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Discussion Forum : Scriptures and Doctrine : Is the denial of the eternal Sonship of Christ a damnable heresy?

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 Is the denial of the eternal Sonship of Christ a damnable heresy?

A good article regarding the eternal Sonship of Christ and it's application to a Christian. It was published in the "Gospel Standard" in 1885 in answer to the following question.

To the Editor of the “Gospel Standard.”

Sir, As there is a belief held here and elsewhere by some who profess to love the truths advocated in the “G. S.,” that faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as the Eternal Son of God is not vital or essential to the salvation of the elect, I would be glad to have your mind as to whether such belief is in accordance with the Spirit of Truth.

J. P.
April 11th, 1885.


The above question is one of deep interest to the church of the living God, and embodies a doctrine, the belief of which is essential to salvation and eternal life.

It is the work of the Holy Spirit to give faith to all the elect of God, which enables them to believe that Christ is God and that he was the Eternal Son of God from everlasting.

There are many ways of believing, but only one right way; there are many kinds of faith, so called, but only one true vital faith, which is the faith of God’s elect.

This faith never denies that Christ ever was and is now the Son of God, and that he took upon him the form of a servant and was made in the likeness of men. He says, “If ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.” (John 8:24)

There was nothing difficult in believing that Christ was the Son of David after the flesh, for his mother, Mary, and his supposed father, Joseph, were of the house and lineage of David. This the Jews knew, and said, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know?”

But they knew him not as the Son of God; therefore, through the blindness of their minds and the hardness of their hearts, they could not believe.

Even so is it with those who deny his Eternal Sonship, for they only believe in him after the flesh: “Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is Antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.”

He that denieth that Jesus is the Son of God is destitute of vital, saving faith.

Who is he that is not Antichrist but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?

But before a man can rightly believe this sweet and essential doctrine he must be born again, and he that believes in this Christ as the Son of the Father before all worlds is born again; as the Word declares: “Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God.”

As there is base coin that much resembles pure coin, so there is a false faith that may appear like true faith. There is such a thing as heart experience and a living vital faith which unites the soul to Christ, and enables it to say, “Thou art the Son of God.”

There is also a faith which believes that Christ was not the Son of God until he was born of the virgin, which is only dead faith, and is a faith which will leave the soul at last to die in sin; whilst heart faith in Christ, however small, will be owned and honoured of God and the soul that possesses it will live with Christ for ever and ever. It is a deadly error to deny that Jesus Christ ever was the Eternal Son of God:

“Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ?…Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father.”

In the erection of buildings scaffolding is used, but it is not part of the building; so there are many preachers and hearers amongst the true church of God who are not living stones in the building.

As belief in Christ is essential to eternal salvation, we must say that all who do not believe in him as the everlasting Son of the everlasting Father do not believe in the truth as set forth in this magazine, nor do they believe in the Lord Jesus Christ according to the Scripture which says, “I was set up from everlasting;” and again: “The Word was made flesh, and dwelt
among us (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the onlybegotten
of the Father), full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14)

No man who denies that Christ is the Eternal Son of God and lives and dies in that error can go to heaven. The Scripture calls such men liars, and we read: “There shall in no wise enter into it any thing that denieth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie; but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.” (Rev. xxi. 27.)

This lie, we believe, has special reference to the lying doctrines of men, which the children of God reject as unscriptural and contrary to the Spirit of truth and the faith which he has wrought in their hearts; but this doctrine, which is of the world and which the world heareth, the saints overcome:

“Who is he that overcometh the world but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God ? (I John 5:5)

Hundreds of years before Christ was born of the virgin, Agur asked this question, which none of the deniers of the eternity of the Son of God have ever been able to answer:

“Who hath ascended up into heaven, or descended? Who hath gathered the wind in his fists? Who hath bound the waters in a garment? Who hath established all the ends of the earth? What is his Name, and what is his Son’s Name, if thou canst tell?” (Proverbs 30:4)

We cannot conceive how those who hold the doctrine that Christ is the Eternal Son of God and those who deny it can dwell together in union and peace.

By James Dennett (Gospel Standard Editor – 1885)

Further reading here.

 2012/1/13 20:39

 Re: Is the denial of the eternal Sonship of Christ a damnable heresy?

As long as the person strongly defends the Deity of Christ and the Triunity of the One GOD - no, it is not a 'damnable' heresy.

Many scholars believed that The Word of GOD became The Son at conception and provide substantial scriptural backing for their belief. I haven't listed all the Scriptures that they use and have no plans to, but had someone posted where I had asked for clarification with Scripture - I would have appreciated it - as I had mentioned, "Grateful!"

