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 Vol. 5, No. 3 

March 2003

Since You Asked

~ Page 18 ~

Son of God

By Louis Rushmore

Image I do have a question that arose the other day when a friend was talking about the sonship of Jesus to the Father. I always thought that Jesus became the Son when he came to this world and went thru all that he did for us. But my friend thinks that Jesus was the Son eternal. My question is Has Jesus always been the Son of God? Thank You for looking at this and thanks for the website. Al Lawson

The phrase "Son of God" appears 48 times in the KJV Bible and 47 times in the NKJV, all but once in the New Testament (Daniel 3:25). "Son of God" appears 45 times in the ASV, 40 times in the NIV, and 43 times in the RSV and NAS, all in the New Testament.

The appearance of "the Son of God" in Daniel 3:25 (emp. added, ler) is generally acknowledged by commentators not to be an indication that Nebuchadnezzar recognized the fourth person in the fiery furnace as Jesus Christ. He merely expressed veneration to that fourth person in the furnace, whose capacity to annul the affect of the heat and fire was undeniable; Nebuchadnezzar, rather than referring to him as the Son of God we know to be Jesus Christ, supposed he was an "angel" of one of the idolatrous gods (Daniel 3:28), howbeit chief of those gods. Further, we are told, "the" does not precede the words "Son of God" in the original language of Daniel 3:25.

Commentators, though not divided much on Nebuchadnezzar's perspective, disagree on whom the fourth person really was. Some hold that he was the pre-incarnate Christ while others suppose he was actually an angel of God, such as stayed the mouths of the lions in the case of Daniel (6:22) or the angel Gabriel with whom Daniel became acquainted (9:21). Apparently, the manifold references to the "Son of God" in the New Testament and the single or no real reference to that imagery regarding the second person of the Godhead in the Old Testament indicates that he did not acquire the designation "Son of God" until his Incarnation.

Even Old Testament passages that obviously refer to Jesus Christ as the Son of God associate that designation with the Incarnation of Christ. "Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel [God is with us]" (Isaiah 7:14, emp. added, ler). "I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee" (Psalm 2:7, emp. added, ler). See also Psalm 89:27. The New Testament concurs with the bestowal of the designation Son of God at the Incarnation of Christ. "And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God" (Luke 1:35, emp. added, ler). Luke 1:35 fairly well answers the present question in this one verse.

However, that the second person of the Godhead received the designation "Son of God" associated with his Incarnation does not lessen the Deity and co-eternality of Jesus Christ with the Father and the Holy Spirit. Our Lord assumed another role upon his Incarnation.

Only philosophically could one say that Jesus Christ was always the Son of God. Such an argument along these lines might note the eternality of Deity, which is correctly ascribed to the second person of the Godhead, with the eternal purpose of Deity to save mankind from sins through the one we know as Jesus Christ the Son of God (Ephesians 3:10-11) and that time has no application to an eternal being. That is, for an eternal being, the future (from the human perspective) is as certain as the past or present (again, from the human perspective). Strictly, there is no past, present and future to Deity, which is not bound by time.

For a fuller treatment of the Jesus Christ as the Son of God, one may want to read the following articles. However, none of them deal precisely with when Jesus Christ became the Son of God other than making reference to the Incarnation of Christ and the many New Testament passages that affirm Jesus to be the Son of God.Image

Deacons Without Elders?

By Louis Rushmore

Image Image Br. Rushmore, Would it be scriptural for a congregation to appoint deacons without any elders? While I understand that this probably would not be the wisest or most desirable of arrangements, is there "book, chapter, verse" that would clearly refute this situation as sinful?  This was a question asked to me by a fellow Christian, and as far as I am aware, this situation does not exist, nor is any push being made toward this arrangement - it was simply a "what does the bible say about this situation" kind of thing.  Any insight you can give would be appreciated. In Him, Doug Teague

The Bible does not specifically address whether deacons may serve without elders, and unless there is some overriding biblical principle to the contrary, it is best that we do not legislate a prohibition of deacons without elders where God did not. At the same time, it is indisputable that a fully organized congregation of our Lord will have elders, deacons, one or more ministers (not necessarily located preachers but one or more male members preaching), teachers and other members (Ephesians 4:11). Incidentally, the congregation for which I presently preach has deacons but it does not presently have elders (because of death and incapacitation owing to age); it is the intention of the congregation to appoint biblically qualified elders at its earliest opportunity, whenever that may be in the future. It would be sinful, though, to purposely not have elders in violation of the biblical arrangement portrayed on the pages of inspiration.

