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The Teachings of Arius

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

Philippians 2:6-7

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is christ fully god?

In the midst of a new era of peace and privilege in society, the church also had to deal with significant theological controversies. One of the largest controversies surrounded the heretical teachings of a priest from Alexandria named Arius. Concerned with maintaining the uniqueness of God the Father and the unity of God, Arius erroneously taught that Christ, the Living Word of God, was subordinate to the Father. According to Arius, Jesus was distinctly “other” than the Father, a created being, created before time began. Arius wrote, “We are persecuted because we say that the Son has a beginning, but God is without beginning.” For Arius, to suggest that Jesus was fully God was to deny the oneness of God. Arius’s teaching was quickly rejected and condemned by his bishop, Alexander, who rejected the idea that Jesus, the Living Word, had been created. A convening of church leaders, called a synod, was brought together around 320, and Arius was removed from his position. But his teachings took root with other leaders, and Arius gained the support of some important, influential bishops. His ideas spread among the wider public as Arius set his teaching to music.

To justify his position, Arius used Scripture, pointing out texts where Jesus seemed to have a lesser position to that of God the Father. Those who opposed Arius’ position questioned his interpretative practices, claiming that Arius was incorrectly understanding and explaining Scripture.

What Was at Stake with the Teaching of Arius?

Arius taught that Jesus was important, crucial to our faith, but not equal with God. What exactly made his teaching so dangerous? Opponents of Arius pointed out the deeply troubling fallacy in his logic. If Christ was less than God the Father, then how could he possibly offer an atoning sacrifice for our salvation? This argument was especially developed by the man who would emerge as the greatest opponent of Arius’ teachings: Athanasius. We will learn more about Athanasius in the coming days.

Further, since its very beginning, the church had worshiped Christ as God. In fact, some scholars believe that one of the earliest hymns of the church can be found in the apostle Paul’s words to the church in Philippi when he wrote about Jesus, saying, “who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men” (Philippians 2:6–7). Additionally, since the beginning, converts to Christianity were baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19). In response to Arius’s teaching, leaders like Alexander and Athanasius rightfully rejected his ideas, recognizing the worship that was due to Christ.

rising tension

In the city of Alexandria and beyond, the tension and controversy surrounding the teaching of Arius grew. Constantine stepped in and sent another bishop from Spain to try and mediate the conflict. When it became clear that mediation wouldn’t work, Constantine called for bishops to come together and settle the matter. We will explore this council, the Council of Nicaea, tomorrow.


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Why is it important to recognize that Jesus is fully God, equal with the Father?

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Comments (5)

Good day Sir. the notion that Jesus is God arose from Peter’s premature appropriation of the prophecy of Joel on Pentecost, ten days after Jesus had warned him that it was not given to him to know when this was to be

Joel 2:27 "You will know that I am in Israel; that I am Adonai your Elohim and there is none else. never again will My people be shamed
Joel 2:28 After that, thereafter, I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh (of finally restored israel)"

So Jesus, whom they knew to be in their midst, became YHVH in all four the Gospels, prematurely, from Isa.40:3 and Mal.3:1 (misquoted in all three Synoptics) as first communicated to Mark by Peter himself. The Gospel story departs from Joel 2:27,28 which was denied by both Jesua and YHVH ten days before his departure.

The sin of Replacement Theology comprises.
1. Jesus has replaced YHVH in Prophetic Scripture.
2. The Church has replaced Am Israel in prophetic scriprure as "My people who would never be shamed again".

And so time stopped for Israel -became delayed – until revoking of the "delay" (Rev.10:6,7). The book of Revelation is a book of corrective denial. The test of the false prophet of Deut 18 has rejected Peter’s claim of Joel because none of the expectations in it – as all similar prophecy (eg. Ezek.39:8,29) came true. The Church has reinvented YHVH, Jesus and Prophecy.

"To justify his position, Arius used Scripture, pointing out texts where Jesus seemed to have a lesser position to that of God the Father. Those who opposed Arius’ position questioned his interpretative practices, claiming that Arius was incorrectly understanding and explaining Scripture."
Arius defended his position with scripture, the council opposed his position with a vote. I will always choose scripture over the opinion of the majority.

Christ said that He did not consider "equality with God" a thing to be grasped. Phil. 2.6. So, he was not equal with God – He was the Son of God. That’s a distinction – an important one, even in Jesus’ eyes, which is why he made that pronouncement.

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