As Creator GOD from the O.T. to The New, it is indeed difficult to seperate the absolute co-equality of the Three in One.

Isaac Watts and many other great men struggled with the GODHead and many believed in the Conception-Sonship thought, though they all remained trinitarian and defenders of Christ's Deity.

So more importantly than what your motives are - for their defense ... had this thread been titled "heresy" and not included the term "damnable" - I wouldn't have responded.

 2012/1/13 21:39

Joined: 2008/10/25
Posts: 1196
North Central Florida

 This I can agree with

"As long as the person strongly defends the Deity of Christ and the Triunity of the One GOD - no, it is not a 'damnable' heresy."

Sadly, your statement gives credence to the original post, "We cannot conceive how those who hold the doctrine that Christ is the Eternal Son of God and those who deny it can dwell together in union and peace."

Where did this phrase 'Triunity' come from? I haven't seen it in Scripture. Personally, I do not understand using made-up words when the words we need are in the Bible.

Regards, WS


 2012/1/13 22:47Profile

 Re: This I can agree with

Hi WhiteStone. These that I spoke of DO believe that Christ came as The Son of GOD, The Son of David. You've only taken a partial quote from my post.

The man who wrote that article did not use pertinent Scripture to condemn those that believe that The Word of GOD was begotten as the firstborn Son of GOD at conception. He merely stated that those who believe that The Word of GOD became The Son of GOD at conception are not saved.

The word/title "trinity" is not in our Bible neither, yet we still believe in the trinity.
Triunity is just another term used for the co-equality of the Three-in-One.

Judging people's salvation is just as dangerous - especially when every man here has been judged as not being "Brothers".
Which is the worst sin? Believing that The Word of GOD became The Son at conception, or judging everyone's salvation and feeling that you're the only one on this forum that's saved? I'd say that it would be just as impossible to "dwell together in union and peace" with someone that would set themselves up as the only Brother here.

To judge the salvation of that many that have looked into the Scriptures and pondered and have searched out what "..'this day' I have 'begotten' Thee" and "He 'shall be' a son to me and I 'shall be' a father unto Him." means - is not a reason to damn them to hell - but damning to hell the entire male population of this website is far more dangerous - as is - Not Loving one another and having a party spirit.

Mutual Regards, Sister.

 2012/1/13 23:01

Joined: 2011/9/30
Posts: 1211

 Re: Jesus, sent by the Father

Jesus was and is immutably and unchangeably divine. Becoming a man could in no way alter His deity.

The prophet Micah explained that "the One who will go forth for Me as the ruler of Israel, His goings forth are from long ago, from the days of eternity" (Micah 5:2).

John perceived in his revelation that Jesus is "the One who is and who was and who is to come" (Rev. 1:8) - eternally existent, and eternally immutable in that eternal existence, for "Jesus is the same yesterday, and today and forever" (Heb. 13:8).

"He is before all things" (Col. 1:17), declared Paul. "He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being by Him; and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being" (John 1:2,3), John states in the prologue of his gospel, noting that John the Baptist asserted that "He existed before me" (John 1:15), even though Jesus was born six months after John. Jesus Himself asserted that "before Abraham was" (John 8:58), He existed as the "I AM" of the eternally present existence of Yahweh (cf. Exod. 3:14). Prior to His manifestation as a man, the Son "was before" (John 6:62) in heaven, eternally existent as God.

The eternal deity of the Son implied by His eternal existence is also expressed in the prologue of John's gospel, where he writes, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God" (John 1:1,2). Despite misguided interpretive attempts to supply an indirect article in order to imply that "the Word was a god", the only valid exegesis of the text recognizes that "the Word was God". The Word, the expressive agency of God, became flesh (John 1:14) in the person of Jesus.

Paul wrote to the Philippians, he explains
that "although He existed in the form of God, He did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped..." (Phil. 2:6). The Son pre-existed as God.

Jesus was continually conscious that He was sent by God the Father. "I proceeded forth and have come from God, ...He sent Me" (John 8:42), Jesus told the Jewish authorities. He explained to His disciples that He had "come forth from God, and was going back to God" (John 13:3); "having came forth from the Father, and come into the world; I am leaving the world again, and going to the Father" (John 16:28). Jesus was forever conscious of His divine mission to man, as well as the necessity of man's "believing Him whom God sent" (John 5:38; 6:29). In His intimate prayer wherein He foresaw the accomplishment of the divine work (John 17:4) in His own death, Jesus said, "I came forth from Thee, and they believed that Thou didst send Me" (John 17:8).

