Wednesday, October 14, 2015

The Godhead Theology of Ignatius of Antioch


(Excerpted from the author's book, "Godhead Theology." The book may be purchased from Amazon.)

Ignatius was Bishop of Antioch. He died the death of a martyr under the reign of Trajan (A.D. 107). Papias, himself a disciple of John and pastor at Hierapolis in Phrygia, Asia Minor, informs us that Ignatius sat under the teachings of Peter, Paul and Barnabas
(Quasten and Plumpe, page 109).

Because many in the oneness camp, during the 20th and 21st centuries have been too quick to paint Bishop Ignatius with the brush of trinitarianism, we will take some time and space to set the record straight here. We feel that those of Pentecostal evangelicalism have flenched from Ignatius because of his highly developed ecclesiastical theology. This has been a serious mistake in our view. The Bishop of Antioch was a champion of the apostolic Faith; to surrender him to the camp of the Pluralists has been done to our hurt. Virginia Corwin (Virginia Corwin was born in Orange, New Jersey, on August 17, 1901, She graduated from Wellesley College in 1923 and received the B.D. from Union Theological Seminary in New York City in 1929; at Union she was a Kent Fellow. In 1930 she came to Smith College as an Instructor of Religion and Biblical Literature. Prof. Corwin entered Yale University in 1932 and received her Ph.D. from it in 1937. Her dissertation was on St. Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch; Yale University Press published a revision of the text in 1960. Prof. Corwin taught at Smith until 1939 when she went to Western Reserve University as Harkness Professor of Biblical Literature and acting head of the Department of Religion. In 1942 Miss Corwin returned to Smith College as an Associate Professor of Religion and was made Professor of Religion in 1953. She retired from Smith College in 1966. After Prof. Corwin’s retirement she was visiting professor at Claremont College in California and at Wells College in New York.), who did her Ph.D. dissertation at Yale on Ignatius, stated: “If one term must be chosen to indicate the tendency of his thought, Ignatius must be said to be Monarchian” (“St Ignatius and Christianity in Antioch” New Haven: Yale University Press, 1960, page 126.).

The Modalistic views of Ignatius are seen in Magnesians 7:2,
"Everyone hasten to come together to one temple of God, to one altar, to one Jesus Christ, who came forth from the one Father, abiding in the one, and returning to the one.” His Modalism is especially evident in his letter to Polycarp (Bishop Of Smyrna, with whom he shared the same faith), where he expounded on the modal aspect of the existence of God: Polycarp 1:15, “... and expect Him, who is above all time, eternal, invisible, though for our sakes made visible; impalpable, and impassable, yet for us subject to sufferings; enduring all manner of ways for our salvation.” For this statement, Ignatius would have been branded as a Patripassian (one who teaches that the Father suffered) by Tertullian, and anathematized by those of the logos-christology.

Ignatius’ Godhead Theology
In the writings of Ignatius, Christ is the central figure; He is the Bishop’s all and all. No less than fourteen times Ignatius calls Jesus God (Eph. inscr. 1.1, 7.2, 15.3, 17.2, 18.2, 19.3; Trall. 7.1; Rom. inscr. 3.3, 6.3; Smyrn. 1.1; Polyc. 8.3).

The bishop lets us know that there is but one God, whom he identifies as the Father (Magnesians 8:2). This one God-the-Father has made Himself known to the world through, and by, Jesus Christ, His Son. Ignatius identifies the Son as the “Word” of the Father that proceeded forth from silence. He writes it this way: “... there is one God who manifested Himself through Jesus Christ His Son, who is His Word that proceeded from silence,...” (Magnesians 8:2). This is but an echo of 1 Corinthians 8:6 where Paul writes, “But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.” Ignatius agrees with John (John 1:1, 14) that the preexistent Christ was the Word of God. Ignatius calls Jesus the “thought” of God (Ephesians 3:2). J. N. D. Kelly observes, as does this author, that, for Ignatius, the divine Son of God dates only from God’s Incarnation into Mary’s baby. The bishop writes of it this way: “... and firmly grounded in love in the blood of Christ, fully persuaded as touching our Lord that He is truly of the race of David according to the flesh, but Son of God by the Divine will and power, ...” The preexistent Christ, then, dwelt with the Father as the mind or thought of the Father, and not as a separate individual from Him, in Ignatius’ thinking. This is what Ignatius meant when he wrote: “... Jesus Christ, who was with the Father before the worlds and appeared at the end of time” (Magnesians 6:1). When Ignatius wrote that the “Word ... proceeded from silence” he was stating what the Apologists after him would confirm. Athenagoras would write in A.D. 177 that the Son was God’s “Word” proceeding from God’s “thought.”

