Gospel Gazette Online
Vol. 14 No. 2 February 2012
Page 8

Doctrines of Jesus: A Fleshly Birth?
The Docetists and John Calvin

Tim ChildsAs it has been through the history of God’s dealing with man, so it remains in our day. Some believe God’s testimony while many others reject it, making God out to be a liar. However, God doesn’t lie.

Abraham told the agonizing rich man upon his decease that if his brothers would not hear Moses and the prophets, neither would they be persuaded if one should rise from the dead to testify of God’s demand for them to turn to him and produce fruits of repentance (cf. Luke 16:19ff). Of course, the parallel for our day is we have been given the message of Christ and His chosen apostles whose message has been delivered from heaven through the Spirit. Jesus is the prophet sent from the Heavenly Father who knows no equal (much less a superior prophet) in heaven or on earth. To Him is given all power, authority and dominion in the entire universe. God still says, “Hear ye him” (Matthew 17:1-5). Unlike any other personality who ever lived, Jesus was called of the Father to fill the roles established for Him as Prophet, Priest and King, and He has filled them in a magnificent way.

John, the apostle of love, dealt in his general epistle of 1 John with a doctrine of the late first century A.D. that denied that Jesus, the Anointed Son of God, had actually come in the flesh. He went on to describe them as a group of antichrists who, in so doing, not only denied the Son, but the Father as well. Through John’s writing, the Holy Spirit revealed the heavenly truth that a man could not have God, the Father, while rejecting the testimony He had declared about His Son (cf. 2 John vs. 9).

False teaching, always having its root in the father of lies, created what seemed to be an insuperable dilemma as to how a holy, perfect God could come to live in a material, fleshly body, the components of which were proposed as inherently evil. The two were considered to be diametrically opposed to each other due to the position advocated by certain deceivers that Spirit is good, but matter is evil. In short, it was presented as an impossibility that God would choose to take on Abraham’s seed in coming to live in such an evil form of material flesh. One outgrowth of such belief was that Jesus was merely a phantom, a spirit that simply appeared to be a man, but not in fact.

However, at the close of each of the six days wherein His creative power was majestically displayed, God could and truly did say, “It is good.” Did God make man out of materials that were defective, faulty and evil? Centuries following Adam’s fall, David, a man after God’s own heart, even then could praise God in that he was “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14).

In addition to this early doctrine of the Docetists, a similar, problematic teaching widely embraced in denominational circles still today is one put forth by John Calvin concerning his doctrine of “Original Sin.”

The deceitful doctrine of original sin supposes God looks upon every little infant who exits the birth canal as a defiled, depraved little sinner who deserves immediate, eternal punishment and will do so should he or she die before God bestows a redeeming act of grace upon the child. Calvin’s doctrine claims every infant born into the world inherits Adam’s sinful nature along with its effects.

The principal problem with John Calvin’s teaching in this regard is that it is untrue and unsupported by the teaching of Christ and the Holy Scripture. It distorts the true picture of what has occurred due to Adam and Eve’s fall by sin. Similar to the problem of the Docetists, God would have been presented with a road-blocking dilemma in His effort to redeem the human race by sending His Son to become the Savior of the world. If the prince of this world sponsored error were actually true, Jesus, being born into Adam’s seed line would have been equally born in sin along with a sinful nature. Rather than being a Savior, He would have needed one. Jesus needed no blood shed on His behalf for He was spotless from start to finish.

Jesus told His disciples who were holding young children at bay, not to do so. He commanded they be permitted to come into His presence for of such is the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 19:14). He did not call upon them to be purified beforehand as they were yet innocent and undefiled before God. Unless you and I become as little children, Jesus said, we shall not enter into the kingdom (Matthew 18:3).

Sin is not something we inherit from our fathers as through genetic DNA. Sin is described as the transgression of the law (1 John 3:4) and all unrighteousness (1 John 5:17). Children are innocent and safe before God. Ezekiel, the prophet, wrote how the soul that sinneth, it shall die. He further wrote that the son does not bear the iniquity of the father, nor does the father bear the iniquity of his son (Ezekiel 18:20).

John Calvin’s other principal doctrines are all outgrowths of this first one. They are all built upon a false premise. The remaining ones of unconditional election, limited grace (atonement), irresistible grace and perseverance of the saints are all the consequential outgrowth of the first error. Not meaning to be blunt, but simply forthright, all five are damnable doctrines of demons. Sadly, much of the doctrine of today’s denominational world is built upon John Calvin’s erroneous theology. Such doctrine is foreign and strange to the One revealed from heaven as God’s only begotten Son.

In closing, God had no dilemma in sending His Son to be the Savior of the world, at least not from the problems posed by these erroneous teachings. Jesus was physically and literally baptized in the Jordan. He ate, He drank, He talked, He walked, He rested, He was tempted, but sin-free, and finally He bled and died before His resurrection and Ascension. John, among the other apostolic witnesses, could write in truth: “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life…” (1 John 1:1).


A Word Between Friends
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