meaning "God" and anthropos meaning "man"), the God-man, proved just as difficult. Was the resultant oneness of Jesus Christ to be identified as "one person"? The Latin word personae, though originally referring to impersonation of acting out a role in a stage persona, had evolved into the meaning of a "distinct individual." The Greek equivalent, prospon, which originally meant "face," and was used for acting out a role with a face-mask, had not evolved as clearly from impersonation to personation as had the Latin word personae. Besides, the Latin word personae was already being used to refer to the distinction of the "three persons" of the Godhead, Father, , and Holy Spirit. If the of God already was divine personae, would it not be redundant to explain that He became personae in the union of the God-man? So the word chosen by the Greek-speaking scholars at the Council of Chalcedon (AD 451) was the Greek word hypostasis (Greek hypo means "under"; stasis, from histeme, means "to stand"), that had linguistically developed the meaning of a "distinct individual," somewhat equivalent to the Latin word personae. As noted earlier, the Greek theologians referred to "three hypostaseis" as the distinctions of the three persons of the Godhead. So the same logical bind of having the hypostasis of the of God becoming hypostasis in the individuation of Jesus Christ still remained. Despite the semantic and logical problems, the orthodox explanation of the union of deity and humanity in Jesus Christ has been identified as the "hypostatic union" ever since the Council of Chalcedon. Contemporary complications of using the language of hypostasis to explain the oneness of Jesus result from its primary meaning in English as the sediment of "that which settles to the bottom," and thus "stands under" other particulate matter. Christian theology certainly does not want to indicate that the singularity of Jesus is "that which settles to the bottom" which you mix deity and humanity in one person.

In the 6th century, Leontius of Damascus (AD 500-561) employed the Greek word enhypostasis in an attempt to emphasize that the hypostasis of the individuated person of Jesus was truly an incarnation (Greek ensarkos) of God in man. The point he sought to make was that humanity does not have an independent hypostasis or phusis existence, but it was the divine nature that was operative in the man, Jesus Christ. In making such a statement he had to be careful to avoid the implication that the humanity of Jesus was just an instrumental container of deity, which would deny real union, while at the same time avoiding the earlier mis-emphases of monophysitism (Greek mono means "only"; phusis means "nature") which posited a fused singularity of nature, making Jesus an homogenized God-man or a hybrid synthesis of a tertium quid (a third alternative of a "middle-being").

Suffice it to say that the semantics of trying to explain the ineffable and inexplicable reality of the union of deity and humanity in Christological oneness have often exhausted the tools of human language. When speaking and writing of such spiritual realities, every generation, using their respective languages, must consider the explanations of prior Christian expression and use the most precise word of their own language to explain the distinction of deity and humanity in the one Lord, Jesus Christ.

In the most Christologically explicit passage in the New Testament, Paul wrote that "Christ Jesus, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bondservant, being made in the likeness of men, and being found in appearance as a man..." (Phil. 2:5-. There has been much discussion throughout the history of Christian Biblical interpretation concerning how the self-emptying of Jesus relates to the distinctions o
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The Great Exchange
Posted:Nov 24, 2011 6:59 am
Last Updated:Nov 26, 2011 4:20 am
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By: Bob George

Christians are continually trying to change their lives; but God calls us to experience the exchanged life. Christianity is not a self-improvement program. It isn't a reformation project. It is resurrection! It is new life! And it is expressed in terms of a total exchange of identity. Jesus Christ identified Himself with us in our death in order that we might be identified with Him in His resurrection. We give Christ all that we were ­ spiritually dead, guilty sinners ­ and Christ gives us all that He is ­ resurrected life, forgiveness, righteousness, acceptance.

We have total acceptance because we have experienced a total exchange: "God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God" (2 Corinthians 5:21). Examine some of the results of our being given a standing of total acceptance before God (our justification).

We have been made at peace with God. (Romans 5:1)
We are safe from God's wrath. (Romans 5:9)
We have been freed from all condemnation. (Romans 8:1)
We have been made perfect forever. (Hebrews 10:14)
We have been made complete. (Colossians 2:9,10)


We Christians have been made complete in Christ. We are forgiven, redeemed, made spiritually alive, and we stand in the righteousness of Christ, totally accepted. Are we perfectly mature? No. That won't happen until the day of resurrection...

Because we have experienced God's great exchange, we can consider the past dead and gone, and concentrate on walking in the new life we have received.

There are many people who find this message offensive and get angry. There's another group which says, "Yes, yes, I know what you're saying is true. But...you have to go on to practical truth." Listen! There is nothing more practical than the message of God's love and grace, and the believer's identity in Christ! People are always looking for God's power, and this is it!

Whatever you or I may be struggling with, the answer is the same. It is only through a total exchange that we will begin to see the changes we desire.

From: Classic Christianity. Eugene: Harvest House Publishers. ©1989.
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Logos....or Word ?
Posted:Nov 23, 2011 1:40 am
Last Updated:Nov 25, 2011 7:03 am
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Interesting article by
Dr Fredrick David Graves

Version 21 March 2009 7
The Word
“In the beginning was the Logos, and the Logos was with God, and the Logos was God. … And the Logos was made flesh, and dwelt among us …” John 1:1-14 You’ve probably heard that passage written, “In the beginning was the Word, …”, yet the Word used by John in the original Greek text is “Logos”, the Word that made the world and all that’s in it.

What does the Logos have to do with The Gospel Mystery? Everything! Because, the Logos is the mystery … the very Christ of God in Spirit. We will demonstrate this to be true. You can read your own Bible and find it to be true (though it is unlikely any preacher ever taught this to you from the pulpit of one of this age’s commercial churches). The Logos is God’s Great Design! The Logos is Christ Himself ... the Master Plan by which all we know or ever hope to know was fashioned into being and continues to this day according to the will of God the Father.

The Logos formed the stars, directs the planets in their courses, and determines the destiny of both men and nations according to fixed principles that never, ever change. Your Bible says it clearly in that first verse of John’s story of Christ. Read it for yourself! The Logos and God are One! The Word that was made flesh!

The Word that dwells within every soul who is truly saved, truly born again, truly alive and being transformed from within by that same indwelling Word who is Christ in Spirit. Your Bible is not the “Word”.

Those who’ve taught you this so many thousand years are either misled or have some motive to deceive you, to keep the Truth from you, just as Caiaphas the high priest of the Sanhedrin sought 2,000 years ago to put God’s Christ to death at the hands of Pilate.

The truth has been hidden from you but now is revealed to those with ears to hear and the gift of Grace to believe in faith. John tells us, “The Logos was God. The Logos was made flesh. The Logos dwelt among us. But men loved darkness more than the light.” Your Bible is a book that tells you about the Word.

It is not the Word.
Your Bible is not the Logos that is God, the never-changing Force of Good that decides our present based on our past, and the pre-ordains our future based on our present and the decisions we make in the present.
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