According to this concept God is God, alone, without any companions, and when God had a thought it was His “Word” or “Son,” because it was His offspring. He “birthed” a thought, a word. There is no separate ‘person’ here; only the thought or word of the One eternal person of God. This Word/Son of God that is His mind/thought can be said to be eternal and “with” God in the beginning, because God is a sentient-being who does not exist without thought or mind. Therefore, Ignatius writes that Jesus is God’s Word from silence. Kelly writes: “Christ is the Father’s ‘thought’ (gnōmē), the unlying mouth by which the Father spoke truly” (Ephesians 3:2; Romans 8:2). Ignatius even declares that Jesus is “our God” (Ephesians inscr. 18:2; Trallians 7:1; Romans inscr.), describing Him as “God incarnate” ( Ephesians 7:2; 19:3) (en sari genomenos theos) and “God made manifest as man” (theou anthrōpinōs phaneroumenou). He was “in spirit (penumatikōs) united with the Father” (Smyrna 3:3). “... He was the timeless, invisible, impalpable, impassable one who for our sakes entered time and became visible, palpable and passable” (Ephesians 7:2; Polycarp 3:2). Further, according to F. Loofs (Friedrich Loofs, (1858-1928) Professor of Church History at the University of Halle-Wittenberg in Germany,), Ignatius regarded God “as an undifferentiated monad in His essential being, the Son and the Spirit being merely forms or MODES of the Father’s self- revelation” (Kelly; emphasis on “MODES” mine).

There is nothing in Ignatius even coming close to a Trinitarian dogma. The monotheism of the prophets and apostles is adhered to at every turn. If any label is to be placed on the Bishop of Syria it must be that of Modalistic Monarchianism. The Modalism of Ignatius can easily be demonstrated in the following way:
1. Ignatius acknowledges that the one God is the Father:
(Magnesians 8:2 cf 1 Corinthians 8:6): Magnesians 8:2 “...there is one God who manifested Himself through Jesus Christ His Son, ..” 

2. Jesus is the one God incarnated in human form (Ephesians 7:2; 19:3 cf Isaiah 9:6; Matthew 1:23; John 1:1-3, 14): Ephesians 7:2 “There is one only physician, of flesh and of spirit, generate and ingenerate, God in man, true Life in death, Son of Mary and Son of God, first passible and then impassible, Jesus Christ our Lord.”

3. The Holy Spirit is, in fact, Jesus Christ (Magnesians 15:1 cf Matthew 3:11; John 14:17-18; Ephesians (NT) 4:5; John 7:29; 1 Corinthians 12:13; 2 Corinthians 3:17): Magnesians 15:1 “... The rest of the Churches, in honour of Jesus Christ, also salute you. Fare ye well in the harmony of God, ye who have obtained the inseparable Spirit, who is Jesus Christ.”

4. The Holy Spirit is, in fact, the Father of the Son (Ephesians 18:2 cf Luke 1:35; Matthew 1:18): Ephesians 18:2 “For our God, Jesus Christ, was conceived by Mary according to God’s plan, both from the seed of David and from the Holy Spirit. ...” 

