Arianism is the nontrinitarian, heterodoxical teaching, first attributed to Arius (c. AD 250–336), a Christian presbyter in Alexandria, Egypt.

Responding to the misunderstandings of those who deny the Lord Jesus is God

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    Responding to the misunderstandings of those who deny the Lord Jesus is God

    In the numbers below are some common misunderstandings by those who deny the Lord Jesus is God. My response to each appears immediately afterwards. I am not sure of all the objections that could be posed but what I have done is choose and respond to the ones that I have personally encountered.

    1. They cite passages that teach the Lord Jesus is a man as if this negates Him being God.
    Trinitarians also believe the Lord Jesus is a man. However, other passages also teach that He is God. Psalm 119:160 teaches that the sum of God's word is truth - not just certain passages or certain words within the passage.
    The Lord Jesus is referred to as the Son Man about 90 times, the Son of God slightly more than 50 times and the Son of David about 16 times. Just because He is referred to as the Son of Man more often does not cancel out the other two. All three are equally true.

    2. They assume functional subjection necessitates ontological inferiority.
    When the Lord Jesus became a man He took on the form of a slave (Philippians 2:7 cf. John 13:16; 15:20). So it is no surprise that as a slave He would humble Himself unto the Father. One clear example of this is found in John 14:28. It reads,
    You heard that I said to you, I go away, and I will come to you. If you loved Me, you would have rejoiced because I go to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. (NASB)
    a. Citing both John 5:18 and John 14:28 the TDNT reads:
    Nevertheless, John accepts the paradox that he is the Son who is both subject to the Father and yet also one with Him (10:30; 1:1). In other words, He is equal to the Father (3:352-353, isos, Stahlin).(*1)
    b. William Mounce: Jesus declares that, "The Father is greater than I" (14:28; 15:20). This does not suggest inequality in the Trinity, but rather expresses a willing subordination of the Son to the will of the Father (Mounce's Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, Greater, page 309).
    Still another passage cited quite often is John 5:19. It reads:
    Therefore Jesus answered and was saying to them, Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner. (NASB)
    Those who deny the Lord Jesus is God focus in on the part where it reads, "the Son can do nothing of Himself" but as we have already seen the Son was a perfect servant so this is to be expected that He affirms as such. The part that they do not focus on is where the Lord Jesus said "whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner."
    a. Marvin Vincent: Better, as Rev., in like manner. Likewise is popularly understood as equivalent to also; but the word indicates identity of action based upon identity of nature.
    John 5 Commentary - Vincent's Word Studies
    This is not surprising since the Lord Jesus is the Ultimate Judge (John 5:22)(*2) who is to be worshiped in equality with the Father (John 5:23).(*3)
    A creature is incapable of correctly affirming "whatever the Father does I can do" but the Creator can justifiably declare such truth.

    3. They affirm that "God" (theos) is appropriately applied unto the Father while "Lord" (kyrios) is properly used in reference to the Lord Jesus (cf. 1 Corinthians 8:6). Thus they believe the Lord Jesus is not God.
    The Father is also referred to as "Lord" (Acts 4:29) and the Lord Jesus is also referred to as "God" (John 20:28).
    The use of "my God" in John 20:28 - Christforums
    Furthermore, in several passages of the Bible "Lord" is applied to the Lord Jesus based on Old Testament references to YHWH (Romans 10:13 with Joel 2:32 (3:5 LXX); Hebrews 1:10 with Psalm 102:25 (101:26 LXX); 1 Peter 2:3 with Psalm 34:8 (33:9 LXX); 1 Peter 3:15 with Isaiah 8:13; etc.).
    If the Lord Jesus is not YHWH such would never have been done.

    4. They often engage in a "Humpty-Dumpty" approach in denying how the words of the Bible are properly defined. In Lewis Carroll's 'Through the Looking Glass' Humpty Dumpty stated, "When I use a word it means just what I choose it to mean."
    The BDAG (3rd Edition), NIDNTT, TDNT and even Joseph Henry Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament all teach the Lord Jesus is God when they properly define the words of the Bible. When pressed about this a common response by them is that they don't go by "the words of men but by what the Bible says." To this I point out that they are a man (as is often the case) and yet they believe themselves as to what the words of the Bible mean. This is a contradiction. I might also ask them to properly define an English word with a source (such as Webster's Dictionary) that they have previously used. If and when they do then I respond by saying I don't accept that definition. If they can play make believe with what words mean then why can't I?
    One can see how quickly this results in a break down in communication. Fairy tale definitions belong in fairy tales but they have no place when it comes to properly defining the words of the Bible.

    5. They will sometimes affirm that it doesn't make sense that the Lord Jesus is both God and man.
    The High Priest and the sacrifice were never the same and yet the Lord Jesus is both. In fact, the slain Lamb has seven horns (omnipotence) and seven eyes (omniscience) in Revelation 5:6.(*4)
    Furthermore, our standard of truth is what the Bible declares not whether our finite limited minds can fully understand it. In fact, the eternity of God can never be fully understood but because the Bible declares it it is to be believed (Psalm 90:2). The same holds true in regards to the Lord Jesus being God. Since Scripture declares this truth it is sufficient.

    (*1) A paradox does not necessitate a contradiction.
    The BDAG (3rd Edition) affirms that, "the free pers. a slave of Christ 1 Cor 7:22" is a "Paradox" (eleutheros, page 317).

    (*2) E. J. Young insightfully observes that "for absolute justice, there must be absolute knowledge" (The Book of Isaiah, Volume 1, page 384). This is in reference to the knowledge the Lord Jesus possesses based on Isaiah 11:3-4.

    (*3) A. T. Robertson: Jesus claims here the same right to worship from men that the Father has. Dishonoring Jesus is dishonoring the Father who sent him (8:49; 12:26; 15:23; 1 John 2:23). See also Luke 10:16. There is small comfort here for those who praise Jesus as teacher and yet deny his claims to worship.
    John 5 Commentary - Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament

    (*4) Robert H. Mounce: While it is true that a slaughtered lamb obviously connoted sacrifice, the lamb in John's vision is now standing upright, having "seven horns and seven eyes" - symbols of perfect power and wisdom (The New International Commentary on the New Testament: The Book of Revelation, page 132).
    Last edited by Faber; 04-29-2017, 03:50 AM.

    Yes, thank you! I'm really getting tired of all the misplaced arguements or worse non-arguements I get from these people, even if it is from time to time.

    I understand that there's way too many denominations of Christianity for any atheist to fully keep track of the semantics, but I hear them being completely misinformed even on the fundamnetal skeleton of what Christianity is. Maybe it's an issue of lack of interest on their part to understand what it is they are denying...and I've come across people who simply parrot the fallacies spouted by other misinformed atheists on Youtube videos.

    Any self respecting person would at least inform themselves on the basics before going in a debate on a certain topic, and religion is no different. Just because it's a matter of belief doesn't mean they can turn any such debate into "pidgeon chess".

      Originally posted by Faber View Post
      Just because He is referred to as the Son of Man more often does not cancel out the other two.
      In the Old Testament there is one place where the title "Son of Man" is used to refer to someone who is more than just a man.

      I saw in the night visions,
      and behold, with the clouds of heaven
      there came one like a son of man,
      and he came to the Ancient of Days
      and was presented before him.
      And to him was given dominion
      and glory and a kingdom,
      that all peoples, nations, and languages
      should serve him;
      his dominion is an everlasting dominion,
      which shall not pass away,
      and his kingdom one
      that shall not be destroyed.
      Daniel 7:13,14 ESV
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