A History of Christian Doctrine: Volume 1, The Post by David K. Bernard

By David K. Bernard

Booklet by means of Bernard, David ok.

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Extra info for A History of Christian Doctrine: Volume 1, The Post Apostolic Age to the Middle Ages A.D. 100 - 1500

Sample text

This view posed a problem for the Gnostics, however, for the Bible proclaims that Christ came in the flesh. If flesh is evil, how could this good emanation of God come in such an evil way? The Gnostics tried to resolve this dilemma by the doctrine of docetism, which says that Christ was a spirit being only. He appeared to have flesh, but really He did not; He was purely spirit. Some Gnostics further taught the doctrine of Cerinthianism, named for Cerinthus, an early proponent. This belief separates Jesus and Christ into two beings: Jesus, a normal man who was born, and Christ, a pure spirit.

2 53 A History of Christian Doctrine In the beginning, said the Apologists, God existed alone, but in order to create the world He first caused His Word to come out of Him. Originally, His Word was inherent in Him in an impersonal form, but He brought forth His Word as a second person. This event they identified as the begetting of the Logos or Son. Once again the Apologists deviated from the scriptural use of terminology. In the New Testament the term “begotten Son” refers to the uniqueness of Jesus Christ, and Hebrews 1:5-6 specifically relates this concept to the Incarnation.

The most extreme of them said that Jesus was not God manifested in the flesh but merely a man upon whom the Spirit descended at His baptism. They considered Him to be anointed by the Spirit and a great prophet in the tradition of the Old Testament, but not truly God. They believed His mission was to bring a revival of repentance, a restoration of Old Testament worship, and a renewed emphasis on the law of Moses. By these views they denied the fundamental doctrine of Jesus Christ and the New Testament message of salvation.

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