5. Ignatius teaches the dual nature of Christ by drawing a sharp distinction between His deity and His humanity (Ephesians 7:2; 18:2; 20:2; Smyræans 1:1; 3:3; Polycarp 3:2 cf Isaiah 9:6; Acts 2:30; Romans 1:3-4; 9:5): Ephesians 7:2 “There is one Physician who is possessed both of flesh and spirit; both made and not made; God existing in flesh; true life in death; both of Mary and of God; first passible and then impassible, even Jesus Christ our Lord.” 18:2 “For our God, Jesus Christ, was conceived by Mary according to God’s plan, both from the seed of David and from the Holy Spirit. ...” 20:2 “... in Jesus Christ, who was of the seed of David according to the flesh, being both the Son of man and the Son of God, ...” Smyræans 1:1 “...established in love through the blood of Christ, being fully persuaded with respect to our Lord, that He was truly of the seed of David according to the flesh, and the Son of God according to the will and power of God;...” 3:3 “And after his resurrection He did eat and drink with them, as being possessed of flesh, although spiritually He was united to the Father.” Polycarp 3:2 “Look for Him who is above all time, eternal and invisible, yet who became visible for our sakes; impalpable and impassible, yet who became passible on our account; and who in every kind of way suffered for our sakes.”

6. When a distinction is made between Jesus and the Father the Bishop qualifies it by emphasizing the humanity of Christ (Magnesians 13:2 cf 1 Timothy 2:5): Mag. 13:2 “Be obedient to the bishop and to one another, as Jesus Christ was to the Father [according to the flesh], ...”

7. The Modalistic views of Ignatius are seen in Magnesians 7:2, ”Everyone hasten to come together to one temple of God, to one altar, to one Jesus Christ, who came forth from the one Father, abiding in the one, and returning to the one.” His Modalism is especially evident in his letter to Polycarp (Bishop Of Smyrna, with whom he shared the same faith), where he expounded on the modal aspect of the existence of God: Polycarp 1:15, “... and expect Him, who is above all time, eternal, invisible, though for our sakes made visible; impalpable, and impassable, yet for us subject to sufferings; enduring all manner of ways for our salvation.” For this statement, Ignatius would have been branded as a Patripassian (one who teaches that the Father suffered) by Tertullian and anathematized by the those of the logos-christology.

Conclusion
Ignatius writes of the triad of Father, Son and Holy Spirit within the Godhead often. It is clear that he sees this triad as the economy of the deity, and not as a trinity of individuals. This is presented as colorfully as words can paint a picture, in his letter to the Ephesians,
“...ye are stones of a temple, which were prepared beforehand for a building of God the Father, being hoisted up to the heights through the engine of Jesus Christ, which is the Cross, and using for a rope the Holy Spirit; while your faith is your windlass, and love is the way that leadeth up to God” —Ephesians 9:1.

With this allegory, Bishop Ignatius portrays the economy of God working to facilitate the salvation of fallen man, and restore him to relationship with God. This is accomplished through the cross of the Son of God and the strength and power of the Holy Spirit of God, both of which are self-revelations of the Father necessary to build His building—the Church. The apostle Paul writes of God’s economy this way: “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen” (2 Cor 13:14) 


Apostolically Speaking
☩ David Ignatius


If the ministry of the Bishop is a blessing to you, please consider leaving a monetary gift of any amount at the link provided here:



The above is an excerpt from the author's book entitled "Godhead Theology" which may be purchased from Amazon.com at the following link: http://www.amazon.com/Godhead-Theology-Modalism-Original-Orthodoxy/dp/1516983521/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1444861346&sr=1-1&refinements=p_27%3ABishop+Jerry+Hayes

The Teaching of the Shield

The Teaching of the Shield (Outline)
Disciples of the Way (Apostolic)





  1. The Shield: Faith (Eph 6:16).;
    1. Salvation is through faith  (Eph 2:8-9);
    2. Christians are sustained by faith  (1 Jn 5:4);
    3. Faith as a system of belief (Eph 4:5).
  2. The Cross: The Doctrine of the Cross (1 Cor 1:18).
    1. Speaks of death;
    2. Speaks of Blood Covenant;
    3. Speaks of personal trail;
  3. Apostolic: Of, or Pertaining to the Apostles;
    1. Apostolic Succession in holy orders (2 Tim 2:2); 
    2. In Teaching: The Apostles’ doctrine (Acts 2:42);
    3. In Practice: Apostolic Example (1 Cor 11:1; Phil 3;17).
  4. Disciples of the Way (Acts 9:1; 18:25-26; 19:9, 23; 22:4; 24:14, 22);
    1. What it means to be a Disciple;
    2. Why we are called “The Way?” (Isa 40:3; Jn 14:6);
  5. The Sword: The Word of God;
    1. Belongs to the Spirit (Eph 6:17);
    2. Double Edged: both Old and New Testaments.
  6. The Alpha and the Omega: Introduction to the Deity of Christ.
  7. The Dove: The Holy Spirit,
    1. Power of the Highest (Lk 1:35); 
    2. The Spirit in the Life of the Believer (Acts 1:8);55
    3. The Spirit in the Life of the Church (Acts 15:28).
  8. The Triquetra: A Tri-folded Circle into equal parts;
    1. Metaphorically, God is a Circle, Whose center is everywhere, and Whose circumference is nowhere.
    2. The Triquetra represents the Economy of the Godhead (2 Cor 13:14);