Why would it be any more unusually or thought biblically incorrect to have deacons without elders than to have a preacher without elders? If one supposes that deacons might overstep their bounds and rule as though they were elders, might the same supposition (and it has happened, evangelist oversight, declared or not) be said respecting a preacher without elders?

The Jerusalem church appointed men, who though not called deacons in our English translations, served in the capacity of deacons (Acts 6:1-7). Further, Acts 6:2 employs the Greek word diakoneo, from diakonos (our word sometimes meaning deacon) for "serve" when describing the activity for which those seven men were selected. However, the first mention of "elders" in the Roman province of Judaea, where Jerusalem is located, is in Acts 11:30. Specific reference to "elders" in the Jerusalem church does not appear until Acts 15:2. One might conclude that the Jerusalem church had deacons before it had elders. At least, if God were intent on making it known otherwise, he certainly could have, but evidently it was not a matter of grave concern to him.

Summarized, every congregation of the Lord's church ought to strive to appoint biblically qualified elders (as well as deacons, preachers and teachers). However, there is nothing in Scripture that obviously makes the appointment of deacons dependent on the appointment of elders, any more than the appointment of a preacher is dependent upon the appointment of elders. Still, a congregation that has deacons (or a preacher) without elders is not to be ruled by the deacons (or a preacher), but guided by the faithful, adult males of that congregation until such time as biblically qualified elders can be appointed.Image

Women's Role in the Business World

By Louis Rushmore

Image Brother Rushmore, Is it wrong for a woman to have authority over the man in the work place? Does 1 Tim. 2:11,12 and 1 Cor. 14:34 apply in principle outside the church? Sincerly, Amanda Williams

"Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence" (1 Timothy 2:11-12).

"Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law" (1 Corinthians 14:34).

Both of the Scriptures above concern religious settings. The context of 1 Timothy 2:11-12 begins in verse 8 by addressing males and the prayers they offer. Consequently, 1 Timothy 2:11-12 pertain to religious circumstances. Likewise, 1 Corinthians 14:34 pertains to an assembly of the church (the word "church" in that context referring to the assembly). Other passages explain the subordination of women to their respective husbands in the home (Ephesians 5:22-23). However, though Scripture clearly addresses the role of women respecting their male counterparts in religion and in the home, the same role of subordination does not appear in Scripture regarding business activity.

For instance, Lydia was a merchant woman who was a native of Thyatira but she was conducting business in Philippi (Acts 16:12, 14). She had a residence in Philippi (temporary or permanent) into which she invited the apostle Paul and his companions (verse 15, 40). Lydia was a Jewess, who would have been under similar constraints as appear in 1 Timothy 2:11-12, 1 Corinthians 14:34 and Ephesians 5:22-23 in her amenability to Judaism and certainly was constrained thus by those truths in those passages once she became a Christian. Yet, the apostle Paul, Luke the author of Acts and the Holy Spirit who inspired the volume all declined to sanction Lydia for being a business woman and all that involved. Implicitly, Lydia was not in violation of the principles about which we are concerning ourselves. Certainly, her business activity would have required interaction with some of the male population, and in some instances as a boss toward underlings, etc.

Further, the virtuous woman of Proverbs 31:10-31 bought real estate and farmed it (vs. 16) and sold homemade products to merchants (vs. 24). These activities involve interaction with some of the male population in such a way as to command some circumstances and make decisions for herself. Outside the home, she was not restricted by the principles applicable in the home and in religion that made her subordinate to males. However, regarding her God-assigned roles in the home, she served her family and her husband in an admiral way worthy of eternal documentation in the very Word of God.

Likewise, Christian women today have definitive God-given roles in the home and the church that are subordinate to God-given roles assigned to men. Outside the home, though, women are not restricted to a subordinate role to their male counterparts. Yet, women (and men, too) must exercise caution that this liberty outside the confines of the home and religious circumstances is not abused. This liberty must not be allowed to circumvent or alter the relationship between the biblical roles of women and men in the home and the church. The reader may want to view articles on Gospel Gazette Online that address the role of women.Image

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