These indicate that God the Father sent God the Son on the redemptive and restorative mission to mankind.


 2012/1/13 23:04Profile


As Creator GOD from the O.T. to The New, it is indeed difficult to seperate the absolute co-equality of the Three in One.

It is not at all difficult, it is just that your understanding of the Bible has been restricted to commandments and the do's/don'ts which anyone who reads the Bible can understand, the higher truths available to the child of God have been hidden from you. The article explains why.


 2012/1/13 23:04


If you could do a thread with just Scripture and not another judgmentalists, that uses his own words and judgements as you have - as I had asked for Scriptures proving otherwise - it could have been a fruitful discussion and the Scriptures shared from the Old Testament and New about how the LORD's Words through-out the O.T. are the One we now know as "Jesus", is a very indepth study and increases one's reverence for Who He is. Definitely increases one's reverence for Him and we can call Him The One True GOD just as well as we call The Father The One True GOD. The Words that we read in the O.T. that were spoken, are The Word of GOD / Jesus.

As you've judged everyone's salvation here and mine - I'll stay in the company of those you deem not Brethren and maybe one of those Brothers will prove out pre-conception Sonship via Scripture only, as I've asked for clarification on this controversy between scholars because I am still open to The Truth - but not this way.

 2012/1/13 23:20


Pilgrim, I have nothing contrary in my beliefs to what you've posted.

The only controversy that I've looked into and have all the Scriptures to consider besides the ones that you've posted, is whether The Word of GOD was The Son before He was conceived / begotten as the "firstborn" of many sons - and not whether or not He was and is GOD or whether The Word of GOD was preexistent and eternal and sent by the GOD, The Father.

He submitted Himself as a man to The Father and emptied Himself of His authority to act autonomously while in the flesh - but the O.T. has Him as The One GOD all the way through.

He was/is The Lamb that was slain before the foundation of the earth. He and the Father are One. If they had seen Him, they had seen The Father. Thomas called Him my LORD and my GOD.

In Rev 21:1-7, we see Who is speaking from The Throne. In verse 3 - Who is this speaking of - "God himself shall be with them, and be their God."
Who will wipe the tears from our eyes - and says, I will be his God, and he shall be My son - as the Red Letter edition has those words in red? In Isaiah, He is called "the mighty GOD and everlasting father."

This shows the co-equality of the Three in one and most especially before His conception, before He subjected Himself to dependence on the Father, taking our form and after the millenial reign, where He is on the throne, calling Himself GOD with us, wiping our tears - as The One True GOD again that walked and talked in the Garden with Adam.

This is just a part of how we prove that He and The Father are One and yet are not "oneness doctrine" thinkers.

Thank you for posting a Scriptural reply.

 2012/1/13 23:40

Joined: 2011/9/30
Posts: 1211


Hi Jesus-is-God,

Thank you so much for taking the time to explain this to me. Until you did I had no idea what the disagreement was about. I thought it was about Jesus coming into existence when He was born of Mary (conceived by the Holy Spirit).

So, just to get this straight.

You believe He has existed eternally but not as the Son. Is that correct?

Also you say:

He submitted Himself as a man to The Father and emptied Himself of His authority to act autonomously while in the flesh

I think you mean that He emptied Himself of His authority and acted "dependently" on God, not autonomously while in the flesh.

But back to the core disagreement. Help me understand where you two differ.

And hopefully, we can just have a nice discussion this time and try to work through this with each other. I really want to work through this with you both but I need to understand what the differences are.


 2012/1/14 0:53Profile


...the O.T. has Him as The One GOD all the way through.

Interesting statement that one is. Now we are getting to the heart of the issue.

Gen 17:1 who did Abraham see, Father, Son, Holy Spirit? John 1:18 and others (John 5:37 et al) say no man hath seen the the Father at any time All that is left is that Abraham saw none other than the Son of God and He it is who is LORD.

You seem to like the red-letter NT versions, did you ever see a red-letter OT version? All the words of the LORD-Jehovah (God the Son-Christ) are in red, it is quite the sight. God the Son is eternal and didn't just happen on the scene 2000 years ago. All things were created by the Son (Read Col 1:13-19 over and over until you see it).

BTW the other two links go more in depth with the explanation, but the problem is that no explanation will suffice if your heart is not prepared to receive it.


 2012/1/14 1:39

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