Economy: the management of resources; the arrangement, or mode, of operation.


Apostolically Speaking
Bishop David Ignatius



If the ministry of the Bishop is a blessing to you, please consider leaving a monetary gift of any amount at the link provided here:

Friday, October 9, 2015

Then and Now

Then and Now
or
The Victorious Christian

... So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin. There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. Romans 7:25 - 8:1

That was then, but this is now. O Glory to the Lamb!

In Romans chapters 7 and 8 Paul contrasts the life of one under the Law and the believer whose life is in Christ Jesus. For the one under the Law, before the New Life of the Holy Spirit is manifested there is no victory and much condemnation. Such a one knows the Law and has a mental ambition to keep it. but is unable because there has been no nature change in the soul/spirit. The study of the “Law” has engraved it into the mind, but the heart is powerless to actually desire it. The Apostle remembers his life in such a state and writes of it in the "the historical present."
 (though he is speaking of his past life, he is writing in the present tense) in this manner:


Romans 7:14-24
For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin. 15 For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. 16 If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good. 17 But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. 18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. 19 For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. 20 Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.
21 I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. 22 For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. 23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. 24 O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? (NKJV)

Paul, disappointed with the failure of his life as lived under the Law asks a desperate question (continuing to write in the “historical present”): “O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” He now has the answer that none before Calvary could have known: “I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!”

In the second part of v25 the Apostle sums up his past life as it was lived under the Law by writing: “So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.” Dear disciple, notice that Paul writes of “then;” he is reflecting on a time in his past. The very next strokes of his quill scratches onto his parchment: “There is therefore now no condemnation ...” He writes of “Then” and “Now.” “Then” there was much condemnation. Notice how he wrote of his condemnation: “... but I am carnal, sold under sin. ... For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. ... For I know that in me ... nothing good dwells; ..., but how to perform what is good I do not find. For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. ..., that evil is present with me, ... But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. 24 O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” But as to Paul’s condition “Now” he has this to say: “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.”

The Apostle goes on in what is our chapter 8 to describe the victorious overcoming life of a Christian. We fail, at times, to remember that the New Testament books were not divided into chapters and verses originally. The Epistles, like Romans, were letters written by godly men to give instruction and encouragement to persons or church groups. So our ch 7 and ch8 must not be divided into separate subjects. It is all one topic for the writer. In ch 8 he contrasts the life of the Spirit filled believer to the life of the one attempting to live according to the Law of Moses while in the Old Testament economy. He has shown, in ch 7, the impossibility of a victorious moral life.

One can never hope to understand Paul’s teaching from chapter 7 unless chapter 8 is studied in tandem with it.  Many Bible teachers in the evangelical camp like to teach ch 7 without considering ch 8. In doing this an entirely false doctrine is fostered upon Christianity. The teaching that Paul is speaking of the life of the Christian in ch 7 is patently false.

There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, 4 that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. 6 For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. 7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. 8 So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
9 But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. 10 And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.



The "I" pictured here is the quintessential unregenerate person, who has knowledge of the law of God, senses true guilt for sinfulness, longs for deliverance, but is without the grace of Christ to overcome sin. In contrast, the Christian "under grace," infused with the love of God, is victorious over sin and "ceases to sin."

Apostolically Speaking
☩ David Ignatius



If the ministry of the Bishop is a blessing to you, please consider leaving a monetary gift of any amount at the link provided here: